Cars and Australia in 1955

19. February 2015 14:34 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Sixty years ago, Australia was a much smaller, simpler nation. World War Two was well and truly in the past and the baby boomer generation were well and truly blossoming.

In 1955, the Australian Prime Minister was Robert Menzies,  HMAS Melbourne was commissioned into the Australian Navy and the controversial  Snowy River Hydroelectric Scheme started producing power for the first time. The number one song on the Aussie music charts in 1955 was ‘Hold My Hand’, by Don Cornell and Nat King Cole.

The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix was held at the former Port Wakefield Circuit and was won by Jack Brabham in a Cooper Bristol.

The Australian car scenery certainly looked very different to that of today. In 1955 there were 1.4 million passenger vehicles registered in Australia.  As a comparison that figure is now over 13 million.

For every 1,000 people in Australia in 1955, there was only 153 cars on our roads.  That has obviously changed with a much higher  568 cars per 1,000 people now grid locking roads across the country. We wonder what it might be like in another 50 years?

There was less people on our roads, but safety of roadways and vehicles was in contrast to now, quite primitive.  Seatbelts were not required to be worn until 1970 and the total road toll in 1955 was 2042 people. That is per capita nearly triple the current road toll statistics.

The FJ Holden was becoming the car of choice for many Australians, having only been released the year previously.  With a 2.2 litre straight six engine, the FJ produced around 65hp and would go on to be the iconic car it is today.  

Ford was offering the Ford Customline and also the Fordomatic vehicles, which were both powered by a Ford V8 and were a much larger car than the FJ Holden.

It was around 1955 that Drive-in theatres were starting to be introduced and no doubt many Aussies would have been taking their cars down to the local drive in theatre for a night out.

Times change, but it’s always good to look where we have come from and enjoy years gone by.

Luckily, with Rare Spares help, many of the cars from this era are still proudly kicking on.