1950s Classic Cars

The 1950s was exciting era for car manufacturers. America’s post-war designs became sleeker and models like the Ferrari gained popularity overseas. Learn about models from Bentleys and Rolls Royce to the 1950s Jeep models.

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Ford whipped the public into a frenzy back in 1957 with its marketing campaign for the Edsel, "the car of the future." The Edsel was supposed to be everything American car buyers wanted. But — for many, many reasons — it was a terrible flop.

By Jamie Page Deaton

After an unsuccessful (and very expensive) launch in 1957, the Ford Edsel was discontinued in 1959. Everyone knows the Edsel wasn't up to Ford's standards, but was it really as bad as history makes it out to be?

By Cherise Threewitt

The early 1950s were strange times in the U.S. auto industry. The industry had hit a sales slump, and the Korean War was forcing new rationing policies for steel and rubber. Learn how Willys-Overland and Kaiser-Frazer weathered the 1950s slump.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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The 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 was one of the mass-produced sedans developed by Alfa Romeo to survive in the postwar European market. The 1900 was recognized as one of the most beautiful cars at the time. Learn more about this fine European classic.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The Fury began as a speedy, limited-edition 1956 hardtop, and continued as such for the next two years. Though never a big seller, it cast a performance image over the entire Plymouth line with obvious sales implications. Learn more and see pictures.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

Besides being the first modern V-8 from an independent, this classic car put Studebaker at least three years ahead of Chevrolet/Ford/Plymouth. Even by today's standards, the average 28 mpg fuel efficiency is impressive. Get more specs for this car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

Anyone born after 1960 may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when hardtops like the 1950-1952 Pontiac Catalina were quite exotic. They also stood as elegant symbols of Pontiac's postwar turn toward a more luxurious car. Read more.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

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The 1952-1953 Allstate was an odd car that is remembered today (if it's remembered at all) for being Sears, Roebuck & Company's misguided attempt at entering the auto market. Get the story behind the Allstate and get specs for this odd classic.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air provides an excellent example of a popular practice in the Detroit of the 1950s called reskinning -- making an old car look new without changing its basic structure by applying different outer panels. See pictures and get specs.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

Packards advertising slogan for its 1955 cars was "Let the Ride Decide." Torsion bars mounted differently for the first time provided a remarkable combination of ride and handling. Learn more about the 1955 Packard Patrician/Four Hundred/Executive.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The sporty 1952 Buick Roadmaster Riviera hardtop attracted 11,387 buyers. It was a preferred transport for the up-and-coming professional -- the doctor, the lawyer and anybody who could not quite afford a Cadillac. Learn about this classic Buick.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

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Chevrolet was the first to bring out a low-priced hardtop, the swank-trimmed 1950 Bel Air. Of the many innovative, affordable hardtops introduced in 1950, the Chevrolet Bel Air proved to be the most popular by far, scoring 74,634 sales. Read more.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1951-1954 Chrysler Imperial was the highest class of Chrysler, a car competing with the likes of Cadillac, Packard, and Lincoln. However, it suffered because of conservative upright styling. See pictures and get specs for this classic 1950s car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1951-1954 Chrysler New Yorker wasn't stylistically breathtaking, but its advanced engineering drew applause. Few buyers realized it was almost impervious to rust, and would last a couple hundred thousand miles with minimal maintenance. Learn more.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1957-1959 Chrysler New Yorker was the happy result of a major overhaul at Chrysler in the mid-1950s. It featured a bold new design and an innovative automatic transmission for the time. Learn more about the New Yorker and see pictures of the car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

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The 1955-1956 Dodge D-500, with its flair-fashion styling, helped Dodge shed its stodgy image. And for 1955, it was arguably the most powerful car on the road with a titanic hemi V-8 lurking under the hood. Get more specs for this classic car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

Sterling H. Edwards was a dreamer in San Francisco who envisioned an exclusive, low-production personal-luxury car -- what would become the 1953-1955 Edwards America. Learn why only six were built, get specs and see pictures of this classic car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

Plain, unimposing, and dull, it was anachronistic even when new -- which is precisely why it fascinates today. For this was the first -- and so far only -- instance when a U.S. automaker dared resurrect one of its old models. See specs and pictures.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1950 Frazer Manhattan convertible was the most luxurious model of the company. However, it wasn't easy to build, fraught with design expense and multiple engineering hurdles. See the successes, challenges and specs of this classic convertible.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

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The Gaylord was designed by two brothers whose father was the inventor of the bobby However, their goal in building the ultimate production sports car fell short. Learn why only four cars were built and get more specifications of this classic sports car.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1954-1955 Hudson Italia was Hudson's entry in the red-hot sport-model market of the mid-1950s. Possibly the most marketable aspect of the 1954-1955 Hudson Italia was that it was, of course, Italian. See pictures and learn more about this classic.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1951-1953 Kaiser Traveler was the brainchild of entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser -- who, it was said, averaged about 100 ideas an hour and about one of them was good. See why this car is the granddaddy of the modern hatchback and get specs for this classic.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1954 Mercury Sun Valley received ample publicity, claiming "A freshness of view, a new gaiety and glamour, vast new areas of visibility, a whole new concept of light and luxury…". See if this bubble-top car with a plastic roof met its advertising claims.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

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The 1958 Buick Limited was a failure for Buick's reentry into the luxury car market. Sales plummeted due to an economic recession. Quality control and uncorrected design flaws also hurt sales. Read more about the Buick Limited.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

The 1959 Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato Coupe resulted from a collaboration between Abarth and Fiat. It's estimated that at least 600 were made with a price tag of $3,460. Read more about the classic Fiat Abarth 750.

By the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide