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Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Six of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photograph showing styling trends of period automobiles, haircuts, and house trailers. A young man with a flattop hairdo is posing in a Corvette, one of a pair of Chevrolet’s popular top-of-the-line offerings from the late-1950s. On the far-right of the image is one of the automakers two-door hardtops. In the background is a mobile home finished in a two-tone paint scheme highlighted by polished metal trim with the front end and roof of the trailer set off in a sharply cut and angled pattern.

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 photo taken in Southern California shows that the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson, and song writer Roger Christian who composed the “Sidewalk Surfin’ ” song lyrics for Jan & Dean may have gotten the line “two girls for every guy” wrong? We see three here.

  • This scene shows an older woman posing with a big blue Chrysler sedan wearing New Jersey 1951 license plates.

  • This scene photographed during 1951 in Hawaii shows a number 1930s and 1940s cars re-bodied apparently for the purpose of showing perspective buyers house lots in Kilauea. Besides identifying the make and year of the cars, tell us the name used on the Islands for this type of open coachwork. 

 

31 responses to “Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. Great pictures !!

    In the 3rd photograph is a beautiful 1949 CHRYSLER.

    In the 4th photograph, 4th car, is a 1939 PLYMOUTH.

  2. In the third photo, I’m not sure which one looks stodgier–the `49 Chrysler or the old lady! The group with the `58 Skyliner hardtop must’ve stopped to pose with the car around `61, indicated by the then-new narrower whitewalls that started to appear that year.

  3. Top pic shows Chevrolets finest for 1957: a Corvette and a Bel Air hardtop. For all I know, they could be fuelies!
    2nd pic a 1958 Ford Retractable in a handsome and rarely seen mono-color scheme (apart from the gold plated trim)
    3rd pic 1949 Chrysler
    4th pic: 1946-1948 Plymouth, 1948 Chevy, 1940 Pontiac and 1939 Plymouth

    • The Corvette could be a fuelie, but it is not badged as such. Could be a 1956 Corvette. They were almost identical except for the drivetrain.

  4. 1st pic, the young man has a decent job ( and is sticking into cars, not homes) and there were a billion mobile home makers, but it kind of looks like a “Henslee”. 2nd, if this isn’t California in 1958, bigshot young producer type, add ’58 retractable, and the ladies will follow. I think it’s 4 girls, with that smug look. I don’t think the woman in #3 is that old. Being from NJ, she looks highly ethnicly dressed. I had aunts that looked just like this in their 40’s. It’s warm, the Chrysler has it’s “A/C” on ( wing windows open) I know Jeep made “beach” cars like these. They were called “Surrey’s”. Sam ting?

    • The “Henslee” roller home is a beaut! As long as the owner set the parking-brake before going to bed every night, all was well. Oh, and be sure the windows were rolled-up.

      • Hi undertaker, there were several trailer homes with that “loft”. Could also be a Detroiter, a Flamingo, a Pacifica, a Spacemaster, or a Paramount, to name a few. One thing for sure, G-d hates mobile home parks. We recently had a tornado come through not far from me, and took with it 15 mobile homes. None were lashed down, not that it would help much. You’d have the frame still tied to the ground, but not much else.

        • Howard, thank you for the information. And you also realize that mobile home parks are “the” leading cause of tornadoes. For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by that era of mobile homes; the Spartan “Mansion” comes to mind, too. Not unlike the cars we love of that time, mobile home designs were innovative, if not practical. Did you ever see a two-story trailer? Wow. I toured one once. With your information, I will now delve further into the Detroiter, the Flamingo, the Pacifica, Spacemaster and Paramount . . . . .

  5. This is what I know… If the Corvette is a 1956 then the cove paint was an option. If it was a 1957 fuelie it would have a fuel injection emblem somewhere. I still can’t tell the two years apart.

    My Dad had a 1956 Corvette with the dual carb option and no cove paint, turns out it was a rare beast. Copper with white interior and both tops, also white. My Dad also didn’t like the dual carb setup and replaced it with a single. He probably sold the old carbs and manifold. He didn’t know what he had. I remember the first owner didn’t take care of it as it was in pretty bad shape when my Dad brought it home in 1964. He cleaned it up real nice. Those tricks I learned from him. The only car I cried over when he sold it a few years later.

  6. David, there is still at least one of the Plymouths, one early Chevy, a stretched VW Thing, a stretched Jeep, and at least two Mercedes “Sampans” here on the “Big Island” !

  7. I like that Chrysler, looks brand new. The girls with the 58 Ford are all posing on leg in front of the other, that’s not their first photo. I like the Corvette and the 57 Chevy but I’d rather drive a 53 blue flame six and live in a house, no disrespect to Buzz.

    • Heh heh Heh, I was thinking how much I’ d love that single wide and two ’57s. Of course I would rarely come home. Had to show my wife some people have all. I do have one on jack stands. Guess?

      Worth to point out the Skyliner one of my favorites, is hauling a continental spare.

      Will Fox, I believe you are correct about the skinny white walls.

      The Chrysler has the sweetest bumper to leave parked on a city street. ( not picking, just saying ) The front plate says ND.
      Thanks for the pics.

      • Tom, given the skirt lengths on the gals, I wouldn’t think the photo was shot much later than `61 or so. That Skyliner looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor!

  8. On of those Hawaii Sampans makes an appearance in the pilot episode of the original Hawaii 5-0, where McGarrett drives a ’67/’68 Park Lane 2 door hardtop – he switched to a 4 door for the regular series.

    Also, that ’49 Chrysler is a bit foreshortened. They were boxy, but not that narrow!

    Great pics as always.

    • David…Second the” great pictures as always”… Robert, think they were that narrow, it’s relative ’cause they’re that tall…. seems that it’s a New Yorker or Saratoga because the hood is long enough to house Chrysler’s straight eight. Interesting enough tho , it appears the driver’s side headlight ha s been replaced because the passengerside one is original w/ the circle molded in the center of the headlight lens. That was characteristic of all Mopar headlights… not sure why maybe someone can tell us… better light refraction? Like Walter P Chrysler had to wear his hat inside the car, ergo, they were all tall enough… Plymouth, Dodge , DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial. Love her “sensible” black shoes!

  9. Mama has got some incredible upper body strength, being able to lift her entire body off the ground with just her left fingertips like that…

  10. Looking at the foto of the Ford Skyliner… I always wondered if the owner didn’t order the optional continental tire carrier, hqw did he/she get to the spare tire if the top were down with the trunk filled with all that top and the mechanical/electrical apparatus in the trunk… same with the later Continentals and T-birds. There must be an answer as there were so many built over the years,

    • Hi Graham, apparently, on non-continental kit retractables, the spare was located in a well in the trunk. I think cars with continental kits, had a tub in the trunk for luggage, or the tub was removable to gain access to the spare.

  11. I think someone is about to give his parents a ride in his new car. His father has already entered the back seat.

    • Good eye Mike W. Your observation made this picture a lot more meaningful to me. Young man with a new car to show off to his parents, a mom willing to pose with the new car and dad having no part with the picture taking , but willing to take a ride. Thanks.

  12. The license plate in the Corvette/Bel Air photo looks like Pennsylvania, the base used 1958-1964. It has a validation sticker that could be either 1960, ’62 or ’64.

  13. The left rear tire on the Bel Air appears to have a knobby silhouette and the one on the right looks to be a black wall with a dog dish hubcap which would be appropriate for snow tires. Covering them up with fender skirts perhaps? Maybe its a visitor from up north because the photo background looks like its spring/top down time. Kinda hard to imagine a fuel injected ’57 Chevy being equipped with snow tires, however.

    • I believe what you’ve spotted is actually an artifact of jpeg compression. This “stair-stepping” of curves sometimes happens when a photo is saved and then re-saved several times in jpeg format. Picture that LR tire on the yellow Chevy with a perfectly smooth edge and it would be way too narrow, like maybe the tire were two inches wide. Similarly, the rear edge of the tire on the Corvette looks like it shows a couple of snow tire lugs that would extend nearly to the whitewall were they real. Yet the tire seems to be exactly the same kind as that on the front.

      Why this doesn’t show up on any other curves in the photo is a bit of a mystery tho.

  14. Regarding the lovely non-whitewall tire Chrysler with the equally lovely, and stoic woman; what is in the left back seat area? Her mother?

  15. The lyric “two girls for every BOY” (not “guy”) comes from song “Surf City,” which was written by Brian Wilson and Jan Berry (so it’s half a Jan & Dean song). “Sidewalk Surfin'” was a re-fresh (or rip-off, depending on your POV) of Brian Wilson/Mike Love tune “Catch a Wave” and if there was any line of lyric from that song that stuck it was “Bust your buns.”

  16. The Chrysler brought back some memories. My grandfather had a 49 Windsor in the same color. His had a burgundy interior. He kept 10 years and over 200,000 miles.

  17. I look at that first picture of the young man in the Corvette, and my first thought it.. no wife, no kids, man that guy is happy .. then he probably got both, sold the ‘vette, bought a Dodge Dart 4 door hard top and a ranch in the Valley, and began a slow decline into drinking and depression, forever thinking about the ” ……Corvette I had back in the 50’s man ..”

    I am kidding of course! I’m sure he had a great life. Probably.

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