The 1950s were a landmark decade for Chevrolet. As America prospered in the post-war boom, Chevrolet cemented itself as the country’s top automaker. Chevrolet’s styling and features evolved rapidly during the 1950s to keep up with changing consumer tastes.
In the early 1950s, Chevrolet maintained a conservative style carried over from the 1940s. Models like the Deluxe and Styleline trims focused on reliability and value. By mid-decade, Chevrolet debuted revolutionary designs. The 1955 lineup sported radically styled bodies with hooded headlights and prominent tailfins.
Chevrolet boldly experimented with colors in the 1950s. Cars came in bright hues like turquoise, yellow, and pink. Two-tone paint jobs paired contrasting colors on the roof and body for a custom look. Interior upholstery matched the exterior paint for a coordinated style. Chevrolet gave customers vibrant colors to suit changing tastes.
Chevrolet also pushed boundaries with performance models. The Corvette debuted in 1953 as America’s first production sports car. The lightweight, two-seat roadster had a fiberglass body and Blue Flame inline-six. The Corvette established the American sports car formula which evolved over generations.
The 1955 Chevrolet introduced the innovative small block V8. This lightweight, efficient engine design changed performance manufacturing. It enabled powerful, affordable engines in compact cars. Later dubbed the “Mouse Motor”, this V8 powered Chevys for decades. It became one of the most influential automobile engines ever produced.
Concept cars let Chevrolet experiment freely. The 1956 Impala concept had futuristic aviation-inspired styling with gullwing doors and a sleek shape. While not reaching production, it previewed styling cues adopted on 1958s. Concepts gave Chevrolet creative license to push boundaries.
The end of the decade saw Chevrolet reach an iconic design pinnacle. The 1959 models with soaring tailfins and curved windshields embodied the era’s aviation-inspired aesthetic. The Impala and El Camino also appeared, creating new market segments.
Chevrolet adopted the “See the USA in your Chevrolet” slogan in the 1950s. TV and print ads displayed happy families sightseeing in their roomy, reliable Chevys. Chevrolet connected with postwar optimism and prosperity. Its ads promised adventure, freedom, and functionality for everyday buyers.
Here are pictures of Chevrolet models during the 1950s:
1950 Chevrolet Deluxe Styleline
1950 Chevrolet Styleline
The lower priced Styleline Special series sold well against comparable Fordsthis one (shown) didn’t have fender skirts or chrome accents,the Special and the DeLuxe differed only in trim and interior fittings. Cost: $1,390.00
1950 Chevrolet Bel Air
This stylish new Bel Air hardtop was the first major improvement since the forty-eight sit was marketed as “the airiness… of a convertible with the coziness and permanence of an all steel top”. Cost: $1,740.00
1951 Chevrolet Fleetline
1951 Chevrolet Styleline
1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe Bel Air
Although outsold by sedans this Styleline hardtop was a solid sellerChevrolet’s came in Styleline or Fleetline (fastback) formand Special or DeLuxe trim packages
Ad for Chevrolet: “America’s most beautiful low priced car”
1952 Chevy Bel Air
Another minor facelift gave the Bel Air a new set of grill teethand some more chrome around the rear fender,optional was the two-tone paint and skirts. Cost: $1,780.00 (base)
1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten Convertible
The Two-Ten Deluxe was the mid level model with less bright work than the Bel Air but better appointed than the One-Fifty. Cost: $2,090.00
1953 Chevrolet Corvette
Starting as a concept car at Motorama in January of ‘53300 rolled of the assembly line by June, all in Polo White with red interior it had a removable soft top, most of that years crop went to a VIP waiting list Cost: $3,500.00 (approx.)
1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
1953 Chevrolet Bel Air
Not the showiest Chevy anymore the Bel Air was still the bread and butter car, besting it’s lower price sister the Two-Ten in sales, signaling an upscale trend. Cost: $1,885.00
1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
1954 Chevy Corvette
Not much changed since last years very limited production the exterior door handles were removed to make it more European and you could now get plastic side curtains just in case it rained. Cost: $3,525.00
1954 Chevrolet Corvette
1955 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Chevy was pleased to announce a less boxy and stodgy redesign this convertible came with an all vinyl interior and was considered very sporty for this year
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe
The new models were lower and longer and did not bear as much chrome as earlier models which were beginning to look a little excessive with brightwork.
Trivia Note: When James Dean wasn’t racing around in a foreign sports car he drove a Chevy.
1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Corvette got an even cleaner look with the addition of concave body side coves, a first for American car manufacturers it made for some really cool two-toning
Even this young man had Corvette fever
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
1956 Chevrolet 150
1956 Bel Air Sport
1956 Chevrolet 210 Sedan
1956 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon
1956 Chevrolet Sport Sedan
1956 Chevrolet Corvette
1957 Chevrolet 150 Sedan
1957 Chevy Bel Air
When you mention cars of the 1950’s to someone this car is usually the mental image that they get, The ’57 Chevy has been featured in more “B” movies than any other car it deftly portrays the era and the image of young teenage men looking for themselves. Cost: $2,380.00
1957 Chevy “Vette”
Still not selling to the masses with just over 6000 built the Corvette appealed to the sports car enthusiasts, but simply having such a sexy car in its lineup gave Chevrolet a boost in sales
1958 Chevrolet Impala
Finally the Impala has arrived, it becomes synonymous with the Chevy brand and will remain a leader with GM for decades this addition to the lineup comes at a time when Chevrolet has captured 30% of the total market. Cost: $2,695
1959 Chevrolet Impala
The Impala is firmly in control of the “top spot” in the lineup just as Chevy enjoyed top spot in industry sales with a 28% increase in production however Ford during the 50s was already gaining some ground and would continue to close the gap.
Webmaster Note: My father had a ’59 Impala convertible V-8 for years and we loved it! Cost: $2,715
1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
1959 Chevrolet Ad showing the line
1959 Chevrolet Bel Air
1959 Chevy Corvette
The Chevy “vette” was still the only production sports car made in America it was 10 inches longer and had engine options as meaty as 290hp also new were dummy side air scoops and better bumpers