Car Culture & Entertainment

Are the 1950s the Best Decade in Automotive History?

1953-Chevrolet-Corvette-MotoramaShowCar1

The introduction of the Corvette in 1953 was just one of many high points of the 1950s. (Image/GM Corporate Newsroom)

The 1950s gave us tailfins, seat belts, and a nationwide interstate system.

But it goes way deeper than that.

During the 1950s, automobiles evolved from simple transportation into a way of life, becoming ingrained in popular culture like no other invention in prior history.

The decade is regarded as the golden age of automobile styling, where form over function was the rule of the day, giving us big bumpers, miles of chrome, and color palettes that would make Matisse grin.

The 1950s also ushered-in a new era of vehicle innovation.

Chevy launched its soon-to-be-ubiquitous small block V8—complete with Rochester mechanical fuel injection.

Ford began crash-testing its cars in an effort to make them safer.

Chrysler introduced hydraulic power steering and a push-button automatic transmission.

There were dozens of new vehicles launches too, as the global economy grew after World War II.

We can thank the 1950s for bringing us the Chevy Corvette, Ford Thunderbird, Chrysler 300, Lotus 7, Porsche Speedster, and Hudson Hornet.

Hot-Rod-Girl-Poster

Cars were part of a pop culture revolution, as this movie poster from 1956 demonstrates. (Image/MoviePosterShop.com)

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was born in the fifties and NASCAR branded its fledging race series as the “Grand National Circuit.”

Another boon to car culture was the advent of transistors, which allowed more new cars to be fitted with radios—a serendipitous invention, considering the 1950s also brought us a little thing called “Rock and Roll.”

Is all of this enough to warrant the title of Best Decade in Automotive History?

That’s up to you to decide, Daddy-O.

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  1. Pingback: The Best Decade in Automotive History is... - OnAllCylinders

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