I doubt "most" cars lacked oil filters that late, but some had no filter in the fifties. An optional partial-flow (bypass) cartridge filter was on my parents' 1954 Chevy. My former landlady's '55 Chevy (similar engine) without the then-optional filter made it well past 100K, without becoming a serious oil guzzler. A full-flow filter with a tear becomes a bypass filter. My 1962 Chevrolet owner's manual implies an oil filter was standard by then. My parents' 1959 Rambler had a standard spin-on full-flow filter, which was new technology then.
Originally Posted by Linctex
... So many people forget that most all cars - even up into the early 60's - - had NO OIL FILTER at all! Even in torn oil filters, most of the oil is getting filtered. ...