Automobiles in the 1950s

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Automobiles in the 1950s

Another element that was present in the 1950’s was automobiles. Automobiles were

something that everyone once dreamed of owning. Now after the war. they could finally own one. Automobiles of the 1940’s were dull and very plain. This was because designers were too busy designing tanks, planes, etc... for the ongoing war. The major event that took place that changed the way cars looked and how they performed happened on October 14, 1947. This was when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. From this point on everyone wanted to go faster.

People wanted automobiles with larger displacement engines. They also wanted sleek and

aerodynamic cars. This prompted General Motors Corporation to hold Motorama in 1949.

This was a giant exposition of concept cars that had an emphasis on power, style, convenience, and features. These for features would be what many cars of the 1950’s would be based on.

One car that was a design evolution was the Chevrolet Corvette. The first Corvette was

built on June 30th, 1953 at the Flint, Michigan plant and continues to be produced today. In 1953 it featured an all fiberglass body with a chromed grill. The car had no side windows and no outside door handles. Each 1953 Corvette was virtually hand built and all 1953 models were white and had red interiors. This may have not been the most technologically advanced car but it would pave the way for the true performance and sports car.

Concept cars also played a part in the 1950’s. They were designed to attract the publics eye, introduce and gauge the publics reaction to new styling and engineering ideas, help attract the public to the auto dealerships where they were displayed at, and to drive car crazy kids nuts.

The 1955 Lincoln Futura featured a plexiglass bubble top and a 300 horsepower V-8. In the 1960’s this car was sold to a car customizer in California and was converted into the first ever Batmobile. The 1958 GM Firebird III was the most radical concept car of the 1950’s. It was powered not by the normal combustion engine but by a gas turbine engine. It also featured a dual cockpit design and was controlled by joystick controller instead of the normal steering wheel.

Another element that was seen in the 1950’s were the tail-fins present on most Cadillacs. The first Cadillac that had the tail fin was introdu...

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...1957. It was a very basic satellite and let out beeps every few seconds. This was very surprising to the US. They did not think that the Soviets had the knowledge of anything as complicated as a satellite. As a result of the launch of Sputnik the US began to put greater emphasis on science and engineering in education. They also began to try extra hard to develop space technology.

Thus the space race had begun.

The American Dream of the 1950’s involved achieving and expanding upon the success of

previous generations. This is shown in all of the things mentioned. Cars for example show how much of a success previous generations were at creating machines. In the 50’s however people made these cars better and equipped them with newly developed technology. This was the progressive spirit that the 1950’s had. People had the spirit to expand to new areas. The introduction of the interstate system allowed for easy expansion and growth. People began to move away from the norms that the 30’s and 40’s had set. They began to live the ways that they wanted and they would not let things such as technology restrict them. This is how the 1950’s played out the American Dream.

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