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Five Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

For number thirty-nine in the “Fun Friday Kodachrome Image Series,” the lead image is a late-fifties Plymouth hardtop. The desert gold and sand dune white paint scheme should trigger memories of another identical car. This example parked with an impressive mountain range in the background was on a skiing excursion. Tell us all about the car and the location.

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 else of interest in the photos. You can look back on all the earlier parts of this series here. The photos are via Americar.

Late 1950s Oldsmobile

  • This might be your father’s Oldsmobile and trailer?

1950s Dodge Sedan

  • An early-1950s Dodge with a big-city bumper and grille guard.

Willys Jeep

  • With the post-war building boom ongoing, this Willys Jeep with a hardtop is at a building site.

1950s Ford Station Wagon

  • A popular version of Ford’s fifties station wagon line is a backdrop for a woman with a red purse.

40 responses to “Five Five Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Images

  1. I learned to drive in our ’53 Dodge Coronet with the “Red Ram” (hemi) V8. I believe that the 6 cylinder models did not have the opening in the front of the hood – just a Dodge emblem.

  2. The ’57 Plymouth Belvedere was an all new car, with a 318 and torsion bar suspension. Look at those fins. It may have had 2, 4bbls. The 59 Olds wagon looks like it’s pulling a Scotty trailer, but not sure. The Dodge looks like a ’53 Coronet and could have had the “Red Ram Hemi V-8. I’m sure the grill guard was aftermarket. Those guards saved many a grill, as bumpers back then were for bumping. The late 40’s Willys appears to have a stock 1/2 cab. Very popular. And Mom, ready for church, standing next to their new ’55 Ford Country Squire, which I believe was top of the line.

    • Only the Fury had the 318 with 2 4bbls! The other Plymouths for 1957 were standard with the 230 I-6. Optional were the 277 and 301 engines. The 277 had 197 hp and the 301 was available with 215hp and 235hp. The 318 in the Fury had 290hp. This is from the “Encyclopedia of American Cars”
      The 53 Dodge with the “V” on the hood meant that it had the 241.3 hemi V8 with 140hp. The standard I-6 had 103hp so the 8 wasn’t that much bigger and not much more powerful! By 1957 the “^” was up to 138hp! The horsepower race was on!
      When I was a kid a neighbor had a new “hemi” that smoked and used oil like it was free, and ran like the excrement from the south end of a north bound horse! Turned out, when the dealer tore it down, some of the rinds were missing! So mush for quality control in the ’50s!

  3. I love that first photo: a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere 2-door hardtop. It looks like the guy is going skiing w/no snow tires! The 2nd photo is a ’59 Oldsmobile Fiesta wagon.

  4. The Country Squire Ford station wagon in the last photo is a 56 probably equipped with a 292 cu. ” Thunderbird V-8.

  5. Is that some sort of gravel shield in front of the rear wheel well? If so, is it after-market? I don’t remember such back -in-the-day, but then “back-in-the-day” was quite a long time ago now!

    • My guess is snow. I could be wrong. I am sure however, that the rear bumper was fitted extra end guards. The Plymouth bumpers of late fifties ended flatter (lower). For a nominal fee you could buy the ‘end caps’ that raised higher and gave more protection to the quarters as well as the rear.

    • There is not a speck of snow anywhere else on the car and even the tires are virtually snow free. There were several different after market custom parts suppliers and one fairly common accessory was a paint guard, which is what I believe we see here. Considering how rapidly cars of that vintage rusted, many owners went for anything they could get to help preserve their new ride. Why only in front of the rear wheel? Good question. That was often an area prone to rapid rust out but the paint guard really was not the cure. The problems usually came from inside the fender well and behind the rocker panel. Having grown up in upstate New York, I saw more than my share of these problems.

    • It’s the bumper and parking light surround wrapping around the side of the front fender to the wheel well opening. More evidence the car is a 1956. I drove my Dad’s fairly-well-used-up ’56 Club Victoria for several years and loved it.

  6. The ’57 Plymouth, back then, looked a little off, next to all the other finned beauties. (Like the mold got stretched somehow when they pulled it.) As the decades rolled on, the lines seemed more fluid, and right. The wheel covers however, looked great on any car, anytime.
    Dad bought a brand new ’53 Coronet (six/Gyromatic) at the end of the year. While his brother showed up with a new ’54 Red Ram Hemi PowerFlite!

    • The slimmer whitewalls look so much better with the trim lines of the 57 than those wall to wall tires they put on everything pre 1986 now. Especially ugly are the Exner Imperials and JFK Continentals.

      There’s a reason designers pretty much stopped using the wide whites after 1956. They knew what they were doing.

      • 1961 was the last of the wider whitewalls. Now we have dull, look alike , government designed, plastic cars. People complained about the work keeping whitewalls clean. Now they spend hours coating the blackwalls with shiny stuff.

  7. With regards to the lead photo, I clearly remember a friend of my father’s showing up at our house in a brand new Dodge Mayfair in the same paint scheme.
    Of course dad and I had to go for a ride. I clearly remember watching the front fenders shake and vibrate as we trundled down our pot holed street.
    And dad, being a Ford guy and not particularly subtle, also pointed to the dance at the front of the dodge and that our 55 Customline certainly did not behave in such a manor.
    I was less concerned, after all this 9 year old was excited to be sitting in the back seat of a gold spaceship.
    Love the Fun Friday Kodachrome’s.

  8. Wasn’t the 57 in the lead picture the same as the one removed from the time capsule not long ago? Great pictures as usual ! Love this feature!

  9. My two cents, please: The first photo is great for showing the beauty of the 57 Plymouth. “Suddenly it’s 1960!” Also, the background is spectacular.

    Same for the 59 Oldsmobile. Quite a view.

    Judging by what looks to be a 49 Chevrolet in the background, I’d guess the 53 Dodge is brand-new.

    And, the 56 Country Squire shows two things I always carp about. 1) It is in a color, unlike cars today. (Although I don’t think the turquoise really goes well with the wood on the Country Squire. 2) Aside from a driver’s side mirror, I don’t see any accessories on it, so unlike the cars you see at antique car shows.

    And, yet again, thanks so much for Kodachrome Fridays! I so look forward to it.

  10. The Olds strikes a chord. My second car was a ’59 98 2 door hardtop. Top of the line model, but had only a Hydromatic transmission, power steering and brakes and power windows. No a/c and not even a radio. Bought it in Salem Oregon in 1967 for $475 from the Olds dealer. I was 17 years old.
    The car was a real sleeper. The 394 cubic engine with a 4 barrel carburetor was a bit slow off the line but just kept going, had amazing power! Surprised a lot of young guys in their Chevys.

  11. The backdrop for the shot with the 57 Plymouth is the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
    It also looks like the Plymouth had the “commando V8” due to the large badge on the front fender just above the bumper.

  12. People today are amazed that we got aroung without all wheel drive as shown in the first photo. I think the ’53 Dodge has just gotten washed and the owner took the picture. The ’59 Olds and the ’56 Ford both have “standard” hubcaps and not full wheel covers and the ’56 has black wall tires. Not like the over restored cars seen at car shows today. The ’57 Plymouth could have only had a 300 c.i. V8 as the 318 was a Fury only engine.

    • The Belvedere appears stock w/ the addition of the tutone body stripe and the bumper wraps , both available factory options. Flight Sweep styling w/ ‘Fabulous Fury 301″ engines … stock 235 hp tricked/souped to 290 hp in the Fury but available in even the base Plaza… a “smoking screamer” car. This year, 1957, was really the beginning of the muscle car era w/ each of the big 3 accelerating w/ ever higher hp ratings into the future of Super Birds and Daytonas, Talladegas, GTOs, Hursts, 442s and Super Sports… w/ factory race teams-the Big 3 discovered a whole new industry niche of limited editions, signature models and collaboration with aftermarket engineers and racers. Result today… mainstream NASCAR. Then, testosterone for every American young male boomer on skinny glass-belted tires and only adequate brakes… and suspensions- you’d better not navigate a hard turn at anything over 35 mph, if that…insurance rates went thru the roof… you paid dearly for every one of those “horses”. Body and repair shops made fortunes. Oh, by the way a straight six was still available in each of the big 3., if you were parents or anyone else but those afore-mentioned American red blooded males, and would you believe a lot of us are still here, we are survivors… and the cars we buy from the Big 3 and other countries are light years better. But witness Barret-Jackson this year and see what we pay to recapture those heady years past!

      • In the fifties you needed plenty of horsepower to pass on two lane highways. We often had to pass several cars at once on our numerous cross country trips in our Chrysler.

        I remember having to calculate and slingshot to pass with my Corvair in the seventies, when plenty of two laners still existed.

        • Your so right DR, the difference in time then between 45mph and 60mph when you factored in 2 or 3 cars was considerable!!! You sure couldn’t “slingshot” in a pre-hemi Chrysler.

        • Hi Doc, that’s true. As more and more roads become 4 lanes, we forget that there was a time when you needed “power to pass”. Those pesky trucks spewing fumes were no fun to be behind. I’ve found, today, people don’t have the guts to pass ( probably because their weak 4 or 6 cylinders don’t have the power), and they ride your back bumper for miles. My uncle, who had a heavy foot, always had Pontiacs, and it, as a kid, was fun to ride with him, because he passed everything in site.

  13. No, I would say the picture of the Plymouth was taken on a regular pull-out on the highway. Jenny Lake Visitor Center is much closer to the base of the Tetons.

  14. And that ski rack on the roof of the Belvedere is a great item no longer seen. They would clip on to the drip rail and easily hold four pairs of ski is.

    It seems they went out of production as drip rails disappeared in deference to aerodynamics.

  15. Jeep is a Willys CJ-2A, ’46-49 . . . I’ve got a ’47 project in my garage that I got from my father as an 18th birthday present . . . 36 years ago – Split windshield gives it away. Looks like a re-paint; that’s not a stock color. My guess is the guy is trying to back out of the overnight drift, since it’s piled up around that front wheel and on the fender.

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