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Five Fun Fifties and Sixties Saturday Kodachrome Images

Number fifty-two of the Kodachrome Image Series begins by noting that today the series is a year old and contains 260 images, all viewable by following the link below. The popular feature is planned to run for the foreseeable future providing that enough photographs continue to be available. Thanks go out to all of the readers who have participated and identified the cars, trucks and the locations.

The lead image of Juneau, Alaska, contains a colorful banner above the street advertising the Golden North Salmon Derby, an annual three-day salmon fishing competition. At the time this photo was taken it was held in July but now runs a month later in August.

As is the usual practice in 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. The photos are via Americar.

1950s Chevy Hardtop at a Chevron Station

  • You might say the postwar horsepower race started in 1949 when Oldsmobile introduced its advanced overhead-valve high-compression V-8 engine. The oil companies then had to blend higher octane gasoline for the latest designs – here we see Chevron announcing its “highest octane ever” “Supreme” high-test.

Ithaca NY Street Scene with Vintage Cars

  • Updated – Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell College is located at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, one of the scenic “Finger Lakes.” This street view contains a number of interesting fifties and sixties vehicles. Update – John McKenzie recently visited this street and it is now named “The Commons” and is a pedestrian only street today.

Late 1950s Chevrolet

  • Thanks to reader Jerry McDermott for this image of his brand new Chevrolet that he “purchased new for $1900 with the six cylinder engine. I used the Impala as a tow car for my Austin-Healey 100-4 for SCCA and other races in the Midwest.”
  • .
Boulder Colorado 1960s Street Scene
  • This early-1960s vintage street scene taken in Boulder, Colorado, contains a Woolworth’s department store (1878-1997), and is filled with a colorful mix of cars and trucks.


27 responses to “Five Fun Fifties and Sixties Saturday Kodachrome Images

  1. 1st pic, no shortage of “watering holes” here. What time is it? (2 clocks with different times) Looks like VW was gaining steam. By the looks of the Falcon, I’d say 1960 or ’61. 2nd pic, regular gas for 6 cylinder Chevy. ( I remember the saying the attendant would utter, ” Fill it with premium sir?” Customer, ” Nah, gimme’ a bucks worth of regular”) Remember when tail pipes turned white like that? Those “sight glasses” in the pumps had marbles in them. I used to watch them go ’round and ’round as a kid. 3rd, got to be 1964. This guy is as cool as it gets. New Ford convertible, buzz haircut, sunglasses. Must have had a good job ( or wealthy parents). Is that a tach on the dash? The one on the left I’m sure is a compass. I like the ’63 Grand Prix across the street. Always loved the ’58 Chevy. To me, it was the nicest Chevy ever. I had a ’58 Chevy, about as opposite from this as you could get. Mine was a 4 dr. DelRay. While they both shared the same engine, the similarities stopped there. Mine was a bare bones, 6, 3 speed. I got comments everywhere I went with that car. Last pic, I see a white ’58 or older Volvo PV444( small tail lights) It was my 1st car. The Studebaker lookin’ pretty rough for only being a handful of years old. Conversely, the ’51 or ’52 Ford pickup looks pretty good for about the same age. Another ’58 Chevy, more like mine. Judging by the ’59 or ’60 VW and the new looking ’60 Ford wagon, I’d say 1960. Sure seemed to be a lot of 2 drs. back then.
    A year already? Hmm, where’d THAT one go. You know, they say life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end, the faster it goes. 🙂 Thanks again.

  2. I loved seeing VWs in 3 of the 5 photos!! I especially like the 2 TypeIIs in the first photo. In the first photo it looks like competing times at the two different businesses with clocks hanging out front!

      • ps, my first car was a 59 ‘rag top like pictured, then split windows for the next 16 years, last one is ‘melting in my back yard, (hindsight)–then /six vans for the next 20 years–

  3. In the first photo it looks like regular grade gasoline is being pumped into a 1951 Chevy that is sporting a 1956 California license plate. Higher octane fuel probably wouldn’t have mattered to that 6cyl. engine as it tried to breath out through the flattened tailpipe .

    • The ’56 plate is sporting a red ’57 year registration sticker.

      And the Boulder picture: nice to see three(?) Studebakers! The ’54 K-body hardtop. Then above the ’55Chevy is a Lark hardtop. And directly over hood of the Dodge service truck is another Lark (white) going away.

      Not surprising to see the front fender rust on the ’54 Stude in this climate. They all collected mud there with no wheelwell fenderliners.

  4. Ithaca New York home of Cornell University.

    Prominent graduates include Clarence Spicer who while still a student at Cornell filed for a patent in 1902. The patent was issued in 1903 as number US728779 A “Casing for universal joints”. The class project to build an experimental auto in 1902 led to big things.

    The Spicer Parts website has this:

    “During the spring of 1902, while designing a motor car for a class project, Clarence Spicer, then a sophomore at Cornell University, explored ways to improve the transmission of power from the engine to the wheels. At that time, motor vehicles were powered by two sprockets connected by a chain, similar to the workings of a bicycle. This system was not only difficult to lubricate, but loud and unreliable, as well. Finding a better way to transfer power, Clarence placed reinforced universal joints on either end of a tubular shaft. Encasing the u-joints in bowl-shaped housings retained their lubrication and protected them from road debris. These never-before-seen improvements to the cardan u-joint were engineered into Clarence’s prototype which was later issued a U.S. patent in May of 1903.”

    A picture of the experimental car may be found online.

    John Wilkinson was a Mechanical Engineering graduate of Cornell University in 1889 and went on to be the chief engineer of Franklin Automobile Company from it’s founding in 1902 until 1924.

  5. Boulder location is looking East on Pearl at Broadway. Valentine Hardware was in the Boettcher Building (1142-1148 Pearl).

  6. In reference to the Chevy which was being “gassed up”, I know if that were my car, it would have a split manifold on that six, with glasspack mufflers! I was driving a ’48 Caddy which I bought in 1957; the last of the flathead V-8s.

  7. Like Howard, I too recall the pumps with the little globes. Some were filled with balls, others with small propellers. I agree, the Studey looks worn for about seven years, as the new stuff appears to be about 1960. Every time I see a Woolworth’s like that, I think of that old Glenn Miller song “String of Pearls” (a la Woolworth.)

    I also recall the bit octane race, with 102 and higher with bragging rights. Of course, that was, IIRC, Research Octane. The current numbers add research and motor octane and divide by two, so today’s 93 is about the same as the 102 of yesteryear. So many great cars in these photos . . .

  8. They roped you in with the 26 cent regular then pushed the high priced Supreme. That lined the fat cat pump jockey’s pocket with an extra quarter or so of your money on a fill up.

    “That’s how they get ya.”

    These Friday Kodachrome’s make me remember my dad in the ’50s. Thanks for that.

  9. The second that I looked at the photo of the 58 Chev. Impala I realized that something was different. It was a 6 cylinder. Pretty rare.

    • my grandparents had a new one a plain jane biscayne? they didn’t have a lot o money.three speed on column.grandmother would always grind it into 1st after she backed up.

  10. In that Boulder, Colorado photo, I immediately spotted the ’53 Studebaker Starliner parked behing the ’55 Chevy Bel Air.


  11. Third picture of a street in Ithaca N.Y. I’m going through there again on Monday and I’m going to see if some of those buildings are still there and get the name of the street.

    Also, the picture above that with the station attendant pumping gas in the ’51 Chevy. 26 9/10?!? I am crying right now.

    • That 26 9/10 gasoline in 1951 translates to $2.46 4/10 in 2016 according to the U S Department of Labor inflation calculator. Today’s average of about $2.00 per gallon is actually cheaper than the 1951 price shown.

  12. A six cyl. 58 Impala was a rare sight even when new, most were 283 V8’s. Even as a seven year old in 1958 I lusted for a 348 with 3X2s and a std trans. Back in those days Wollworths and Kresges 5&dime got about every cent I could get my hands on for AMT mosel car and paint and glue.
    Seems like every early 50’s chevy I remember had those flat tailpipes, always wondered why.
    As always, great pictures that stir up the best memories of times past. THANKS!!!!!!

  13. The red and white Mercury in the top picture looks like it could use more practice in parallel parking. You don’t go in nose first. Maybe the driver was just picking up somebody or letting somebody off.

  14. The 1958 Plymouth Custom Suburban on the right side of the street in Anchorage is really nice. It has Sport Tone trim, but I don’t see a “V” in the center of the grill, so it probably has the six cylinder engine.

    Behind it is a 55 Chev. Behind that my wild guess is Dodge panel truck.

    Across the street early 50s Dodge or Desoto Club sedan, 54 Chev wagon, 56 Bel Aire hardtop, 60 or 61 Falcon and another one several cars back.
    Two Microbuses on that side of the street too.

    Very cool photo.

  15. I could be wrong, but the lead “Salmon Derby” photo appears to be a black and white that has been colorized. Look at the areas around the Miller High Life sign, the building with the Rexall sign, all but one of the storefront windows down the street and the telephone poles.

  16. Struggling with that ’58 being a 6. Must have been a special order item. Next question, why would anybody DO that?

  17. That’s when cigarettes were 24-cents a pack, 25-cents for filtered packs, 1959. I was a part-time checker at Dilbert’s supermarket in Astoria, Queens, New York. Those were the days…!! My first car was a black ’56 Ford Crown Victoria, well worn but it got me around.

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