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Amazing Cars From the 1950s

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The design of American cars changed a lot in the 1950s.

They looked very different from the cars that had been made until then.

Tail fins were one of the main features of cars from this period.


Chevrolet Impala 1959


It was a time when America had entered the jet age.

People wanted their cars to look like jet planes.

So, cars were designed with tail fins at the rear.

The cars also became lower, longer, and wider.


Chevrolet Impala 1959


Car designers of that time didn’t have to follow too many safety rules.

They didn’t have to think about saving fuel either.

So, they had a free hand in their design.

The 1950s cars inspired designers around the world.


Chevrolet Impala 1959

The Chevrolet Impala was called "the wild one".

Its tail lamps were like cat’s eyes.

The name Impala came from a southern African deer known for its speed and strength.

It was Harley Earl’s last design before he retired.

He was the Vice President of General Motors.


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1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable

The roof of the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable could fold back.

This was called the retractable hardtop.

With the press of a button, the roof would unscrew itself from the windshield frame.

The roof would tuck itself under the trunk lid.

The trunk lid would lift on its own to make way for the top.

All of this would take about 25 seconds.


1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

The 1957 Chevrolet appeared longer than the 1955 and 1956 models.

The windshield was wider and taller.

The hood was lower and flatter.

The Chevrolet Bel Air was available in seven body styles.

The new rear end design included backup lights.

The tail lights blended into the rear bumper.


Ford Edsel Corsair

The Ford Corsair had an oval or 'horse-collar' grille.

The Corsair cost less than similar Ford models.

The Edsel was introduced in September 1957.

The economy was not doing well that year.

People didn’t have much money to buy new cars.

So, it was not a good year to launch a car that wasn't too expensive.


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1957 Ford Thunderbird

With this car, Ford created a new product line: the personal luxury car.

It was expensive and had:

  • A padded dashboard

  • A 'Lifeguard Design' for safety

  • Updated seating fabric

  • Larger front brakes


1959 Cadillac DeVille

The 1959 Cadillac DeVille was among the most stylish of the 1950s cars.

The Cadillac DeVilles were luxurious.

It had jewel-like grille patterns.

The rooflines were like no other car’s.

It was long and low.

They could comfortably carry six passengers.

The headlights would turn on when it became dark.

They could switch from high to low beam when they sensed cars coming.

The Cadillac DeVille's standard equipment included:

  • Power steering

  • Power brakes

  • Two back-up lamps

  • Outside rear view mirror

  • Vanity mirror

  • Oil filter

  • Windshield washers

  • Two-speed wipers

  • Automatic transmission

Automatic transmission means:

The driver does not have to change the gears in normal conditions.

The gears change automatically


The Cadillac DeVille had large tail fins and twin bullet tail lamps.


1957 Lincoln Premiere

The advertisements for this car said, 'No other car is so Lincoln long... Lincoln low... and Lincoln lovely!'

The advertisements for this car said:

No other car is so Lincoln long... Lincoln low... and Lincoln lovely!

The Lincoln Premiere had:

  • Air-conditioning

  • Heater with two controls

  • Town and Country radio

  • Seat belts

Only 1 in 5 Lincolns had air-conditioning then.

The tail fins of this car were made taller in 1957.

They were among the tallest of the 1950s cars.

The car also had QuadraLites.

These were 7-inch headlamps fitted above 5-inch road lamps.

They had a separate switch.


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1957 Plymouth Fury

Plymouth is named Fury for the high-performance version of its standard cars.

High performance means that the engines of these cars had more power.


1958 Pontiac Bonneville

The 1958 Pontiac Bonneville was big.

It had all the engine options a buyer could ever want.

It was a costly car.

Not everyone could buy it.

Standard equipment included:

Chrome wheel discs

Special upholstery

A Deluxe steering wheel.

There was a lot of chrome plating on the car.

Chrome plating gives a shiny look and prevents rust.


1955 Mercury Monterey

Ford introduced the Mercury in 1939.

It was a cheaper luxury vehicle.

It offered more than a regular Ford car and less than a luxury Lincoln vehicle.

William Schmidt designed these cars.

Buyers could choose from canvas or vinyl roof coverings.

It also had either fabric-and-leather or all-leather seats.

Mercury is the name of the messenger of Roman gods.



*Quotes are edited to Easy to Read.*


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