Q: Hello Greg and thank you for all your fun columns. I enjoy most the articles on cars from the 1950s, so can you tell me which American car manufacturer sold the most cars during the great decade of 1950? I think I know it is the Chevy, and then Ford. But how about after that? Thank you. Ben L., Evanston, Illinois.
A: Ben, thanks for the nice words and you are indeed correct that Chevy was the top seller. Matter of fact, Chevy outsold second place Ford by over a million cars, 13,419,048 to 12,282,492. Third place on the list, and way behind with 5,653,874 was Plymouth, followed by Buick in fourth with 4,858,961 and Oldsmobile in the top five with 3,745,648 sales.
Rounding out the top 10 were Pontiac at 3,706,959; Mercury 2,588,472; Dodge 2,413,239; Studebaker at 1,374,967 and finally Packard with 1,300,835.
Interesting is that of the top 10 in sales through 1959, only Chevy, Ford, Buick and Dodge have survived. All other makes either disappeared, or in the case of Studebaker and Packard, their company went out of business.
Notable is that there were 24 different makes in 1950 competing for consumer dollars, including from 11th on Chrysler, Cadillac, Nash, Desoto, Rambler, Hudson, Lincoln, Kaiser, Henry J, Edsel, Imperial, Willys, Continental and Frazer--all in order of sales. These last 14 now finds 10 models no longer available. Additionally, this is a listing of cars only, as makes like Jeep and truck sales do not show up in this report.
In ending, the decade of 1950 was one of hope and excitement as the war was over and baby boomer families started to grow up. It was a decade of spectacular car design, ice cream trucks making the rounds during the summer, new villages popping up all over the country and words like God and America the Beautiful welcome anywhere, anytime.
The advertisements, too, were spectacular and done by artists with a paint brush and easel. Television grew in its infancy and produced some of the noteworthy car commercials we have grown to love. Thanks to magazines and websites like the one you are reading now, we can still enjoy those wonderful times.
I'm sure glad I had the opportunity to grow up in that special decade. If you love cars, there was no decade like it.
Thanks for the question Ben and thanks to Consumer Guide for the numbers.