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Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

Updated – Number nineteen in the Fun, Friday Kodachrome Image series starts out with the lead photo of a UTOCO station that was part of Standard Oil Company. The “Rancho Service” station was family owned and in an unknown location in the state of Utah if that was UTOCO’s only territory. Perhaps a reader will know more about the location?

For the other four images, we will list a few details about each one. As is normal practice with this series, we ask our readers to tell us the year, make and model of all of these cars. You can look back on all the earlier parts of this series here. The photos are via Americar.

Update – Thanks to reader Tin Indian, who has identified the lead photo that shows the Canyon Rancho Lodge in Orderville, Utah in the background. He also found that in 1960 UTOCO was in six states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.


  • This photo looks like a shot of a proud new owner in Connecticut with a yellow Pontiac hardtop. Note how the yellow paint in the wheel well is still clean, and the curb feeler just behind the front wheel.


  • We do not know when pickup truck campers first came on the market, but this one in a Studebaker pickup with California plates must be an early one. Note the spare tire on one of the old fashioned suction cup style of roof racks that attached to the drip rail with straps. 


  • This Texaco Station photo is labeled as being taken in, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Check out the Volkswagen with the headlight visors and the add-on hood ornament. 


  • This image of an Edsel looks like it was taken during the setup of a FOMOCO exit much like GM’s Parade of Progress exhibits. This section exhibits the station wagon and its use as a camper.

19 responses to “Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

  1. 1st pic, such a great time to travel. The “gas stop” was always highly looked forward to, and family owned stations took pride in their business, especially “clean rest rooms”. Not like today. ( disgusting rest rooms) I think the Native-Americans take offense to statues like that now, depicting Indians as hatchet wielding maniacs.
    I think the Poncho is a ’54 Star Chief, and pride of the owner beams for good reason.
    The Studebaker has to be a ’53 or older and it seemed the ’60’s is when pickup campers became big. My old man had those suction cup roof carriers. Never remember losing one.
    The Texaco one shows a very fancy VW, a Ford service truck (with a flat tire) and, although, before my time, “Marfak” was the brand of grease Texaco used. Nice ’56 “Roadmasher”.
    The Edsel appears to be a ’58 Bermuda, top of the line(?) I see an Evinrude outboard through the window of the Edsel. Great pics, thanks again, love the series.

  2. The Pontiac in the 2nd photo is a 54 Star Chief Custom Catalina. The Buick in front of the Texaco Station is a 56 Century. My Father had one just like it that had factory a/C & dual exhausts.

    • Hi Bob, thanks. I thought all 4 porthole Buick’s were Roadmasters and the Century had 3. Apparently, that wasn’t the case in ’56.

      • When Buick introduced ‘ventiports’ in 1949, the number of port holes related to engine size. The Roadmaster had the larger, longer 263 cu in enginge, requiring a longer front room. So, it got 4 ports, instead of the 3 the other models had. In 1955 the Century and Super shared the bigger 322 cu in engine with the Roadmaster. Those models had 4 ports. The Special had the smaller 264 cu in engine and only 3 ports. In 1956 Buick gave all models the 322 cu in engine, but kept just 3 ports on the Special.

  3. I so look forward to Kodachrome Fridays.

    My thoughts:

    1) The gas station has a 51 Ford Custom. The Chevrolets are 49 or 50, 51 or 52. The sign says “All Credit Cards Accepted”. Diners Club appeared in 1950, but I thought it was linked only to restaurants. Did they mean gas company credit cards? Did they exist then? Surely they didn’t mean department store credit cards.

    2) I love how the lady’s dress color matches the Studebaker

    3) I really love that the Edsel has NO accessories. And, this for a factory display. No whitewalls. No wheel covers. No outside mirror. No radio (at least no antenna). It does have a two-tone paint scheme. So unlike the cars you see at antique car shows that look as though they “drove through JC Whitney with a magnet”.

    • Ditto to Mike Canfield . . . waxing nostalgic on Friday, and forwarding the link to my aging father. One of the few things in this computer world that I truly enjoy. Thank you all, from the producers to the those who reply with such in-depth knowledge, insight and better eyes than I can ever hope for.

  4. Number 1…The antlers going around the roof. Mule deer? Number 2… nice Pontiac. Number 3…The camper looks to be a generous size for the job. The truck looks like it still has a good shine, a radio antenna, and a right side rearview mirror. It seems the trucking industry was slow to adopt that feature. The 4th..that is quite the dolled up Beetle. Last is the Edsel. I’ve always liked station wagon and woodies. Real or Dy-noc, it looks good to be, although it’s a bugger to re-do one.

    • I find the Edsel intriguing in that it would appear with be a Bermuda ( only model with the woodgrain sides?), and yet is wearing modest hubcaps, and is not loaded-down with accessories and ornament …

      Neat series of photos.

  5. The tan two-tone Chevrolet coupe at the gas pump is a 50 Chevrolet Deluxe. The other partially obscured Chevrolet is a 51 Styleline Deluxe Belair coupe.

    • I thought that ’51 Chevy was a Belair! I am not an expert on those by any means, but isn’t that the first year for the hard-top Belair?
      As an instructive note, ’51 is determined by the grill (not “toothy”) and the little grill in the lower corner. ’52 had the toothy grill and a parking lamp in the lower corner. Grills of course could have been changed for a variety of reasons, but those details usually work with these cars. They were not like model T Fords with lots of crossover time in manufacturing between model years.
      I agree with ’50 for the other Chevrolet. It is difficult to tell through the bug screen, but again, it is the grill. The ’49 had extra vertical bars in the lower part of the grill making it appear “toothy”. The ’50 did not have those bars and therefore no toothy look. I cannot be 100 percent certain, but I do not see the extra bars through the bug screen.
      As a side note, “toothy” may be a Califunny colloquialism? But it was how I learned these a long time ago.

      Again, thank you David G et al. A wonderful set of photos. And many great comments, fore and aft.

    • Location of first photo is Canyon Rancho Lodge Orderville UT. See the antlers on top of the canopy? Internet search for “John Margolies Collection / 0041UtocoGas” to see another 1952 picture.

  6. In the top photo, it appears to be probably a ’49 Chevy at the pump with a ’51 Ford at rear. Far right is likely a ’51-’52 Chevy. The Pontiac is indeed a ’54 Star Chief Catalina (hardtop).

    I would say the Stude pickup is around a ’50. In the Texaco photo, it IS a ’56 Buick Century (only the Special was a three-holer by then, and this one is the small body shell, ergo a Century.) The truck appears to be around a ’50. As for the VW, with an ornament like that, I’m not at all sure I care.

  7. VW at the Texaco station is 1958 or newer, can’t tell more than that. Bugs up to 1957 had the small rear windows and had small turn signals low on the front fender. In 1958 those signal lamps were moved to the top of the fenders.

  8. I love the comments on how the Edsel is devoid of whitewalls and accessories. I agree totally that too many spices spoils the casserole. When it came time for me to put tires on my 1928 Studebaker Dictator, I ordered blackwalls, and the guy that helped me at the tire dealer actually thanked me for not ordering whitewalls!

  9. The Texas-Mexico Oil Co. was receiving so many complaints about restrooms that it actually hired a bunch of women with spiffy uniforms to to go around to Texaco stations and inspect the restrooms and grade them according to cleanliness. Dealers had to comply or get in trouble with the main office.

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