100 Years ago: Cars of the Roaring '20s

Jan. 6, 2020

The 1920s was the decade in which consumer car culture really took off in the North American market. Changes in auto technology, marketing and the national economy boosted sales for both basic economy models and high-end luxury cars.

Jan. 6, 2020—It's the '20s again, and it's wild to think about American car culture now going back well past 100 years.

The 1920s were a time of economic boom, and more people could afford to put cars in front of their homes. Legendary models were launched in the decade by brands that still remain today.

Entering the 2020s, the auto industry is awash in egg-shaped crossover vehicles. So it's worth taking a look back at the radical designs introduced a century ago.

In a three-car roundup over at Jalopnik, one featured model is the eccentric Duesenberg Model J. The site notes that while an average car sold for $500 at the time, the Model J could run as much as $20,000 with all the options.

The Model J launched in 1928. Popular Mechanics wrote that the car could produce 265 hp, with a supercharged model pushing 320 hp.

Bugatti, Bentley, Benz and Rolls-Royce all produced beautiful luxury cars in the 1920s with models, like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, that continue today. But on the consumer side, U.S. domestic automakers saw big sales, too.

The 10 millionth Ford Model T was built in 1924, according to How Stuff Works. The Model A was launched later in the decade. But Chevrolet was really getting going as well with cars like the Series AC International, which sold for around $525 and rivaled Ford's production vehicles. It boasted a six-cylinder engine that produced 46 hp.

Auto production has come a long way in 100 years, and Americans' love of driving has only grown.

Image: Flickr / Sicnag