Companies that had formerly produced horse drawn vehicles became car manufacturers or built bodies on chassis produced by others. Many of the expensive 1920s cars were custom built for their wealthy owners.
Meanwhile, Americans fell in love with their cars. The 1920's cars brought people to different places, touring towns all over the country. Autocamping became a national fad and pastime. 1922 saw 15 million autocampers on the road, a relatively safe and inexpensive way for families to go out and have fun, as well as see the countrysides.
Young people, who before were restricted to meet in their porches, now found themselves in the privacy of their cars, which scared most parents.
The rapidly growing automobile industry led by Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company produced new and better models every year. Increased wages and lower cost vehicles through mass production made cars increasingly affordable, although 3 out of 4 cars were bought on installment plans which is basically how people today finance their cars.
Henry Ford, had a lot of profits from his Model T Ford, became complacent. He was unwilling to acknowledge the changing nature of the marketplace and it almost proved to be his undoing.
People wanted a different car than the Model T. America in the 1920s was a rich and ambitious place. Its consumers wanted more than functional cars - they wanted their cars to reflect on their status, they wanted to feel rich.
Although the 1920s was a difficult time for many small, independent car makers, it was a great time for some of the larger independents: Packard, Willy-Overland, Hudson, Nash, and Studebaker.
1926 Packard Twin 6 Roadster
1927 Willys Overland Whippet 93A
1929 Hudson7 Roadster
Another fine-looking 20's cars.
1920 Nash Touring
1929 Studebaker Roadster
The most successful of the independents were Errett L. Cord and Walter P. Chrysler
Cord, a former race car driver and salesman, joined the Auburn Automobile Company in 1924 which was sagging at that time. He turned the company around. He understood what the consumers wanted, therefore he built 1920's automobiles which were sturdy, sleek, reliable, and more expensive than the rest. But they were popular.
He soon joined forces with the Duesenberg brothers, Fred and Augie, to produce a line of passenger cars that would be the envy of the entire industry, including the modest Model A Duesenberg and later in the 1920s, the lavish Model J.
1929 Cord L29
1923 Duesenberg Model A Touring Car
1929 Duesenberg Model J
One of the biggest motoring events of 1927 was the release of the "new Ford", the Model A,
which replaced the long-standing Model T after 18 years of production.
New makes of 1920's cars proliferated - from the low cost Model T Ford through to the even more expensive Rolls Royce .
Rolls Royce Sport Phantom
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo
Most of the carmakers no longer exist or have been amalgamated but many of the old car names like Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet - (GM Motors), Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Lincoln , and Oldsmobile live on today.
1928 Cadillac Convertible Coupe
1921 Dodge Roadster
1929 Lincoln Model-L Dual Cowl Phaeton
1921 Oldsmobile 43A Series Touring
Others like the Auburn, Cole, Crow, Davis, Dixie, Durant, Elcar, Grant, King, Kline, Lafayette, Kurtz, Marmon, Mercer, Overland, Peerless, Pilot, Roamer, Saxon, Stearns, Velie, Wescott and Winton are only seen in vintage car shows today.
1926 Durant Star Speedster
1927 Elcar Roadster
1922 LaFayette-134 Touring
1922 Marmon Pace Car Speedster
1927 Peerless Six-90 Sedan
1920 Roamer Roadster
1928 Stearns Knight