How Much Do You Know About '50s Cars?


By: Annette

5 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

So, you think you can cruise with the collectors? Prove it by acing this quiz.

1950s cars are among the most collectible in the world. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible still ranks as among the most popular collector's cars. '50s Chevys, in general, remain popular. So how do we know that '50s Chevys are still popular? Well, Don McLean drove his Chevy to the levy in "American Pie," Eric Clapton got off on '57 Chevys in the classic "Rock and Roll Heart," and Elton John remembered having "an old gold Chevy" and a place of his own in the iconic "Crocodile Rock." These are but a sampling of the songs that have memorialized '50s Chevys.

But what made Chevys and other '50s vehicles so popular? Style, craftsmanship and culture, baby. Unlike many cars of today, '50s cars were... well...gorgeous. We've certainly lost something in today's models by paring them down in size. Who couldn't help but be impressed as a 1957 red Ford Thunderbird convertible rolled by? It's hard to feel the same about most of today's cars. And, the craftsmanship was impeccable. We've all heard aficionados lament that "they just don't build them like that anymore."

So, if you long for the days when cars where a bigger part of American culture, take this quiz and show your friends just how much you know.

What was the most popular foreign car company​ in the '50s?

Volkswagen was the most popular foreign car at the time. And the U.S. was importing more cars that it exported!


What was the Chrysler engine that was an innovation in power?

The Hemi engine was a huge step forward in terms of power. Chrysler was seriously leading the way in terms of what cars would eventually be capable of.


Who sold the most cars in the '50s?

Chevrolet was the top seller in the '50s! They sold 13,419,048 vehicles in total! Go Chevy!


Who went out of business in the '50s?

Small auto makers were a thing of the past. Large manufacturers literally swallowed up the whole industry.


Which of these describes design innovations in the '50s?

'50s cars were longer, lower and wider in general. Today, these cars seem more like ships than automobiles.


What kept growing in size in the '50s?

The fins kept growing! They started out as modest, but by 1959 cars like Cadillacs had flamboyant fins, to say the least.


What stopped motor production in 1952?

There was a nation-wide steel strike in 1952. This seriously hindered automotive production.


What became commonplace in 1950s cars?

The super powerful V-8 engine had been around for some time, but it became common in the '50s. Due to how large the cars were, it just fit, literally and figuratively​.


Who did the U.S. out-produce in terms of car production?

The U.S. out-produced all these countries several times over in terms of car production. In fact, they were the world leaders at the time.


Which of these was popular in the '50s?

Hardtop convertibles were quite popular in the '50s. The first power hardtop was the Ford Skyliner.


In what year was the Ford Edsel introduced?

The Ford Edsel was named for Henry Ford's only son, Edsel, who died in 1943. Discontinued in 1959, the Edsel was Ford's biggest failure.


What was "planned obsolescence"?

GM designer Harley Earl thought that by introducing something new every three years or so, it would induce people to buy the new model. This was "planned obsolescence."


Which car manufacturers blossomed in the '50s?

These three car manufacturers were at the top of their game. They made innovations in both design and technology.


What was the predominant style of cars in the '50s?

Cars in the '50s were down for being flamboyant. There were some serious chrome-laden body designs.


When did the Chrysler 300 letter series come out?

The Chrysler 300 letter series definitely broke with the past. It was the answer to the old pre-WWII​ style and presented a great design innovation.


Who created the aerodynamic look?

Chrysler really went for the aerodynamic look thanks to Virgil Exner. Dodge and Plymouth went the same route.


Which of these was popular in the 1950s?

All of these cars were big winners during the '50s. They would define the decade in terms of automobiles.


Which is true about '50s cars?

Although quite beautiful, '50s cars were incredibly unsafe! That being said, they were still very innovative.


What had a revolution in 1957?

There was a huge boom in station wagon sales in 1957. Before that, it was considered a luxury for most people, but on this year it turned into a family car.


What did the automotive industry think about the one-car family?

The automotive industry wanted the one-car family to be a thing of the past. They imagined a world where families had different cars for various uses.


Which car was a status-lifter?

If you owned a Cadillac, you got a boost in status. I mean, Elvis owned one, so that says everything right there.


Which car manufacturers were casualties in the '50s?

RIP to these car manufacturers. The list also includes Hudson and Packard.


What was created in the '50s?

The '50s marked the birth of the sports car. In fact, it was when the Corvette was born.


What was there a huge increase of in 1951?

There was a huge increase in automatic transmissions in 1951. 1.5 million fully automatic cars were made that year.


What was the automotive industry's best year in the '50s?

1953 was the automotive industry's best year. This followed two years of shortages and restrictions.


How many vehicles were made in 1950?

Almost 8 million cars were made in 1950. In fact, the number was 7,987,000 to be exact.


When was air conditioning introduced?

In 1953, a few car models featured air conditioning. This was definitely optional equipment.


Which of these was a '50s innovation?

Chrysler introduced power steering in 1951. It was known as Hydraguide.


Who made a rocket-like fantasy car?

In 1959, Cadillac came out with the Cyclone, a car that seriously looked like a rocket. It had a clear plastic "bubble" top.


Which museum houses many 1950s dream cars?

The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan is home to some of the most amazing '50s cars. This includes the famous 1951 GM LeSabre.


What company merged with Packard Motor Company in 1954?

Studebaker merged with Packard in 1954. They were hoping to compete with the "Big Three" manufacturers.


The 1950s auto boom helped to do what?

Cars in the '50s literally made the U.S. the superpower that it is today. Manufacturing led to incredible prosperity for this country.


Why did Crosley Motors fail in the '50s?

Crosley Motors banked on consumers purchasing their compact cars. The company folded in 1952.


Why did car ownership become ubiquitous in the '50s?

Simply put, everyone moved to the suburbs. This meant that folks had to have a car to get around.


When did automatic power windows become commonplace?

In the 1950s, automatic windows were no longer for luxury cars only. The design feature became widespread.


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