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Five Fun Friday Forties, Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Images

It is Friday once again, and we are back with number forty-five in the Kodachrome Image Series. Today’s lead image shows a family of five and the dog at an Esso filling station. The Mustang must have been quite cramped with the family and Fido on board. The car is being filled with Esso “Extra” that used on “Put A Tiger In Your Tank.” Take a minute and watch one of the original Esso “Extra” commercials with the animated tiger. Tell us all you know about the Mustang.

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

Late 1950s Mercury Station Wagon

  • Going on a trip with your station wagon in the fifties took more than a few minutes to pack and unpack with one of these roof racks. Many were covered with a tarp that was held down on by the contents and a rope. 

1940s Buick-Studebaker-Mercury

  • Step right up and get your seeds, pets and DDT at the Northwest Insecticide Co.

Studebaker Convertible

  • Someone was quite proud of their Studebaker convertible and photographed it at a scenic lighthouse.

Early 1950s Chevrolet Sedan

  • This is a very shiny Chevrolet that may have been close to new, note the shoes that almost match the color of the car. 

42 responses to “Five Fun Friday Forties, Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Images

  1. Times have really changed. That picture of the Studebaker in front of the lighthouse would probably be marred today by a thousand tourists, and that family of five (with a dog) would be standing in front of an Explorer. 🙂

    My sister and I regularly had to cram into the backseat of my mom’s ’88 Mustang GT convertible, so Mustangs can make OK family cars. 🙂

    • The way the Studebaker “S” is perfectly vertical on both Lark hubcaps suggests that perhaps this glamor shot originated from inside the automotive world; perhaps an ad agency or a PR organization. “Aligning the logos” is a practice that brings back distant memories.

      • Henri, Good thought, but the complete photo was originally tilted to the right by about 3 degrees and noticeably our of kilter (it was corrected in photoshop). Another thing I noticed is there was no foreground in the image, which a pro would have included.

      • I used to line up the Packard logo on the hubcaps whenever I had my 1934 Packard at Classic Car Club shows! Brings back memories!

      • The hubcaps on the Lark Convert are not aligned, but most likely random. Not to mention they are about half a turn off from each other

  2. 1st pic, we know a lot about Mustang’s, so I’ll comment on the gas station. If there ever was a gas station with an identity crisis, it was Esso. I remember the name changed several times, Esso, Enco, Pate (?), Humble, and finally, ExxonMobil and I read that tiger was one of the most recognized ad symbols, with all kinds of merchandising products as giveaways, all highly collectible now ( and made in America back then) although, we never got any, as my old man was a “Standard” guy.
    I think it’s time for “dad” to trade his beloved hi-po Mustang in on the “Country Squire”. “Little cowboy ” looks like a chip off the old block.
    The 2nd is a ’56 Mercury Custom, possibly, a 2 door, and a water bag hanging from the bumper ( obstructing the plate, I might add) and tarps that weren’t blue. ( or turn into strings)
    Seed place looks like a “general store” and could be anywhere. Ragtop Buick beginning to show some wear. Mismatched tires and gas cap door that won’t close. Never knew the Studebaker was really that small of a car, compared to the Buick anyway. Lark could be a late ’50’s early ’60’s, they changed little, and that’s one new looking Chevy. (’51?) Thx again for the pics.

    • Northwest Insecticide Co opened in March 1947 and exists today at the same location (2422 E Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99202) as Northwest Seed & Pet

    • The Lark is a 1960, first year of the convertible and different in subtle details from the ’61. We had a ’60 convertible for a few years as a collector car. Always got a lot more attention than our flashier Hawk. Fun cars.

    • It was Esso east of the Mississippi, and Enco west, if memory serves. Humble was, I believe the parent company, and their name was on all the stations. Name change to Exxon came around ’74 or ’75.

  3. I remember (more than once) on vacations, my sister’s suitcase would fly off of the roof rack and her clothes would spill all over the highway.

  4. I hope to heck that Mustang photo is not being taken by Grandma, who has been relegated to riding “stick-shirt sidesaddle” in what is ABSOLUTELY a 4-passenger car!

    • Real GT’s were supposed to come with styled steel wheels but thats a 65 so maybe steel wheels came later. I only remember flat soled keds or similar sneakers back then. Cowboy Jr looks like he’s wearing sneakers molded up around the toe which came out later than the 60’s? Neat pictures

  5. Since Esso claimed to “put a tiger in your tank” the tiger-related give-away that was most memorable was the long “tiger tail” that you could attach to the gas cap behind the filler door. Occasionally, you still see one at car shows. Howard, I like your comment about your Dad being a “Standard” guy. Those were the days of brand loyalty and I can recall my Dad driving past many gas stations just to fill up at a Standard Oil station. (In the same vein, a person could be a “Buick” man , a “Ford” man, a “Chrysler” man etc. and drive only that make for years). To build that loyalty, oil companies had elaborate ad campaigns to promote the superiority of their gasoline. Who remembers Gulf No-Nox, the Gas with Guts? And, oh, how those drivers felt better than the poor slobs who filled up with discount brands like Purple Martin or Certified. Today, we just drive to the station with the lowest price.

    • Hi PMD, got a chuckle out of the “Purple Martin” reference. ( Their gas really was purple) We had several in the Milwaukee area. Definitely on the lower end. They used to have quarts of ” reconstituted” oil, 5 for a buck in a fishnet bag ( like oranges) that every beater burned. ( not sure if they were beaters that used that oil, or were beater’s BECAUSE of the oil) Remember Clark “cherry juice”? Red gas, premium only, 100 octane. All the fast cars burned that. We had Skelly too, ( we called it “Smelly”), and yeah, the old man only bought Standard gas, which was a bit of a problem on trips, as it wasn’t Standard everywhere, and I knew he didn’t like filling up at a ” Chevron” or “Sohio”, even though it was the same gas.

    • I remember with almost a shudder what became one of the most tiresome of the gas company themes: who can forget the dreaded “Wiki Wiki Island” commercials for Standard in the late Sixties?

  6. Looks like the tail end of a 58 Olds on the right side of the picture. Also looks to be in fair shape for its relative age. Swap out the Mustang with a 65 Galaxy 500 , add another son and it’s my family that year.

  7. The Lark convertible is a ’59 or ’60, hard to tell from the side. I too first thought this might be an advertisement or some kind of factory photo, but then noticed the mirrors on the fenders. The factory never put mirrors way out there. So it is probably not something from Studebaker for promotional purposes. It looks like a VI on the fender which would mean it is a six cylinder car. The V8 would have had a VIII.

  8. It does indeed look like a crowded ride in that Mustang GT, but it was still stylin’ in those days. The Olds at right was likely a 98, based on the trunk length and trim. The Mercury station wagon I thought at first glance was a ’55, but ’56 was the one with the “Big M” on the hood. That ’49 Buick convertible, likely a Super, appears to have seen better days. The Studebaker is likely a Champion, around ’48 vintage. The car behind is a Mercury, “46-’48. The Larks deserved a better fate than oblivion, although build quality was kind of sketchy. As for the Chevy, perhaps as Howard says, a ’51, was one of the era when they were simple and solid.

  9. The Mustang family looks the least likely to put a tiger in the tank of a V-8 pony car. Perhaps dad just couldn’t give up his wild side when the family came along. Indeed, he appears pretty overwhelmed.

    I can guarantee by it’s posture that ten seconds after this pic was snapped that dog was sniffing at the “free gift” they were leaving behind.

  10. The little boy holding the dog on a leash is ” packing heat”. Back in the day no one gave it a thought that playing with a toy gun might be inappropriate. Actually I’m not saying that it is…..just pointing out that some parents would definitely freak out if a beloved Uncle presented his little nephew with a toy cowboy revolver and a holster. You don’t see kids ” carrying” anymore. I can tell you that where I live if a kid innocently walked into his school with that toy on his belt there would be a school lockdown and the incident would be splashed across the local news as a headline announcing the parents were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. I’m not sure when the country made that shift to the extreme left….but whenever it occurred we are definitely there. I like the dog on a leash too….but some would say that harnessing a domestic pet is animal cruelty. Other than all that…it is great to be reminded that families used to pack up in a car
    ” together” and actually do things like go for a ride in the country.

      • The little cowboy must have been on the way to Texas where open carry is now legal. By the way, this country has never made a “shift to the extreme left;” it’s all we can muster to keep the country from falling off the right edge of the universe. (Offered with a smile.)

  11. The dad driving the Mustang looks frustrated, probably three kids and a dog in the tiny back seat was getting on his nerves. I still have my tiger tail and a tiger bank from the Humble station my cousin worked at. My dad never had a oil company brand loyality but he was a dyed in the wool “Buick guy” from the time he got out of the army after WWII until the day he died. He passed that Buick gene down to me as I was born a Buick fan. Sure would like to have the spinner wheelcovers off that 56 Mercury wagon! I wonder if the dude with the 51 Chevy bought the car to match his shoes?

  12. That ’56 Mercury wagon is carrying the beloved canvas water bag on the grill. Growing-up in Arizona in the ’60s, those water bags were common. Interstate 10 west could be “caught” west of Phoenix, at Goodyear; I-10 east necessitated a trip to (almost) Tucson. North and south was accessed by Highway 17. And “Stuckey’s” were few and far between!

  13. Hi .I think the brown Stude at the DDT store is fancier than a champ ,because of those turn signals ,fancy suicide doors ,and I vote fora commander 4 door sedan
    They all looked sort of alike , the 47-49 Raymond lowe,s “first post war car” with the ” revolutionary new low slung design” with differing trim packages and goodies like the “hill holder “brakes
    It’s not a47 grill so I agree with the 48 year!
    Thanks for the great pix!!

    • The Studebaker is indeed a ’48 based on the grille and hood badge. But it’s definitely a Champion. The Commanders had a longer wheelbase and front clip to provide for their 8-cylinder engines; the extra length in the front fenders is between the wheel and door.

      • Holland’s right about the Senior Land Cruisers and Commanders being longer from the firewall forward than the Champions, that extra length gave room for exterior fender air vents for added interior air circulation and ventilation, however all Studebakers were sixes ’til ’51 when they introduced their V-8 in the LCs and Commanders. At that time Studebaker gave all three lines the shorter hoods and fenders., so only the LC, having the longest 4 door cabin had a longer wheelbase.

  14. Mr Mullers comments are right on about the young boy with a toy gun, it brings back fond memories of my youth with toy guns and cowboy movies.

  15. I look forward to these pictures every week. They bring back so many memories of cars of my family. The fifties cars are the ones I love the most. Guess I’m pretty old fashioned …. loyal BP (merged with Amoco in the 90s) customer & a Ford guy from way back…..uh 1964 to be exact. But I like all the cars, no matter the brand.
    Thanks and keep up this superb site.

  16. My two cents, please:

    1) The Mustang brings back some fond memories. My dad was a small-town Ford dealer (Ashland, PA) and took a 65 Mustang convertible for a demo. We took it to the Philadelphia Zoo on a Sunday outing. It was Dad, Mom, me and my two brothers. Five, like in the photo. I was the oldest, at 11. As we got off the PA Turnpike there were some college kids conducting some research asking questions of the drivers. We were asked our destination. Then, we were asked if this was a business or pleasure trip. Mom, Dad, three kids on their way to the Zoo?

    2) The Mercury color isn’t my cup of tea, but it is at least a color, rather than black, white and shades that are a mixture of white and black.

    3) The cars in front of the market show just what a revolution the 47 Studebaker was.

    4) The Lark’s whitewalls aren’t clean enough for this to be a publicity shot.

    5) I believe the Chevrolet’s a 1951. What’s amazing is just how shiny the car is. It must have been brand-new. I don’t ever recall seeing the paint this shiny on any cars of that era.

    And, yet again, I say “Thank you” for these photos. I so look forward to the posting.

  17. Having been the unlucky kid who got to ride on the hump in the middle of the Mustang back seat I can sympathize with the youngster that got put in that spot. Mustangs were a 2 person car and I’m not sure how this guy justified getting one with 3 kids and a dog to haul around. Looks like he’s checking his pulse to make sure it’s all real ! From the look on Mom’s face I’m thinking Fido’s seat might be in her lap. Wonder how long this guy got to keep the Mustang before he had to buy the wagon. At least a Station Wagon has a more functional seating arrangement and a window for Lefty to hang out of and point that cap gun at other people on the road. Oh how the times have changed !!

    • Mustangs are still a two passenger car; I have a 2014 ‘stang and when I have the driver’s seat positioned comfortably there is about 2 inches of space between the back of that seat and the rear seat cushion. Even small children would be uncomfortable back there in short order. I have owned half a dozen Mustangs through the years and, while they are enjoyable cars to drive, they are definitely not for families with children.

  18. The 51 Chevy is a great example of the shine that you could get from the acrylic lacquer paint they were finished in….if you polished and buffed it enough.
    And judging from his shoes, this proud owner was good at buffing!

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