From Italy to England and Germany, there are countless examples that show that the American automotive industry still had a lot of catching up to do.
Before the era of muscle cars and way before the era of turbos, the post-war American industry has blessed us with some of the coolest models ever seen on a road. Some of these cars are recognized as works of art thanks to their flawless designs. These are all American icons and no one can take that away from them.
However, on the other side of the ocean, the 1950s were a true golden era for European manufacturers as they created cars that today are worth millions and are truly considered the benchmark of beauty. From Italy to England and Germany, there are countless examples of gorgeous classic cars that show that the American automotive industry still had a lot of catching up to do.
10 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette dynasty started in 1953 when Chevy unveiled to the world one of the most beautiful cars ever seen on a road. The C1 is the first attempt by an American manufacturer to create a sporty two-seater and try to rival the European brands.
The first model was manufactured with an inline-six and the public had to wait until 1955 to see the Corvette powered by a 4.3-liter small-block V8 that produced a fantastic 195 horsepower. The C1 is certainly considered one of the most iconic cars from the 1950s.
9 Ford Thunderbird
The first generation of the Thunderbird was in production from 1955 until 1957 and unlike the Corvette, it was marketed as a luxury car and not a sports one. The Ford was powered by a 4.8-liter V8 that delivered 214 horsepower.
The interesting aspect of this car is that it was extremely light and considerably powerful for the era but Ford always said that the focus of the car was comfort and not speed. The first generation has to be considered a success for Ford as in a space of three years more than 53,000 units have been sold across the country.
8 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
The first generation of this iconic all-American beauty came at the very end of the decade in 1959 and lasted only until 1960. However, those few months were enough for everyone to simply fall in love with its peculiar design. The de Ville was larger than life being one of the biggest sedans on the market at the time.
Its back fins and smooth design made this model one of the most successful ones in the history of the company. The de Ville was powered by a beefy 6.4-liter V8 that produced 325 horsepower, just enough to move all that weight.
7 Cadillac Series 62
The third generation of the Series 62 was in production until 1953 and what made it absolutely stunning was the fact that it was a mixture of a late 40s and early ’50s design. A bulky but sinuous design that is simply fantastic to look at. A Cadillac Series 62 is now worth over $100,000.
This beauty was powered by a 5.4-liter V8 that produced a respectable 160 horsepower. The convertible segment was one of the most amazing models on the road in those years.
6 Ford F-100
The second generation of the F-100 can arguably be considered the most iconic and beautiful pickup ever made. The F-100 is also one of the sturdiest trucks ever made. The most powerful version of the Ford packed a 5.9-liter V8 that produced an incredible 300 horsepower.
The F-100 is the best-selling and longest-running line of trucks in the world and the early 1950s versions are heavily sought-after. The 1956 version of the F-100 is certainly the most beautiful of all thanks to its unique design.
5 Porsche 356 Speedster
Also known as the 356 America Speedster, this Porsche is one of the most fun cars that you could buy in the 1950s. The car as the name suggests was meant to be extremely quick. The 356 was powered by an air-cooled 1.6-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that produced about 60 horsepower but could push the car to a top speed of 100 mph.
The car was basically stripped of all the luxuries to make the car very light and also cheap. In fact, a 356 in 1954 was worth about $3,000 and weighed about 1750 lbs.
4 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Passo Corto
That mouthful of a name just means ‘shorter wheelbase’ 250 GTO and it is one of the most breath-taking creations by the engineers in Maranello. The GTO was unveiled to the world in 1959 at the Paris Motor Show. The car was powered by the iconic 3.0-liter V12 Colombo that produced around 280 horsepower and could push the Ferrari to a top speed of 166 mph.
This model had been designed by the legendary couch-builder Pininfarina, who truly created a masterpiece. This was one of those cars that combined supreme beauty with outstanding power.
3 Aston Martin DB4
In 1958 Aston Martin unveiled its most iconic model ever, the DB4 also known as the James Bond mobile. This Aston Martin not only is one of the most beautiful cars from the 1950s but it is also one of the greatest British cars ever made.
This grand tourer was in production until 1963 and it was powered by a 3.7-liter inline-six-cylinder that produced 240 horsepower and could push the classy DB4 to a top speed of 140 mph. This Aston Martin which is now worth millions of dollars in 1958 cost less than $10,000.
2 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
The coupe version of the 300 SL was in production from 1954 until 1957 when Mercedes decided to only produce roadster models. The 300 SL is famous in the whole world thanks to its unique design that included the peculiar gull wings. When Mercedes created the 300 SL it was the fastest car in the whole world.
This coupe was powered by a 3.0-liter straight-six cylinder engine that generated 215 horsepower and could push the car to a top speed of 155 mph. The 300 SL was so fast because it was based on the W194, which won the legendary endurance race of Le Mans.
1 BMW 507
This roadster is one of the rarest cars ever made as only 252 units have been produced. This BMW was in production from 1956 until 1960. This car from a design and technical point of view was marvelous. The 507 was powered by a 3.2-liter V8 that produced 150 horsepower and could push the car to a top speed of 122 mph.
The only problem with this BMW is that it was extremely expensive at the time and almost pushed the German automaker to the brink of bankruptcy. Despite being highly unpopular, the BMW 507 is rightfully one of the most beautiful cars made in the ’50s.
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