The dominant theme of the first half of the 1940s was not the creation of the most aesthetically pleasing car. The automotive industry had far more important tasks that needed their attention; wartime production overtook all aspects of American life. It wasn’t until 1945 that businesses could again begin focusing on the commercial side of their businesses and creating automobiles that would spark excitement in a world that had for too long been focused on tragedy.
The vehicles that were produced at the end of the 1940s were some of the most beautiful and innovative ever created. They set the tone for the next two decades and continue to play a pivotal role in the aesthetics of car design today.
Cadillac Series 62
When Cadillac first advertised the gorgeous Series 62, they described it as both the most beautiful and most distinguished car in the world. In 1949, they were certainly close to making their boast a reality. It was the first car to showcase rear tail-fins, a style that became the hallmark of 50’s automobiles.
The style was produced between the years 1940 and 1964, but the real standout is the 1949 version. It’s an ideal candidate for a restomod project because the classic luxury styling somehow manages to still feel modern and even futuristic. It had some of the most cutting-edge options of the time and adding the latest innovations makes the car feel more authentic rather than less.
The XK120 was produced between 1948 and 1954. It was the first sports car in the line since Jaguar stopped production of the SS100 in 1940. It was the fastest production car in the world at the time with a top speed of 120mph. When the line was first launched in 1948, the car had a wood frame and an aluminum body. Leading man Clark Gable had one of the first roadsters delivered to him in 1949, firmly establishing its reputation as one of the sexiest cars on the road.
This was the car that helped Jaguar reestablish itself after WW2. It was the fastest car available for nearly a decade. In the 1950s it was clocked at 132mph. It is difficult to find one someone is willing to part with today and when they are available they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain. However, as anyone who has seen one of the beauties will attest, they are worth the price.
Aston Martin DB1
This is the rarest of the collection. The DB1 was also known as the 2-Litre Sports. Only 15 of these beautiful cars were sold during the 1948-1949 production run. The DB in the name is derived from Sir David Brown, who purchased the brand in 1947. Only the vehicles which are considered the best in the line are given the distinction of being named with his initials.
Aston Martin is perhaps most well known for being the vehicle of choice for the popular James Bond character. It was the DB5 that first appeared in one of the 007 movies, the 1964 Goldfinger. It is easy to see from the later iterations of the car just why it has remained so popular.
A beautiful car is more than a status symbol. These cars are a testament to the survival of beauty, ingenuity, and ambition following one of the most horrific periods of time in human history. As people purchase them, restore, and modify these cars they are paying tribute to the history of those who came before and ensuring future generations will have a tangible reminder of how beauty can survive and flourish in the most unusual places.