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19 Fantastically Flowing Fins From the Fifties

1950s Cars With Fins Were Insanely Cool

1950s cars - impala fins
Photo Credit FineArtAmerica

Towards the end of the 1950s, car makers decided that they wanted their cars to fly. Well, they wanted to make it look like they could fly. America was air-bound with passenger planes, and on the verge of space travel. And, in fact, GM designer Harley Earl gives credit to a plane for inspiration to the tail fins he created at the end of the previous decade. Which cars had the biggest, most extravagant tail fins?

The Sexiest 50s Cars With Fins

1957 Chevy Bel Air

While obviously not the first finned car, it certainly is one of the most iconic that the automobile industry ever produced. Truly, this list wouldn’t be complete without the car that many Americans have come to adore. However, the fins on the Bel Air are more of a mid-sized set of fins, than over the top, in your face and humongous. This is one of the most sought after America car models on the market in 2-door trim.


1959 Buick Electra

The 1959 Electra is absolutely stunning. It didn’t just have enormous tail fins. It had nose fins, too, which actually makes it look like it was made for underwater use.


1959 Cadillac Eldorado

Big and beautiful cars, with big, extravagant fins. The 1959 Eldorado has some of the biggest fins ever placed on a car. To make that ass even more fine, they placed dual-quad tail lights inside the fins to make it look like an afterburner lifting a jet off the ground. That’s some sexy General Motors styling right there.


1957 Lincoln Premiere

1957 was a big year for most car manufacturers. For the Blue Oval Company, the Thunderbird was really starting to make some strides following some changes. Somewhat flying under the radar, was the big-bumper Lincoln Premiere.


1959 Rambler

If ever there was a cool car from the ’50s, it would not be the Rambler. The only reason it should ever be included on any list is because it had fins.


1957 Buick Roadmaster

Now we’re talking. Much in the same way that the infamous mullet was business up front and party in the rear; the Buick Roadmaster was Bel-air up front and Buick in the rear. The Roadmaster’s fins weren’t as sexy, and the rear end could use a little work, but when you’ve always wanted a 50s era car and couldn’t afford the one you’ve wanted, the Buick really starts talking to ya.


1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

The menacing car of the bunch, is the 57 Caddy Eldorado Brougham. Those fins look like they belong on a hearse. Or the Batmobile. Anyway you slice it, those are some mean looking fins, Batman!


1957 Dodge Coronet Lancer

When talking about the sexy lines and fins of the fifties, one doesn’t usually consider the enormity of the the Dodge Coronet. However, in a world of lackluster performance, Dodge stands out with an early generation Hemi that produced a wicked-for-the-time 340 horsepower. Sadly, very few of these were fitted with the Hemi, and are worth a small fortune.


1957 Dodge Sweptline Truck

Just when you thought things from the 1950s couldn’t get any stranger, you realize that some automakers actually put fins on their pickup trucks. Like this one. Actually, it is an attractive, and brutally rare rear end, that you just don’t see very often.


1958 Desoto

Everyone has their opinion about what a proper fin was supposed to look like. Desoto was no different. And in fact, I like this ass the best. These fins have three lights in them. And, in my humble, but accurate opinion, if you have a car with fins it should look like it is lifting off. Right? Make it look like the tail lights belong on a jet.


1958 Dodge Custom Royal

Back in the day, Dodge’s knees weren’t so…dodgy. Not like they are today, anyway. I’m not sure why that is, but it could have been because Dodge offered up engine displacements very similar to Chevrolet’s—like the 350 cubic inch V8s that were offered up as a standard option for these cars.


1958 Packard

What’s better than having one set of fins? Well, having two sets of fins, of course! In an attempt to take it to the next level, Packard strategically placed a set of fins, on top of a set of fins. Who wouldn’t want fins on fins? Or one of these hardtop convertible 50s cars? Unfortunately, the Packard car company was merged with Studebaker and didn’t survive into the next decade.


1954 Buick Skylark

The 1954 Skylark had one foot, er wheel, in the rounded bodies of yesteryear, and one in the future of what was to come. The Buick’s fins weren’t overdone, however they don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the car, either. There’s no denying that this one of the coolest luxury cars of the post World War automotive industry.


1959 Chevrolet Impala

By the end of the decade, some auto manufacturers felt a need to stand out from the masses. Chevrolet decided that, in order to do just that, it needed to take a different direction with the fins on the Impala. So, instead of the straight, pointed fins of yesteryear, the Impala saw voluptuous fins that invoked drama and excitement, which went on to become one of the most recognizable cars in the 1950s.


1959 Ford Thunderbird

While other companies like Chevrolet were extending the reach of their fins, the Ford Motor Company sought to make them smaller, and less pronounced. The subtle fins on the 1959 T-bird are just that. Without a set of in your face fins, coupled with a smaller sized family car, the T-bird’s sales increased tremendously.


1959 Oldsmobile Super 88

Oldsmobile left the traditional fins in the dust with the Super 88. Unlike other new car models of the era, the tail-lights were integrated into the fins, but the fins were rounded off, and actually shaped like the light lenses themselves, giving a cool sports car vibe.


1958 Studebaker Silver Hawk

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Stud in it. This car had fins just like many of the others on this list, but the front end was totally different from anything else floating around at the time. This car was truly a classic, and had that real 1950s like, even more so than the un-finned Studebaker Champion.


1958 Mercury Parklane

I don’t even know what to say about the Parklane, other than it actually looks like something from another planet. Look at that ass!


1957 Pontiac

The cousin of the much more famous Chevy Bel Air, is the chromed up Pontiac. The main differences between the Chevy and the Pontiac, are, of course, the tail fins and the huge-ish rear chrome bumper. But hey, who doesn’t love chrome? It’s the hallmark of a real classic car, after all.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are probably a few other classic cars and sports cars out there that could be added to the list, but this list of 1950s cars with fins is reserved only for the very best examples. If you could add anything to it, what would you put on there? No doubt there’ll be a few people who appreciate the bulky fins of the Ford Fairlane, or the subtly finned Hudson Hornet, and of course, not forgetting the Lincoln Continental Mark V… Still, the above listed models are easily our favorite 1950s cars that were designed with sharp and edgy fins.

About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them, but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. I founded GearHeads.org and then built and ran AutoWise.com until selling it to Lola Digital Media in 2020. I look forward to watching AutoWise grow as part of the AllGear group.