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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Five of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photograph which could have served as a perfect study for a fifties painting titled “American Gothic II.” The image shows a couple posing with an early-1950s Chevrolet four-door sedan loaded with accessories, and other than a little bit of dust on the rear bumper is perfectly clean and polished.

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.

  • An early-1960s city street scene loaded with parked vehicles; can anyone identify the location?

  • A pair of 1950s station wagons and a later four-door hardtop in a peaceful springtime setting. 

  • And finishing up here we have a view of pre-war cars parked while a parade is passing by.

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

  1. The 1st image is bound to conjure up all kinds of craziness, ax, middle of the woods, suspenders ( this movie writes itself) but I bet it was a couple of nice folks out for ride in their new ’54 Belair getting some firewood. Pretty fancy car. 2nd pic is Virginia, somewhere ( sign behind Wards) looks like a unibody Ford, and that ’57 Plymouth, looks like a bulldogs face. 3rd, somebody will recognize the structure. Judging by the 3 year old rusty Ford wagon, got to be up north. That ’60 Poncho looks pretty new, Wide-Trackin’. Last one, got to be around the war. I’m surprised it’s in color. Colorized maybe. Thanks again, David.

  2. 54 Chevy Bel Air with every option, Can’t believe that Paw would get behind the wheel in those dirty pants. Ma’s out fit would be seen if she got lost. Just sharpened double bladed axe.
    Newest car I see is a 59 Chevy, but on the other side of the street is a Citroen, VW bus, and a Volvo behind the Rambler American. I would guess a city street in the north east.
    Looks like a brand new 60 Pontiac flat top 4door in the park, great color.

  3. Great pictures again !!

    In the 2nd photograph, parked behind the 1957 PLYMOUTH on the left, is a white 1960 FORD.

    In the 3rd photograph, parked in the center, is what looks like a 1955 RAMBLER Suburban.

  4. I’m not sure where the town is in the first shot, but it must be a pretty cosmopolitan place. That’s a Citroen DS in front of the green VW bus on the right.

  5. In the third photo down, the `60 Bonneville Vista hardtop sedan appears brand new, so Im guessing the photo dates from that year also. Poor little Rambler wagon parked in front of it looks like the family workhorse for someone. In the fourth photo, I don’t see any post-WWII cars, with the newest I spot being the `42 Ford in the front row. A beautiful example of early color film on that photo!

  6. In picture number four there is a 1937 Chrysler, a 1936 Plymoutn (35?) a 1942 Ford, and a brown horse of undetermined vintage.

    The 1954 Chevrolet in the first picture has the beautiful deluxe Cadillac style hubcaps that looked great on my 1951 Chev convertable.

  7. Top picture is a 1954 Chevy Bel Air. “Loaded” with automatic headlight dimmer, windshield visor, rear fender skirts and a high end trim package. Looks like it might be a PowerGlide as well, can’t tell. MSRP base for the Bel Air was $2300 in ’54 but don’t know the cost of the options. Still, who wouldn’t pay $3,000 for that beauty??

    • I think the item on top of the driver’s side dashboard is not an automatic headlight dimmer (known as the Autronic Eye when installed on Oldsmobiles) but is one of those fan-shaped optical plastic gizmos that enabled the driver to see what color was illuminated on a traffic light without having to duck down to see it directly. If you were first in line at the traffic light the windshield visor usually obscured it and you’d have to crane your neck to watch for its change to green. The plastic device adhered to the dashboard or windshield and caught a small image of the light.

      • Hi Joel, I don’t think so. The “traffic light finder” I have seen on cars at shows, generally has them in the V of the dash, as far forward as possible. There were many kinds. I don’t think they worked very well. I think it may be a combination mirror/spotlight. They were very popular accessory at the time. And he seems to have gotten every other option. He very well could be working, ( and doing ok) and mom could be bringing him lunch,,,,in the new Chevaleigh.

  8. First pic’ , the “New Pioneers” at the site of a future summer hideaway ??
    Odd that he’s driven in as far and maybe grounded the frame on his well cared for car.
    And who’s in the drivers seat ?
    And a double blade axe ? He’s got a lot of work ahead.

    • If that’s a third person in the driver’s seat, then you are up to four, because someone took the photo. Perhaps two couples sharing a summer cabin project?

  9. Wow, what a mix in the “city-scape” ! A Lincoln, a Ford, a Citroen, a VW , a white ?????, and then a Plymouth ! Much more wealthy place than where I’m from originally, ha !

  10. Can’t help but wonder if the couple in the lead photo are on a camping trip or just out for an afternoon of making some fire wood? The parade in the last photo, a great shot of when American towns large or small celebrated patriotic or other national holidays with a parade that the whole community participated in. A time when we actually took time out of our lives to celebrate our nation, communities, family and friends.

  11. 1st pic clearly shows a fully loaded 1954 Top-range Chevrolet Bel Air.
    2 nd pic, cars at left front to back: 1961 Ford F100 (the newest vehicle here I think), 1957 Ford Wagon and 1957 Plymouth, 1959 Chevrolet, rest is unrecognazible to me. Then, in the middle of the street coming toward the viewer a 1958 Chevrolet. At right, front to back: 1957 Lincoln, 1955 Ford wagon (with painted parking light bezels instead of chrome-plated?), followed by a rarely seen European classic, at least in the US: a 1st generation (1956 – 1961) Citroën DS! Then a VW bus (in military colors?) and a 1961 Rambler American (along with the Ford truck the newest car). Further on a guy is about to enter or lock up his 1959 Plymouth, and a 1956 Ford. The rest is too blurry to see.
    3rd pic: from left ot right a 1957 Ford wagon, a Rambler American wagon, the larger tail lights make it a 1953 or 1954 model, and a 1960 Pontiac
    4th picture: I think at the left a 1937 Chrysler, in the middle a short-lived 1942 Ford, but it’s not a ‘black-out model’. The car in between with split grille looks familiar, but I can’t figure out the make. Anyone out there who does know?

  12. Second photo: Rogers Walgreen Pharmacy was in the Monongahela Building on High Street in Morgantown, West Virginia.

    • Great detective work Steve.
      Google Maps: 217 High St, Morgantown, WV, street view shows the Monongahela Building and many others are still there today.

  13. hi David,

    Thanks again for Kodachrome Fridays!

    Let me get the party started,

    1) That’s a clean, shiny, heavily optioned 54 Bel Air deep in the woods. I wonder why the man has an axe. Were they going to chop down trees and carry them home in the trunk.

    2) I sure don’t recognize the street. There are a lot of 57’s , Lincoln, Ford , Plymouth and a 55 Ford wagon. The two most interesting to me are a) the Citroen DS and the b) Ford pickup. I don’t know my pickups that well, but I would have sworn that design was much later, say a 1963. If so, there should be other cars from 57-62 in the picture.

    3) That Pontiac flat-top sure looks brand new. The Rambler wagon could use some TLC.

    4) It looks like a parade and the traffic has been stopped. Is that a 41 Ford in the center?

    Again, thanks for all you do.

  14. First picture. Odd situation: ’54 Chevy with just about every accessory possible, not suitable for off roading. Woman dressed for shopping, not the woods. Even the man’s shirt is not for working. Axe isn’t dirty. Makes me wonder.
    Third picture. 1960 Pontiac. From 1959 through 2007 Pontiacs had a split grill, except for 1960.

    • Last foto…I think you’re looking at a ’36 Plymouth and behind it a ’42 Buick on the curb and next to it a ’40 Ford convertible, as always great fotos… every friday , I visit for the fun, everyone has some remarkable insights… I learn something every week. We Americans are really remarkable.

      • Someone said ’42 blackout models …Maybe it was early ’42 . say January , a patriotic rally after Pearl Harbor.. war bonds or something…we were all so shocked then, sorta like after 9/11, today. The ’42 models debuted in late October, ’41. They didn’t start “painting them out”’til later in ’42, late January, early February… I think they stopped auto production by maybe March?

  15. That’s a working man’s axe. His pants are very dirty from moving fallen trees & brush. Axes don’t get “dirty” when you’re using them.
    He’s a lumber jack and Ma and another couple came to visit him.

  16. Did not see any gas rationing stickers. Sometime like Memorial Day 1942. Also, how many states gave up the front plate for the war effort?

  17. The unsung hero independent Station Wagon is a Nash Rambler, an excellent economical reliable vehicle that My Mom & Dad took into Mainland Mexico – for a vacation Trip, returning on the Mexican West Coast , via a dirt road , (circa 1956). A steering knuckle broke, from the severe conditions , even with my Dad’s careful driving habits. Jungle., all around! No car traffic. 2 hours. A Farmer, with loaded Donkey cart, going to market in the next town was requested to send a Tow Truck . 2 hours later, it arrived. It was an Ox -Cart, – with 2 Oxen . The Rambler, being light , was no problem for the Oxen to (via rope) tow it —even if one wheel was not pointing “ahead” . 2 more hours and they arrived in a small coastal mining town, on a Friday evening, — that was closed down for the weekend’s Fiesta! They got the last room , bathroom down the hall , in the one local Hotel , packed for the Fiesta. The week-end was totally rowdy and fun , so they joined in ! The “garage” was the town’s Blacksmith Shop, open on Monday morning . The Blacksmith “sized up the job” told them the price (cheap!) , removed the part — Forge Welded it in the Hot Coals & Bellows Driven Flame , — and re-assembled it to the car, in perfect alignment ! More than 1,000 miles later, at home in Los Angeles, Dad’s old-timer Mechanic inspected the weld and advised to “leave it alone” as he regarded the repair as 100 % safe, — as it was — thousands of miles later at trade-in time. Edwin W.

  18. In regards to the three photos; What needed to be said has already been said ! But I will say just one thing:
    The ‘facelift’ that GM gave the ’53 Chevy’s for the ’54 Models, was I believe one of the most successful ever.
    The new 1954 BelAire’s were a very huge seller in our town. ( via my Dad’s efforts, not mine ).

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