The 1950s was a new kind of Golden Age in the world of competitive racing. Following closely after WWII, many countries had cars on the roads that were pre-war and in terrible condition. Restrictions on car production during the war meant that no new cars or parts were produced. But in 1950, companies around the world began to focus on rebuilding factories and expanding and strengthening road systems. New technologies developed for airplanes during the war were transferred to automobile engines, allowing for faster speeds, better handling, and durability. These were improvements that undoubtedly expanded the capabilities of racing cars around the world.
Partly due to the space race and cultures fascinated by mechanical performance, the idea of modifying engines to increase performance took over and the idea of hot rods became popular. In 1950, the November cover of Hot Rod magazine featured the first hot rod to exceed 200 miles per hour. In America, the Bonneville Salt Flats became ground zero for the land speed racing tradition. Raw power and customization took hold as car enthusiasts embraced not just more speed but more style.
Drag racing was set up at the Santa Ana Drags at the Orange County Airport in Southern California. Americans, with the money that flowed in after WWII, began buying British jaguars, MGs, and other European favorites. Part of the appeal of sports cars came from being smaller and much sleeker than typical Detroit-produced family cars. Other influences included the lure of expensive, exotic, impractical, and the sheer whim of owning a powerful car that provided a great ride. American and European sports cars remained competitive with increasingly better performance throughout the 1950s.
The Jaguar C and D types
Jaguar is one of the legendary race cars of the 1950s. The company started with three of its C-types competing at Le Mans in 1950, where it was determined that with less weight and improved aerodynamics, the Jaguar C-type could only be produced. for racing.
1951 Jaguar XK 120C
This car made the first mark for the company in the 24 Hours of Lemans, winning its first race in 1951 in classic French competition. Jaguar’s legendary five-win streak of the prestigious event began during the 1950s. The car was built on its ancestor, the XK 120, and retained several of the original parts of the iconic XK 120. The new included its space frame chassis redesigned, aerodynamic bodywork and redesigned suspension. The existing dual-cam 3.4-liter six-cylinder in-line engine was rated at 204 horsepower. The ‘C’ in the model name stands for competition. It is famous for the use of Dunlop aircraft disc brakes beginning in the 1953 Le Mans competition. The brakes allowed the cars to brake directly from speeds close to 150 mph without fading, stopping much later than race rivals. The Jaguars finished first, second and fourth that year.
A rare Jaguar POV 114 Type C was recently sold at a Bonhams auction in Monaco. It has the distinction of racing at Le Mans in the 1950s. It sold for $ 7,540,541.
In 1955, 56 and 57, the Jaguar D-Type led Jaguar to its third, fourth and fifth victories at Le Mans. The Jaguar D-Type used the Jaguar 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder engine.
A 1955 Jaguar D-Type recently sold at a public auction in Pebble Beach for $ 21.78 million. It is the most expensive British car to make, and well worth collecting, as it was one of the famous Jaguars, which won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1953 Chevy Corvette
The Chevy Corvette debuted in 1953 and is now an American legend. Only three hundred were made that first year. It was the first American two-seater sports car and featured an innovative body structure made of fiberglass. It was featured at the 1953 GM Motorama and was a crowd favorite. Russian Zora Arkus-Duntov, a Russian émigré with superior knowledge of European auto racing, took the 1953 Chevy Corvette and added the 1955 Chevy V8 small-block racing engine. Corvette racing became a competitive threat in the racing world.
When the …