This Is How Much Classic Cars Cost in the 1950s—and What They’re Worth Today
Drivers could get the ride of their dreams for a real steal in the 1950s.
Chevrolet Bel Air
1955 price: $1,987 USD
Current Price: Up to $49,600 USD (Source: NADAguides)
American automakers were booming in the middle of the 20th century, with more than eight vehicles sold in 1955. The 1955 Chevy Bel Air, prized today for its smart design, featured an optional overhead V-8, power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning. Buyers could choose a two-door wagon, four-door sedan or a convertible. This vintage ad dates to 1954.
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1955 price: $1,885 USD
Today’s value: Up to $19,200 USD (Source: NADA Guides)
In 1955, Studebakers put power at the driver’s fingertips. Two-tone paint and wraparound windshields are classic era stylings. The cars also came with “newest of the new air-conditioning.”
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Oldsmobile 88 Fiesta
1957 price: $3,541 USD
Current value: Up to $219,000 USD (Source: NADAguides)
Sleek design and advanced features made 1950s cars faster, more comfortable and fun to drive. This super-rare wagon is valued by collectors today because few of the vehicles were made. This spacious family car was also big on style.
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Ford Sunliner Convertible
1958 price: $2,774 USD
Today’s value: Up to $44,300 USD (Source: NADAguides)
Long, low, and luxurious—this vintage ad says every Ford Sunliner came with the “new Thunderbird look.” The cars were equipped with automatic transmissions, an innovation for the 1950s.
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1950 price: $1,945 USD
Today’s value: Up to $10,200 USD (Source: NADAguides)
The 1953 Dodge Coronet was marketed toward active, busy families, with more headroom, legroom and luggage space. The Red Ram V-8 engine could even power through deep snow at the ski lodge.
1950 price: $2,127 USD
Today’s value: Up to $37,700 USD (Source: NADAguides)
Pontiac promoted the 1950 Catalina as an affordable and powerful automobile that was “the most beautiful thing on wheels.”
1950 price: $2,329 USD
Today’s value: Up to $14,550 USD (Source: NADAguides)
This vintage ad highlights the lovely 1956 Chrysler Windsor in “stardust blue and cloud white.” With pulse-quickening power from the V-8 engine and a push-button automatic transmission, drivers would “take control of the road.”
1950 price: $3,523 USD
Today’s value: Up to $45,000 USD (Source: NADAguides)
While a Cadillac DeVille might not dazzle your eyes as much as a Harry Winston necklace, this advertisement, circa 1953, promises that the car would add a “great measure of happiness to your family’s daily existence.”
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1950 price: $1,909 USD
Today’s value: Up to $18,500 USD (Source: NADAguides)
This vintage ad from 1951 promoted the dynamic features that made the Buick Roadmaster a smart buy, including “fireball power” and “self-energizing brakes.”
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