AUTOS: The Forty-Niners

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For two nights this week, trains of snorting vans lumbered up to Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and disgorged rich cargoes from Detroit. Inside the hotel, swarms of workmen sweated under floodlights to turn the Grand Ballroom into the fanciest automobile showroom on earth. On a wide stage, they set up an endless chain conveyor and a revolving platform for the new models; across the room, they reared a 25-ft. pylon above a cluster of jewel-bright auto engines.

For its first big postwar coming-out party, the debut of the 1949 Chevrolet and Pontiac,...

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