The jet-propelled, chrome-plated era (1950-1959)

Throughout the whole of the 1950s. and despite post-war privations and fuel crises, the automobile became the center of attention like never before; ear ownership was still not universal, and roads around the world were relatively traffic-free. However, by the close of the decade, exuberant motoring freedom would be 011 the way out, forever.

Car makers in America highlighted the speed, luxury, and power of their products by harnessing aerospace imagery and chromium-plated decoration in about equal measure. The results were often breathtaking, sometimes absurd. Across the Atlantic in Europe, with resources still scarce after World War II. the emphasis was on attractive economy cars, or else stirring sports and racing machines from Italy, Germany, and Britain. There was also the prospect of an emerging Japanese ear industry.

Cars were getting more user-friendly, too. They had to be, as multi-lane highways criss-crossed entire continents and demanded new levels of mechanical resilience for sustained high-speed driving over over-greater distances.