The 1950s were an interesting time for Ford. In 1945, Henry Ford had handed the company over to his grandson Henry Ford II, according to
How Stuff Works. Two years later he passed away. Ford’s grandson ran the company differently by consistently seeking out and encouraging talented managers—but also encouraging their retirement (or firing them) when they got to a certain level of power.
Unfortunately, 1949 Fords had noise and handling problems due to a rushed design program. Workmanship had also suffered, and there was a 24-day autoworkers’ strike in May 1948 that added to company problems.
With all this going on, the company was ready for a comeback once the '50s came around. Here are just three of the most memorable '50s Fords that came about as a result. Today, these cars are
classics, even if some of them didn’t sell so well when they first came out.
The first 50s Ford model: 1950 Ford Crestliner
The 1950 Ford Crestliner came out in July 1950—late in the model year. Introduced as a "dream car," the Crestliner was called the "new start of the highway," according to
Autoweek. Set on a midsize 114-inch wheelbase chassis and weighing 3,050 pounds, the Ford Crestliner was the top of the line of the automaker’s new postwar cars.
A particularly notable aspect of this car is the swept side panels that encourage the use of two-tone
paint. It’s a common attribute of classic cars.
Since it was introduced late in the model year, the Crestliner only sold 18,000 units in 1950, which isn’t a lot when you consider the automaker built 1.2 million cars that year.
The car sold even fewer units in 1951, and then in 1952 used the name "Crestline" for a line of cars without the distinctive trim. The Crestline name was gone from Ford’s lineup by 1955.
1955 Ford Thunderbird
The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was promoted as a high-performance "personal" car, according to
But that very first version started out as a two-seat convertible and was only offered until 1957. The Thunderbirds produced between 1955 and 1957 have a reputation of being relatively trouble-free, even though it varies depending on which V-8 engine is under the hood.
During its three-year run, a total of 53,166 Thunderbirds were built.
1959 Ford Galaxie Club Sedan
Introduced partway through the 1959 model year, the 1959 Ford Galaxie Club Sedan had a new Thunderbird-look and a formal two-door fixed hardtop, according to
Hagerty. The name "Galaxie" and trim level also applied to two- and four-door "post" and four-door hardtop body styles.
The Galaxie was reportedly well-received. In fact, according to
How Stuff Works, the four closed Galaxies garnered more than 405,000 orders, which was better than 27% of total production. It’s a pretty impressive number, considering it was a shorter selling season.
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