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.
Preston on May 23, 2014:
Ann Carr from SW England on March 22, 2012:
We had some great ones here in Britain too, though not generally so big! The Ford consul, corsair, vauxhalls and a few more. I loved them with their pastel colours and my Dad used to hire one now and then for family holidays. Cars these days don't have much style and individuality - all sacrificed for aerodynamics. You're right - they were actually works of art and I adore them all! It would be good to look at which ones appeared in films, etc. A well written hub - would be great to see more. Voted up, interesting and awesome.