Name These Classic Cars of the '50s

By: Bambi Turner
Image: Youtube via Lou Costabile

About This Quiz

Think you can tell the difference between a Coupe de Ville and a Corvette, or a Lincoln Continental and a Ford Galaxie? Know what some of the most memorable models produced by Nash, MG, DeSoto or Packard look like? Prove your knowledge of classic cars from the '50s with this quiz!

The '50s were a time of unprecedented prosperity in the U.S. The post-WWII boom meant Americans were flush with money. This economic optimism meant not only a baby boom, but also a rise in the growth of suburbia as families moved out of the cities seeking more space to raise their kids. 

The introduction of the Interstate Highway System in the '50s helped fuel a love affair with the open road that continues to this day. Cars of the decade got larger and larger, and many were equipped with trendy tail fins in a style that is now seen as characteristic of the period.

This decade is also known for car companies stretching the limits of possibility with futuristic concept or dream cars, as well as spectacular automotive failures like the Ford Edsel. Features like the overhead V8 engine, automatic transmission, power windows, seat belts and air conditioning started to become sought-after features during the decade, even as safety lagged well behind modern standards,

Consider yourself a '50s car connoisseur? Think you can name the most memorable cars of the decade from just a single image? Take our quiz to prove it!

This full-sized muscle car is the '54 Hudson Hornet. Produced between 1951 and 1954, the Hornet was known for its pontoon styling and low center of gravity, which made it a hit on the racing circuit.

This '50s icon is the '55 Chevrolet Bel Air. Produced between 1950 and 1981, the full-sized Bel Air came in sedan, convertible, hardtop and wagon models over the years. The '55 model was nicknamed Hot One thanks to its plentiful chrome and stainless steel.

Nicknamed the Hemi, the 1951 Chrysler New Yorker had tons of horsepower thanks to its unique half-dome combustion chamber. Despite its power, its heavy body made it too slow for those seeking top speeds.

The Austin Mini was hugely influential, and became a pop culture icon of the 20th century. The earliest generation models, produced between 1959 and 1967, were known as the Mark I Mini and came in pickup, saloon, estate and van styles.

Ford introduced the Thunderbird as an upscale luxury version of the Corvette in 1955. From 1955 to 1957, the iconic car was available as a two-seat convertible. The next year, four-seat options came out to make the car more appealing to a wider market.

Sold from 1953 to 1961, the Nash Metropolitan was a subcompact two-door in a time when subcompacts didn't really exist. This small vehicle was designed as a second car for families, which would allow for easy commutes or running errands and shopping when the primary family car was in use.

Volkswagen started producing its iconic Beetle, also known as the Type I or Bug, in 1938. In 1952, the company made major changes to the car, going from a split rear windshield to a single one and totally revamping the instrument panel.

Studebaker produced various versions of the Commander from the 1920s through the '60s. The 1951 model was known as the Bullet Nose thanks to its airplane styling. In 1950, the ring around the bullet projection was flashy chrome, while it was toned down and painted for '51 models.

Only around 3,200 300SL units were built by Mercedes-Benz between 1954 and 1963. This two-door coupe was one of the fastest production cars on the road at the time, and can be identified by its gull-wing doors.

Chrysler produced its reliable Imperial from the 1920s all the way through the 1990s. The 1953 model was the first to have a one-piece windshield rather than a split one, and also the first to come equipped with an eagle hood ornament.

Ford produced the Edsel from 1958 to 1960, releasing the vehicle in many different colors and versions to try and tempt consumers. Unfortunately, this car was a failure, resulting in few sales and a big loss for the company. The '58 version came equipped with an oversized vertical grille that tended to turn off potential buyers.

The Chevy 3100 is a 1/2-ton two-door pickup that was a top seller in the late '40s and early '50s. The '55 model was the first to have a single windshield, rather than the split windshield used on earlier models.

The Ford Galaxie was a full-sized car produced from 1959 to 1974. The '59 Club Victoria version can be recognized by its square-roofed hardtop, dual-round headlights and the full grille that extended along the entire front of the car.

DeSoto was popular throughout the '50s, but sales were dying down for the brand by the time the '59 models came out. The '59 Firedome Sportsman was a hardtop sedan with a padded dash and tons of color options, including a stylish two-tone design.

Released in 1953, the C1 was the first Corvette sports car. The '56 and '57 models were redesigned to give them a much sportier look than their predecessors. In '56, the C1 also got a power assist convertible top as well as a powerful V8 engine.

Only around 20 units of the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato were produced between 1959 and 1963. Italian auto maker Zagato took the standard DB4 grand tourer coupe and lightened the body weight while increasing engine performance.

Chevy produced the 210 from 1953 to 1957, before replacing the 201 with the Biscayne. Generation 2 of this model, produced from 1955 to 1957, came with a brand new chassis and a Chevy small-block V8, and was available in a wide variety of styles -- from wagons to coupes.

The '59 Austin Healey Mark I BN& was available as a two-door roadster or convertible. The car offered either a detachable hardtop or a bare bones folding plastic roof, but was able to go from 0 to 60 in just 11 seconds.

The first Cadillac Coupe de Villes hit the roads in 1959. The Coupe de Ville, which started off as a trim package on other Cadillac models in 1949, can be recognized by its huge tailfins, dual bullet lights and its jewel-like front grille.

Chevy produced generation 2 of its iconic Bel Air from 1955 to 1957. This iconic two-door convertible had a V8 engine and a stylish Ferrari-inspired front grille.

Those who prefer their station wagons with plenty of wood paneling can appreciate the '52 Buick Super Estate. This full-sized wagon had a leather-trimmed interior, and the rear fins on the '52 version were trimmed in chrome.

Also called the TR, the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was introduced in 1958 to meet new racing industry standards. The name means "red head," which is inspired by the red-painted cylinder caps in the engine.

Introduced in 1957, the Fiat Nuova 500 came equipped with a 479 cc engine capable of producing a whopping 13 horses. The tiny car came with a simple fabric roof and reversed suicide doors.

You may recognize the Plymouth Fury from its role in Stephen King's "Christine." This full-sized car was introduced in 1955 as a subseries of the Belvedere, and became an independent model in 1958.

Introduced in 1957, the Rambler Rebel was a full-sized four-door hardtop sedan. Known for its intermediate size and high performance, it was one of the earliest production cars to offer electronic fuel injection.

The Lincoln Continental Mark II was one of the most expensive domestic vehicles on the market when it came out in 1956. Though around 10,000 were produced, only an estimated 90 are known to remain as of 2017.

Volvo built under 100 units of its P1900 Sport Cabriolet between 1956 and 1957. The Swedish car featured a fiberglass body, and was inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette.

The 400 was the highest-level trim package available on the Packard Patrician, which was manufactured between 1951 and 1956. This top-of-the-line four-door sedan featured high-end upholstery inside and plenty of chrome trim on the outside.

British car maker MG produced the MGA from 1955 to 1962. In 1955, they added a 1500 cc engine to the two-door roadster, resulting in a top speed of almost 100 mph, and the ability to go 0 to 60 in 16 seconds.

Oldsmobile produced the 98 Fiesta for only a single model year, making fewer than 500 units. It was designed as a futuristic dream car, and featured leather seats, power steering and a panoramic wraparound windshield.

Cadillac produced the El Dorado for 10 generations between 1952 and 2002. The '59 was famous for its down-swept fender as well as its huge pointed tail fins and double bullet headlamps.

Inspired by the establishment of Interstate Highway System in 1956, Mercury introduced its Turnpike Cruiser in 1957. The full-sized sedan came in two- and four-door options, and got a boost as the pace car of the 1957 Indy 500.

The 1955 Porsche Spyder was built low to the ground for success on the racetrack. Sadly, this iconic car is probably best remembered for being the vehicle James Dean was riding in when he fatally crashed in 1955.

BMW had big plans for the 507 when it introduced the car in 1956. Unfortunately, buyers were discouraged by the car's high price tag, so only around 250 units of the two-door roadster were ever produced.

Classic Chrysler Town and Country Wagons were nicknamed Woodies because of their wood construction and inlaid paneling. The 1950 was the last year for the true Woodie before the design was changed and the wood paneling fell out of favor.

In 1952, Crosley renamed its Super Hotshot -- which had no doors -- the Super Sport Roadster. This convertible roadster came with solid hinged doors as well as a simple folding roof, both of which offered significantly more protection than previous models.

DeSoto produced the Firedome from 1952 to 1959. The Eight model came equipped with a V8 rated at 160 HP. By 1953, the V8 was outselling the company's V6 models two to one.

The 1951 Muntz Jet is a hard-topped two-door convertible. While only around 200 were ever produced, it was revolutionary in the '50s for its high level of luxury and safety, including standard seat belts and a padded dash.

The Bentley R-Type Continental was the fastest production car on the market when it was introduced in 1952. The company only made a few hundred of this luxury four-door saloon before it was discontinued in 1955.

Aston Martin introduced its DB4 in 1958. The two-door coupe grand tourer is so iconic that the company announced a nostalgic relaunch of the DB4 in 2016.

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