The American Automobile Frenzy of the 1950s

Avner Offer

in The Challenge of Affluence

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696015 | DOI:

Series: The Challenge of Affluence

The American Automobile Frenzy of the 1950s

Show Summary Details


This chapter looks into the American automobile frenzy in the 1950s. Even more so than household appliances, motor cars are shiny, expensive, long-lasting durables. Yet in the marketing of motor cars to American society in the 1950s, producers fell over each other in a frenzy of styling novelty. For buyers of new cars, the strongest selling point was sensual gratification, rather than status signaling. Eventually, many consumers reacted to styling excess by downshifting to more austere cars.

Keywords: automobile; America; sensual gratification; 1950s; consumer satisfaction; novelty

Chapter.  7219 words.  Illustrated.

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.