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Four Fun Friday Forties, and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-hundred of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a springtime image of an attractive woman behind the wheel of a baby blue early-1950s Buick convertible. Hopefully, many of you are experiencing similar spring-like weather on this final day of March. Meanwhile, it is beginning to appear that spring will never arrive here in Vermont as it is snowing this morning and four to eight inches of the white stuff is predicted for today and tonight.

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 This Was Americar.

  • Could this be a new car photograph of a young man and his red Buick compact convertible?

  • This man who appears to “march to the beat of a different drummer” apparently is selling rocks out of the trunk of his Chevrolet hardtop.

  • And finally, we have a mid-1950s image taken in Reno, Nevada with a view of Harold’s Club, and the Nevada Club casinos and a line up of fifties car.

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

  1. I wonder if the rock seller doesn’t dress that way to impress the tourists.

    And can someone with, maybe, some enhancement technology make out the sign hanging in his trunk? “The —– is not worth one —- int—–“

  2. 1st pic: 1950 Buick Super
    2nd pic: 1961 or 1962 Buick Skylark
    3rd pic: 1955 Olds, 1953-54 Chevy, 1950 Chevy and 1949 or 1950 Mercury
    4th pic: back row left to right: 2 x 1954 Plymouth taxi, 1955 Plymouth taxi, 1953 Buick, 1955 Oldsmobile, 1954 Buick, 1955 Chevy

  3. On the little sign the prospector has taped to the inside of his trunk, I can barely make out, “Not worth one penny”
    the rest I can’t make out , maybe someone with better eyesight than mine can decipher it.
    In any case, that chevy looks awful nice to be a prospector’s car !
    I believe the license tag is a 1954 date which would explain the pristine condition of the cars surrounding his .
    The Olds on the far side looks to me a ’54 model .

  4. 1st, and foremost, I’d like to thank David and OM for 100 Friday posts. Some of the pictures are pure “Americana” with great memories from all who lived it.
    The ’50 Buick just looks mad. Carry over from our victory overseas, perhaps? Somebody “bottomed ‘er out”, bumper guards have dents on the bottom. Can’t you just hear the squeal of those 6.70-15 bias ply tires on turns?
    2nd, if that isn’t an “Earl Scheib” job, possibly the “premium” job ( $29 dollars extra) I’ll eat sushi, as I don’t remember GM’s having that kind of paint.
    3rd, not sure how you “photo chopped” me into that picture. What does the sign say in the trunk? ” Not worth one” something. Looks like “ma” could wallop you with that handbag. Got a newer, for the time, Chevy, so he must be doing ok. Lastly, I think Vegas is the most featured city for carspotting. I’d say Plymouth’s were the choice for taxi’s.
    Thanks again for a wonderful series. Have fun with the snow, Spring is coming your way, suppose to be nice ( for a change) in the Badger this weekend. Might want to stay off the ice ( believe it or not, some folks always go thru this time of year)

  5. Could it be that after the ‘Hoppe & Streur Streamliner’ (3/25/2017), the devoted couple took to rock sales in retirement?


  6. That Buick’s “Bumpergrille” shouts 1950.

    That radio antenna had a knob at its base inside the car which was used to turn the antenna to any position, vertical, diagonal, horizontal, and any position in between. As a boy, I used to enjoy turning that antenna to make the radio reception the best.

  7. The man who appears to “march to the beat of a different drummer” was, as often happens, way ahead of his time. Remember “Pet Rocks”?
    Dave, thanks again for a most enjoyable blog.

  8. Again great pictures !!

    In the 1st photograph is a 1950 BUICK Super convertible [with radio].

    In the 2nd photograph is a 1962 BUICK Special Deluxe convertible.

    In the 4th photograph, parked on the far side of the street, are a light blue 1953 BUICK Roadmaster Riviera Sedan and a light green, with white roof, 1954 BUICK Super Riviera.

  9. The sign inside the trunk of the old prospector’ s 1950 Chevy reads
    The big …………
    not worth
    one ……..

    Also in that photo is a 1955 Olds and a 1953 Chevy.

    As to the car on the right, hmmm, I’ll have to work on that.

  10. In the Reno Nevada photo, looks like a 1940 or 1941 Ford big truck or ton truck parked on the left in green paint. I don’t know much about the lead photo except it’s a pretty scene and I road I’d like to live on.

  11. The Buick Special, Olds F85 & Pontiac Tempest were really great cars in the early 60s. Really good, light, styling. Typical of GMs innovation that they would introduce and, then abandon. Pontiac had a trans-axle and they all had that great aluminum V8. I looked at putting that engine in my ’63 MGB. It would fit and the engine/transmission was about 40 pounds lighter than the BMC 4 cylinder and trans. GM, as usual got cold feet and sold that engine to Rover. It’s still in production, I believe. They used it in the Rover V8, the Triumph TR8 and…..the MGB V8.

    • ” Theres no way those tire marks were made by a 62 Buick Special they could have only been made by the 62 Pontiac Tempest. The Buick had a straight axle rear end while the tempest had an independent transaxle rear end ” Mona Lisa Vito was right! Yeah I know she was talking about a 64 and a 63 but I couldn’t resist. I restored a 62 convertible tempest…….what a rust bucket always ran thuough.

    • My mom owned a Olds F85
      Nice looking two door hardtop
      I never got to drive it as I was stationed with the US Army in Germany
      The last months Hot Rod Magzine featured a dragster with a small block Olds engine that eat Chevy 350 for lunch.

  12. Granny’s plates look like Iowa, and the erstwhile old-timey prospector (her first love from back in the double-aughts) has Kansas plates, so maybe she went a-visitin’ to his place at Castle Rock or Monument Rock KS.

  13. The prospector’s license plate is for Pennington County in South Dakota. A big part of the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore as well as Rapid City, where most of the county’s residents live, are in Pennington County. The Badlands of South Dakota are nearby, too, which might be the location of the photo. Hard to say what year as the plates were the same design — white with colored letters — for many years.

    The plate on the other car is probably from Woodbury County in Iowa which is the location of Sioux City which was one upper midwest’s bigger cities.

    The Black Hills area has long been a vacation destination in the area.

  14. Back in the 50’s all Buicks had an antenna, even without the radio. Our family ’52 had the antenna but no radio until I turned 16 and put in a junkyard find.

  15. Great photos again David ! Now, the Chevy behind the old couple selling rocks….it looks to be a business coupe with what appears to me to be a bit longer trunk area than normal. Is this right, or just a style of regular coupe we don’t see much of ? As for the Buick looking “mad”, did any of you ever see one of these big rascals come flying up behind you ? I always moved over if possible, as they looked too heavy to stop ( and mad ) to me, ha !

  16. Good photos as usual, David. I would agree with Howard that the car to the right of the “old prospector” is either a ’49 or ’50 Mercury. In the Reno shot, I can’t tell for certain if the front Plymouths are ’53 or ’54, but it also appears there is another, older Plymouth cab in the next block up, in yellow.

  17. I wonder if the woman and the prospector could possibly be a “lonely hearts” newspaper ad first meeting. They both look rather surprised at their individual find. His get-up was a ruse, to be used if he didin’t like what he saw when his love interest arrived.

  18. The 3rd foto has a pretty rare ’53 Chevy 210, rather than the regular 2dr sedan w/ a full backlite, it’s a club coupe w/ a longer rear deck and a smaller rear window. This was the only year the 210 had the club coupe , a convertible , and hardtop. also, this was the 1st year that the Bel Air offered a full range of models, and therefore the 1st year for the 210 and 150 series. Hooray! Great fotos , David!!!

    • Sorry, late to the party again but Eric … the V8 came to Pontiac later , it debuted w/ an exotic (for the first time in America ,ever- I think) over head valve six, only seen elsewhere in the world and if I’m not mistaken became Pontiac’s firstime LeMans. Am I wrong, or only mis-remembering?

      • A friend had a ’66 Tempest with a SOHC six. For an American car it had a nice “foreign” sound, even with the stock,exhaust. I don’t believe it was available any earlier than that and was only used by Pontiac for a few years.

    • No, that’s the bracket for the front license plate, which seems to be missing from the line of duty.

      Nice riding car, those 50 Buicks. Between the heavy engine and front bumper, plus a longer wheel base on many models, they are a smooth car going down the road. The excitement only comes when you have to stop!!

  19. As I own a baby blue ’53 Special Riviera and am married to a slender brunette, the lead-in photo is right up my alley. It would be fascinating to know the story behind some of these pictures; after all, who doesn’t want to know the back story of a girl with a cigarette who drives a car like that, or of the kind of guy sells rocks from the back of a car, or of the kind of woman who hangs around a guy who sells rocks out of the back of a car…

    Alas, all is lost to time, but it sure is nice to ruminate.

  20. Notice the small dent in the L.F . Bumper Horn on the Buick at the farm gate: Probably a Buck-Deer-strike , (perhaps providing the family with a Winter ‘s worth of venison)! An (undocumented) public service from early GMC!) A quick trip to the parts yard to purchase a bumper horn — and 10 minutes with a wrench = “good as new!” This is (as opposed to:) A modern day: ” Plastic Safety Bumper”!!! Issuing early Buicks to everyone would not be a solution, as something else has changed.; I suppose that: This is (one reason) why I subscribe to this: “The Old Motor” Forum: A gentle reminder that Earlier Cars (like a Port-A Vent Buick” give a good look at why an early Buick chassis & body would reveal that: Our modern age plastic cars have not solved the problem of the Degradation of Skills and kill testing. Long live: The Old Motor !!! Please note: That the early Ford Pickup had a small L.H. side front fender dent; no doubt, —a deer strike! The Point is: Today’s flimsy trucks have the same issues . A Lot of junk appears on the market in the name of “safety”. How about a closer Look? Let’s call it:
    “tsoaphhbbh” ( The Spirit Of A Port-Hole Hood Buick Bumper-Horn! Edwin W. Beware: An older Buick will win!!! Edwin W.

  21. My first “modern” car ( in 1957) was a ’50 Bel Aire like the rock peddler has, minus the ballast in the trunk.
    I had a Buick aluminum V8 installed in my ’73 Vega wagon in 1975. Great street racer!

  22. Also, just wondering … can anyone shed light on the significance of that name to the rest of the Olds models… I know they had an 88 and a 98, perhaps it was just a littler car and a lesser number, maybe?

    • Hi Graham, I’ve always wondered that too. Apparently, after the war, Olds had “series” cars 60 , 70 and finally 80 ( and 90) series. In 1949, the “70” series Olds was replaced with the “80” series. It was only available with a V8, so hence the “80”-“8”. Same for the “90” series with an 8. ( source, OldsFAQ) It gets quite complicated, but that’s what I came up with.

    • Olds had a model 66, 76, 78, earlier, as well. The model with the six was a six cylinder engine, the 78, had an 8 cylinder engine (before the “rocket 88” V8) which first came out in 1949.

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