How cars have progressed:
1950 to 2014 and beyond.

How cars have progressed 1950 to 2014 and beyond.
A look at the development of cars from 1950 into the changing times
of the second decade of the Twenty-first Century
Published by: All Car Central Plublishing
Date published: 04/10/2014


I think I have lived and drove through an interesting automotive era. My first car, a 1949 Ford,(not the one in the photo, Mine was really ratty) as well as my friend's cars had a very minimal heater and no AC. I lived in Ogden, Utah where the winters can leave a mark on a person. My feet were always cold. The cars mostly had flat-heads and the HP was well under 100. American cars never had good suspension and being a kid I overheated the minimal drum brakes often. I worked my way up to a 1952 Olds with power everything. Even a great heater and a bigger engine. It got 12MPG!

There were gas stations in the West every 50 miles as that originally was the distance that a man could ride a horse in a day and later as far as a car could travel in the open highways of the West between stops for gas, water, parts, etc.


I went to the SCCA Road Races in Salt Lake City and fell in love with the sports car thing. I traded my '52 Olds for a MGTD. This car had NO heater, and wait, no side-curtains. This was my go-to-ski-car. I even drove this car to Sun Valley, Idaho in the middle of the winter to go skiing. The most challenging drive was from Ogden to LA and back in the summer. Cars carried canvas bags of water hanging on the outside in case of being stranded on the lonely desert 2 lane state highways. (yes that is my MG back in 1960)

Then came the 1958 Alfa Spider. It had a heater, but it soon gave up, and roll-up windows. I still froze, but it was fast, had about 98 HP with a DOHC and only weighed 1800 lbs. and great big brakes. The American cars of the time were getting overhead valves and moving into 150 HP but still no suspension or brakes. That was left up to the Jaguars and Ferraris.


Now I drive a car with nearly 400 HP, automatic-preset cabin temperature control, power everything, rain sensing wipers, heated seats. (That's my 911 at Laguna Seca) It gives me a head rush with its acceleration and has brakes that are equal. There is even an onboard computer that tells me everything about the car and is linked to satellites in the sky that tells me where I am at and where to go.

The cars that I get to test drive makes my car act 'wimpy' and now I read that street car makers are looking at electric motors to engage the driveline to "fill-in" the power gap when the driver asks for more speed before the turbo is working at full RPM. There are already electric motors used in racecars for power-bursts.


I just drove an all-electric Tesla that had no internal combustion engine but power everything. And there is talk that in a few years there will be all-electric cars without batteries as we now know them, but with some kind of electronic power-storing device (super capacitor) that will recharge really fast.

So in my driving lifetime, from 1956 to 2014, I have gone from cars with minimal operating systems that needed 'aid' stations every 50 miles and canvas water bags hanging on the outside, to cars that only need attention every 12 months and will accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. The future? Cars that drive us, and charge off the sun?


An early self guiding vehicle created by Stanford Racing Team, in 2007 (Stanford Racing Team Image).

One of the problems is how to train the guidance system to follow the hand signals that a human traffic cop or crossing guard might make.

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