The 1950s can be considered the golden age in many things like music, fashion, and… cars! This decade was definitely the peak of the automotive industry, and these hot rods certainly made their mark during their time… and beyond.
Check out these classic gems that once scorched the roads of the yesteryears. A lot of these important 1950s models have mercifully landed in the hands of the passionate car collectors.
1. 1950 Jaguar XK120
The Jaguar XK120 was originally intended as a limited-edition unit, but high demand spurred the company to roll out more of these cars at the time. Its cool exterior design was the brainchild of no less than the Jaguar co-owner, William Lyons.
Not only the Jaguar XK120 was built to please the eye, but it was also made as a powerful car. It had a 3.4-liter, double-overhead-cam inline-six that generated 160 brake horsepower.
2. 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Car competition had already been fierce in the 1950s. Several manufacturers were outdoing each other by producing their own cars that, they claimed, looked more stylish and were more powerful than their rivals.
Ford released the Thunderbird in 1957 as its direct answer to Chevy’s new sports car, the Corvette. Marketed by Ford as a “luxury car,” the Thunderbird featured a 5.1-liter V8 that coughed up 245 horsepower. The two-seater automobile eventually outsold the Corvette. The following year, Ford redesigned the Thunderbird for its second generation release.
3. 1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
The Aston Martin DB5 gained international recognition in the 1960s as James Bond’s weapon of choice. But its predecessor, the DB4, was a fabulous car on its own merit. Aston Martin rolled out a more powerful edition of the DB4, the DB4 GT Zagato in 1959. It featured a It had a 240 horsepower, 3.7-liter, six-cylinder engine and four-wheel disc brakes.
4. 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
It is infamously known as James Dean’s “Little Bastard” that contributed to his fatal car crash during an auto race. But it’s not here why Porsche 550 Spyder is known for (and should be known for). Touted as Porsche’s first race car, the 550 Spyder featured an extremely light and low body as well as its iconic gray color.
5. 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
The 1955 second-generation Chevrolet Bel Air featured more eye-catching exteriors and newly improved chassis. Chevy’s newly-unveiled 265 cu in (4,340 cc) V8 engine boasted an overhead valve engine that produced 162 horsepower (there’s also the “Power Package” option which upgraded the horsepower to 180).
6. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL
This car never fails to garner instant attention because of one big thing: its gull-wing doors. It was also the fastest car by the time it was released, and also the first car to use the direct injection engine technology that definitely boosted the car’s power by around 25%. Because of these very attributes, the 300SL enjoyed high sales.
7. 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
The first-generation Cadillac Coupe de Ville maintained its classic exterior form while boasting a 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 engine which produced 325 horsepower (242 kW). Cadillac improved the car’s rear end to significantly reduce the noise.
8. Cadillac Eldorado
If you think of an ultimate 1950s luxury car, then the Cadillac Eldorado will perfectly fit the bill. It had a long and shiny chrome body, white-wall tires, conical Dagmar bumpers and pointy tailfins. The Eldorado was one of Cadillac’s most expensive cars during this decade, and over the years the existing units of this legendary automobile still retain their luster.