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Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

Number twenty-nine in the Fun Friday Kodachrome Image series starts out with the lead photo showing a pair of University of Wisconsin fans. Judging by their dress, and the fact that there are not any leaves on the trees would lead one to believe it was in the fall and they were football fans. The image, taken in the early-to-mid-fifties shows a clean-looking Ford convertible.

As is normal practice with this series, we ask our readers to tell us the year, make and model of all of these cars along with anything thing else of interest in the photos. You can look back on all the earlier parts of this series here. The photos are via Americar.

1950s mercedes gullwing coupe

  • This image at an event shows us a Mercedes Gullwing coupe, and a pair of Ford and Lincoln hardtops.  

1955 chevy sedan delivery

  • Ballantine certainly went to great pains to paint this Chevrolet the color of its “Brewers Gold”

late 1950s cadillac hardtop

  • A late-1950s Cadillac equipped with flags pulling a cargo trailer possibly used as a parade float? 

1950s cars

  • A state capital in the background with American Legionnaires posing with the flag and a VW pickup. 

43 responses to “Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

  1. David … What a good job you do, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy, not just this feature , but all you and your staff-I hope- do in bringing the highly Informative and equally entertaining “The Old Motor” web zine to us … I’m so glad I discovered you!!! Kudos, Kudos!!! More to come on this week’s feature later

    • Graham, Thank you, comments like yours make all the long hours worth it. The “We” I may mention in my posts includes our two Labrodor Retreivers that spend most of their time with me here in the workshop:

      There is no staff at all at The Old Motor, but I am fortunate and thankful for a few great writers that submit articles from time to time, and for the readers that send in photos.

  2. The building in the last picture appears to be the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul. The 1958 Buick in the front seems to be the newest vehicle. 1958 was the centennial of Minnesota statehood so perhaps the flag and Legionaires are involved in a celebration of that event.

    • Yes. That is Minnesota State Capitol. The building on the right was the Minnesota Historical Society building which got rebuilt and refurbished as the Minnesota Supreme Court and offices when the History Center was built about 1/4 mile behind where this photo was shot. My father worked for 42 years for department of Human Services which was the next building in line with history center but out of the picture.

      I love the VW T2 Pickup. The 50 Buick with the waterfall grille is great and the Mopar hardtop at lower right is gorgeous.

    • That would be 1958, as the flag is the 48 star version. In 1959, the flag would have 50 stars (if the flag bearer was up-to-date).

  3. WOW. The lead photo put me in the ‘ way back ‘ machine!

    The Ford convertible ( but yellow ) could have been my Father’s first car after moving out of Manhattan for the suburbs.

    As per the ‘ Wisconsin fans’, Pop’s Saturday morning uniform was a tweed sport coat and tie….to go to the local lumber yard to order supplies for his next remodeling project. Home Contractors hadn’t been invented yet.

  4. While I’m not a big Badgers fan, these 2 brothers(?) clearly are, and are going to the game in their new ’51 Ford ragtop. (which is a little unusual for Wis.) Car across the street has a visor.
    Gullwings are cool cars, but I’m more interested in the ’57 (?) Lincoln Premiere behind it.
    While the ’55 sedan delivery is really cool, I’m more focused on the yard behind it. It appears there are a dozen new ’55 or ’56 Chevy LCF ( low cab forward) , possibly road tractors, waiting to be delivered and a lone White 3000 cab over. A bunch of stuff to the right, can’t make them out, though.
    The Caddy’s front plate says “St. Louis”, possibly a dealer?
    The capital photo, I’ve seen before. Aside from the cool ’50’s cars, the VW, I believe, was a dealer promotion, ( Schneider Motors) and has a rare “grill guard”. Mike Wolf from “American Pickers” has a VW pickup like that with the grill guard, and claims they are hard to find. Look at how out of the date the Plymouth looks compared to the ’58 Buick in only a few years.
    I too want to thank you for the time you spend on these, so we can enjoy images of the past. On Friday’s, I check this first, even before Hemmings, and you can take that as a compliment. 🙂

      • hard to tell without seeing the front fender badging. I believe the badging is the only exterior difference. All the La Femme goodies were on the inside. The color in itself was a popular color.


        • Last week the ’51 medium green metallic Chevy got generated a lot of color discussion… the Ford convertible sports FoMoCo’s version of the years’ medium green metallic. Packard comes to mind, also.

  5. The 48 star flag by the VW, the flags at half staff at the top of the Minnesota State Capital Building, along with the 1958 Buick make me think this is probably Memorial Day 1958 or 1959. The 48 star U.S. flag continued to be used until July 3, 1959. From 1818 on, stars have been officially added on July 4th following the entrance of a new state to the union. Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959 so the 48 star flag continued in use on Memorial Day of that year.

          • The flag is the Serbian flag as used from 1835 to 1918. In the period 1912 – 1918 thousands of American-Serbians volunteered through the Consulate in New York to serve on the Serbian front per Wikipedia’s Serbian American page. 2012 American Community Survey estimated 199,080 US citizens of Serb ethnicity. Racing driver Bill Vukuvich is a Serbian American. Small world.

    • You’re right, Chris…
      it’s the PRESENT day “Russkie”flag upside down, maybe means they could be in real peril now …
      Not then tho, in ’59 when that Cadillac was rolling on our roads, OUR peril was the Cold War, Moscow, Berlin airlift, Russian and Cuban missiles, Eastern European satelites, bomb shelters, Kruschev(?), “Sovietskies”, the KGB, Commies, and everything else that mite be coming to our shores then…
      That six window ’59 Caddie Sedan DeVille hardtop was, to the world, our proud American Flagship; “Flying Fins Forever” (never had they flown so high) in the face of all those threats to our way of life.
      What a great statement of America it was for us at that perilous time on the edge !!! I think that’s one reason why Elvis Presley (a proud Cold War vet) liked Cadillacs so, too!!!

      DG… I can’t find it either, the fender flag I mean …

      • Well I must be color blind or just having a flashback from the sixties (Far out Man!)
        The flag as it stands is of course. The flag of the Misiones Province, of Argentina. How we all missed that I’ll never know!


  6. Though the foliage appears later in the season, on 9/11/1959, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands was treated to a ticker-tape parade on Broadway. Could the red Cadillac have participated in the event?

    • And with the ’51 Ford top up, perhaps the car’s owner (presumably a veteran) has returned to La Crosse from a warmer climate for a homecoming game ?

  7. A car of interest in the last pic is the 2nd from the right in the back row. It seems to be a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere sporting a two-tone paint job which was usually only available on the convertible and hardtop coupe. Check out all the available contemporary dealer brochures or sales literature… The two-tone treatment for 4 doors came in 1956, at least in the USA. This makes me think the car is a CANADIAN plymouth. Since the place is Minnesota, near the border of Canada, this could be very well possible. There were subtle differences between the Canadian and USA-mopars. The car itself may also be a Plymouth-based Dodge Mayfair or DeSoto Diplomat. It’s just not visible from the rear, one has to see the front clip to be sure.

  8. The 1950 Plymouth in the bottom picture reminds me of one an older cousin had in the late 60’s. He put in rolled interior and a floor shift and called it “Captain America “.

    • Of course the one I passed up was the Gull Wing listed in the classified section of Car and Driver for $1400. I’ll admit it was a couple of years ago and the car had been totaled, but It was $1400.


  9. Thanks not only to compiled these fine Friday photos, but also to those who fill in the details (and help tell the stories0 of each picture.

    That ’55 Chevy panel must have brought back some fine memories as well…even brought to mind an old Ballantine’s ad jingle, maybe?

    Was “Anniversary Gold” available as a regular-production color on light-commercials like the sedan deliver in 1955, or was it painted that way post-assembly?

    • I seem to recall seeing a promotional postcard from a local Chevy dealer featuring a same “gold” ’55 Bel Air sedan against a blue background, on the reverse side a black ‘n white foto of the sedan w/ a big 50 millionth( or something) sign ‘cross the windshield w lots of smiling people about, the card inviting the recipient to an affair at that dealer’s showroom to celebrate… some thing Don Draper of Mad Men dreamed up for us customers across the nation, I’m sure.

  10. In St Paul, MN the 1955 Dodge 2 door hardtop is a Coronet Lancer V8 or Royal Lancer V8 not a La Femme nor a Custom Royal Lancer V8. Both La Femme and top of the line Custom Royal Lancer V8s, on which its based, have small chrome “fins” on their rear fenders. They also have a chrome trim strip along the bottom of the rocker panel which doesn’t appear to be present on the car in the photo.

    Interesting to note today the VW pickup is likely the most valuable collector car present, at least in the foreground of this photo.

    The Ballantine ale pic reminded me that a 1955 Chevy sedan delivery gave up its “bucket” (individual) seats for my ’47 Ford coupe.

    • Robert …I thot the same, Aiken for polo (?), but the concessions, as well as grounds looked a little down market; maybe harness racing at the county fair? Beyond the red shirt, could it be a ’57-8 Mercury wagon?

    • James , you maybe right on the VW pickup, depending on condition, the “micros” sustained a lot of rust over the years, particularly in the north…
      but for me the ’50 Buick Roadmaster Riviera Sedan was the outstanding vehicle, all it needs is the optional sweep spear. It was Curtice’s ” poke in the eye” to Cadillac.. to accomodate Buick’s long Fireball straight eight, ahead of it’s firewall Buick had the longest hood in GM’s entire line with a wheelbase to match. Ergo, Buick’s senior Roadmaster sedan was larger, longer than Cadillac’s Fleetwood 60 Special Sedan . That distinction disappeared with the advent of Buicks “nailhead” V8 in 1953. “Roadmaster… Custombuilt by Buick”. It was a very imposing car at the time.

      • Having never lived in the rust belt, salted winter roads nor sea shore iron oxide generator conditions, I have never purchased a rusty machine let alone a rust bucket. My value estimate is based on very good originals or restored cars. I was transplanted by family fiat (not the car) from the west to the south at age 11 which, on the plus side, did give me access to a private road and thus began driving cars & trucks including a used ’50 Buick – even employed by the state as (16 yr old high school senior) a school bus driver for the grand sum of $1.25 a day. Yes, paid a buck and a quarter a day for a couple of hours safely transporting up to 30+ students.

        Have always liked Russell Brockbanks’ brilliant cartoons from the fifties.

        One shows a bored old British mechanic draped over the car’s fender listening to a gent, the “Buick” driver drone on, “I’ve checked the Dyansurge Drive, the Gas Miser and the Hydromatic Sweetsurger, and I’m “still” short of Fireball Power.”

      • James… From about the middle/ early ’50’s to the late 60”s Chrysler introduced promotional vehicles midyear for sales impact… they were sometimes called spring /summer special editons and featured special colors/ appointments, exterior trim and distinctive touches like flowered Vinyl roofs on Barracudas … maybe the Belvedere sedan was onesuch… also,I think that was the case in the aforementioned La Femme by Dodge

  11. In the last photo in front of the capitol building it appears that the VW pickup is from a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. I thought it a bit odd.

    • Yeah, That close to WW2, Anything German that was owned by a Veterans’ group would more likely be war trophys like some Lugers or K98s!

    • I think she’s thinking , ” Why the hell did he ever buy this car… if I ever get in it , I’ll never get out of it!!!”

  12. A few things intrigue me here. First, what’s up with that line of GM (and one White) COEs behind the Ballentine Chevy – and what’s the institutional-looking complex in the background? There was a Lynbrook State Mental hospital, I believe – could that be it?

    Second, what kind of event are our gullwing owners attending? The cars all look new, and mostly upscale – the Fairline 500 seems to be the only “low price” car in the shot – but the venue suggests more county fair than horse jumping. There’s definitely something going on in the background, as you can see a line of cars looking down on a field.

    Also, in the event shot, notice the back of a ’57-59 Mopar wagon, just to the right of the guy in the red shirt.

  13. That ’55 Plymouth appears to be a Savoy with mid-year trim. I believe that ’55 Dodge is a LaFemme. And may I add my thanks for the magnificent work you do in providing us these photos and stories to enjoy, David.

    Alden and thanks for letting me use you treasure trove of photos!!

    Note that off-site links are no longer allowed:

  14. I can picture those blue LCF Chevy trucks with gold lettering and the Ballentine three rings on the door. This could be at the truck shop where the beverage bodies were built and installed. If it were in New Jersey it could have been the Adam Black and Sons shops in Jersey City.

  15. Cannot believe that you settled on the Capitol bldg as Minnesota.
    It is the capitol of Colorado, located 12 blocks from where I sit typing
    this. Taken from our City/County bldg, 2 blocks directly west of the
    Capitol. The smaller bldg on the right was originally the Carnegie
    Library and is in reality on the left side of the picture. The whole
    The entire 2 blocks is part of what we call Civic Center Park.

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