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Four Fun Friday Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number Seventy-five of the “Kodachrome Image Series” begins this week with a photo apparently taken by a young man who was proud of his companion and the Chevrolet sedan. The license plate frame on the car is from Metropolitan Ford in Los Angeles, California, where it was probably purchased. Other than the hubcaps and possibly a set of seat covers it looks to be fairly original. Tell us all you know about this Chevy.

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.


  • This Chrysler Products sedan looks like a tried old bone that had a cheap repaint in the past. 


  • San Francisco street view complete with cable cars, 1940s-’50s automobiles, fog and the bay bridge in the background.


  • Another tired old sedan used by a young family, the location appears to be a Levittown type of development somewhere in New York.


33 responses to “Four Fun Friday Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. The original buyer of the red 1939 Dodge sedan really went for the accessories: bumper guard extensions, fender-mounted parking lights, wheel trim rings and sun-visor. Surprisingly, its bulb and reflector headlights had not been replaced with aftermarket retrofit sealed beam units. In its original dark blue showing through the Earl Scheib red re-spray on the grille top, it must have been quite a striking car. We forget how much dealers depended on accessory sales to round out their profits.

    • The red Dodge sedan has 1949 Illinois license plates. It looks pretty well used for a 10 year old car in what is probably an urban rather than rural setting. Perhaps Chicago area with the harsh winters taking a toll on the car?

      • Chicago destroys cars with road salt. For a 1930s car with little to no rust protection it looks pretty good for ten years. The big problem is the cheap repaint.

        • Let’s not overlook that the paint wear on the nose would indicate, shade tree mechanic belly. A pro would use a cover for protection. My guess goes to water pump replacement.

    • In our era of online car price comparisons and buying with slim profit margins, I think that dealers today depend on accessory sales. Fabric protection, paint sealer, door edge guards, mud flaps, exhaust extensions, body side moldings, pin striping, tube steps for trucks and suvs, to name a few. There is usually a very high markup on these items.

      • One should consider the PURCHASING POWER of 1922 (FOR EXAMPLE) Money , NOT just the different numbers : a 1922 Klaxon Catalog page lists a “top of the line” (QUALITY) Klaxon (Ah -OOO- gah) horn, ( A WELL DESIGNED & BUILT Instrument!) at : $22.25! Now, convert that to: “NOW” Money Purchasing Power, — and you get: $425.27 (approx.) “MARKUP” is NOTHING NEW!!! Look up: A 1922 Phaeton Custom Fabric Top Replacement, — Parts & and LABOR — The results are: ASTRONOMICAL!!! Certain accessories cost MORE than Model “T” Fords!!!.

  2. The Morris Minor Convert in the San Francicco shot appears rather tired. That is surprising because the newest car I see in the photo is 55-ish? The Minor debuted in 48-49.

  3. The “tired-old Dodge” apparently needs to be “re-tired”. It appears to still be wearing its snow tires even though the trees are leafed out and the geraniums are in bloom. Also possible that the owner is has already prepared for the next winter.

  4. The Chevy look like a nice used car. It is a 210, with 1957 Plymouth hubcaps,. It must have been true love, she is sitting on the hood with her shoes on .

    • Believe me, her shoes were only a minor problem. The real problem is that it created a permanent crease in that wonderful hood, with a serious indentation. I had a 1954 Hudson Jet Liner years ago, where someone sat on the hood, just like in this photo…the hood was creased on both sides, forever. The “smiles” created up and down both sides of my hood were always present, a reminder of just how stupid people can be. This guys “true love” euphoria may have ended immediately, once she slid that off of that hood. And yes, the person who sat on my Hudson’s hood was disowned that day!

  5. The San Francisco photo is taken looking east on Washington St. towards the intersection with Mason St. The building left of center with the brick smokestack is an old car cable car barn, and today is the Cable Car Museum … I’ve been there and it’s definitely worth checking out!

    • Road & Track, (Years ago) did an article on S.F. Cable Car “performance” which included a “Speed Graph” that peaked at: 7 M.P.H. (Years ago) San Francisco had Street Cars (with trolley wires) I believe, — on 19th street, etc. in a flatter area. Maybe they’re STILL there! The street car SPEED record was accomplished many years ago —in Fairmont, West Virginia! Our 1930 FORD Model AA 1-1/2 Ton Truck was assembled in Ford’s “San Francisco” Plant.

      • San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego had a LARGE population of British Sports Cars and Sedans! They were very popular, both in these towns and on the road ! Certain Models were prominent on the new Sports Car Race Courses that Bloomed after WW-2, near these three costal cities. The Morris that you are looking at — was about 40 H.P. VERY economical and reliable, — in the hands of a good Mechanic! 30 to 40 MPG !!! NOTHING ELSE on that Street could MATCH that MPG figure!, — (except a BRITISH Motorcycle)!

        • The S.F, Bay Area is seeing a resurgence of more exotic imports – increasing numbers of Jaguars, Maseratis, and the first Fiat 124s have already hit the roads.

  6. Looks like a lot of San Francisco drivers don’t know how to park on a hill. I would think this is required knowledge in San Francisco…….

    • The S.F. P.D. is HELL ON WHEELS with Potential Runaway Car Scoff-Laws, as Not turning the wheels to the curb: IN for DOWNHILL and OUT for UPHILL, can be a TOW -AWAY (NO turned wheels at all!) POINTING the wheels in the wrong direction is ALSO wrong. NO mercy in court, PAY the LADY!

  7. My buddie had a black with white top 57 210 four door sedan like the one in the first photo when we were in high school (late 60’s) the 283 was tired so we found a 64 327 and I rebuilt it in auto mechanics shop, with a hotter cam and a 750 holley carb. Took him almost a week before the powerglide exploded! My uncle Ken had a green 54 Buick like the one in the San Francisco picture, loved that car! I looked up UGLY and there was a picture of that red Dodge!

  8. I was just going thru the pictures again, not to be picky but the wheelcovers on the 57 Chevy are not 57 Plymouths, they are aftermarket”cones” like J.C. Whitney sold. OK, so maybe I am being picky. I also have to agree with Buzz, the butt prints on the hood will be there forever, don’t ask me how I know!

    • I thought the caps might be either aftermarket cones, or 1957 Plymouth , but the Plymouth caps first came to mind. The 57 Chevy hoods had a center brace, however a big behind will leave a dent on anything. Nothing wrong with being picky. Thanks Mike.

  9. I know it’s tough for us to imagine our mothers as young attractive women, but here you go, and women sat on car hoods all the time, as long as they weren’t Mama Cass ( sorry, for years she was the poster child for overweight women, may she rest in peace) The Chrysler does look a little worn, but remember, in the 40’s, most roads outside cities were gravel. Takes it’s toll. All that’s missing is the rolling pin in the woman’s hand behind the car. (Are you coming home at 9am again? The kids are waiting to go to Sunday school)
    Last pic, again, an older Dodge. Perfect car for a young family with not a lot of money. I remember my old man saying he had an old Dodge after the war. Paid like $50 bucks for it he said. Houses in the background remind me of a certain John Melencamp song.

  10. That little girl aint gonna dent that hood – the hood on a 57 Chevy has more metal than my wifes entire Mercedes C class!
    Those do indeed appear to be aftermarket wheelcovers – usta be everywhere, tho they indeed resemble 57 Plymouth items. Ima guessin that the 57 isnt a California car originally tho – didnt the left coast built cars have a one piece bumper? This appears to be the normal 3 piece unit.

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