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Four Fun Friday Forties, and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-hundred and one of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photograph of a young man striking a pose that looks somewhat like the sculpture “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin. The other possibly, judging by the appearance of the Studebaker is that he was bored to death on a long trip and having to wait for the picture to be taken. What are your thoughts about him and the car?

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.

  • This postwar semi-custom Ford coupe has been nosed, and wears a set of spun aluminum Moon discs.

  • An early-1950s street scene  in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Tell us what you think is mounted on the rear door of the green GM sedan on the far-left of the photo. 

  • And finally, this early-1940s Ford Motor Company product on a rural road is experiencing road conditions much like we are here during our annual “Mud Season.”


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

  1. While the Studebaker doesn’t look too old, it’s condition tells the story, he is waiting for a tow truck. Shoebox Ford’s, always cool. The red thing looks like a kid in the back seat with a “pinwheel” and the beer ad, “Old Reading Beer,,,,it’s good”. Pretty straight forward there. Last pic looks like surveyors of some sort ( in a Mercury?) I guess before the Willy’s, you used what you had.

    • For the life of me, I could mot come-up with the word “pinwheel”, Howard, but I knew what it was. Thank you.

    • I agree. It brings back memories of doing that on vacations with our ’56 Olds 88. I hadn’t thought of that in years.

  2. Brown shoes and belt, sox match shirt, blue pants against a filthy car, maybe thinking “why did I wear blue pants?” My uncle used a Studebaker Starlight as a commuter car in the late fifties. The fit and finish on the Ford coupe tell me that this was adult built. Let’s have an Old Reading at the American Legion and then walk back to my 1953 Buick Riviera hard top parked behind the car with a child’s pin wheel hanging out. Be advised that North Western Pennsylvania has mud season and it is in full bloom. Two wheel drive, some advice “don’t stop.”

  3. The Studebaker is a 1950 Champion. The customized Ford in the second photo looks like It has minimal changes, but I can only guess at how much work it took to make it look this good. The item in question coming out of the sedan in picture number three looks to be a pinwheel. I remember doing this same thing. As I remember Dad didn’t mind so much but Mom did not like us putting our arms out of the car window. The car in the last photo might me a Mercury. What a mess!

  4. Your question of what’s outside the door of the green GM sedan? It’s a child holding one of those pinwheels on a stick outside to catch the air and spin.

  5. Ah, memories. I learned to drive in my father’s 1951 Studebaker.
    Heat in the winter? Ha, we wished. The hot air was supposed to exit from the grille under the front seat and never did. The speedometer cable would bind in the winter and finally release and indicate 80 mph while making a terrible noise.
    The starter button was under the clutch pedal. Depressing that pedal all the way down pushed down the starter button.
    Had great fun with that starter button in high school. After friends entered the car I would depress the clutch to just above the starter button and say “bang on the door so we can get this thing started”. They would answer, “what?” I’d say “bang on the door!” They would and I would depress the clutch a few inches further and the car would start. It was fun hearing around high school that one had to bang on the door to get my father’s car started.
    I still have its jack.

    The one shown in the photo is a 1950. The easiest way to determine a 1950 from a 1951 is that the spaces in the grille were more rectangular in the 1951.

  6. For the third picture, “Tell us what you think is mounted on the rear door of the green GM sedan on the far-left of the photo.”: I think someone, probably a kid, has stuck a hand holding a pinwheel out the open rear window to catch the breeze created by passing cars. Parked behind the sedan are a ’53 Buick Super Riviera and a ’51 Oldsmobile 88. Going away from the camera are a ’50 Buick Special and a ’49 Pontiac.

    Thanks for these always enjoyable Fun Friday features.

    • I believe the Pontiac is a 1952, based on the design of the trunk handle. Did you notice the 48/50’s Packard in the parking lot to the left?

  7. that object in the window of the green sedan is an early “air conditioner” – an evaporated air cooler that blew out side air into the car via the water-filled cooler.

  8. That’s not mounted on the car, that’s a little kids hand holding on to a “whirlygig” , A little fan on a stick.
    If you look close , you can see the top of his head sticking up above the edge of the window ledge.

    I wonder what’s strapped to the roof rack on the ’41 merc in the lower pic ??

  9. The object hanging out of the rear window in the third photo appears to be a child’s hand holding a whirl-a-gig toy, the type that spins when air is directed toward it. Zeke

  10. In the Lancaster, PA picture, I think that is a little kid in the back seat with a pin-wheel out the window, making it spin. I remember doing the same thing when I was a youngster.
    Jon Lee

  11. The last photo is a 1941 Mercury and it was recently featured on the cover of the V8 Times. The Early Ford V8 Club’s bi-monthly magazine.

  12. Great pictures !!!

    In the 1st photograph is a 1950 STUDEBAKER Champion Starlight Coupé.

    In the 3rd photograph, on the far left, looks like the rear of a two-tone, four door, 1947 or ’48 CHEVROLET and it appears a child has his hand out the rear window with a pin-wheel. Parked behind this CHEVROLET is a two-tone 1953 BUICK Super Riviera. In the street, foreground center, is a maroon 1950 BUICK Jetback Sedanet. Most interesting is the black, four-door, 1949 or ’50 PACKARD Custom in the parking lot [just past the ’53 BUICK parked on the street] and next to the PACKARD looks like a circa 1950 NASH four-door.

  13. Picture number three I believe is a child in the back seat holding a pin wheel
    or windmill in the breeze.

    Thanks for the great pictures each day BOB

  14. 1st pic: a 1950 Studebaker (1951 has slightly different bullet nose styling)
    2nd pic: 1950 Ford (the clue is the front blinker housing, which was plainer on the 1949 model)
    3 rd pic: On the street, most prominent cars here are all GM middle-class vehicles: The newest one being a 1953 Buick Super, in front of a 1952 Oldsmobile. Drivng away from the viewer is a 1950 Buick Special and a 1950 Pontiac. On the parking lot, behind the 1953 Buick are some non-GM products, most nobably a 1949 or 1950 Nash and a 1948 or 1949 Packard (both ‘bathtub’ style). The blue coupe is a 1946-48 Plymouth
    last pic: 1941 Ford

  15. In the third picture of the green what ever make GM is a kid holding a stick out the window with a red pinwheel on it

  16. The first picture is a 1950 Studebaker Champion. Looks like he has been on some dirt roads as dirty as it is. #2 picture is a 1950 Ford two door coupe. I had a set of those exact moon caps on a 55 F-100 I once owned. In the third picture I will say that GM is well represented, the green and black car I would guess is a Chevy followed by a 53 Buick and them a 51 model Olds. Traveling away from the camera is another Buick 50 model I bleieve chasing a 50 Pontiac. I do see a 52 or 53 Ford parked on the end of the bridge and a 47 or 48 Plymouth parked in the parking lot.

  17. The Studebaker broke in the middle of Wyoming. I know that look.
    The red thing sticking out is absolutely a curb feeler that someone mounted a little too high.
    The guy in the Mercury should have tried the right side instead of where that tree is.

  18. Judging from the terrain and road conditions, the guys in the Mercury with skis on top are in the wrong place at the wrong time, if this was to have been a ski trip.

  19. Those skis on the Mercury make me wonder just how far they have to go in such abysmal conditions to get to snow.

  20. Over twenty years ago, I had the twin of that green ’51 Oldsmobile, including the visor over the windshield. When I had the car repainted, the painter told me that the paint color was still in production, because Bridgeport, Connecticut, had standardized on the color for their police cars! I haven’t verified that.

  21. This guy is out west somewhere–Colorado, Wyoming, Utah maybe. And he isn’t waiting for a tow truck because back then no one had cellphones; he’d have hitchhiked to the next town.

    In the early 1960s my dad loaned me a similar Studie to drive to and from my summer job on the night shift at Cole Steel in York, Pennsylvania. I drove the living whiz out of it. Almost tried to blow the engine, but it just kept going. Suspect that rpms were limited by carb throat size…

  22. Another great set of pics. Thanks. Question for “Steve”. After some serious studying of pic #3, am
    unable to see the ‘green sedan with the early A/C’. Remember seeing lots of them , mostly out west.
    Maybe a little more detail . Know I am an old guy now, but still have good vision. Thanks

  23. Lancaster, Pennsylvania .. Might as well be an advertisement for all things General Motors, regardless of the kiddies pinwheel and beer ad. Bet the Buick dealer lived in the decent part of town.

  24. Lots of Starlight Studebakers on the web this week…

    I would love to have a ’50 Starlight… prefer the Commander for the bigger six, but like the Champion’s dash better.

  25. First pic: Yeah, ’50 Stude Starlight Coup.

    Gentleman’s right hand looks to be clutching something, though no evidence of a camera cable. So who’s taking photo? Pretty fancy socks for Badlands cruising.

    Flathead 6. Overdrive transmission would be de rigeur for “out west” driving.
    Dude need some serious gravel guards.

  26. The Studebaker shown is among those Studebakers that have the wonderful feature known as: A “Hill Holder” : (Greatest thing since sliced bread)! A linkage rod between the clutch and a valve on the Master Cylinder for the brakes —came into play when waiting for an opportunity for an up-hill “begin moving forward —without slipping back (Wham! ) scenario. Note the Studebaker’s : “Single Jet Engine”Air intake” for the radiator! also on ’49 & ’50 Fords (as ’51 had two Jet Engine air intakes! The trim on the last (’51) “Shoebox Ford” was way different than ’49 & ’50 and it was the first year for the “Avant Guard ” Victoria Styling model , a harbinger of a style that everyone copied ! In our “Fordor ’51 Fordomatic Deluxe Sedan (first year for Fordomatic trans.) V-8 ‘s Owner’s Manual, the FoMoCo apologizes for the poorer quality of the Chrome plating: “Due to the (Korean) War Effort “: Strange, because Industrial (war use)_ Chrome Plating and Decorative Chrome Plating are not the same metal make-up!!! The car out in the mud? A 1941 Mercury Coupe (been there!) A very quiet, heavier than Ford Coupes, reliable vehicle, which received a newly rebuilt Ford Factory Shoebox Flathead V-8, IT had about 500 miles on it, — as its donor car was T-boned, engine not hurt, $50.00! Wanna DO this ??? it requires Lincoln Front Motor Mounts for a BOLT-in install, – from ’41 (tired motor ) – swap to New Shoebox V-8 installation !!! Many high speed (Way more economical ) trips TO/ and all over the back roads (Fishing!) of the Sierras were accomplished with this combo. Thank you for a return of the fond memories of this Highway Cruiser and Mountain Goat ! Houdaille Shock Absorbers really did their job — on this reliable early Ford product . “Windmill” is the other term for Pinwheel”. No “Window Mounted Cooler” Anywhere . (Cheap model = car’s forward motion air only! Expensive model : Cig. lighter socket “plug-in” 6 Volt fan motor , [included inside cooler] 10 degrees cooler than outside , —Only in a dry climate ! ) Edwin W.

  27. My first car was a bright yellow ’49 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe. Most useful amenity (and there were several on those Studebakers!) in San Francisco was the hill holder – shift into first, keep the clutch depressed, and the car stayed in place until the clutch was released. The ’49 had a stainless steel contemporary grill, and I later had a dark aqua ’51 Champion Starlight. I liked the torpedo nose of the ’51, but still prefer the ’49’s classic grill. Both were superb cars, reliable and sturdy. I was hit once in the ’51 and sustained minimal damage, unlike the newer car of the woman who hit me.

  28. I remember when I was about 5 years old sticking my pinwheel out the window of our 55 Buick going about 60mph down the road one time. Word to the wise, 29cent pinwheels don’t last too long at speed!!

  29. Judging by the plates, the pensive gent in pic 1 appears to be from Minnesota. Whether he is IN Minnesota is another question. Perhaps he’s wondering how to get back there.

  30. No one has noted that the pictured ’50 Studebaker is only a Champion Starlight, not a Commander… the Commander and the 4 door Land Cruiser were built on longer chassis frames… both had inches ahead of the firewall to accommodate the larger flathead six. The Land Cruiser was even longer in the body to allow for the larger rear doors that carried unique quarter vents. Those extra inches in both lines improved the bodies exterior’s both in proportion and appearance considerably. The “bullets” were only built 2 years and the ’50 models were the only year to be built as described.

  31. “pin wheel ” thats quite descriptive !
    On the other side of the pond we would call it a child’s windmill.
    keep up the good weekend fun.

  32. The guy in the Stude is on a road trip, just taking a break out in the middle of nowhere. Been on the road for a while, hence the dirty car. Looks a lot like parts of California.

    The skiers are out for a long ski-camping holiday, hence the trailer. Maybe a Randonee trip using ‘skins’ to ascend for half a day and then head back to ‘base’ camp. Looks like they have done this before as they seem pretty confident on this ‘road’. Out west somewhere from the look of the surrounding scenery.

  33. It’s wonderful reading your gentlemen’s comments in each edition of this great web magazine…….. A fine compliment to pre-cyberspace Geeks, with their knowledgeable affection for their subject. Fascinating.
    (the guy with the Studebaker reminded of me of Jack Kerouac, on the road…..) Thanks for “The Old Motor” !

  34. With regard to the second picture of a mildly customized 50’s Ford coupe you mention it has been “nosed”. I am not familiar with that term and wonder what it means. Thank you.

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