In post-war Europe, the car industry was being rebuilt, often with limited financial resources, following the destruction wrought by the war and the steel shortage.  In most countries, car brands were struggling to recover from the conflict and many had disappeared by the 1950s, some dying a slow death following attempts at consolidation and/or buyout. 

The Geneva International Motor Show returned in 1947 thanks exclusively to private funding, and was the first international show to be held after the war. The Paris Motor Show that took place in 1946 was only intended to showcase French brands under the aegis of the French government.

In terms of models on the market, dominant in the car industry were often pre-war vehicles that had been adapted, though cutting edge designs that had been worked on were also in production and were sometimes presented, shortly before the outbreak of the war. But it was the 1950s that heralded the emergence of true innovations.

The population, meanwhile, after years of restrictions, were eager to make up for lost time and have access to a car as soon as possible, but with limited means.  The car, a symbol of new-found freedom, was the means of transport to which everyone aspired.    

The Geneva International Motor Show, located at the heart of Europe, stands out for its neutrality and dynamism, and from 1947 onwards, has figured as a place of choice in the strategy of manufacturers from all over the world and in the hearts of visitors from Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy.

The Classics Gallery illustrates this period with seven popular post-war cars that have remained in collective memory not only in their own countries but throughout Europe.  Added to this, are two very rare microcars and a Peugeot 203 commercial, which continues the tradition of the transcontinental epics of the turn of the century and augurs well for the great African raids of the future.        

These vehicles will bring back memories for the older generation, while youngsters will discover cars from the latest generation.