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Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

Number twenty-one in the Fun, Friday Kodachrome Image series starts out with the lead photo of a bright red or orange Mercury hardtop wearing with a 1954 New Jersey license plate. 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.

1954 Mercury Coupe

  • This set of photos looks like a successful son that came home for a visit sporting a new car.

1950s Fords with desert water bottles

  • This photo taken at a Texaco station looks like an advertisement for the desert water bag.

1950s Hudson

  • There is a 1951 California dealer plate on this green Hudson, note venetian blind in the rear window.

Anchorage, Alaska 1950s Cars

  • An early-1950s street scene in Anchorage, Alaska filled with both pre and post-war cars and trucks.

1950s Packard

  • The see-through yellow plastic device on the hood of this big green Packard is a windshield bug deflector. 

28 responses to “Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

  1. The Fur Rondy has been going on a long time. They used to have a ‘Running of the Caribou’ event similar to the bulls in Spain. All for fur, fur for all. There is a big Zenith sign on the street too. Probably need all the light you can get in the winter months.

    • I used to think that the 1954 Mercury Sun Valley with the plexi glass top was the most beautiful car on earth. Mercury was an upgraded Ford in the 50’s , but Lincoln did something strange in 1955, they stayed with the old Ford based body and while Ford and Merc had wrap around windshields Lincoln did not.

      • I agree, John, and the ’54 Merc Monterey is still one of my favourites. I had a 4-door metallic emerald green with white top in the early ’60s, and miss it to this day.

  2. The red Merc looks like a Monterey, and it looks more like the “big shot brother” rubbing it in to the older brother.
    Apparently, water bags were pretty popular. Never needed them in the Mid-West. Some creative strapping on the roof of the ’53 Ford. ( and a seemingly identical one next to it. Wonder what that was all about?) Plates are mid-50’s California.
    Hudson, just a beautiful car.
    The Anchorage Fur one, was a “carspotting” feature on Hemmings a while back. ( in case you aren’t familiar with the feature, it’s similar to this, but Old Motor tends to focus on just a few cars, while the Hemmings feature tends to focus on parking lots, traffic jams, etc) I believe we determined this was the 1955 event.
    The Packard , I believe, is a ’51 or ’52, and could be a fancy one, ( Patrician or Mayfair?) They had so many models then. 3 attendants to serve the customer? WOW. Like the bug deflector. I thought maybe it was a traffic light finder. Thanks again for the pics.

    • I think you’re right, Howard. I notice that second photo has a ’55 Ford, two ’53 Fords and a ’55 Chevy. About the right ratio . . . . 🙂

    • I agree…The all new ’51 Packard took the traditional Packard grille to an all new level… and I always thought the 3 ” can openers ” on the rear quarter panels of the 400 series were an interesting distinction from the plain 300 series…. maybe Packard,’s renowned featured stylist Dorothy Draper came up with that incongruous touch… and was the rear window divided into three units unique to the ’51 Senior Packards ? That was a fantastic car to ride in the rear seat for a gangly thirteen year old boy- it was huge… I love the whole entire nostalgia photo series, Can’t wait for next month!!!

  3. 1951 two toned Packard. It is one of the senior cars. Can’t tell if it is a 300 or 400. Note no front license plate. That thin Korean War chrome plated grille sure looks good.

    • Hi Travis, indeed, tis’ a flat fendered Willy’s 4×4 ( lockouts on front axle) and what appears to be radials. I’m thinking this picture may not be from 1951. The added turn signals on the fender appear to be from a ’70’s semi tractor.

  4. Interesting to see the water bags on the front of the cars. This was an Australian invention and still is a must for travellors in the outback always having cool drinking water. In the fifties around Australia car trials were exciting and I remember most competitors (and ordinary motorists) had these bug deflectors on their vehicles. Always thought these were an Aussie invention, interesting to see you guys also had them.

    • Hi Jeff, I believe , it’s a ’51 Hudson Hornet, withOUT the twin H power. I think the badge says “Super 8” on the side, and would have a “H” if it was the twin carb model. This car shows up in a couple of places online, so I’m pretty sure it’s not 1951.

      • Based on its lack of full-length chrome spears on its body sides, the Hudson appears to be a Pacemaker; either a ’51 or ’52 (I’m leaning towards ’52).

  5. The door on the red Merc has likely been repaired. That bad a mismatch would not have been allowed out of the plant even in the lax quality culture of 1954.

  6. I thought the street scene in Anchorage looked familiar. So I googled it. That street was heavily damaged by the 1964 earthquake. Some of the businesses in your photos were still there in 1964.

  7. That Hudson is probably a Commodore or a Pacemaker. When those bodies were introduced, they were way ahead of the pack in styling. They were probably the lowest cars on the road.

  8. THE PAINT ON THE MERC’s RH door is one or two tones darker . If this is a “new” car you can almost bet that “IT HAPPENED at the DEALERSHIP”, what-ever happened. A Body Shop Foreman’s nightmare! On the Hudsdon: The “DEVICE ” on the rear window is to accomodate the necks of passengers, due to Hudson’s EXCELLENT Aerodynamics, which allow “Solar Cooking” to happen, in those pre-tint days. NOW: AS to “Venetian”: these Venetian “blinds”, — they are actually “Venetian SLATS” , NON- adjustable (on purpose), so a KID or so-called “ADULT” in the backseat —CANNOT fool with them, thus preventing an unwanted accident. Aerodynamics AND Anti-Sunburn are BOTH accomodated . ’49 through ’51 Merc’s & Lincolns also have this accessory available, —easily “dusted” with a home vacuum cleaner “Venetian” attachment. The “BUGLY” DEFLECTOR: IF the car had a mid-hood chrome strip — installation was an easy clamp, otherwise, it meant permanent holes. The “TRAFFICATOR , a PLASTIC clear “prismatic wide-angle lens was typically anchored to the “surround” LHS front widow frame , to see the traffic light CHANGE. This accessory is STILL available in some old Ford Parts Supplier catalogs! The Waterbag: A MUST for climbing the (Summer) mountain passes and desert travel in California. One, or BETTER: Two on each side of the headlight bar did the job . My AA Ford Truck has one, (of Course!). The LARGER trucks had the bigger version of this Flax-Woven bag. These required PRE-soaking before use. (They are still available, but places to HANG them, have mostly DIS-appeared. ya gotta get creative!
    Edwin – 30 –

  9. By 1956 it seems technology had caught up with reality and a lot of the overheating problems were solved. We packed 4 kids and two adults with luggage into a ’56 Chevy Stovebolt an drove through the deserts from LA to Texas in mid-summer without any overheating or the use of desert bags, not so easy with our ’48 Chevy with a smaller load. Still saw them on the road, but by the time we did the same trip in our ’63 Chevy, they were long gone. Living in SoCal, we never really needed AC, but somehow we all had a great time doing the desert without it. Guess Mom’s lemonade helped us a bit.

  10. I had a new 54 Monterey hard top, it always started hard (6 volt) overhead valve, but in 55 I put the Montclair trim on the doors and it was sharp. I also in more recent years purchased a sun valley. Started hard but was sharp.

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