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Four Fun Friday Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number Ninety-six of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a colorized image courtesy of George Murphey of the Harden Hawk, found at Motorology, and posted here two years ago. Since it is a fairly obscure custom, its details are reposted here.

“Thanks to readers Dr. Fine and TinIndian, we now know that this car was entered in the 1954 Sports Car Speed Trials held on Daytona Beach by NASCAR during Speed Week. The Harden Hawk was entered by Harold Harden, and it was powered by a Cadillac engine. It was described in the February 12, 1954, Daytona Morning Journal newspaper as a special custom car built on a Kaiser chassis. The general consensus is that it is a 1951 or 1952 Kaiser DeLuxe two-door sedan. The top has been chopped, and the nose has been changed to accept a Nash grille.”

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.

Postwar Chrysler - Travel Trailer and Boat

  • A couple on a camping trip with late-1940s Chrysler and a deluxe travel trailer and boat. Tell us all about the rig and the lake in the background.

1950s Willys Sedan

  • A couple from Missouri pose with an early-to-mid-1950s Willys or Kaiser-Willys sedan. Could that be St. Louis in the background?

1950s Mercury Sedan in Alaska

  • It has been a long and snowy winter for many of us, but look how hard the owner of this Mercury from Alaska had to work to shovel out the driveway.


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

  1. While I’ve never seen the Harden Hawk, I knew right away where they were, without looking at the bumper sticker ( that was impossible to remove) With that salt encrusted sand up in the wheel wells, can’t you just hear that magnificent classic beginning to rust?
    Research shows, that’s a late 40’s Westcraft travel trailer. With the Chrysler looking pretty new as well, I’d bet this is their retirement cruise, and the old guy went all out.
    3rd is a Willys Aero, ’52? My old man had one once.
    Last pic was taken in mid-July. While it’s like, no degrees right now in the N.Woods, almost 60 for Sunday, so I think we got it licked,,,just beware, March is unpredictable ’round here. Shorts one day, shoveling the next. Have a decent weekend, all.

  2. I hadn’t seen the Harden Hawk before; an unusual custom, that’s for sure! Somehow, he made the front end look so much better than the standard Kaiser did in those years too! And the chopped top seems to work, overall; I like it!

  3. Thanks for giving the HARDEN HAWK colorization consideration for THE OLD MOTOR. I have to sat this though, the colors are a “best guess”. I could find no other info. on this car other than what has been posted here. I do know that Harden was a customizer of this time period and previous to the HAWK had done a 1951 Plymouth Convertible called the “BLACK NIGHT”

    I hope that the OLD MOTOR can further research the HAWK and Hardens other concepts —

    • A photo of The Black Knight can be found by entering 1950 Plymouth into the search bar on Kustomrama.

      Plymouth Convertible owned by Harold Harden. Harold’s Plymouth featured a set of quad headlights along with a custom made grille filled with mesh screen and bullets. It also was equipped with a Chrysler mill, airscoops and a special upholstery.

  4. Love that Kaiser custom. You can see the Kaiser top style which looks great in its chopped condition. I was at the 1954 Daytona speed week. Two of us Sailors hitch hiked to Daytona from Jacksonville to see the big stock car race on the beach. It was a disappoint since the soft sand cut the speed but it was a great time.

  5. David,

    Great color pictures again !!

    In the 3rd photograph, parked on the far left, is possibly a black 1950 PACKARD Super Eight Deluxe 4 Door Sedan.


  6. 2nd pic: 1946 to Early 1949 Chrysler is either a Saratoga or New Yorker, because of the extra long hood and wheelbase (look at the sheet metal behind the front wheel), compared to 6 cil. Royal or Windsor.

  7. In picture 3 the large billboard over the woman’s right shoulder has large red cutout letters on top that look to spell Kansas City.
    That Chrysler looks fully taxed and it must have been pretty slow going through the mountains. Reminds me of the movie “The Long, Long Trailer”.

    • I think Kansas City, Missouri is correct. Belger Cartage Service, Inc., as seen on one of the signs in the background, was located in Kansas City. at 2100 Walnut Street and had a branch at 1207 E 19th. At the time John Belger was president, his wife Bertha was VP, and Larry Belger was the Secretary – Treasurer. Belger is still in business today at both locations.

      If you google the Walnut Street address you can see their present building, the historic passenger railcars at the end of the block, and the giant Western Auto sign on top of the building on Grand Blvd.

      It looks like this photo was taken on a rooftop parking garage somewhere near the Walnut Street address.

  8. Hooray, it’s Kodachrome Friday!

    My thoughts, please:

    1) Great looking custom! Love the hood and fenders (could do without the scoop). Love the two-tone. Love the cut-out rear wheels. I’ve never seen that done to a Kaiser.

    2) In that same photo, it’s surely at Daytona, where the sand is like tan macadam. And, the passenger in the car doesn’t seem to care a whit about the car.

    3) I’d guess the Aero-Willys is a 52. Didn’t they go to a one-piece rear window in 53?

    4) The Mercury has a manual transmission. No “Merc-O-Matic” on the deck lid.

    Again, a great big “Thank You” for making Friday’s so fun.

    • The Willys Aero ended in ’52. I’m not sure what body style is pictured. The Falcon and Lark started in ’53. Those both had one-piece rear windows through ’55. The Ace and Eagle both started in ’53 with a three-piece rear window, then switched to one-piece in ’54. Sorry I didn’t solve anything.

  9. If I remember right the Willys Aero was the featured car in the 1954 movie titled “Johnny Dark” staring Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie. I was 14 at the time and have a copy of that movie today.

  10. Another good-looking set of photos from Way Back When. I agree the Chrysler is ’46-‘early ’49. If it is an eight, it would likely have pulled that trailer pretty well. The Chrysler straight eight was no slouch.

    In the Willys photo, I think the car right behind them is a ’54 Chevy 210, next a ’51 or ’52 Chevy, then a ’49 Ford. I can’t make out the next one, but agree the black one is a Packard.

    The ’52 or ’53 Alaskan Mercury looks well-weathered, although I believe only a year or two old.

  11. Photo 2 is taken at Glacier Nat’l Park in front of Thor’s Hammer Mtn. The lake is Two medicine Lake, all in the Big Sky country of Montana.

  12. The Chrysler looks like a ’47 or ’48. ’46 lacked the side trim. ’49 saw the introduction of the third generation styling (3 box style).
    The Chrysler engine had the guts to pull the trailer. Stopping the rig was a whole different matter. Did those trailers have electric brakes?

  13. Large house trailers had a variety of ways to assist in stopping, that included : 1). Electric brakes — (that were best when Annually maintained)! —- 2). An Auxiliary Master Cylinder on the trailer’s hitch frame — that was designed to have its plunger actuate with the forward trailer motion ‘s total weight — during a the towing vehicle’s stop: The more effort to stop the towing vehicle — generated more leverage on the Trailer’s Master Cylinder — and this could be used on single or dual axle trailers, adding significant extra stopping power — for the trailer’s weight and whatever was added to its interior: Examples: Domestic water reservoir , Propane, food, clothing , humans and pets, tools, spare tire, supplies. Naturally, top quality (vehicle or trailer!) brake linings, NO water or air in the brake lines, and maintaining correct brake lining adjustment on all wheels, —“fore & aft!” . ” Hydro-vac (Vacuum over Hydraulic) Power Brakes on either system could also augment the heavier House Trailers and the heavier vehicle to haul them . , by use of managed (stored) engine vacuum . The Flathead Chrysler Straight Eight was a “Torque-Monster” and appropriate for this major (trailer weight) challenge to a car. The older”Tioga Pass” Road was such a challenge to house trailers that they were not allowed nor recommended , at the steeply inclined narrow sections — near or above 9,000 feet! in 1956 , Slip-In (cab – over) camper units became both popular & available for heavy duty pickups. Then, the Motor Coach on 1 ton 2-1/2 Ton truck chassis came on the scene — as the larger sized house trailer faded into history. Earlier, in the mid 30’s , the Pierce Arrow Company offered both their top quality very high torque V-12 engined Limousine class sedan — and a matching Pierce Arrow house trailer — that left nothing out!!! Nothing! The epitome of trailer elegance. I know of two of these “combinations”, – perhaps the best being at the Nethercutt San S ylmar Museum in Sylmar, California. Pulling torque? None better. Edwin W.

  14. I think the owner of the ’53? Mercury used his shovel very little to clear his driveway. The blocks of snow on either side indicate the snow was a hard-packed drift, and those heavy chunks and the height of their placement would have required large equipment to clear the drive. Note the lack of significant snow accumulation on the neighbor’s shed roof. A four inch snow and high wind could have been the culprit. Getting the car started may have been more difficult than clearing the drive!

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