The 1950s was something of a boom time for American cars and there are dozens of memorable motors you could invest your money in if you wanted to actually own one.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than pulling away at the lights, tail fins flaring, in a roaring muscle motor from the USA. If you’re really thinking of buying an American car and bringing it over to the UK, read our blog on importing a car from the USA.
Here the team at Adrian Flux present six of the best American cars from the 1950s.
Chevrolet Bel Air
Picture by Gunguy09.
An icon of 1950s style and named after the wealthy neighbourhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, the Bel Air resonated charm, comfort and ultimate cool.
An American muscle car capable of racing from 0-60 in 20 seconds, which was mighty quick for its day, the Bel Air was quickly dubbed “the hot one”. It’s still pretty hot today and is much sought after by collectors.
With its sleek design, gold trim, long tail-fins, and powerful V-8 engine, it gave people the chance to experience a little bit of luxury without having to pay a king’s ransom for the pleasure.
Want to know more about muscle cars? Read our blog to discover the Adrian Flux 10 best American muscle cars of all time.
Chrysler New Yorker
Picture by IFCAR.
The New Yorker was the Chrysler flagship model, the best of everything the company had to offer in terms of style, comfort and prestige.
It came in 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe and 2-door convertible format and was priced and equipped to compete against upper-level models from Buick, Oldsmobile and Mercury.
The New Yorker’s trump card was its powerful yet economical performance. Glistening with chrome, until its discontinuation in 1996, the New Yorker in its various guises was manufactured for longer than any other American car.
Buick Roadmaster Skylark
Picture by BuickGuy2.
Created to mark Buick’s 50th anniversary, the Roadmaster Skylark was a limited-production specialty two-seat convertible introduced in 1953 by General Motors.
It was expensive, costing twice as much as the model it was based on, but it was an instant classic with its fine styline, generous chrome finish, wire wheels and whitewall tyres.
The Skylark also featured Buick’s newly designed and pioneering Fireball V8 engine in place of the automaker’s long standing straight 8, and a new 12-volt electrical system.
Picture by Mic from Reading, Berkshire.
Another iconic convertible and designed to mark Cadillac’s golden anniversary, the name Eldorado is a contraction of two Spanish words that, roughly translated, means “the golden one”.
It was a huge hunk of metal but, being powered by a 5.4-litre V8 engine delivering 199 horsepower with 324 ft-lb of torque, it was no slouch.
Despite the golden one tag, it was only available in four colours, Alpine white, Azure blue, Aztec red, and Artisan ochre, and only 532 cars were produced in its first year of manufacture, 1953.
That didn’t put people off though and Marilyn Monroe was allegedly among the exclusive list of very proud owners driving the Eldorado like a fashion accessory.
Picture by Valder137.
The Continental was a status symbol back in the 50s and it remains so today. Its name aimed to reflect its distinct European styling and understated good looks. It came with a very hefty price tag though that effectively took it out of the market for most cash-conscious car lovers.
An undoubted star of the fifties, the Continental was in fact manufactured for 55 years over nine different decades, such is the marque’s lasting appeal.
Beauty, power, wow, what an engine and what a classy looking machine in which to be seen.
Picture by Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA.
Some say the T-Bird two-seat convertible was the greatest car ever made. The quintessential 50s classic was an instant success when it first went on sale in 1955 and it remains one of the most desirable American cars of all time.
It was designed to compete with Chevrolet’s Corvette – in truth the T-Bird hammered the Corvette, outselling it at more than 20-1.
Petrolheads loved it so much, and bought it in such vast quantities, that Ford kept making the car in its various forms – four-seat hardtop coupe, four-seat convertible, five-seat convertible and hardtop, four-door pillared hardtop sedan, six-passenger hardtop coupe, and five-passenger pillared coupe – for another half century.
Insurance for your imported American car
Adrian Flux is one of the few insurance companies that specialise in cover for imported American classics. We have special insurance schemes with for all American cars, including modern ones, US classics, day vans, pick ups, motorhomes and other RVs. Call 0333 271 0542 for a swift no-hassle quote.