- Auto Industry
Cars With Fins: Only in the 1950s
Tail fins and Cars
The 1950s, or more precisely, from around 1954-60, most American cars of certain models had fins. The fin thing is a result of the "age of the jet and rocket". It is a period when America was obsessed with jets, rockets, UFOs, Elvis, and cars. Cars were huge by today's standards. This was still the case through the much of the 1960s. Gas was only a quarter a gallon, so the thought of MPG was alien to American thinking. This was quite the opposite of what was going on in Europe-think VW.
American cars, mostly from General Motors, began to have fins close to the mid-1950s, some were modest, some were giant, but they all had the same statement to the jet or atomic age. It was also style and when looking back, car art or sculpture from metal. The cars all represented some unique method of manufacturing them in large quantities especially the tail fins.
The most famous of them all were the Cadillacs, which were always huge cars and always drew attention. They were the most expensive reserved for famous celebrities. Chevrolet had several models with tail fins, as did Buick. I suppose the tail fins on cars represented "wings", like the swept look of early jets.
They are rare now. They are considered "art", much like a sculpture. If you see one, you are struck by their size and style unlike many of today's modular look alike cars. There a sense of awe and wonder about them. It is hard to believe that these cars were commonly seen just as any car.
The cars with tail fins are the American auto industry at its pinnacle of style and now lost art.