1955 chevy classic v8

Automobiles of the 40s, 50s, and 60s

  • Henry Ford resigns

    Henry Ford resigns
    1945) Henry Ford resigns his presidency of the Ford Motor Company. He hands to position over to his grandson, Henry Ford II.
  • WWII ends

    WWII ends
    May 7th, 1945) World War II ends in Europe with Germany's surrender to the allies.
  • Michelin patents new tire

    Michelin patents new tire
    1946) Michelin patents the Radial-ply tyre.
  • Power seats and windows

    Power seats and windows
    1947) Packard offers power seats and windows in all their cars.
    <1947 Packard Super Deluxe Clipper>
  • RIP Henry Ford

    1947) Henry Ford dies at the age of 84.
  • 100,000,000th car

    100,000,000th car
    1948) The American motor industry builds its 100,000,000th car
    <1948 Chevy Pickup>
  • Dynaflow fully automatic gearbox

    Dynaflow fully automatic gearbox
    1948) Buick offers the Dynaflow fully automatic gearbox. This is essentially the automatic gearbox as we know it today
  • Radial ply tyres go on sale

    Radial ply tyres go on sale
    1949) Michelin 'X' radial ply tyres go on sale for the first time
  • Auto transmission in Chevys

    Auto transmission in Chevys
    1950) Automatic transmission becomes available on lower priced Chevrolet models
  • Car ownership up to 60%

    Car ownership up to 60%
    1950) By 1950, 60% of American families own a car
  • Powerglide, Fordomatic and Mer-O-Matic transmissions

    1950) In the USA, automatic gearboxes become more readily available. Chevrolet offers the Powerglide, Ford the Fordomatic and Merc-O-Matic.
  • Cruise control developed

    1950) Cruise control is developed by a blind man to keep vehicles at a steady speed in hopes of reducing crash rates. It was unpopular at first but is now on almost all cars.
  • 100 mph now attainable

    100 mph now attainable
    1951) 100mph performance becomes available at realistic prices as Triumph announces the TR and the Healey introduces their 100/4 sports cars
    <1953 Healey 100/4>
  • Power steering and torque converter automatic

    Power steering and torque converter automatic
    1951) Chrysler offer power steering and the M-6 Torque-Converter Automatic. They also spark a horsepower race with the 180 horsepower, 331 cubic-inch Firepower Hemi V-8 engine
  • Automatic car sales soar in the US

    Automatic car sales soar in the US
    1952) In the USA, sales of cars with automatic transmissions exceed 2 million
    <1952 Dodge Coronet Lancer>
  • "gull wing" sports coupe

    "gull wing" sports coupe
    1952) Mercedes shows the spectacular 300SL 'gull wing' sports coupe
  • Power brakes

    Power brakes
    1952) Packard offers power brakes
  • Launch of the Corvette

    Launch of the Corvette
    1953) General Motors launches the Corvette, a radical glass-fiber-bodied roadster concept car featuring a wrap-around windshield and powered by a venerable straight six engine. Production is limited
  • Overhead Valves

    Overhead Valves
    1954) Ford introduces overhead valves on its V8 engines in Ford and Mercury models
  • Firebird concept

    Firebird concept
    1954) GM reveals the 370 horsepower turbine-powered Firebird I concept car
  • Ford Thunderbird

    Ford Thunderbird
    1954) The two seat Ford Thunderbird roadster is announced
  • McDonald's first drive thru

    McDonald's first drive thru
    1955) McDonald’s opens its first drive-thru hamburger bar
  • Futuristic designs

    Futuristic designs
    1956) U.S. car stylists begin to adopt tail fins and rocket-shaped tail lamps as science fiction and space rockets enter the American consciousness
    <1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner>
  • Safety first?

    Safety first?
    1956) Ford of America offers seat belts to a disinterested public
  • Continental Mark II

    Continental Mark II
    1957) Ford Motor Company introduces the Continental Mark II, priced at almost $10,000
  • Interstate highway system construction approved by Congress

    Interstate highway system construction approved by Congress
    1957) The American Congress approves construction of the 41,000 mile Interstate highway system
  • Retractable hardtops

    Retractable hardtops
    1957) The new Ford Skyliner features a retractable hardtop, a ‘first’ for a production car
  • Fuel injection adopted by certain companies

    1957) Chevrolet, Pontiac and Rambler adopt fuel injection
  • 50th Birthday and 50 millionth car

    50th Birthday and 50 millionth car
    1958) To celebrate the fiftieth birthday of the Model T, Ford re-assembles a 1909 example.
    This same year, Ford produces their fifty millionth car
    <1909 Model T>
  • Packard ends production

    Packard ends production
    1958) Packard production comes to an end
    <Detroit Packard plant that closed in 1958>
  • Thunderbird becomes a more family friendly car

    Thunderbird becomes a more family friendly car
    1958) The Ford Thunderbird becomes a four-seater 'personal luxury’ car
  • Recession = drop in car sales

    1958) American car sales drop by 31% due to an economic recession
  • Car ownership grows to 80%

    Car ownership grows to 80%
    1960) Eighty percent of United States families own at least one car