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Four Fun Friday Thirties, Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number Ninety-three of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a young man dressed in the style of the time with a very distinctive looking early-1960s Oldsmobile two door hardtop. This luxury model was offered for three years in a row with brushed aluminum side trim, and this particular one is considered by many to have the most over-the-top side trim offered during the run.

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.

late-1930s buick sedan

  • This woman appears to be proudly to posing with this late-1930s Buick four door sedan.

early-1960s ford two door station wagon and fold out camp trailer

  • Judging by all of the travel decals on the rear window of this Ford station wagon it appears to be on a long family road trip.

mid-1950s winter ski trip 1940s and 1950s cars

  • This trio on a down hill skiing trip pose with their old-fashioned wooden skis while a forth member of the party took this photo.  


30 responses to “Four Fun Friday Thirties, Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. In the late fifties, early sixties, everyone had a station wagon to cart the family around or bring home ‘stuff’ to remodel the house. Status was to fill the side rear window with stickers from all the National Parks the family visited on vacation..

    Ten years later ‘Jr.’ would fill those rear windows with ‘kill stickers’ from Island National Dragway, Long Island NY.

  2. I remember when we would take the family road trip from Detroit to Orlando back in the 60’s. One of the national chain gas stations gave out stickers with each states name and flag. Dad would have to be sure to get gas at that particular station so I could put the sticker on the side window of his 68′ Pontiac wagon.

  3. Sunglasses, moustache, turtleneck, paisley pants and orange socks, this guy was trying hard to be the “coolest cat in town”. Although the Oldsmobile Starfire is a 62, with those clothes I’d say the photo was taken about 1970. I mean, NOBODY wore paisley in 1962.

    • The photo may well have been taken years after 1962 judging by what appears to be rust behind the rear wheel opening. The background appears to be summer in full bloom, somewhere in the North, which would account for the rusty bits. And the outside rear view mirrors on the fenders aren’t that common – and belong in the same basket as the paisley pants perhaps.

    • I tend to agree Mike. My guess as to the year this photo was taken is about `67`-69. The wheel covers on the `62 Starfire HT are from a `64 Olds F-85/Cutlass mid-size model.

  4. The Olds is a ’62 Starfire,with’63 hubcaps
    The Starfire came with spinner caps which were susceptible for theft !
    They were equipped with leather bucket seats a center console, with a 345 hp v/8.
    They also came with just about every option that Olds offered.


  5. That young man can look the part, Mr. Cool. He has, what I consider the nicest Olds of all time, the ’62 Starfire. If I was a young man with a good job, that’s exactly the car I would have bought in ’62.
    Mom was dressed just about as conservative as the Buick. ( google woman posing on 30’s car today, you’ll get a much different image,,,of both)
    The 1960 Ford 2 door Ranch Wagon ( I believe) would be a rare piece today. I read, ’61 was the last year for any full size 2 door wagon. This scene played out many times in our family, only we had a regular camper. I’m sure this is the
    “here we go” shot, and not the “we’re home” shot. After coming home, we didn’t want anything to do with the camper ( until next time) Not sure what the kid is doing, maybe got bumped in the head? Also note stains under gas door from spilling gas.( remember when gas would stain the sides?) I remember, not all stations had auto shutoff’s, and spills were part of getting gas. It’s how you knew it was full.
    The ski folks don’t look too cold, so I’d guess California. My parents had skis like that as a kid, almost broke my neck, never went downhill again. I realize, ski technology has come a long way, and I heard it’s a blast. At my age, I’d have trouble with the lift.

    • The ski site is probably SUN valley,as there are 2 cars with SUN visors !! [ Grooonnnn!!!]

      [Please don’t throw stuff at me ’cause I’m an old dude ,and my wife claims I suffer from dementia!]

  6. Foto1…’62 Olds Starfire
    Foto 2…’39 Buick Special or Century Sedan
    Foto 3… ’60 Ford Ranch Wagon- note rear quarter windows have side curtains that can be expanded to enclose the rear cargo area where possibly someone slept overnite.
    Foto 4… L to R, Early ’50s Cadilllac, ’50 Chevy Stlyline Sedan w/ sun visor, ’53 Ford, and a fastback forties GM sedanet.

    • Small grille opening on 1939 Buicks led to overheating problems in warm climates, remedied with larger opening in 1940 models.

  7. A friend of my father had a dark blue Starfire, a sporty luxury car. The one in the photo looks like it has a yellow top, probably the film. I’d say the Buick is a 1939 Special, so clean it looks new. That must have been the least expensive Ford wagon in 1960. I think that the front fender is a repaint, maybe a new wheel, tire and hubcap too. The kid looks like he is doing the Macarena.

    • He spent his money on the clothes and hanging out in Greenwich Village instead of rust repairs.

      Besides- he’s planning on buying a Mercedes Benz. His friends all drive Porsches, he must make amends.

      • I’m guessing he just got back from Vietnam – Air Force by the looks of the turtleneck and couldn’t wait to get “cool”!

  8. I love the front end of the ’39 Buick although, I understand that the grille design created cooling problems for those big straight 8s.

  9. The Camp trailer is an early 70’s Appleby Camp trailer, that came with sides like that or straight like mine. They have an EMT Conduit frame that sets up after you fold the aluminum covered lid open, then fold another plywood platform to the other side. They had no door: there was a platform on the tongue of mine and you stepped over into the tent that was set up on the frame. Mine has been redone with a new axle and 1926 Model T wire wheels , a new rear door made , and a tan canvas tent sewn on my 1939 Singer.

  10. The 1960 Ford appears to be pulling an Apache Silver Eagle tent camper. I think the tent campers preceded pop-ups by about 10 years. The tent campers didn’t have a hard top, just a canvas cover. The camper also was sold by Sears and cost roughly $500 and weighed about 500 lbs, light enough to be towed using a bolt on bumper hitch like the one attached to the rear bumper of the Ford. My how things have changed.

  11. Definitely not his father’s Oldsmobile, and he has every reason to think he’s cool. I’d love that car today. Way better than a Wildcat.

    Only thing better would be a ragtop.

  12. Consider the ergonomics of loading a heavy bulky box into the back of that Ford wagon. You flip up the window then flip down the tailgate and stretch over the 18″ or so of the tailgate while ducking under the window plus another foot to clear the sloping rear glass – my back is beginning to hurt already. Standing to the side of the tailgate gets you closer but then you’re twisting 90 degrees in addition. Loading thru the side door is no option since the front seat back is in the way. Yes, I know, you could set the item on the tailgate then clamber up on your hands and knees to push it in. I think I understand why folks like their SUVs and CUVs.

    I note the wagon is sporting one of those full width dust/mud flaps. Don’t see those much any more.

  13. Our family had the Sears version of the “tent-trailer” as we called it. The tent canvas unfolded out of the top of the trailer box with a forest of interconnected aluminum tubes for support. It had a floor of heavier canvas and a four-inch foam mattress that inset into the top of the trailer box. Windows and the door were zipper-equipped. My mother was very fastidious and insisted that the cloth floor would be too unstable so dad cut sheets of 3/8″ Masonite to cover the canvas, loading them under the mattress when we travelled. The first night on the road the Masonite proved very unstable on the uneven ground so it was stowed away and never touched again. However, its considerable weight in conjunction with the loaded trailer caused our 1959 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan’s 145-horse six much distress on the roads around Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, there were a couple of grades where everyone but dad had to get out and hike up the hill as the straining Ford struggled to lug its rolling burden behind us. The two-speed automatic overheated constantly and its drum-brakes caused much wide-eyed jaw-clenching on the long downhill grades. It was with great relief that we finally rolled out onto the plains on the way back home. That poor Ford was never asked to perform such a task again in such terrain as all the rest of our trips were flatland excursions!
    I hope that sleek, ’60 Ranch Wagon (two-doors) was equipped with a V-8!

  14. We bought a new 60 ranch wagon, same color, I was 8yr/ old. It lasted 9 years before the straight six engine blew. I can’t recall it being 2 or 4 door, but it was a very basic model, three on the tree manual with a choke on the dash… two tone. Dad told me it was one of the Widest cars sold and banned in three states! We crossed old elmpark bridge in Winnipeg once and took off long pieces of side chrome strips passing another huge car haha. We went on many camping trips / Winnipeg to Vanc. island one year, Winnipeg to Yellowstone, etc. ..I remember one time, the R. springs got saggy, and while exiting a service station in Montana with a full gas tank, the let down sheared both tank straps and the full tank dropped neatly to the ground! a few hours later we were back on our way! Another time in Saskatchewan, one rear axle started coming out! a couple days later, back on our way! I remember the rear tailgate was sooo heavy to open and drop down! That big glass window did protect you from the rain while sitting on it eating sandwich and pop. Ruined my knees crawling through the huge expanse of cargo room metal floor, pushing the outboard and fuel tanks, luggage etc. in. The boat was a 12ft. fibreglass on roof top carriers with some of those cardboard cases of 24 beers under it, along with inner tubes! Fondest memories of the boat!

  15. My parents bought a new 1962 Starfire hardtop when they were passing through Lansing MI while on vacation. The garnet red metallic was very popular, but the car we ended up with was a beautiful champagne color called “Sahara Beige.” By 1971 the car was pretty much mechanically worn out, and it was given to me as my high-school car. I rebuilt the engine, the front end and brakes, farmed out the work on the slim-jim transmission and had one heck of a hard running machine. I was never the Cool Dude, and the Starfire didn’t look very cool sitting among the Chevelles and Mustangs in the school parking lot; nor would I say that it would have out run a big-block muscle car, but it was a beast. I drove it to college, up into the 130,000 mile range, before poor gas and the 10 3/4 : 1 compression ratio became a problem. We stored it away for preservation. Unfortunately it burned in a building fire a few years ago.

    Our car had the same rear quarter rust spots. The hubcaps were retained by a special clip to prevent theft – the clips became hard to find and many Starfires soon wore other caps. Those ’63’s look pretty good. Also, the standard factory mirror was mounted on the door. The pictured car has them on the front fenders. The mounting location on the door must have been filled and painted.

  16. The fourth photo looks like the road to Mt. Baldy about 40 miles east of LA. The road splits for a ways just before approaching the ski area. The median strip has trees like those shown in the photo.

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