Can You Identify These '50s Cars from a Black and White Photo?

By: Robin Tyler
Image: Neyya/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The '50s were an exciting time in the world of motoring and definitely saw a styling shift as cars moved from the rounded looks of the 1930s and 1940s into the long, sleek cars of the 1950s, especially when it came to American models.

Chrome became the order of the day, lots of chrome, and together with pointy tail fins and convertibles, many Chevrolet and Ford models quickly became extremely popular.

On the other side of the Atlantic, European styling still maintained those sleek lines that one associated with the likes of Porsche and Ferrari and towards the end of the decade, cars were generally smaller than their American counterparts.

But would you be able to name an American classic from just one image? Or would you be able to pick out the sleek lines of a 1950s model European sports car? What about a classic American truck, would you be able to identify the make and model? Make no mistake; this quiz will test your auto knowledge like no other. And that's why only 7% of people who undertake it pass it with 100% of the answers correct

But you can do this, your knowledge of cars will see you through!  

After starting life as a racing car in 1952, the 300 SL went into regular production in 1954 as a two-door coupe. It became instantly recognizable thanks to its gullwing doors. Just over 3,200 of the coupe and roadster were built up until 1963. They are in high-demand still today.

Perhaps one of the most famous cars ever produced, the Mini first appeared in England 1959 with the Mark 1 and it was an instant hit.

The bulk of the Rolls Royce models sold from the mid-'50s to 'mid-60s were the Silver Cloud model - 7,322 in all. During those 11 years, three generations were produced all available as either a 4-door saloon, 2-door coupe or 2-door convertible.

This classic Ferrari from the 1950's is still in demand today. Powered by a 3.0-liter V12, a Spider sold for $5.74 million at auction in 2012.

Powered by a flat-four engine, the Porsche 787 race car was first introduced in 1959. Its engine made around 190 brake horsepower. This model even featured in a few Formula 1 races in 1961.

Willys was responsible for the original Jeep vehicles used by the U.S. military during World War II. The Overland Jeepster was there attempt to enter the commercial vehicle market after the war. It was produced from 1948 to 1950. Over 20,000 were built.

Along with the F-150, the Task Force was the quintessential pickup in the 1950s. With its incredible lines, this body shape is still in demand to this day. Power plant options including a 3.9-liter straight six as well as a 4.6-liter V8.

Produced by Dodge between 1955 and 1956, this 2-door hardtop was specifically aimed at the fairer sex. Only 2,500 were sold in a two-year period, although little evidence suggests that it was well marketed.

The beautiful BMW 501, a mid-sized luxury car designed by Peter Schimanowski was marketed by the Bavarian auto manufacturer from 1952 to 1962. It was available in three body styles - 4-door sedan, 2-door cabriolet and 2-door coupe. Top-of-the-range models were driving by a 2.5-liter V8 engine.

Produced between 1948 and 1953, the B Series was a pickup truck available as either a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton option.

Established in 1902, Cadillac is the second oldest automotive brand in America. The Eldorado, introduced in 1959, had everything you could wish for in a ‘50s classic, including ridiculously long and pointy tailfins and chrome, lots of chrome. Sadly, finding one today is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Also known as the Holden Business, the 48-215 was a Holden model produced in Australia from 1948 to 1953. It was the first model from General Motors to be marketed under the Holden name.

The Impala brand has been used by Chevrolet since the 1950s. The first generation, released in 1958 sports that classic '50s look. It was available as a 2-door hardtop or convertible.

Built between 1952 and 1959, the Capri was a full-sized luxury sedan. Three generations featured in those seven years with the Capri available as a coupe, convertible, sedan and hardtop and as either a 2-door or 4-door. The Capri was often used in racing and won its section of the Pan American Road Race in both 1952 and 1953.

The first full-sized car released by Chrysler, the Royal badge adorned a range of body styles including a four-door sedan and two-door convertible as well as a coupe. It was produced from 1937 to 1950 and was Chrysler's entry level model.

This full-sized station wagon was produced by Chevrolet over two periods - firstly from 1958 to 1961 and again from 1969 to 1972. It was entry level station wagon offered by the company during both its production runs.

The second generation of this classic Ford pickup was built between 1953 and 1956. And by 1956, they were sporting a V8 engine, giving them around 180 brake horsepower, a lot of grunt for the time!

Available as a two-door roadster or coupe, the MGA was extremely popular outside Britain with over 95% of the over 100,000 built exported. Over its production that run from 1955 to 1962, six distinct models were available including a Twin Cam version powered by a 1.6-liter engine.

Based on the CJ series, the DJ was a two-wheel drive variant. It was first produced in 1955.

This four-door limousine was manufactured by Rolls Royce from 1959 to 1968. In total, 516 were made, all powered by a 6.2-liter Rolls Royce V8 engine.

Introduced in 1953 and produced until 1958, around 36,000 of the ZB Varitone Model by MG were made. This MG model had a top speed of around 86 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 18.2 seconds. It was powered by a 1.5-liter engine.

A stylish roadster from the 1950s, the P1900 actually had a fiberglass body. Only 68 of these stunning machines were built between 1956 and 1957. The P1900 had a 3-speed manual gearbox and was powered by a 1,400cc straight four engine.

First released in 1955, the Crown is the longest running model in the Toyota fleet.

Built between 1957 and 1962, the Porsche 718 was a racing car from the German manufacturer. It was powered by a 142 brake horsepower, 1.5-liter boxter engine. In 1961, a Porsche 718 driven by Masten Gregory and Bob Holbert won its class at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race.

Launched in 1956, the Parkland was a two-door Station Wagon. It was powered by either a straight six or V8 engine and had a 3-speed transmission.

The Buick Skylark was first introduced in 1953. From humble beginnings, it went on to become a sought-after muscle car of the 1970s. The 1953 was a beautiful 2-door convertible.

The Ford Country Squire was produced for an incredible 41 years between 1950 and 1991. It saw seven different generations at that time and was produced as both a 2-door and 4-door model.

Built for the Canadian market between 1953 and 1959, the Mayfair was essentially a Plymouth Belvedere, another vehicle in the Chrysler stable. It was affectionately known as the Plodge as it used certain accessories from the brand such as front grilles, for example.

Over 8,000 Y-Type saloons were built from 1947 to 1953. Three different types were built, the YA, Tourer, and YB although the YA was far more prevalent. A 1.2-liter engine powered Y-Type MG's.

Built between 1956 and 1970, the Amazon was one of Volvo's mid-sized car offerings marketed globally. Over 600,000 were produced in those 14 years with more than half exported.

Only 252 units of the 507 convertible were built by BMW between 1959 and 1959. Elvis Presley owned two 507s which he bought in Germany while stationed there with the U.S. Army.

Produced between 1956 and 1965, the Forward Control is essentially a truck offering from Jeep. It was designed by Brooks Stevens who interestingly was responsible for the 1949 Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide. He went on to design the Jeep Wagoneer.

Many muscle car afficianados call the Chrysler 300 the first muscle car. No matter if you agree or not, the 300, introduced in 1955 and produced until 1965, certainly had the cool factor.

The Crusader was produced by Dodge in Canada for the Canadian market. Its production ran from 1951 to 1958. Essentially, it was a rebadged Plymouth Cambridge.

Built between 1958 and 1971, the Galaxie was so named to take advantage of the space race between the USSR and the United States. This vehicle was in direct competition to the Chevrolet Impala.

Essentially, the Matador was the base trim version of the Dodge Polara. It was produced between 1959 and 1960 and available in four body styles including 2-door hardtop, 4-door hardtop, 4-door sedan and 4-door wagon.

Named after Henry Ford's son, the Edsel was a massive flop and only sold between 1958 and 1960. It's not that the car was bad, it was just really overpriced. And that always turns people away!

The Bobcat, also known as the 'Aero Jeep' was a prototype produced in the 1950s and shared many parts with the M-38 and M-38A1. This vehicle was intended to be used by paratroopers and dropped out of aircraft with them. It never went into production.

In 2008, a Jaguar E2A sold for $5.6 million dollars at an auction in California. This vehicle is considered a prototype as it was the model that linked the E-Type and the D-Type Jaguar.

This early Volvo model was manufactured between 1946 and 1950 although development had started in 1939 but was stifled by World War II. It featured a 3-speed manual gearbox coupled to a 3.7-liter straight six engine.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes