Last Updated on June 30, 2022
If someone asked, could you name cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s that no longer exists? You could probably tell them several modern car brands and models right off the bat. But if they asked about cars from before you were born, you’d likely need more time to think. Interestingly, models don’t stick around forever, car brands either. Cars are like dogs – they hold a special place in our hearts – and often have a lifespan of just one to two decades.
The last of the independent car manufacturers – Studekbaker, Nash, and Hudson ceased to be. The latter two merged to form the American Motor Corporation (AMC).
Over the years, many other car brand names have been retired. These names are often retired in response to poor sales, rebranding initiatives, technological changes, engineering failures, and changes in drivers’ wants. Sometimes this occurs after acquisition of the manufacturer by another company, or other market forces.
That being said, here are the top American-manufactured cars of the 1950s and 1960s that are no longer made.
Production Years: 1950-1956
Independent car manufacturer Nash Motors, used an advanced unit-body construction with fastback aerodynamic styling for their post-war cars. It was identical to the Ambassador from the cowl rearward but was lighter in weight. It was also fuel efficient. The Nash-exclusive “Airliner Reclining” front seat allowed the seat to be converted into a bed.
Chevrolet Bel Air
Production Years: 1950-1957
This vehicle mixed a pleasant aesthetic with luxury. Chevrolet had several iterations of this car, and debuted its first model in 1950. The automobile was a revision of the previously failed Stylerline series. This time the vehicle landed well with audiences, for a time, and went on for two generations.
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Production Years: 1951-1957
Independent car manufacturer, Hudson Motor Car Company (Hudson) produced Hornets as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, a convertible, and a pillarless hardtop coupe. The company got involved with stock car racing and won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, won 22 of 37 in 1953, and won 17 of the 37 races in 1954.
Production Years: 1952-1959
This full-sized, entry-level luxury car derives its name from an Italian island in the Gulf of Naples. When the company introduced the Lincoln Premiere (and Continental), the Capri became the new standard Lincoln product line. This car replaced the Cosmopolitan. For the 1956 model year, the Capri was restyled and was given the new 285 hp Lincoln Y-Block V8 and loaded with power accessories. The company enlarged the 1958-59 Lincoln Capri to be one the largest cars ever made.
Production Years:1953-1954, 1961-1972, 1975-1998
This vehicle from the General Motors subsidy was named after a bird – the skylark. After a debut on the market in 1953, the car marked the 50th anniversary for the Buick motor company. The Skylark was set apart from the competition with various optional features, but more notable was the Nailhead V8 engine. The first generation ran from 1953-54, but Buick tried bringing back the car multiple times over the years, even having it produced in Iran at one point.
Production Years: 1954-1958, 1973-2005
This nameplate was first used by Buick for a full-sized car, manufactured from 1936-1942. The production was interrupted during the war years and not restarted until several years after the war’s conclusion. The four-door car remained Buick’s performance car and increased engine power from 200 hp to 236 hp.
Production Years: 1954-1964
The Savoy was a full-sized Plymouth until the discontinuation of the Plymouth Plaza. During that time, the Savoy nameplate moved to the smaller vehicle. It attracted customers who wanted a low-cost vehicle with the interior room of a full-sized vehicle (front leg room is 45.5 inches), the power of a V-8 engine, and the convenience of an automatic transmission. The Savoy continued to be popular with fleet customers. In 1960, the company spun off a new model designed especially for fleets. They called this vehicle the Plymouth Taxi Special.
Production Years: 1954-1974
The AMC Ambassador is the rebranding of the Nash Ambassador (1927-1954) when Nash merged with Hudson Motor Car Company. The use of the Ambassador nameplate for five decades makes it one of the longest-lived automobile nameplates in history. It was the first American automobile to have a front-end, fully integrated heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system.
Production Years: 1955, 1962, 1964-1968
This full-sized station wagon was initially available as either a two-door or four-door wagon. However, the company discontinued the two-door after the 1959 model year. Mercury dropped the Commuter for the year 1963, when the company introduced the Meteor (1961-1963), but reinstated it the following year.
Chrysler 300 Letter Series
Production Years: 1955-1965, 1970
Imperial was the nameplate of the Chevrolet personal luxury vehicle until 1955. That year it became a whole division within Chrysler. The original models are said to be inspired by the 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton show car, owned by the car’s designer. The car’s wide-spaced split egg-crate grille, free-standing “gunsight” tail lights, power brakes, power steering and Chrysler’s “PowerFlite” automatic transmission set this car apart.
Production Years: 1955-1997, 2002-2005
Colloquially called the T-Bird, this sporty personal luxury car survived 11 generations of revisions. It’s credited in developing the newly emerging personal luxury car segment. The car came available as a two-seat convertible, a four-seat hardtop coupe, a four-seat convertible, and a five-seat convertible or. hardtop. That’s not all. The vehicle was also available as a four-door pillared hardtop sedan, a six-passenger hardtop coupe, and a five-passenger pillared coupe!
Production Years: 1955-1970
This Ford vehicle replaced the Crestline model as a stylish and full-sized car. The car was a hit and earned nicknames for the convertible models – Sunliner and Skyliner. It moved into the mid-size class in the years 1962-1970 before ultimately being discontinued.
Lincoln (Continental) Mark
Production Years: 1956-1960, 1969-1998
Based on the company’s Continental series (1939-1948), this luxury vehicle was the company’s flagship model for the duration of the car’s production. In the late ‘50s, Lincoln was in financial distress and several Ford brands were reorganized. Lincoln-Mercury relaunched the Continental Mark series for the 1969 model year and produced six successive generations.
Production Years: 1957 -1979
This stylish pickup truck came about in 1957 resulting in seven eventual generations. The truck offered a unique interpretation of truck-and-car fusion, and was American made compared to the 1956 Australian counterpart, the Ute.
Production Years: 1958-1962
Based on a concept car – the NXI (Nash Experimental International) – this small car was designed to be the second car in a two-car family. It resembled larger Nash automobiles but on a much shorter wheelbase and was the first post-war American car marketed specifically to women. This “commuter/shopping car” was designed with the post-war economy in mind, but the company didn’t have the domestic manufacturing capability so it was contracted out to companies in England.
Production Years: 1958-1960
Ford temporarily created a brand called Edsel (named after Edsel Ford) and was the first new car brand from a US manufacturer since the launch of Mercury in 1939. Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury Division became the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division. But, hard times for Ford coupled with a loss of over $250 million ($2.19 billion in 2020 dollars) on the Edsel line, led to Ford quietly discontinuing the brand after two years.
Production Years: 1958-2005
The Pontiac Bonneville was a full-sized car for most of its life, except for model years 1982-1986. That’s when the nameplate was placed on the mid-sized Lemans. It was first available as a two-door hardtop or a convertible and, in the ‘60s, was Pontiac’s costliest and most luxurious model. The car helped push Pontiac to third place in sales for most of the decade. Over the years, the car was restyled several times and in 1971 the model was downgraded to allow for the introduction of the Grand Ville series. The 10th generation Bonneville (2000 model year) was redesigned from the ground up with significant advancements in engineering, design, and technology.
Production Years: 1959-2005
This full-sized, mid-level, rear-drive passenger car (until 1985) came available as a two-door convertible, sedan, and hardtop. It was also sold as a four-door sedan and station wagon. The car’s Turbine Drive automatic transmission (previously known as Dynaflow) along with power steering and power brakes, were popular options. In 1977, the LeSabre was downsized. Car bodies included a pillared coupe, a sedan, and a wagon body.
Production Years: 1960-1976
The Dart was Dodge’s smallest offering at the time, but they were large cars that had been downsized. The company created it to compete in the low-priced car segment after the Dodge dealer network lost the rights to sell Plymouth-branded vehicles. The car was immediately successful for Dodge as sales outpaced other Dodge models and some competitors, including Plymouth, whose overall sales were waning. Fiat resurrected the nameplate in 2012.
Production Years: 1960-1970
The Falcon came available in many body types—two-door and four-door sedans, two-door hardtops and convertibles, two-door and four-door station wagons, and coupe utility pickups. The car was the brainchild of Robert McNamara, before becoming Ford’s president and being offered the job of U.S. Defense Secretary. The car garnered record sales – more than half a million units sold in the first year and more than a million sold in the second year.
Production Years: 1961-1999
Also called the Oldsmobile F-85, this classic used a new Y-body platform (112-inch wheelbase) and unibody design. The first year Cutlass came available in two body styles – a four-door sedan or a four-door station wagon with either two or three seats. However, the company eventually launched the sporty F-85 Cutlass.
Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk
Production Years: 1962-1963
European and American influences went into the creation of the Gran Turismo Hawk in 1962, all incorporated by Brooks Stevens. Later, the Gran Turismo Hawk in 1973 was given birth as a mix of two predecessors: the 1962 GT Hawk and the Studebaker Avanti.
Production Years: 1963-1993, 1995-1999
This classic, personal luxury car featured a distinctive body shell unique to the marque and unusual for GM. It featured the new “ Coke bottle” look with tapered mid-section and flaring fenders. In 1966, the company widened and elongated the car’s curvaceous body. Vent windows—a GM-original feature since the 1930s, were removed. In 1971, the car received a radical restyling including a “boat-tail”, which was replaced by a “Colonnade” style in 1974.
Production Years: 1964-1990, 1985-1987, 1990-1991
This muscle car (pronounced “four-four-two” and originally written 4-4-2) began as an option package on the F-85 Cutlass models. The name refers to the car’s four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts. Oldsmobile revived the car in 1985 on the Cutlass Supreme and in 1991 on the Cutlass Calais.
Production Years: 1965-1996
There were plenty of Caprices to go around in the mid 60s as Chevrolet’s sales on various vehicles reached an all-time high. This vehicle ran for four generations under the Chevrolet brand before Holden, a GM company, took over. Aside from being produced by different companies, the production location changed over the years too: America, the Middle East, then North America again.
Production Years: 1965-1967
With the comfort and space of a mid-sized vehicle, a v8 engine, and a clean aesthetic, Rambler dropped the Marlin onto the market in 1965. The inspiration behind this car was the Mustang. Designer Dick Teague created the vehicle’s concept with youth as the target audience.
Productive Years: 1966 (Star Chief), 1967-1970 (Executive)
The Pontiac Executive nameplate replaced the Star Chief. In 1966, Pontiac released a Star Chief Executive, but the “Star Executive” portion of the name was dropped for the 1967 model. Executives were positioned between the Catalina and Bonneville as far as size and deluxe features go. Mechanically, the car was quite similar to the Catalina. This short-run model came available in a four-door pillared sedan, a two-door hardtop coupe, a four-door hardtop sedan, and Safari station wagons in two and three-seat versions.
After its initial production, this vehicle ran for four generations. Interestingly, the vehicle’s initial design concept was only intended to be that – a concept. Nonetheless, GM was pleased with the idea and turned it into a reality.
Despite not being named after a real animal like the Skylark, the Firebird is still quite fancy in its appearance. The compact pony car made a splash for a while and ran for four generations.
Production Years: 1968-1976
This intermediate-sized car is named after the city of Turin (Torino, in Italian), which was considered to be the “Italian Detroit”. It was initially an upscale variation of the Ford Fairlane. The model came as either a four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop, or a high-performance version fitted with large, powerful engines. The muscle car version became the base for the company’s NASCAR entrants.
Chevrolet K5 Blazer
Production Years: 1969-1994
The smallest of full-sized SUVs, the K5 Blazer is one of the staple creations in Chevrolet’s history. The vehicle was so popular that upon its release the vehicle outsold the competition, which included the Ford Bronco.
Cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s that No Longer Exist
Below is a comprehensive list of car models from the 1950s and 1960s that are no longer available from American manufacturers.
Cars from the 1950s
- Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton, 1952
- Mercury Monterey, 1952-1974
- Buick Skylark, 1953-1954, 1961-1972, 1975-1998
- Plymouth Plaza, 1954-1958
- Dodge Royal, 1954-1959
- Pontiac Star Chief, 1954-1966
- AMC Rambler, 1954-1969
- Plymouth Belvedere, 1954-1970
- Lincoln Premiere, 1955-1960
- Ford Fairlane, 1955-1970
- Pontiac Safari, 1955-1991
- Mercury Voyager, 1957-1958
- Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, 1957-1958
- Ford Del Rio, 1957-1958
- Ford Ranchero, 1957-1959
- Edsel Ranger, 1957-1960
- Mercury Colony Park, 1957-1991
- Edsel Bermuda, 1958
- Edsel Citation, 1958
- Edsel Pacer, 1958
- Edsel Roundup, 1958
- Edsel Corsair, 1958-1959
- Ford Galaxie, 1958-1974
- Buick Invicta, 1959-1963
- Plymouth Fury, 1959-1978
- Pontiac Catalina, 1959-1981
- Buick Electra, 1959-1990
Cars from the 1960s
- Dodge Polara, 1960-1973
- Mercury Comet, 1960-1977
- Oldsmobile Starfire, 1961-1966
- Chrysler Turbine Car, 1963-1964
- Buick Wildcat, 1963-1970
- Oldsmobile Jetstar, 1964-1966
- Mercury Cyclone, 1964-1971
- Oldsmobile Toronado, 1966-1992
- Pontiac Executive, 1967-1970
- Mercury Marquis, 1967-1986
- Mercury Cougar, 1967-1997, 1999-2002
- Mercury Montego, 1968-1976, 2004-2007
Finding an Oldie Today
Though these cars are no longer in production, there are still some people around who own these vehicles. That means there are a few you can find at various auctions, online and in-person. If you’re interested, Municibid’s one place where you can find one of these throwback and classic cars at an affordable price.