30 Most Iconic Cars of the 1950s

a yellow 1954 buick skylark

The 50s were an important decade all around, but for car aficionados, it was a downright defining decade for vehicles. Even some of the worst cars of the time are the most beautiful classic machines in existence. From the iconic Ford Thunderbird to the rugged Chevy Pickup, there was a vehicle for any and all tastes during the years of the 1950s. Roll down the windows and get ready for a drive down memory lane—here are the 30 cars that defined the 1950s!

1. 1957 Ford Thunderbird

a white 1957 ford thunderbird

The greatest car to ever be made. The Thunderbird is the quintessential 50s classic automobile. It was an instant success upon its release in 1955.

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2. 1950 Jaguar XK150

a white 1950 jaguar xk150

This is the most famous Jaguar probably ever made. It’s an iconic vehicle known for its superior design, make, and British style.

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3. 1959 MGA 1500

a red 1959 mga 1500

The MGA provided an affordable sports car with handling and design that far exceeded its price.

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4. 1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

a green 1959 aston martin db4 gt zagato

Aston Martins are known for their superiority, but the DB4s reign supreme above all other models. The DB4 GT Zagato is a perfect example of classic 50s styling.

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5. 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

a white 1955 chevrolet bel air

There’s no denying that the Bel Air is a perfect example of the 1950s style. Thanks to its iconic look, it’s still a widely popular car for collectors.

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6. 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

a silver 1955 porsche 550 spyder

This racecar is without a doubt a classic of the 50s. It might not have been on every street, but it’s iconic.

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7. 1959 Austin Mini

a white 1959 austin mini

The Austin Mini was a great addition to the automobile world. It’s changed the game in terms of space and overall design. The 50s classic was also a success on the race track.

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8. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

a red 1955 mercedes benz 300sl

The gull wings on the 300SL made waves in 1955. It’s the inspiration for all recurring Mercedes SLSs today.

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9. 1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1

a brown and white 1957 chevrolet corvette c1

Shockingly, the Corvette was not an instant hit in the US. It took a while for everyone to warm up to it, but it’s without a doubt one of the best cars to come out of the 50s—and to exist today.

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10. 1951 Chrysler New Yorker

a black 1951 chrysler new yorker convertible

It’s a shame family cars today don’t have the beauty and style of the New Yorker. It established Chrysler as a luxury maker of upscale cars.

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11. 1955 BMW Isetta (4 Wheel)

a two toned blue 4 wheel 1955 bmw isetta

There’s something fun and quirky about the BMW Isetta (4 wheel). Its compact and adorable design made them an instant success in Europe.

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12. 1955 BMW Isetta (3 Wheel)

an orange 3 wheel 1955 bmw isetta

Even better than the 4 wheel Isetta is the 3 wheel variation. It’s a spunky little car to have for weekends and to add to your collection.

(image via Wikipedia)

13. 1955 Citroen DS

a green 1955 citroen ds

The Citroen was a look before its time. It almost looks like it’s straight out of “The Jetsons.” It was ahead in technology as well as design, and it was an instant hit.

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14. 1956 BMW 507

a white 1956 bmw 507

The 507 may not have sold well in the 50s, but there’s no denying it’s a beautiful car that will transcend time and trend.

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15. 1954 Buick Skylark

a yellow 1954 buick skylark

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Buick created the Skylark in 1953 as a special edition series of luxury convertibles. It was pricy but was instantly a classic.

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16. 1958 Bianchina Supermini

a red 1958 bianchina supermini

This little pistol is a classic for a few reasons. One, it has a quirky and compact design, and second, for its use of two-tone paint.

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17. 1958 Fiat 8-V Supersonic

a black 1958 fiat 8v supersonic

This flawless specimen is a piece of art. The long nose, compact interior, and prowess on the race track made it timeless.

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18. 1953 Lotus Mark VI

a silver open top 1953 lotus mark vi

When Lotus launched in 1953 it quickly became a contender on the racetrack. Now the Lotus Mark VI is a priceless piece of equipment.

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19. 1952 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder

a silver 1952 maserati a6gcs/53 sypder convertible

The A6GCS and its sister models are responsible for bringing Maserati back from a slump. It’s no wonder they accomplished this, with those beautiful curved lines and pure speed.

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20. 1954 Fiat 8-V Turbina

a red and white 1954 fiat 8v turbina

If you loved the Fiat 8-V Supersonic, you’ll fall for the Turbina as well. Its bubble-esque design and speed make this car one of the most beautiful in history.

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21. 1954 Triumph TR2

a red 1954 triumph tr2

The Triumph TR2 is another sports car. It was only made from 1953 to 1955, so it’s rare, but there’s no denying it’s one of the best of the decade.

(image via Wikipedia)

22. 1955 Alfa Romeo BAT-9

a silver 1955 alfa romeo bat9

The BAT looks like it just landed from a trip around the universe. It’s aptly named based on its streamlined and futuristic design.

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23. 1956 AC Ace Roadster

a silver 1956 ac ace roadster convertible

The Ace Roaster is another racecar that embodies the spirit of the 1950s. With its curved lines and long nose, it fits right in with the other classics.

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24. 1958 Vespa 400

a white 1958 vespa 400

When you think of European cars, the Vespa 400 is likely what comes to mind. It’s a spunky microcar that screams “1950s!”

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25. 1956 VW Type 1

a blue 1956 vw type 1

The very first “slug bug” might not have been a mainstream favorite, but it attracted devoted fans for its unique look upon its arrival to the US after World War 2.

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26. 1955 Chevy Pickup

a red 1955 chevy pickup

There are several Chevy pickups from the 50s, but the ’55 model is something truly special. It has elements from the early models, as well as elements kept in later ones, which makes it a perfect example of Chevy in the 50s.

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27. 1952 Cadillac Eldorado

a white 1952 cadillac eldorado

With whitewall tires, flashy chrome detailing, and pointed fin, the Chevy Eldorado is a classic example of 50s cars. And it had a price tag to match.

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28. 1953 Chrysler Imperial

a red 1952 cadillac eldorado

The Chrysler Imperial had a hemi engine, which made it a special car alone. When paired with its streamlined good looks, the Imperial becomes a timeless machine.

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29. 1950 Ford F100

a red 1950 ford f150

The Ford F100 is the longest-running truck in history—and for good reason. And the 50s models are true collectibles.

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30. 1956 Lincoln Continental

a white 1956 lincoln continental

Everyone knows a Lincoln Continental is a status symbol today, and it was just as spectacular in the 50s. However, the price tag made it impossible for most to afford, which makes it even more special.

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