Hooniverse Asks: ‘50s Edition: What’s the Greatest Production Car of the 1950s?

We’re celebrating the 1950s this week in our daily question series, and as yesterday’s asked what was the 50’s top production motorcycle, you can probably guess that today’s follow up asks the same question regarding automobiles.
There were so many cars that debuted in the fifties. Some, like the Corvette, went on to become world icons, while others, faded out to be little more than a page in history or maybe the answer to an especially arcane Thursday Trivia question. Prominence doesn’t necessarily equate to greatness however, and so the field is open to your votes, come one, come all. Considering that, what do you think was the greatest production car of the 1950s, and why?
Image: Hemmings

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  1. onrails Avatar

    Not a big car fan by a long shot… but it has to be this:

    1. Alff Avatar

      You’re not a car fan?

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      Not a car fan, eh? How’d you land here? That’s pretty much all we talk about, with occasional forays into other modes of transport.

      1. onrails Avatar

        Ha! Oops. I meant not a ‘large’ car fan. Size. I normally like them a bit smaller in stature than a ’59 Eldorado…

        1. Monkey10is Avatar

          Well you are very welcome here, whatever size you are. We don’t ask personal questions like that.

          1. onrails Avatar

            Thanks! Been hanging around here for years but had never bothered signing in other than as a guest. As for size… it’s the Internet! Whatever you want to believe, I’m sure it’s true.

  2. Vavon Avatar

    I think I can safely say that it was the Citroën DS introduced in 1955.
    Technically so advanced that even 20 years later it was still modern.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      This gets my vote even though I just suggested something else.

    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Just like yesterday, not a personal favorite (I think it looks like something I’d stomp on if it ran across my kitchen floor), but it’s tough to make as strong an argument for anything else. It really moved the chains.

  3. Alff Avatar

    So many great possibilities but only one right answer.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Based on recent sale prices alone, the 300 SL has to be it. I wouldn’t exactly consider Ferraris of the 50s to be production cars.

  4. neight428 Avatar

    onrails beat me to the fiftiest of the 50’s examples, but its an interesting question overall. The 1957 Chevy may be as iconic a design as there has ever been, but it is clearly evolutionary from the ’55’s. Which reminds me that American cars of the 50’s changed significantly every single model year, but were very similar (look at a ’56 model anything side by side and you’ll stop whining that Malibus look like Camrys that look like Accords).
    Give me a ’59 Pontiac though, (and bring back classic captions!)

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      You bring up a point that I try to argue whenever someone
      starts in about how all cars look alike nowadays. It’s generational, and contemporaries tend to
      bear striking resemblance to each other throughout each decade. You and I might be able to tell the
      difference between a ’34 Chevy and a ’34 Plymouth, but don’t try to convince me
      that they don’t look alike. The ’57 Chevy
      is too iconic, but show a non car guy a picture of a ’55 Ford and a ’55 Buick,
      and they’d have a 50/50 chance of correctly identifying them.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        I’m pretty sure I couldn’t tell a ’34 Plymouth from a ’34 Chevy.

      2. marmer Avatar

        I get that cars within types generally look similar except for the high and low end outliers, but I thought the more usual complaint was that all _years_ look alike for a certain design after about 1970 or so. Your ’34 Plymouth and Chevy would be noticeably different from your ’33 and ’35. And there was a relatively huge design shift through most of the American offerings about ’35. Interestingly enough, the “same design for several years idea” is very much a European and Japanese “thing” and always has been.

  5. CruisinTime Avatar

    This was such a radical departure for the time .

  6. GTXcellent Avatar

    Sooooooooooo many great, no, GREAT, iconic cars in this decade. Love all the answers already given, so I’ll go with one of the contenders for the first “muscle cars” – 1955 Chrysler 300-C

    1. Doug Avatar

      This is the obvious answer. So obvious, it makes the question seem silly.

  7. Lokki Avatar

    The 1954 Alfa Romeo Giuletta. Handsome, sophisticated, good handling, all aluminum DOHC, 4 speed (later 5). This car was the basis for the great Alfas of the 60’s and 70’s. Performance cars for the middle class enthusiast in the days when BMW was still making bubble cars.
    As a side note I continue to post as a guest because Discus – never- permits me to post using my Google ID. It always says, “Opps! Something is wrong”. Well, yes, exactly. something is wrong.

  8. engineerd Avatar

    Simplify and add lightness. Introduced in 1957 by Lotus, evolutions of the Seven are still produce today by Caterham and copies of the Seven are as prevelant as “reproductions” of the Shelby Cobra.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I love comparing these to Cadillacs of the day. The Continentals were the old money to Caddy’s nouveau riche.

  9. mzszsm Avatar

    Clearly it’s a small German two door with a rear mounted air cooled engine and seating for four occupants. It was well loved for it’s frugal gasoline consumption and simple maintenance yet clever engineering. It was so successful that it spawned a number of types and variants and was built all over the world over decades. I smell you thinking, ‘But it was not developed in the ’50s,’ but I’m not thinking about the VW.

    1. Alff Avatar

      May I suggest another that fits your description, Comrade?

  10. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    The 300SL and DS have been chosen, but the XK120 Jaguar should be here too.
    Sales helped by Clark Gable buying the first one in the U.S. This car in fact.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      I think I need to contact my doctor….I looked that that Jag more than 4 hours agin and it still, ahem, affects me.

  11. FastPatrick Avatar

    Porsche 356. The legend begins here with these endlessly charming upgraded Beetles.

  12. salguod Avatar

    So much win in this thread. Might I humbly add a couple:
    1957 Eldorado Brougham:
    OK, not a serious choice for greatest, but I am partial to this 1960 (but designed and introduced in the 50s):