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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number Ninety-four of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a scene that is all too familiar for all of us who live in the northeast because of all the recent snow that has fallen here. A man who may have lived New York City is cleaning the snow off of his Rambler with a time-honored old-fashioned corn broom. The selling dealers plaque, located just to the right of the left taillight shows that it was located in the Woodside neighborhood of the borough of Queens.

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.

Mystery Street Scene 1950s and 1960s

  • The location of this mid-1960s street scene is unknown, but the multi-story brick and wooden structure named the “Royal” may prove to be an identifying factor.

Main St USA Mid 1950s 1940s and 1950s Autos

  • This mountains in the background and the “Green Spot” Motel on far-left of this mid-1950s street scene may help identify the location?

Mid-1950s Packard Mid-1960s Fords

  • This mid-1950s Packard hardtop that could have benefited from a wash and polish job, stands out in contrast to the early-to-mid-1960s Ford Motor Company products in the background.

27 responses to “Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. For the top pic, I had incredible luck while focusing on Mattingly’s, a small regional department store, to run across this historical resources document, it even shows the Mattingly’s building….and refers to the Royal Hotel “…dominating the skyline to the northeast.”

    It’s Thompson Avenue in Excelsior Springs, MO, looking NE.

  2. The second photo is Route 66 is Victorville, California, looking north (now 7th St near C St). The Green Spot Motel is still there, a block to the right on C St.

  3. Growing up outside Milwaukee I also grew up with Ramblers and snow in the winter. We had a 50’s Nash Rambler 2 door station wagon, then a 1961 American and then a used 61 Classic wagon replaced the Nash. Neighbors had Ramblers too, no doubt because they were being made in Racine Wisconsin at the time. None were considered a status symbol when we were in high school. However they ran and drove for the most part, both key attributes for any car in those days! Used Mustangs became the car of choice for most of my buddies in the early 70’s leaving the “American Motors” vehicles to our parents. Thanks for a great picture.

  4. In the 1st photograph is a white, with black roof, 1960 RAMBLER Custom.

    In the 2nd photograph, parked 3rd from the right, is a light blue 1963 RAMBLER Classic.

    In the 3rd photograph, parked 10th from the right, is green 1956 BUICK convertible with a white top.

    In the 4th photograph, parked in the foreground, is a 1955 PACKARD Executive 400 hardtop, missing rear hub-cap.

    • Moving back from the Buick convertible, my guess:
      56 Chevy with a continental kit.
      54 Olds
      Some camper
      52 Ford wagon
      54 Chevy
      Pick up bed
      55 green Chevy
      53 Ford wagon
      55 green Chevy, possibly a Nomad

  5. Using the same tactic as Sean, I looked up the Green Spot motel and found it in Victorville CA, a small town in the Mohave. I did attempt to decipher the signs at the other motel and the drug store but to no avail.

  6. 2nd pic parked at right side: a green & white 1957 DeSoto station wagon! Fairly rare even when new. Infamous for poor quality and rust issues, this one seems to hold up nicely, for it must be 7-8 years old when this photo was taken.
    Last pic: Packard is a 1955 Four Hundred model. Even with a slightly faded paint job and missing hub cap, it’s still very superior stylingwise and in appearance compared to the plain-jane- Ford Fairlane and Country Squire (both ca. 1962-63?)

  7. The Rambler, I believe, is a 1960, ’61 had a 1 piece rear bumper. My grandfather had a ’61 just like this. The front trunnions rusted deeming the car undriveable, even though, it had only 40K miles and looked like new. Nobody wanted to fix it, and he junked it. 2nd pic, while .25 cents/gallon seems cheap, it is almost $2.00 in today’s money. I found, there was a “Green Spot” motel in Victorville, Cal, and the background would verify that. This could be Route 66.
    Lastly, sadly, what the mighty Packard name was reduced to. This ’55, while, judging by the new looking ’63 Ford wagon, was only a few years old, had already begun it’s slide, with mis-matched tires, no wheel cover, dirty, becoming a beater. Should have been the car that saved Packard.

  8. The third photo is Victorville, California. There is currently a postcard with a similar view up for auction on eBay.

    The California Historic Route 66 website states that in, “1940 Herman Mankiewicz and John Houseman wrote the first two drafts of the script of the film CITIZEN KANE at the then thriving Green Spot Motel. The sign directing you to the hotel is at the left of the photo.

  9. I love looking at these old photos, not just for the cars but also for the stories of the images themselves. The Rambler shot, for instance, is very sharp, properly exposed, and well composed, telling us that it was probably shot by a pro (newspaper photographer?) using a high-quality, medium-format camera (Rolleiflex?).

    • I agree. The quality and original purpose of the photos in this series always intrigues me. Such a huge contrast between the glamorous magazine car ads of the day, and the harsh realities of everyday use like the Rambler shot. Funny how customers will bring their new car back to the dealership to get a tiny chip or scratch fixed. Six months later the car has door dings, stone chips, and all kinds of mess inside.

  10. The Rambler shown in the first photo has a dealer emblem that, I believe, says “Woodside, NY. Woodside is a part of Queens. My immediate thought, seeing the NY plates and snow is that it was taken near Buffalo somewhere. However, that would have been unlikely since the car is at least a year old and there’s still non rusted metal below the door handles.

    • The QA on the license plate is a county code used on New York plates at that time. Woodside is in Queens County NY so the dealer emblem corresponds correctly to the owner’s plate thus both were in Queens, one of New York City’s five boroughs.

      • Right on, Tom. Q by itself or with another letter was for Queens, B for the Bronx, K for Brooklyn (Kings County), etc. On this Rambler the tab that updated the plate (’61 for ’60) was fastened in the wrong place. It was supposed to be on lower right covering up the old year.

  11. Gee,not to pick a fight with LEW,but I coulda swore I saw the old Rambler plant in Kenosha in 1975 while on leave from
    Great Lakes.

    • Hi Chris, at the Rambler reunion 3 years ago, ( another one this year, if you’re interested, well worth it for AMC fans) I was amazed, there is little, if any, connection to AMC in Kenosha now. The Jeep engine plant was the last to go in 2009, when Chrysler moved all operations to Mexico. The last building was demolished a few years ago.

  12. I wonder why the photo with the ’55 Packard was taken. The car looks to be the subject of the photo, but It was just an old car then ; I’d guess 8 to 10 years old , and it doesn’t look like it had been babied. As for 1955 it should have been a much bigger sales year for Packard than it turned out to be. Richard Teague did a spectacular job with the styling. It was very hard to tell he did this by facelifting the old body which dated back to ’51. 1955 also saw the introduction of the long awaited Packard overhead valve V8 as well as the revolutionary self leveling Torsion Level Ride.

    • Doesn’t have to be perfect to rate a pic, as long as it’s yours. I have a similar second-story photo somewhere of my then recently acquired Peerless GT, resplendent in multi-hue Bondo. As the saying goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or even more so, the owner.

  13. In the third pic, on the right side beyond the “Quonset Hut on Wheels” a ’57 Buick convertible stands out (stands out and sticks out) for me, even tho I wouldn’t have given a nickel for a Buick back then.

      • Yep, you are absolutely correct on that. As an Olds/Hydramatic fan at the time tho, I just couldn’t abide those Buick “Dynaflops.” These days I’ve really come to appreciate the mid-50s Buicks as stylish without being over the top like so many others.

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