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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-hundred and three of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photograph of a proud young man with a red and white Chevrolet two-door hardtop. It and a Ford sedan appear to be the newest cars in this subdivision with some of the others dating back to the late-1940s. Tell what you know about this vehicle.

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 late-1950s view appears to be of the Main Street in a frontier tourist town located in the Southwest.

  • This view shows a major response by a Fire Department to a fire at a Royal Cinema in a large town or city.

  • Dogs love to ride in cars, and this Collie seems to be content behind the wheel of this full-sided station wagon.


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

    • I love Virginia City. My son lives in Reno, and every year we go to the Independence Day parade. Great, “klitschy” little touristy town!

  1. Photo 2 – The Old Washoe Club.

    Virginia City, Nevada.

    Looking for a Cartwright riding into town. I think I hear the theme song.

    • They would probably come in Chevys, since Chevy was Bonanza’s sponsor for many years. A two-tone International Travelall SUV among mostly Ford products

  2. 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Sports Coupe. With a 283 V8. In Matador Red. That car would make most people smile.

    That Looks like some fine fire apparatus. The trucks are clean as a whistle and plainly lettered. Could it be Detroit?

    Dogs do love to ride in cars. Especially old station wagons!

  3. 1st pic, he’s smoking!! With such a downturn in smoking ( thank goodness) it’s almost unusual to see pictures of people smoking. ’57 Chevy, not sure, some fancy model, and “particle board estates” behind him. Anywhere, USA.
    #2, Virginia City, NV. Sound familiar ( cue Bonanza intro) That ’57 Travelall looks pretty new. Looks like a police car to the left, a Ford maybe?
    The fire turnout most assuredly is a big city, and the equipment looks a lot like vintage L.A. stuff, but could be anywhere, and lastly, the dog appears to be a “war pup”.

  4. In the first pick, with my apologies, the Chevy couldn’t appear as more of a cliche if it tried. Even my Mom knew what a `57 Chevy looked like. It, and the yellow `58 Ford on the right in the background certainly appear to be the newest ones on THAT block.
    An interesting & rare mix of cars in the third photo (fire scene). a couple `59 Chevys, a rare 2dr. `59 Ford Ranch wagon, a navy blue `60 Buick Electra sedan, a `54 New Yorker sedan, and both `57 and `59 Buicks. last but not least, a new white `60 Falcon beyond the theatre. (I sure hope the fire dept. was able to save that majestic old theatre; every town needs that Americana!)

  5. In the 1st picture, parked on the far right is the rear quarter of an off-white either a 1949 or ’50 NASH.

    In the 3rd picture, parked on the left, in front of the Royal Music Hall, is a gray over white , four-door, 1957 BUICK either a Special Riviera or Century Riviera. Parked across the street are a white four-door 1959 BUICK LeSabre and a black four-door 1960 BUICK Electra 225 Riviera or Electra Riviera.

  6. As Will noted before.. . lead foto is indeed a cliche by that time. My comment is think of the size those “saplings” must be today . I’m sure every lot came w/ one when the contract for the house was signed.

    • “As Will noted before.. . lead foto is indeed a cliche by that time.”

      Yes it is, but the purpose all of these Kodachrome images is to let readers that are knowledgeable about a certain car to also tell the readers what model it is and what options it was equipped with.

      What both of you are missing is that 16 year old kid new to old cars may not know what year it is, nor due some of our readers that come from around the globe.

      • I am Midfifties and feeling like a 16 year old boy when it comes to American cars.
        Yes, I am an Oldtimer driver and attend regular Oldtimer meets for the past 20 years here in Europe.
        The information of “The Old Motor” and the many very knowledgeable and most importantly firsthand information that many of you provide makes it very special. Keep up the great work.

  7. Take a virtual stroll down South C Street in Virginia City in Google Street View; it was a beautiful day, and there’s a bike show going on. Enjoy the old buildings… and hundreds of motorcycles!

  8. Okay. How do you know the Chevy has a 283 in it? Only available engine in the high line coupe? And what about that 3 piece front bumper? I seem to remember reading somewhere that moving to a one piece bumper was mandated?

    The man in front of it was perfectly dressed for the time. Roll up sleeves, white sox, somewhat high water pants. Complete with a flat top.

    I have to laugh at the thought of a photo taken in 2017. Man bun, untucked shirt, shoes of unknown origin etc. in front of a Hyundai. Won’t happen!

    • The “V” emblem under the Chevrolet lettering on the hood (and the trunklid) denoted V8 Chevys in ’57. As for the front bumper, California mandated one-piece front bumpers at that time, so ’57 Chevy passenger cars sold here were equipped as such (I’m guessing the Corvette was granted some sort of waiver.).

  9. Believe the fire might be the Royal Music Hall at 520 E. Capitol Street in Jackson Mississippi which burned in July 1960

    • The black and white sign next door to the theater looks like it reads “Monterey Bank” and according to Google maps Monterey, Louisiana is about 130 miles from Jackson, Mississippi. Might it have been a branch office?

  10. The second picture appears to be taken on the sidewalk next to a police car. Notice the horn and the black and white paint??

  11. Ok, Pop Quiz!

    On the ’57 Chevy automatic transmission “shift lever selection” display there was
    P R N D Hr

    What was Hr?

    • HR= Hill retard ,
      or “low” they only had 2 speeds, low and drive.
      In the north country it was called”slip and slide with pwer glide :>)

    • On the Turboglide automatic for 1957 (and not the Powerglide which had been available since 1950) Hr on the shift display for “Hill retarder”. A running change was made in 1957 to use Gr (for “Grade retarder”) to avoid user confusion of Hr with High range. Hr or Gr utilized the transmission as a hydraulic retarder. Applying power (rather than coasting downhill) with the selector in Hr or Gr was bad bad bad news for the transmission. Hence one of the reasons for the nickname “terribleglide.”

      Also the Turboglide allowed an almost constant engine rpm while accelerating, thus eliminating the sound of the engine accelerating. GM solved a problem that most buyers of the GM V8 (the Turboglide was 283 only in 1957) didn’t want solved, you were paying for horsepower and who wouldn’t want to hear that V8 sing?!

      Note: The Turboglide essentially functioned as a hydraulic continuously variable transmission.

      • The Powerglide was bad enough, but the abominable Turboglide was a power-KILLER. I was so excited when they finally brought out the 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic in the early 1960’s, which eliminated both of these atrocities.

    • Hi Mike, took a while, but I think you mean “GR”, which was the Turboglide “Grade Retard”, used for hill braking under 40mph. It was not a “low gear” apparently, and advised against using it as such.

  12. That first photo is a 1957 Bel Air 2-door hardtop. The V on the front designates it as a V8, and is almost certainly a 283. Chevrolet offered a 265 cid V8 in manual transmission and overdrive models, but the 283, in several iterations, was the only other size V8 that year. As a Bel Air, it would almost certainly have been a 283.

    • Quoting from a factory brochure: “All power teams available in all Bel Air, Two-Ten and One-Fifty models.” I have seen 1957 Bel Airs with the 235 six cylinder engine. It is correct that the “V” on the hood, (and trunk) signifies a V8 engine under the hood. Also, most people believe that all ’57 Chevy V8s were 283s. Not so. The base V8 was a two barrel carb 265, but it was only available with a standard transmission.

    • If you enlarge the first picture you do not see the gear selector showing that indicates to me that the ’57 is a 3 speed manual so it could have either a 265 or a 283.

  13. The fire apparatus looks like… Peter Pirsch & Sons matching Engine and 100′ 3 fly tillered Ladder; not to be confused with Pierce apparatus. Both from Wisconsin but vastly different. What an incredible shot of these really extremely well built units in action. Rare!

  14. Evet, you are correct as the Royal was formerly a movie theater in that location on E. Capitol in Jackson MS. I recognize Reid Magee real estate & Draughn’s Business College where one could learn any number of office skills & go straight to earning in the office world. 2 of my cousins could have been working this fire.

  15. It depended on which assembly plant the Chevy was produced at as to whether it had a 1 or 3 pc bumper. Most Long Beach cars had 1 pc units as I remember.

    • That isn`t a siren. It`s an outdoor loudspeaker “horn type“ for efficient audio from the two way radio receiver when the officer is outside the Police vehicle on a traffic or aid stop (note the black and white paint scheme). The whip antenna is for low band VHF two way police radio (not CB). It may be an AWD type Chev. /GMC Suburban or International Carryall type for the mountainous area around Virginia City) where I believe it snows in the winter.

  16. Live and learn. I always thought the chevy 265 disappeared after 1956. As many people did, I bored my 1955 1/8 inch to make a 283. Quite a difference in performance.

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