Self-propellant vehicles had been in the offing since late 1700s in Europe, and by the middle of 1800, engineers had come out with models that ran on steam, combustion as well as electrical energy. While the steam powered cars lasted only till the 1920s, and production of electric cars too ceased beyond the first decade of the twentieth century, combustion engines caught on and underwent development at various stages, to contribute to the progress of the automobile industry.
The Great Depression in 1930, along a lull in the manufacture of automobiles due to the World War II, resulted in most car manufacturing industries being converted into military production units. Cars moreover, began to undergo a structural change with the incorporation of integrated fenders and fully-closed bodies. A trunk for storage facilities was fitted in the back and other features like wings, running boards and headlights gradually began to make their presence felt.
One of the most notable cars introduced in 1940 was the Plymouth by Chrysler Corporation. Solidly built, its engineering was far above any other car in the low priced category and could be handled easily by the driver.
Other automobiles during the pre-war times included the Ford Flathead V8 (1932 – 1948), which dominated the world market to a certain extent, the Bugatti Type 57SC (1934-1940), the Traction Avant by Citroen (1934 – 1956), the Volkswagen Beetle (1938-2003) which was quite a rage of the times, and the first fully automatic transmission, the Hydra-Matic by General Motors(1940-1997).
Oldsmobile along with Cadillac also started off their 1948 models with the introduction of the first modern high-compression overhead-valve V8 engine which was introduced in USA in 1949.
Car History After The World War II.
The end of the II World War in 1949 witnessed an incredible boost for the automobile industry in general, with new-fangled designs being accepted world wide. The United Kingdom was a spectator to the emergence of the unstructured suspended 1951 Ford Consul, the 1948 Morris Minor and 1949 Rover P4.
Italy was another country where the world of automobiles began to weave their magical charms as Lancia introduced their revolutionary V6 powered Aurelia and Enzio Ferrari started out on his 250 Series.
The automobile industry was fast catching on with the rest of the world not only due to enhanced engine power as well as speed, but also because of their more innovative and artful designs that were most appealing. It no longer was a luxury item to be enjoyed by the rich alone.
Smaller Cars Fro Middle Class
Manufacturers began to target even the middle income group with their variety. The 1950s saw the introduction of mini cars, and five hundred of Fiat’s such vehicles were unleashed in Europe along with Alec Issigoni’s mini cars. Japan too was introduced to the technology of wheels with the Keicar. It was also notable that the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, an ultra luxury car resurfaced in America after a prolonged absence. Europe too saw the emergence of GT Cars like Ferrari Americas, which were preferred by a number of people.