The “Cat Eye Chevy” was a popular design trend seen in Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 1950s and 1960s. This distinctive styling feature involved placing two large tail lights above two smaller ones which resembled a cat’s eyes.
The story behind how the Cat Eye Chevy came to be varies slightly depending on who you ask. Some say that it was inspired by the tail lights on modern jet fighters, while others believe it was a response to the success of the 1953 Buick Roadmaster, which first sported this unique tail light setup.
Whatever the inspiration may have been, the Cat Eye Chevy quickly became a signature feature of mid-century American automobiles. The design was first used on the 1958 Chevrolet Impala, which was also the first Chevy to feature a dual headlight system.
Signature Features of the Classic Design
In addition to the signature cat eye tail lights, the classic Cat Eye Chevy also featured sleek lines, chrome accents, and a heavily stylized body. The front of the car typically sloped inward, while the rear featured pronounced fins that gave the car a futuristic, jet-inspired appearance.
The interior of these classic cars was just as impressive as the exterior, boasting spacious bench seats, plush upholstery, and high-end audio systems.
The Evolution of the Cat Eye Chevy over Time
The Cat Eye Chevy design continued to be a hallmark of Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 1960s, with various models sporting updated versions of the classic look. The tail lights became more angular, and the fins less exaggerated. By the end of the decade, however, the design had fallen out of favor with consumers, and Chevy moved on to other styles.
Today, the Cat Eye Chevy remains a popular model for vintage car enthusiasts and collectors, with many restored models still on the road. Its unique design and place in American automotive history have cemented its status as an iconic classic car.
Famous Models and Iconic Cars Featuring the Cat Eye
Some of the most famous and iconic Cat Eye Chevys include the 1959 Impala, the 1960 Bel Air, and the 1962 Corvette. The 1959 Impala, in particular, is considered a classic and is highly sought after by collectors. Its unique and daring design, combined with its comfortable driving experience, make it a standout among vintage cars. The 1960 Bel Air is also a popular choice among collectors, with its sleek lines, powerful engine, and luxurious interior.
Another noteworthy Cat Eye Chevy is the 1964 Chevelle Malibu SS, which was famous for being used in the TV show “My Three Sons”. The Malibu SS had a sporty style, with a muscular look and a powerful V8 engine.
Popular Upgrades and Customization Options for Cat Eye Chevys
Restoring and customizing a Cat Eye Chevy can be a fulfilling and enjoyable project for car enthusiasts. Popular upgrades include adding modern conveniences like air conditioning and power windows, as well as updating the engine and transmission with more modern parts to improve performance. Suspension and braking systems can also be upgraded to make the ride smoother and safer.
Customization options are endless and offer countless ways to give a Cat Eye Chevy a personal touch. Some popular customization options include new paint jobs, swapping out rims for new ones, and upgrading the audio system. Adding additional chrome accents can make the classic design pop, while adding tint to the windows can give it a more modern look. Whatever the chosen upgrades or customizations, a restored and customized Cat Eye Chevy is sure to turn heads on the road.
Tips for Restoring and Maintaining a Cat Eye Chevy
Restoring and maintaining a Cat Eye Chevy is a labor of love for many car enthusiasts. To keep the car in top condition, it’s important to be diligent about regular maintenance and follow some basic tips to keep it looking and running its best.
One important tip is to regularly check and change the oil, as well as replace other fluids like brake and power steering fluid. It’s also crucial to replace worn or damaged parts as soon as possible to prevent more serious damage from occurring. Regular cleaning, waxing, and detailing can also help keep a Cat Eye Chevy looking like new.
Finding replacement parts for a Cat Eye Chevy can be challenging, but there are still options available. Many specialty auto parts stores and online retailers carry parts made specifically for classic cars, including Cat Eye Chevys. It’s also possible to find original parts at swap meets or from other collectors.
The Influence of the Cat Eye Design on Modern Automotive Industry
The Cat Eye Chevy has had a lasting impact on the automotive industry, inspiring designers and influencing modern car designs. The sleek lines, chrome accents, and futuristic features seen in the Cat Eye are still evident in modern cars today.
The Cat Eye design was especially influential for Chevrolet, inspiring the brand’s design philosophy and influencing the design of other iconic cars, like the Camaro and Impala. The cat-eye taillight itself has been reintroduced in modern cars like the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro.
The classic Cat Eye Chevy design has also been celebrated in popular culture over the years. It has appeared in movies like American Graffiti and television shows like Mad Men, further cementing its place in American pop culture history.
In conclusion, the Cat Eye Chevy has left a lasting legacy on the automotive industry and will always be remembered as a classic, futuristic design that captured the hearts of car enthusiasts during its time. Its influence can still be seen in modern designs, proving that a good design is timeless. Restoring and maintaining a Cat Eye Chevy is both a challenge and a reward, as it provides a tangible connection to the history and evolution of American cars.