Automobiles as a Symbol of Prosperity in 1920’s America

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Automobiles as a Symbol of Prosperity in 1920’s America

The automobile was one of the biggest and most important features of the 1920’s. Automobiles not only were a symbol of social status, but also had become so popular that nearly every family owned a car. Automobile production and sales fueled the economy and created an item that remains the centerpiece of daily life. Just as computers are now a part of daily life, the automobile did the same thing in the 1920’s.

As men returned from war, the new and hot item to own was a car. Ford and GM’s Chevy became the biggest automobile manufacturers. In fact, by 1923, Ford Model T’s accounted for just under 52% of automobiles in the market while Ford held over 62% of the market. The production of Ford automobiles had reached nearly 2 million. In 1924, you could buy a Model T for $290 dollars. Nowadays, that is probably a monthly payment. Yet some cars were very expensive, with a Rolls Royce costing 15-17,000. Yet, automobiles were not the rage throughout the world. The automobile was just another sign of American youth, vibrancy, and prosperity. In 1920, US automobile production was nearly 2.3 million. The next largest producer was France, making 400,000 units. The total automobile production was just under 2.4 million. Obviously, Americans were really the only people buying cars.

Automobile production was not the only major element of the automobile revolution. In fact, the automobile led to many other things. For the first time, most automobiles were bought on credit. By 1926, two thirds of purchased cars were bought on installment plans. This led the way for credit purchases of other major appliances. Automobiles also e...

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...eline of automobile facts for the 1920’s. Includes information about statistics and formation of companies.


· The Model T was the first car produced on an assembly line

· The Big Three automobiles producers were Ford, GM and Chrysler.

· Ford was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford

· GM was founded in 1897 by Ransom Olds

· Reorganization of Maxwell Motors created Chrysler Corporation

· In 1926 GM introduced Pontiac

· In 1928 Chrysler introduced Plymouth

· The Model T was Ford’s big seller

· You could buy a Model T for $290

· Ford acquired Lincoln in 1922

· Americans preferred closed cars over touring cars (open tops)

· GM earned over 80 million in profits in 1923

· Americans drove 198 billion miles in 1929

· Gatsby owned a Rolls Royce
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