Time Hop to the Fabulous 1950s with 10 Classic American Cars

29–30 March | Fort Lauderdale
1956-Ford-Fairlane-Crown-Victoria-Skyliner_4.jpg
Launch Slideshow

The 1950s boom of automobile production in the U.S. brought with it a new wave of design and technology. After the Great Depression and World War Two stunted the automobile industry, the 1950s saw an explosion of production and a styling shift influenced by the Jet Age. Mass production dramatically increased the speed in which cars could be manufactured and led to automobile manufacturing becoming the largest industry segment in the U.S. at this time. As vehicle prices dropped, the U.S. grew into an economic superpower. RM Sotheby’s: Fort Lauderdale auction will be offering over 70 vehicles, all representing this wonderful decade of innovation and style. Click ahead to see 10 examples of the Fifties’ finest. –Andrew Miterko

Time Hop to the Fabulous 1950s with 10 Classic American Cars

  •  
    1953 Hudson Hornet Sedan. Estimate $100,000–200,000. Offered without reserve.
    The Hudson Hornet’s “step down” chassis design utilized floor pans that were recessed between the frame rails, allowing for a lower center of gravity for better road handling and created a low-slung appearance. This Twin H-power example was previously owned by Steve McQueen and is highly original, only having a single repaint in the factory original color and the chrome trim re-plated.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Lincoln’s flagship model, the Continental Mark IV, utilized unibody construction for the first time and featured a number of high-end options for the time including power windows and a unique convertible top with glass rear window – also fully powered. One of only 2,195 produced for 1959, this example has undergone a meticulous nut and bolt restoration and is finished in the correct shade of Bolero Red.

    VIEW LOT
  • 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible. Estimate $120,000–150,000.
    The limited-edition Buick Skylark was created to help celebrate Buick’s 50th anniversary, only 836 being produced for 1954. Its flamboyant styling was the product of Harley Earl, head of design at General Motors. The Skylark featured lowered body sides and a large dip in the belt line, a rakish windshield lowered four inches, chromed tail fins and wheel well cutouts which could be painted a contrasting color. Finished with every option available at the time, the Skylark was Buick’s premium model and was nearly 50% pricier than the Roadmaster convertible which it was based.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Estimate $100,000–125,000.
    This car’s sticker price was over $13,000 – twice the price of any other Eldorado model of the same year. Limited to 400 in 1957, it was considered the pinnacle of luxury and innovation of the time. It features a 365ci V8 with dual four-barrel carbs mated to a 4 speed transmission, suicide style rear doors and a pillar less four door design, self-leveling air suspension, road adjusting quad headlights, power seats with memory functionality, a brushed stainless steel roof and even a glovebox vanity with a magnetic strip to hold a set of drink tumblers.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1953 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe. Estimate $100,000–125,000.
    GM’s Head of Design, Harley Earl, felt that vehicles should be longer, lower and wider. Cadillac’s Series 62 embodies this design ideal, with sleek belt lines, a longer hood and the small tail fins at the rear. The chrome brightwork on the bottom of the body and extending from the parking lamps to the middle of the door help to accentuate the streamlined appearance. This example shows 36,581 miles and retains its factory Cobalt Blue paint and blue leather interior, as well as its original 331 cu-in V8 and Hydramatic transmission.

    VIEW LOT
  • 1955 Chrysler C-300 Coupe. Estimate $70,000–80,000.
    The Chrysler C-300 was America’s first mass produced 300-hp car. At the time, its 331.1 cu-in engine outperformed the Corvette, Thunderbird and even Cadillac’s V-8 offerings. Equipped with hemispherical combustion chambers, two four-barrel carburetors, solid lifters and a competition style camshaft, the C-300 was offered as a high-performance luxury car for the affluent automotive connoisseur. This example has had a complete body off restoration by Bill Madden, a noted Chrysler expert.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1954 Chevrolet Corvette. Estimate $70,000–90,000. Offered without reserve.
    In late 1951, automobile designer Harvey Earl convinced GM that a two-seat sports car was a necessary addition to their lineup in order to compete with European sports cars being imported by GIs after the second world war. The first Corvette prototype was introduced in 1953 at the General Motors Motorama in New York City. Met with tremendous interest, production began six months later. 3,640 models were produced in 1954, such as this example, featuring a 136-hp “Blue Flame” inline six-cylinder engine, Powerglide two speed transmission and a revolutionary fiberglass body.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1957 Ford Thunderbird. Estimate $45,000–55,000. Offered without reserve.
    Developed in response to the Corvette display at the 1953 Motorama show, the Thunderbird was created to be a personal luxury car focused on comfort rather than speed, despite being lightweight and fitted with a V-8 engine. The 1957 model year Thunderbird featured exterior revisions such as a larger front grille and tail fins, larger tail lights, and a vertically mounted spare tire inside the trunk. This example underwent a frame off restoration approximately five years ago and features the optional 312 cu-in V-8 engine with dress up kit.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Estimate $125,000–150,000.
    The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was a four-wheeled success symbol, with all the creature comforts of the period, an abundance of chrome, chiseled tail fins and a 365 cubic-inch, 325-hp overhead valve V-8 engine paired with a Hydramatic four speed transmission. The top of the line Eldorado Biarritz featured Hydro-Lectric power windows and convertible top, power seats, power assisted steering and power brakes behind chromed Sabre wheels.

    VIEW LOT
  •  
    1956 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner. Estimate $60,000–70,000. Offered without reserve.
    Commonly referred to as the “Glasstop Vicky”, the Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner featured a smoked acrylic glass panel over the front bench seat between the windshield and wrap-around chrome b-pillar. Production would only last two years, with Ford only producing 603 for the 1956 model year as customers would find keeping the vehicle cool to be a challenge. This example is beautifully restored and features an extensive list of period correct options – including air conditioning!

    VIEW LOT
/
Close
Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

Close