1950 Nash Rambler Convertible

Date:
1950
Creator:
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation | Nash Motors Company

This 1950 Nash Rambler convertible was an attempt to market a small automobile to the American public. Other independent automobile manufacturers had produced small vehicles, but none to the success of the Rambler. The compact Rambler was attractive, well equipped, and sensibly priced. But in the 1950s, big cars ruled. Only by 1960 did the larger "Big Three" auto companies produce an "in-between-sized" car.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
87.176.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of American Motors Corporation.

1981 Checker Marathon Taxicab

Date:
1981
Creator:
Checker Motors Corp. (Kalamazoo, Mich.)

Most people think of Checker as an operator of taxicabs, but from 1922 through 1982 they also manufactured cabs. Checkers featured big back seats and trunks and rugged, durable construction. This Checker's basic design dates to 1956 and was substantially unchanged until production ceased in 1982.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
90.370.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Twilight Taxi Parts.

1949 Mercury Customized Convertible

Date:
1949
Creator:
Barris Kustom Industries | Carson Top Shop | Ford Motor Company, Lincoln-Mercury Division

Long, low, and well rounded, stock 1949–51 Mercurys became the favorite cars of 1950s customizers. When lowered even more and smoothed out by filling body seams with lead, these Mercs were called "lead sleds." This car shows many early customizing techniques. It was updated in the 1960s with sparkly Metalflake paint and blue "scallops."

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
92.110.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

1957 Cornell-Liberty Safety Car

Date:
1957
Creator:
Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory | Liberty Mutual Insurance Company | Ford Motor Company

Cornell Aeronautical Labs did some of the first crash testing of automobiles. In 1957 Cornell teamed with Liberty Mutual Insurance to build this odd looking concept car that incorporated the lessons learned in testing. The car did not actually run, but it featured ideas like seat belts, head rests, and padded interiors that are incorporated into today's cars.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
92.172.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

1986 Ford Taurus LX Sedan

Date:
1986
Creator:
Vandermolen, Mimi
Publisher/Studio:
Ford Motor Company

When the Taurus appeared in 1986 some people said its aerodynamic styling reminded them of a bar of soap or a potato. But the car was roomy, handled well, and had a thoughtfully designed interior. It was a big hit with the public, and other companies adopted similar styling. Eventually people complained that every car looked like a Taurus.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
90.201.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company

1951 Beatty Belly Tank Lakester Land Speed Race Car

Date:
1951
Creator:
Beatty, Tom, d. 1985

After World War II, hot rodders started using external fuel tanks from fighter planes as car bodies. The teardrop shape was ideal for speed record runs on dry lake beds and Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. Californian Tom Beatty crafted this tank that was once the world's fastest.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
2009.140.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

1924 Chrysler Touring Car

Date:
1924
Creator:
Chrysler Corporation

The first car to wear the Chrysler nameplate was perfectly suited to the Roaring Twenties. It was a decade of fast profits, fast music, and fast driving. A lightweight chassis and an efficient engine meant Chrysler drivers could out-accelerate Cadillacs costing twice as much. When Chrysler drivers stopped, they used modern hydraulic brakes instead of the Caddy's old-style mechanical brakes. Small wonder that Chrysler sales increased 500 percent from 1925 to 1929.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
93.96.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

1957 De Soto Fireflite Hardtop

Date:
1957
Creator:
Exner, Virgil M. (Virgil Max), 1909-1973 | Chrysler Corporation

De Soto appealed to drivers who desired the cutting edge of technology. Soaring fins and an airy roof suggested military jet fighters. Pushbuttons replaced old-fashioned transmission levers. And De Sotos were powerful -- perfect for the new high-speed, four-lane turnpikes and the newly-funded interstate highway system.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
93.151.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

1997 General Motors EV1 Electric Coupe

Date:
1997
Creator:
General Motors Corporation

This was the most serious attempt to build an all-purpose electric car since the 1920s. General Motors built 1117 cars between 1996 and 1999, leasing them to a loyal group that willingly adjusted to battery power's limitations. But GM concluded there were too few electric enthusiasts to support large-scale production and recalled all the cars by the end of 2003. EV1 users objected loudly, but to no avail.

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
2002.76.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of General Motors Corporation.

1956 Chrysler 300-B Stock Car

Date:
1956
Creator:
Kiekhaefer, Elmer Carl, (1906-1983)|Chrysler Corporation

This Chrysler was part of one of the most successful teams in the history of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). In 1956 team owner Carl Kiekhaefer's cars won 22 out of 41 races, including 16 in a row. This was one of the cars Buck Baker drove on his way to becoming the NASCAR driving champion in 1956. Unlike modern NASCAR racers this is a real production car, modified for racing. Carl Kiekhaefer brought a new level of professionalism to stock car racing. His cars, drivers, and mechanics all wore matching uniforms. Read more »

Location:
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Identifier:
2003.13.1
Institution:
The Henry Ford
credits:
From the Collections of The Henry Ford.