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Five Fun Forties and Fifties and Friday Kodachrome Images

Number fifty-four of the Kodachrome Image Series begins with one of the attractive Chevrolet models produced in the mid-fifties in the lead photo. The hue of the pastel-colored lower body section is not as pink in actuality, and the roof panel was painted if memory serves correctly in a pleasing shade of grey.

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.

Mid-1950s Cadillac Convertible

  • This blue Cadillac convertible made for a perfect “get away” car for the lucky couple.

Street Car Being Scraped in the 1950s

  • Yesterday we looked at a streetcar in its second life serving as a gas station – this one appears to be on its last journey to a scrap yard on a trailer pulled by a very heavy-duty tractor.

1950s Street Scene in Boston with Streetcars I

  • This 1950s image was taken in Boston, MA, and shows a pair of streetcars and a bus station in the background. The City still uses streetcars as a part of its transit system.
  • .
  • The Model “A” Ford continued to be seen on the streets as late as the fifties, this one in Maine was still on the job carrying a bit of cargo.

Model A Ford

41 responses to “Five Fun Forties and Fifties and Friday Kodachrome Images

  1. The Ford Model A pickup appears to have started as a car. The rear fenders show the line for the welding of a town sedan in the cab does not line up very well with the door. Would love to have a homemade model A pickup in exactly the same condition today!

    • I agree that the Model A pickup started life as a car. It’s a ’30 Ford with the stainless steel radiator shell. Note that the Ford logo is missing from the top of the shell.

    • The Chevy’s correct colors were charcoal and coral, although salmon was a better description due the fact the color had less of a ‘blush’ in person.

  2. 1st pic could be any one of us on a family outing to the beach. Having kids unrestrained and hanging out the window, even while moving, was no big deal. I wonder if the ’54 Caddy was rented ( or daddy owned a Cadillac dealer) for the wedding. Looks brand new and no front plate. The truck pulling the lowboy trailer appears to be a late ’40’s Autocar. 4 th pic, the ’55 (?) Ford sure is sagging in the back, and there were sure a lot of 2 doors back then. I’d imagine this was some sort of “turn around point” for the electric trolleys. From what I uncovered, these “all electric” PCC’s (?) were around a long time, but as single units. In 1960, they began using couplers, and pulled another car around. I agree with David, looks like the Model A was a car, before being transformed into a pickup.

    • Two doors were very popular with families with children. People liked the idea the children could not fall out of the car.

  3. First photo is a 55 Chevy Bel-Air two-door. I don’t know what the official color names were but we used to call them charcoal and salmon. Went along with men’s fashions of the time when thin-lapel charcoal 3-button suits, pink shirts and narrow ties were the rage. Looks like the picture may have been PhotoShopped to smooth out a crease near the lower edge of the door. Note the door and front fender don’t meet well at the bottom but match OK higher up.

    I find the Boston photo interesting because it captures two basic black two-doors, a 54 Chevy 150 business sedan and a 55 Ford Mainline. The Ford is not quite the base model because the V8 symbol is visible just behind the parking light. Looks like a whip antenna rising from the trunk and maybe even a Smoky Bear hat on the driver, so it might be some kind of official vehicle. So, too, might the Chevy with an agency seal on the door. Governments bought those cars but most people selected something at a higher trim level.

    • I wonder why the charcoal gray is not on the trunk and top of the rear quarter panels. That was the common color scheme on the ’55 Bel Air.

      • While that two-toning scheme was very common it apparently was an extra-cost option. A 55 Chevy sales brochure found on the internet showed only the convertible with that two-toning, all others were either monotone or two-toned as in the picture above.

      • Early in the run, this was the two-tone paint scheme. Later, a paint divider was added to the end of the horizontal trim and the two-tone you describe was also offered.

  4. It’s not often I can identify the location of these great photos but I am certain that the fourth picture was taken in Boston. It is of the Boston College turn-around at the end of the B branch of the Green Line. This line runs from Lechmere through downtown Boston then along Commonwealth Ave. to BC which is directly across the street. Amazingly, it looks the same today with all of the stores and brick buildings still standing. Only the green shelter is no longer there. The cars and buses are traveling west on Comm Ave toward Newton which is part of the Boston Marathon.

  5. Motorist to man sitting on running board, “this road go to Bangor?” Mainer “nope, just sits there.”
    The woman’s sunglasses in the 55 Chevy, scream mid 50s. Looks like an Autocar to me too, wonder if the electric trolley was headed for the scrap yard or South America. The Caddy is the photo of the week, just beautiful. It does look like a MA state police uniform in the 55 Ford.

    • Late ’70’s, early spring . headed from upstate NY to Maine across Vermont. Stopped to buy maple syrup, asked the farmer if we could get over the mountain on this road (driving a Jeep Wagoner). He says “Yup, I could see snow up there this morning, but it looks clear now.”

      Halfway back to our Jeep and he says, “Yup, if you make it you’ll be the first one this year!”

      Took a different road, as Sr. Mary Francis said, “Discretion is the better part of valor!”

      • Dennis, your comment reminded me of a similar experience I had here in Japan. I was on a Gilera 500 going from Tokyo to see a GF on the Japan Sea side of the island. The road to the coast was fine, but the coastal road to her place was only two lanes and basically no passing allowed. Construction of an expressway was going on so a lot of the traffic was made up of overloaded dump trucks (before the law changed). Having suffered that fate once before I pulled off at a fire station to get some information on a potential shortcut over the mountains. Four fireman in charge of that area said something like “Yup, if you make it you’ll be the first one this year!”!! They had no idea! Glad I didn’t live in that area!

  6. the truck haulin the streetcar is a early 50.s autocar and the streetcar is nearly identical to the ‘trams’ that ran in
    melboure and Sydney when I was a kid and yes most got scrapped here too
    I agree the 30 model closed cab pickup started life as a tudor sedan
    after finding this site I start every day with a coffee and the old motor!!!!!!!
    thanks for a great site!!

      • Hi Michelle, that’s true, has to be 40’s, as in 1950, Autocar ( we called them “Carcars”) introduced the all metal “Drivers Cab”, replacing the wood/metal designs of the earlier models, which I’m sure this is. White used that cab for a long time, and I had an ’82 Western Star with that same cab.

  7. David, my wife just lit up when I showed her the ’55 Chevy. She, her sister, and her mother moved from Long Island to Florida in the identical car in 1958. Tickled her to no end to see that. She was 12 at the time.

    Except for Saturday through Thursday, Friday’s are my favorite Old Motor posts. What you do is certainly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

  8. The Caddy is an early-production ’54. Note the lack of a frame around the wind wings… Beautiful design, especially on a convertible.

  9. It is just possible that that street car might have been one of the lucky ones headed to a museum some place like Sea Shore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport ME. Curious though, only one truck is visible riding on the goose neck of the trailer. There should be a second truck somewhere if indeed the trolley is being saved.

  10. I think there’s the rear window of a brown 1950 Desoto parked on the right side of the street behind the 2 red busses in the mass picture on the other side of the ford

    • Yes, it looks like a Chrysler Corporation greenhouse, but I’m not sure of the specific b rand. Not enough detail shown. There’s just a bit of the front bumper showing that might be definitive.

    • Yes, it looks like a Chrysler Corporation greenhouse, but I’m not sure of the specific brand. Not enough detail shown. There’s just a bit of the front bumper showing that might be definitive.

  11. I knew a lot of families that could’ve been in a ’55 Chevy like the one in that photo.

    The Caddy convertible? Nice car. A little too much car for the likes of me but still nice.

    I’ve no doubt that’s an Autocar pulling that old street car. Quite likely powered by a Cummins H-series motor.

    There was a program on A&E called Time Machine. I remember an episode about street cars. It’s amazing how they were almost everywhere before the war then got phased almost completely out.

    It was quite common to see a car get the rear of the body cut off and a pickup bed or flatbed installed in its place. During the war you could get more gas bonds if you drove a truck. I’ve seen an Essex, a Hudson, lots of Fords, and even a Pierce Arrow. Kind of a novelty nowadays but somehow a tragedy…

  12. It’s definitely a diesel-powered Autocar, their long plaque on the hood side read AUOCAR-DIESEL ( I think there was a hyphen ). The trolley cars at BC were so-called “PCC” cars – I think that stands for President’s Control Commission – they allowed the motorman to sit down, while the older trolleys – which ran concurrently with the PCC cars for many years, required the motorman to stand all the time. Switching from straight ahead to the track leading to the right required the full application of the air brakes and full “throttle” – something to do with the current “draw”, no doubt, that somehow activated the nearby switch. I rode the PCC and the old style cars back in Boston for many miles back in the 50’s.

  13. PCC stood for Presidents Conference Committee , a transit industry group tasked with modernizing streetcar design.

    For once, something designed by a committee didn’t turn out to be a joke.

  14. That gray and salmon color scheme was always on of my mother’s favorites., though we never had a car like that at the time. The ’48 Ford and Hillman Husky had to suffice for us. in ’55 Studebaker also had that color scheme offered on some models.

  15. The yellow streetcars are the PCC cars, the green one on the trailer is, I think, a Peter Witt design for the Cleveland Street Railway.
    I grew up in Toronto and both types were common, the PCC being the newer design. Both were displaced on many routes by the underground subway line.
    Toronto has restored two PCC and one Peter Witt car and they are used for rentals and ceremonial occasions.
    Good fun as usual.
    And re the pink and charcoal Chev – I worked at Ford Canada in 1957 as an engineering student and the pink and charcoal cars came down the line. The one I remember was a Turnpike Cruiser that was specially built for someone important. The build jig turned out to be a bit off and some fun was had when the time came to install the body on the chassis.
    I had a pair of charcoal gray trousers, a pink shirt , a very narrow tie with pink and gray strips and a belt that was about 3/4 “wide in pink and gray – trying to be cool…. And the white buck shoes!

  16. Hey Grant:
    Your “Turnpike Cruiser” comment brings back memories, for sure. Was it a ’57 Merc or the “more Canadian” Monarch? Had a Black over Yellow Four Door Hardtop ~ sure wish I’d kept that one!!! Better than the Glass Tops & Ragtops I never kept either.

  17. Tom, you are right it would have been a Monarch.

    The Edsels were in pre production then as well so there was a lot of fun stuff happening on the shop floor.

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