The Thrilling Game-Changing Supercars Of The 50s
What an era of supercars... am I right?
Don't you guys think we are at the peak of super cars? I mean if you just think about it, we have the most advanced cars in the world, the current Holy Trinity consists of the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918. Cars such as Koenigsegg and Bugatti break records almost every day. These cars are indeed at their peak, it’s time to look back down at the originals, the ones that started it all, and see how far we’ve come in time. The car world has changed a lot, and it keeps changing day by day! This article and series I am doing will take a look at the super cars that defined an era, one decade at a time, now continuing with Part 2 of the super cars in the ’50s. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
The definition of an automobile is "a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor and able to carry a small number of people". Yet, that's truly not the correct definition of what an automobile is. To us car enthusiasts and petrol heads, automobiles are much more than that. Cars are art, passion, emotional, and total beasts. In addition to also being one of the most revolutionary and iconic things in the world, cars have truly changed our world for the better, and they keep changing and taking the world by surprise. People, like us, look back in the past and cherish all the stunning analog cars that have shaped the way for cars and supercars today. And the 50s were no exception to that...
Owned by the legend Steve Mcqueen himself, the Jaguar XKSS has demonstrated and shown to be one of the most beautiful and desirable analog cars of all time. In the 50s, racing was starting to become a big staple and a huge trend at the time. Which causes most of the companies to build high-performance cars for the track, and for the streets as well. Why? Well, because race regulations during the time required that specific high-performance cars that were developed for competition would have to be homologated also. That means, that the certain race car a company built had to also make a set number of road-legal cars to be sold to the public, those cars were basically the race car but with legal regulations. However, those cars set out to just be the road version of touring and race cars, but they also became one of the first supercars ever to be seen.
The 1957 Jaguar XKSS is a road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car. It was a simple, stunning and beautiful car, and was owned and raced by many well-known figures. Unfortunately, the evening of 12 February 1957, a fire broke out at the Browns Lane plant destroying nine of the twenty-five Jaguar XKSS models. Most of the plans were destroyed or burned, and the cars were sadly demolished and could not be returned to full state. All the original standing cars have been unseen from the public. Until a small production run by Jaguar produced true replicas of the remaining 9 of the scheduled production of 25 XKSS, which was launched in 2016. Yet, the replicas aren't really replicas, they are true Jag XKSS models. Taking over 10,000 hours to build and make to perfection. The chassis is made from a special steel called Reynolds 531, it is not plastic... it is a true model. Since everything was destroyed in the fire, it meant they had to scan an original car and drawings to truly get everything down to detail. Everything was thought of, every single nut, to every rivet was down to perfection. No one has ever made something like this before, and this stunning car will always have a special place in our analog heart.
Engine type Jaguar XK6 3.4-Litre (1st series) L-6
Power 266 ps (262 bhp / 195 kw) @ 6000 rpm
Torque 353 Nm (260 lb-ft) @ 4000 rpm
Power / liter 77 ps (76 hp)
Power / weight 266 ps (262 bhp) / t
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
A car that needs no introduction what so ever. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was and will always be a true car legend, companies now always use the phrase "race car for the road" all the time. Whatever, Mercedes-Benz really claimed this phrase 66 years ago, not only did they claim it, they took it to a whole new a level. This car was insane for its day, not only did it dominate on the road, and in looks, it also dominated on the track as well. Obviously, they took their ever so famous 300sl race car and turned it into a better performance, eye-catching beast. The road version was given a stunning luxury interior, and its now-iconic gullwing doors. Also taking the title of the world’s fastest road car at the time, I mean how much more do you need us to tell you about this amazing supercar.
This beauty, this stunner can't be topped by any car, it is such a rare and valuable automobile. It took everyone by surprise, and is still able to take everyone by surprise to this day. Powered by a single overhead camshaft, 3 litre naturally aspirated dry-sumped 6-cylinder engine, with 2 valves per cylinder that provides power and torque figures of 212 bhp at 5800 rpm and 275 nm at 4600 rpm. Insane, absolute insane, for its time this car was so advanced, so powerful and so astonishing. Its art, its simplicity, its body and chassis is so utterly breathtaking, making it such a desirable and loved car by all. What a car...
Engine: 3.0–liter Straight-Six
4 speed manual gearbox
Top Speed: 160 mph
Original value: $6,820 – $8,902
Current Estimated Value: $4,620,000
Porsche 356 A
No, you don't know, I'm obsessed... seriously obsessed with the 356A models. Another deserving and thrilling car on this list is the revolutionary Porsche 356A, a car and series that put Porsche on the map. This car helped the Porsche company become what it is now, of course the 911 models took Porsche to a whole new level, but the German company would not be in that certain place right now without the 356 generations. Besides, the 356A really melts and swoons our petrol head hearts. Yet, the ‘50s is when Porsche really got into their game and starting hitting their peak, when they started refining their rear-engines, their competition was getting larger and larger by the years. In the year of 1955 Porsche introduced the 356 A with a 1.3-litre flat-four engine, with a total output of 44bhp. Yes, yes I know, that's barely anything compared to the now 1,600bhp supercars, but you have to remember the time period as well. The cars were so nimble and light, which gave them a huge power to weight ratio to make up for the... well... lets just say minimal horsepower.
The stunning, curved and clean 356 models were so popular and loved by many in that certain era, causing the coupe and the speedster models to be very sought out for. Resulting in many replicas and fakes to be built, no one even knows the difference between real and fake due to the very minimal numbers of originals still existing. On the bright side, we have many photos of this beautiful car to drool over.
- 356 A 1300 with 44 hp
- 356 A 1300 Super with 60 hp
- 356 1600 with 60 hp
- 356 A 1600 Super with 75 hp
- 356 A 1500 GS Carrera with 100 hp
1954 JAGUAR D-TYPE
A motorsport legend was born in 1954. The Jaguar D-Type transformed and changed the racing game forever. This iconic sports racing car was designed specifically to win the Le Mans 24-hour race. This included Innovative monocoque construction and aerodynamic efficiency integrated aviation technology to be included in the sports racing car. It was to make it even more efficient, superior and finer. The ever so beautiful Jaguar D-type is one of the most iconic cars in motorsport history. Packed with amazing and advanced innovation, this sports car was designed to take on the unbeatable Ferraris and to win the most famous motorsport event of all time, the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race, which it succeeded finely at. The Jaguar D-Type is one of the most noteworthy race cars ever devised, no doubt about that. The D-Type won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955, 1956, and 1957. With the beautiful bodywork pulled taut over the wheels, engine, and passenger compartment, the D-Type is one of the most stunning and one of the best preforming race cars in the world.
Engine type: 3,781 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine
Output 300 HP
Transmission Four-speed manual
Top Speed 160 MPH
0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds
1957 Porsche 356 Speedster/Porsche 356 Carrera Speedster Zagato
One of the first if not the first collaborations Porsche did with Zagato was the 1957 Porsche 356 Carrera Speedster Zagato. Sadly, the original car was lost, and fortunately Zagato have made a continuation recently. It is avery rare and significant car, that also resembles the 550 Spyder "Little Bastard" a little. It’s the revived version of the original lost Porsche Zagato , and the 356 speedster has proven to be one of the most stunning and beautiful cars of all time, again being on the same list as its other model the 356A. Sadly, most analog cars end up lost in history and the past, as they are stored, forgotten, crashed or just disappeared from the human race. Thankfully, Zagato has chosen to retrace, recreate and reproduce this special and stunning speedster.
Back in 1958, the Italian coachbuilder, Zagato was ordered to construct a new lightweight body for a Porsche 356A Speedster. Long story short the car didn't stick around for long, and it was destroyed, yet no one forgot this legend... Thank you Zagato for bringing these old cars back to life.
Ferrari 250 Gt
Of course, I had to mention a Ferrari 250 in this 50s game-changing supercars list. I mean come on, the 250 GT ruled the 50s in racing and of course on the road. The original Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta, or also known as the "Long Wheelbase Berlinetta", or "Tour de France" was given those names from obviously, dominating the track. How could we not mention this car, you all saw this coming. The front-engined V12 car was a true a winner for the Italian prancing horses, it was such a stable and well advanced supercar both on and off the track. Such a classic and simple design, which makes it eye candy for most of us. What more could we ask for from a 220bhp car, which again, is so crazy for its era and time. Although, this car didn't stop here, it came later on with different models, such as the Berlinetta, TdF (Tour de France) and the GTO. It has shaped and continues to inspire cars today, with its timeless design and its insane power, the 250 GT is a huge game-changer.
Top Speed: 150 mph