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Cars that defined the 1950s

Microsoft IES Logo By Annette McLeod for MSN Autos of Microsoft IES | Slide 1 of 21: Like thoroughbreds at a trough, these stunning finned ‘50s mobiles line up at famed Mearle's College Drive-In of Visalia, Calif.

Bel Air, Corvette, Thunderbird … we round up the cars that best symbolize the '50s

The '50s are to a Gen-Xer like me what the '70s are to a Gen-Xer like you — I'm oddly nostalgic for them even though they were well before my time, thanks to a single long-running sitcom. Our "That '50s Show" was called Happy Days. A leather-bomber-clad Fonzie loved hot rods almost as much as he loved the Cunninghams, and Richie drove a 1952 Ford. The halcyon days of naïveté, old-fashioned family values and post-war disposable income, it was the first time that almost every family could afford a car, which by the end of the decade would cost an average of $2,200. It was all about big-displacement engines and tail fins. Innovations came fast and furious, including seatbelts, disk brakes, electric windows, power steering and radial tires. And the Hemi.
© Photo: Car Culture/Car Culture Collection/Getty Images
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