Speeding through the war years (1930-1949)

Throughout the 1930s, automobiles boomed 011 four distinct levels: at the bottom, “people’s ears” made motoring economical and affordable enough to attract impecunious newcomers; above that, the middle classes started to aspire to brands they thought best suited their status, and the manufacturers responded with a bewildering choice of products. Cars with the “streamlined” look was one of the new “pulls.”

Above this maelstrom, sports and luxury cars aimed ever higher to provide the ultimates in their fields: and, beyond that, the quest for speed saw innovation through racing car design, and some awe-inspiring attempts at capturing speed records.

World War II brought all of this to a sudden halt as manufacturing and technical know-how were channelled into the war effort in all countries. Afterwards, things would never be quite the same again, but the new era—and the technological legacy of the conflict years—brought many fresh approaches to ear design, and new models that were ingenious or pulse-racing, or both.