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Four Fun Friday Forties and Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Nine of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a young couple from New York State posing with a late-1940s Pontiac sedan. The postwar four-door, like many of the cars built just after World War II, is a rehashed version of the 1942 model with a new grille and other changes. It appears the twosome are visiting mom and dad in a somewhat upscale new housing development, and a younger brother has photobombed the image.

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 appears to be a new car image with a mother and daughter posing with a new Ford; note the plaid seat covers. The setting looks like it is in one of the Boroughs of New York City.

  • This photo should keep you busy for a few minutes, as there are vehicles dating from about 1930 to the mid-1950s and one sports car.

  • This 1950s Pontiac station wagon on a road trip is wearing a 1961 Kansas centennial license plate. Could this be a Standard Oil station and do the “Methyl” signs on top of the pumps indicate that an early mix of Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and gasoline were being dispensed here?



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

  1. Great photographs !!

    In the 3rd photograph, in the foreground, parked on the right, is a “telephone company” green 1949 BUICK Super [two cars to the right of the white CORVETTE convertible].

  2. 1st pic, prom night, and the guy in the front seat, looking a bit like Lumpy Rutherford, wants to go too. Driving lights are shining the trees. 2nd, looks like “silly hat day”, although, I wouldn’t dare say that to them. 3rd pic, newest cars seem to be the ’55 Chevy’s and it was Chevron that boasted “Methyl Power”.

  3. In the top image, besides the Pontiac, the area looks like a REAL early shot of a Levittown development! The joke back then was, you come home drunk & stagger in the wrong house–they all looked alike!
    The third photo I’ve seen before, and I think it’s a college somewhere out west. Newest car I spot in the lot is a green/white `56 Plymouth Belvedere coupe. Looks like most are driving family hand-me-downs to school.

  4. Photo #2 – Driving to the left is a 1946 Ford Tudor.
    Photo #3 – What is parked on the right of the Corvette convertible? I’ll take it. Where do I sign?

  5. 3 rd pic.. I counted 87 vehicles. 2 trucks, I think 2 panel trucks, one outside the main parking lot and maybe 2 more at the construction site. About 10% without using​ a calculator. What do you suppose the truck sale rates are nowadays?

    • Much higher, of course! But the cars back then were sturdy enough to pull good sized camper trailers, and still have roomy seating for passengers. Also, no mileage, or other federal requirements.

  6. To the right of the Corvette is a ’37 Ford
    Good examples of ’49/’50 business coupe’ and 2 door in the lot also

  7. Pic #3: My guess is that this is the ‘new’ Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Ca.
    The C1 Vette could be ’53, 54 or 55 but the cream colored ’55 Chevy in the
    lower right is the newest car in the picture that I recognize. Anyone else?

    • Ron, The terrain looks the same as current images for Cuesta College, but that campus, according to several sites, was not built until the mid-Sixties. Most of these cars would not be there in such numbers by that time.

      In response to observations on the cars, at the right end of the top row appears to be a ’56 Chevy. And yes, there is an abundance of club and business coupes. Parked along the kerb on the right is one of several GM club coupes – this one may be a ’49-50 Olds, but I can’t get a close enough view to confirm. Very elegant with her whitewalls!

  8. 3rd pic left corner : a 1952 or 1953 Nash, ‘styled by Pininfarina’ (but not really though; the designers in Kenosha had the last word).

  9. I’m pretty sure that ‘upscale’ housing development in picture #1 is the original Levittown on Long Island. The houses with the broad shingle siding are a match, and that looks like a NY license plate on the front of the Pontiac.

  10. In the parking lot pic, above the ‘coming or going’ Studebaker, is a big cream pre WW2 coupe. Any ideas what it is? Three along to its right is a white car with fins, probably the newest one there?

  11. The Vette can’t be a 53 as White was the only color. Did they offer Silver for ’54, if not it is 55 for certain

  12. Picture #3 could very well be SLO County, or similar — as the older cars would be more common there in those later model days, as compared to: Nearer to: Los Angeles, 200 Miles South . ” California car” can be “very subjective” as there are areas in the North that have Winter “salt problems” or near the ocean (salt laden) spray of beach communities that can be North or South. The Los Angeles Basin or Desert communities are typically salt free areas, but there are salt areas also in the So. Califorrnia Mountains. The combination of keeping cars longer and less salt exposure is seen in this picture, a “Cow ” County. Edwin W.

  13. The gas station was a company operated station, Standard Stations, Inc., at least that is most likely. Company employees wore the all white Bedford cord uniforms, with a white “overseas” style hat. Chevron Dealers wore tan, or khaki uniforms. There is a cash box with a credit card imprinter at the end of the island, which was SOP. Also retractable air and water hoses just beneath the cash box, and normally on the ends of each island for convenience of attendants, as well as customers. The building style was typical for Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) service stations of that era.

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