In the aftermath of WWII, the 1950s brought expanding economies in Western nations, new science advancements, "I Love Lucy," jet air travel and the race to space. The cars of the decade reflected those developments in sleek, low styling, a new wave of powerful V8 engines, more widely available automatic transmissions and air conditioning and even high-beam headlights that could dim automatically when oncoming traffic was detected.
American cars grew larger in the 1950s, and by mid-decade many had sprouted tailfins, a styling appendage originally seen on the 1948 Cadillac. Most brands introduced flashier luxury models, while Chevrolet and Ford brought out their two seat Corvette and Thunderbird, respectively. A booming post-war economy in the U.S. revved up demand for exciting new models, as well as cheaper “second” cars for families in suburbs.
The 1950s brought some impressive successes, like the iconic 1955-1957 Chevys, bit also dismal failures, most famously (or infamously) the 1958-1960 Edsel from Ford. Do you know why the Edsel failed? And, why did other brands, like Chrysler’s DeSoto division, also disappear?
The big, flashy, powerful cars of the 1950s seemed to defy the cold war fears of the period. The chrome, fins, and sheer girth would eventually get out of hand, but the drama was fun while it lasted.
So, then, how well do you know 1950s cars? We’ve sprinkled this quiz with some surprises to really test you. So jump in and take an unforgettable mid-20th century ride!