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Tribute to the Tail Fin Design of the 1950s

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning Fighter with its massive tail fins.

American industrial designer George W. Walker with his futuristic concept car.

A rare Ferrari Hydroplane Type Arno XI with Tail Fin from 1953.

The Alfa Romeo Bat 7 designed by Bertone for Alfa Romeo in 1954.

The 1954 Ford FX-Atmos with Rocket Inspired Styling.

General Motors Firebird II from 1956 ready to strike.

The streamlined Jaguar 'D Type' from 1954.

Tribute to the Tail Fin Design of the 1950s

The tail fin era of styling encompassed the 1950s and 1960s, peaking between 1954 and 1960. It was a style that spread worldwide but foremost in the US, as car designers picked up styling trends inspired by the Space Race. This period was the golden epoch of American car design.  Europe certainly followed but the design was more constraint. 

General Motors design chief Harley Earl is generally credited for the automobile tail fin, introducing small fins on the 1948 Cadillac. Harley Earl credited the look of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning Fighter for his inspiration. As jet-powered aircraft, rockets, space flight and 'The Jetsons' entered into public recognition, the automotive tail fin assemblies (including tail lights) were designed to resemble more and more the tail fin and engine sections of contemporary jet fighters and space rockets.