It was a decade when the car was king: drive-ins, drag races, and lots of kids polishing chrome.
The 1950s was a transitional period for cars around the world. In North America, the economy was roaring forward and people were striving to live an ideal, innocent life. The cars reflected these ideals with plenty of chrome, bright colors and white interiors becoming common. Cars also grew larger, sported big fins, rocket-shaped taillights and all kinds of brash styling effects. Technology was also pushing forward, with impressive vehicle horsepower increases. At the same time, vehicle safety pretty much stagnated, creating a growing problem.
In Europe, the automotive market turned more practical. The ravages of WWII had left large swaths of the continent in shambles, so precious resources needed to be conserved. Smaller, not quite as powerful cars ruled the roads. But, brands like Ferrari still made some pretty amazing performance cars during the 1950s.
Throughout the world, different car brands were striving to really differentiate themselves from the competition. The heat in the industry was turning up, with many brands dying during this decade as shoppers became more critical and discerning when looking for a vehicle.
There's a lot to know about this decade, and plenty of different brands, with many not around today. Can you figure out what brand is being referred to with a clue from the 1950s? Take the quiz and find out!
The Hudson Hornet didn't look too fast, but it was a dominant force in NASCAR. Unfortunately, Hudson died after 1957.
To provide car shoppers with the most car for their money, it created the Chieftain Two-Door Sedan. It's considered one of the earliest muscle cars.
After making cars for other people, Ferdinand Porsche finally made one with his own name on it, and the 356 became quite popular throughout the 1950s as a practical yet fun vehicle to drive.
This hugely successful ad campaign launched with Dinah Shore singing "See the USA in your Chevrolet" at the end of each of her shows.
With the help of an Italian designer and German coachbuilder, Volkswagen debuted this sleek 2+2.
Many have called that slogan enigmatic, and it didn't help Packard fight off the Big Three, so the brand disappeared in 1956.
Literally, the design of the Lancia Florida changed the shape of modern cars, shedding previous "monolithic" body panels for a clean and sleeker look.
With a wheelbase that was shorter than even the VW Beetle's and amazing fuel economy, Brits flocked to the Morris Minor Sedan for affordable transportation.
Chrysler made the 1951 Town and Country a full-size, rear-wheel-drive station wagon, dropping the FireDome or HEMI V-8 in it.
Previous MG models were considered old-fashioned and boring, but the Magnette was sleek and more modern, changing shoppers' minds about MG.
While production started in 1948, the Jaguar XK120 was popular with enthusiasts in the 1950s and is still highly sought after today.
Kaiser was known for making sleek, sporty cars, but it merged with the Jeep brand back in 1954, which lasted all the way until 1970.
Based out of South Bend, Indiana, it's geographical division from the Motor City eventually made sourcing parts from that area of the country more expensive, leading to its demise in the late 1960s.
International Harvester made the Travelall at a time before SUVs were really cool, but it was burly and less refined than what consumers flock to these days.
Nash didn't make too many cars, but the Statesman and Healey were fairly popular in the 1950s, before the brand was absorbed by AMC.
Debuting first as a race car, the 300 SL was a huge success both on and off the track, with many people wanting one to show they had "arrived" in the 1950s.
The Citroen DS featured a front engine and front-wheel drive, plus interior and exterior designs that for the time were quite forward-thinking.
While most associate the Isletta with BMW today, it was also manufactured by Iso, VELAM and Romi in the 1950s.
From 1950 to 1951, Lincoln offered the Lido and Capri, which were divisive models showing just how far behind technologically the company was compared to GM and Chrysler.
Before any other American car brand, Crosley was churning out subcompacts like the Hot Shot and Super Sedan. Americans didn't respond well and the brand died out in the 1950s.
Launched in 1956, the Fury made Plymouth relevant again, thanks to cool styling and plenty of performance for the time.
To increase performance, Abarth and Fiat bored out the 600 cc four-cylinder engine and stroked it, increasing displacement to 747 cc, almost doubling peak horsepower.
At the tail end of the decade, GMC debuted the Fleetside, which today are popular options for restoration and resto-mod projects.
Pinin Farina designed this car, which was originally made for the public, but was then reworked for motorsports events in true Ferrari fashion.
Despite having a fantastic design, the Eldorado Brougham struggled with poor sales, a combination seen with the Lincoln Continental Mark II.
When 1950 hit, Oldsmobile was a force to be reckoned with, in part because of the success of the 76 and 88 series, combining solid power with high styling.
Launching in 1950, the Kaiser Virginian was a hardtop convertible that featured oversized parchment broadsides which netted a design award.
Throughout the decade, Dodge promoted reliability, plus pushed horsepower and styling, one after the other.
After the close of WWII and the death of founder Henry Ford, the company was ready to reinvent itself, which was a necessary move since most Americans viewed it as outdated.
Continuing its symbol as an affordable near-luxury brand, Buick didn't do a big celebration for its 50th, but instead improved its model lineup.
After the Jeep brand passed to a new owner, Kaiser, the CJ-3B with a taller and more powerful engine was introduced, debuting controversial looks.
Ford talked up the launch of the Edsel brand back in 1958, but when the cars arrived people were underwhelmed. The brand only lasted until 1960.
Formerly a pretty reserved brand, DeSoto got a little extroverted when it paced the 1956 Indianapolis 500, painting a Fireflite gold and white for the event, and posting signs with the new slogan.
Designed in Detroit, but manufactured in Britain, the Vauxhall Victor was a small car that did well in England, although it was also exported and sold in North America at Pontiac dealerships.
Previous to WWII, Alfa Romeo pretty much only made exotic sports cars, but financial success with the 1900 and other mass-produced models in the 1950s fundamentally changed how the brand operated.