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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Seven of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a classic small town photo. “Everyone loves a parade” and today’s 1950s lead image shows one underway with the local Chamber of Commerce float being towed by a Packard convertible. Behind the festivities is the local Ford Dealer’s A-1 used car and truck sales lot with spectators cars parked in the front row.

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.

  • A new car photograph with a family posing with a mid-1960s Ford wagon that appears to be loaded with options. Note the protective clear plastic bag still on one of the bucket seats?

  • Someone’s prized Basset Hound appearing like it was photographed at a summertime family get together. In the background is a trio clean-looking late model cars.

  • Before there were minivans station wagons were used for the family car, and this 1950s Nash appears like it was being used for a camping trip.

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

    • The front fender “Bird” medallion on the ’63 ford wagon is silver. If I recall correctly the silver was used to indicate both the 390 and the 406 engines. The gold medallion was reserved for the 427. My ’63 square back 2 door was factory equipped with a 427, two fours on a hi-rise manifold, and factory headers. Bought it used in ’66 from a dealer in Langhorn, PA. The dealer’s story was that the car was one of 50 built for short track racing.

  1. In the lead photograph, the PACKARD convertible looks like a 1951 250 model.

    In the 2nd photograph, parked across the street in the drive-way, is a 1956 CHEVROLET 210.

    In the 3rd photograph, parked on the right, is mono-tone white 1955 BUICK Riviera. model unknown.

    In the 4th photograph is a 1955 RAMBLER Custom Cross Country.

  2. The clean look of the brand new 1955 Ford Customline on the 3rd pic is even more evident by the absence of bumperettes (or overriders). Were they not standard equipment or should the owner have them removed?

    • The factory sales brochure shows the bumper guards on all models. Apparently the owner removed them. Bolt heads can be seen on either side of the license plate where the guards would have been attached.

  3. “Dad” for whatever reason doesn’t appear too happy posing with his new `63 Country Squire. Why not? It’s loaded; I see rear fender skirts, looks like a “390” badge on the front fender, and bucket seats! The only item missing is the roof rack. Maybe the Mrs. talked him into this car when he wanted the cheaper country sedan with a six & three-on-the-tree.

    • Station wagon guy:

      He wanted the Galaxie XL (properly equipped with a dual quad 427 and a four speed) but the wife wanted four or more doors, an automatic, and no more of that racing nonsense. The just like Holman and Moody talking point wasn’t even used. The wife told him to take up golf instead. The 390 was the best he could do.

    • HE wanted a 3-speed 6, and SHE insisted on a 390 with all the bells and whistles?
      Waiter, I’ll have what will’s having.

    • The old man is leaning on what looks like a golf club. Perhaps Dad’s frown is because he broke 75; that’s a lotta clubs to break.

  4. Yeah, the Packard in a parade. I did that with my ’50 Packard,,once,,stop me if you’ve heard this one,,,,early 90’s, my ex-wife has this brainstorm to enter our Packard in the local, small town parade. Sigh,,fine, polished ‘er up, looked nice, line up the cars, little warm, but we’ll see, off we go, kids, MIL, throwing candy, the whole “megillah”, 3 mph for blocks, everybody smiling, waving, except me, the temp needle was pinned on H. “NOW WE’RE STOPPING”? C’mon,( revving motor in neutral) finally, after the main crowd, I ditched it on a side street and shut it off. “Everybody out, fun’s over” “AWWW, dad”. We watched the rest of the parade from the curb, the car cooled down, and we went home. A testament to Packard’s “iron block” motors. I’m sure this Packard was running hot, as well. Nowadays, our small town parades consist of 90% fire trucks, and a marching band, very few old cars.
    2nd pic, THEY’RE GREASERS!!! That ’63 Ford Country Squire was top of the line, and boy howdy, it’s new. Plastic still on the seat covers. Truth be known, it’s HER car, and his is the rusty Pontiac across the street.
    New Ford (’55?) has snow tires on, the dog? Sorry, I’m not really a dog person, but it seems to me, when it came to creating dogs, G-d kind took what was left over and created dogs. This dog clearly has the wrong legs. “Low rider”, I suppose. And finally, one fancy Nash . Water bag on the front, so it’s hot. Apparently, they did not opt for the new air conditioning, a $350 dollar option( over $3,000 dollars today)

    • Some expensive cars from the late 20’s, early 30’s had a fourth “stump puller” or “parade” gear which would allow the motor to run faster than in ordinary low gear ( think Chrysler Imperial for example) at low “marching band” pace. Faster fan speed = more air pulled through the radiator, would minimize overheating. With the ordinary low gear, the only way the car could be kept down to marching band speed was to slip the clutch or continually disengage and re-engage the clutch. Poor clutch!

        • Yes. Turnquist’s “The Packard Story” shows a Packard ad for the Eighth Series announcing the “improved” four-speed transmission. When introduced and how long it was available, I don’t know. My 1933 limousine ( bought in 1954 for all of $95 ) didn’t have it.

  5. Hey, I’m gona’ dream really big David. Since I never saw a Country Squire with buckets, I’m thinking it’s a 4 speed 427 and one of a kind. We were able to order what we wanted back then ! Love this car !!! ( and as usual, all the photos ! )

    • Wagon guy’s wagon has the fender skirts.

      I was joking about the guy wanting the Glaxie, but your post got me checking and in 1963 there were (a few?) Country Squire wagons from the factory with bucket seats and 4 speeds from the factory, up to 390 single 4bbl as factory production apparently. In those days knowing the right people might get you almost anything assembled out of the parts bin (not to mention the occasional “skunk works” projects that were around).

      1963 Country Squire with a 390 speed four on the floor bucket seats was standard production that year.

      • Actually , I think you’re seeing a conventional red vinyl bench seat with a shadow cast across it… note the roof as well as the rearview mirrorand door post shadow in the middle of the seatback, a more likely Country Squire configuration. Nice looking family.

  6. A porous water bag on the front of a moving car, a popular procedure for cooling the water.
    Water seeped through the bag’s porous material and then evaporated.
    Evaporation being a cooling process, the water still within the bag remained cooler than if the water was in another type of container inside the car.

  7. Basset hound panting on a hot summer’s day. All of the windows open on the house next-door (central air still rare). Looks like the Cadillac has a/c intakes adjacent to the rear glass so a cool ride might be in order. Ice cleats on the roof and black and white license plates point to this being around Cleveland, Ohio (lake effect snow region) in the mid-fifties.

    • Hi Henri, in the early ’60’s, my grandparents had central air in their house. Due my grandmother’s health, they had to have it. It was treat indeed to spend hot evenings there. We never had A/C in anything. A fan was all you had, and window air conditioners took 3 stout men to lift.

    • Henri… at 400+, looks more like a ’55 Series 62 Cadillac sedan w/ a “Riviera type back window”w/o air conditioning, an awesome ride anyway/none the less. Pretty prosperous digs- 3 new ’55s… Dad, Cadillac; Mom, Buick; Son , Ford… I should’ve been so lucky!

      • After lunch was thinking … by 1955 had auto air conditioners advanced to the point where we no longer had external air intakes and ergo, factory installations were no longer visible on the rear quarters aft of auto doors? Honestly, I no longer remember, lost in the mists of my mind.

        • Lincoln for one still had the air scoops and clear tubes in the rear window on their factory A/C cars as late as 1957.

  8. I would love to browse the used car lot in the 1st picture. 3rd pic, I would be happy with any of the three although probably prefer the caddy. In the last one is not the Nash wagon fairly rare? Looks as if maybe the wind caught the driver’s door at some time. All wonderful pictures. Keep up the good work!

  9. The 55 Ford looks like coupe rather than sedan and Dad has a golf club in his hand with the rest of the clubs in the back of the wagon and knows he might be late for his foursome’s tee time.

  10. I tuned in late today – So what’s left to comment ? Just the Military Haircut in the first photo. IN HONOR OF ALL WHO SERVED AND CONTINUE TO DO SO !

  11. My Basset Hound, Holly really enjoyed seeing her breed finally recognized on the Old Motor…

  12. The red Ford wagon is my favorite today. I noticed the family all has dimples on their chins. The apples didn’t fall far from the tree with them!

  13. That 1963 Country Squire with the XL interior was rare when new. I don’t recall the precise production numbers, but the total of six- and nine-passenger Country Squires with the optional XL interior was roughly 700. I believe I am within 10 percent of the actual number. The engine is almost assuredly the 390. The 427 was not officially available, though I believe at least one was built as a special order. If the car had been equipped with a smaller displacement engine there would have been no fender-mounted ID emblem. The fact this car was painted Rangoon Red with a red interior must have made this one incredibly rare.

  14. Oh, AHEM, one more thing ( Columbo) on the 3rd pic, across the street, are 2 cars from the same time, the ’56 Chevy and the ’55 Poncho. Look at the difference in the 2 cars condition.

    • True Howard. By `63, anything from `55 driven in the ‘rust belt’ was fairly tired and ravaged by the tin worm. That year, my mom was still driving her baby blue `57 New Yorker coupe, and the rocker on the driver’s side was nearly gone. Come spring `65 she demanded a new car from Dad, and got a triple-red new Barracuda Formula S with the 4bbl. 273 V8 & console automatic, which I drove my sophomore year in HS.

      • Hi Will, hmm, ’65 Barracuda, sophomore year, some guys had all the luck.( I can hear it now, “mom, can I use the car to go to the,,um,, library”? “Again? Ok, honey, be careful”) I had my old man’s ’68 Lincoln, until I got my ’58 Volvo my senior year. I fit in much better with the Volvo. ( the guy with the old Ford, they called me)

  15. Kodachrome Friday is my favorite The Old Motor Day. Such a great trip down memory lane and stories to imagine in each picture.

  16. 1st photo: The official Ford sales building accomodates one sales person, one clip board and one customer. The rest of the family waits outside. I like that 1937 Chevrolet. Looks in good shape. Lower left. DON’T get a haircut in this town.

  17. The 63 Ford Wagon is a Country Squire with the 500XL buckets, likely the counsel and auto on the floor as options.. I have seen one equipped like it and was very surprised. Ford built some very nice cars during that time. Even had a 500 XL 4 door hardtop with the bucket seats and counsel with auto 63/64. Pre LTD and not until 65 for the equivalent Caprice

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