Chevrolets of the 1950s: A Decade of Technical Innovation
Look back at Chevrolet's breakthroughs in the 1950s, including technological innovations and the development and introduction of the iconic Corvette and 1955-1957 Bel Air.
Automotive historian and veteran author David Temple takes you behind the scenes to reveal how these technologies were designed, manufactured, and installed on Chevrolet's fine portfolio of cars: the Corvette, Bel Air, Nomad, Impala, and many more.
As the 1950s dawned, General Motors focused its industrial might on producing revolutionary rather than evolutionary cars with the ultimate goal of becoming the clear market leader in the automotive industry. To accomplish this goal, the company consistently released innovative automotive technology. During the decade, Chevrolet introduced the small-block V-8, the Powerglide automatic transmission, air-conditioning, power steering, and many other amenities that made the cars faster, safer, and more comfortable.
Inside General Motors, many dedicated and talented leaders were determined to make Chevrolet cars the best on the market. Vice President of Styling Harley Earl and his team designed the 1953 Corvette concept car for the Motorama show. After receiving numerous accolades, it was rushed into production. Earl used his design acumen and creative vision as he led his team to style the 1955-1957 Bel-Air. Zora Arkus-Duntov worked tirelessly and transformed the Corvette from a touring car into a genuine sports car. Ed Cole and his engineers overcame many challenges to develop the compact, efficient, and powerful Chevy small-block V-8, which continued in production for decades. Chevrolets of the 1950s retraces the design, development, and production of these cars, but it also covers innovative vital components that were installed in them. If you have been looking for the scoop on arguably GM's greatest decade, the models, and the technology it produced, you have found it.