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Four Fun Friday Forties, Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Eleven of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photo of a confident-looking man standing by a blue late-1940s Buick fastback. GM’s first Aerodynamic coupe was a concept car Cadillac displayed at the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago; an updated model was first made available to the public in 1936. By the late-1940s when this Buick was constructed the body style was highly refined. Note the Coke-bottle like amber headlight lens’ and the curb feelers.

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.

  • Here is an odd couple; this Cadillac convertible appears as if it is pulling a dingy.

  • Here is a wide variety of 1940s and ’50s cars to peruse at Unkel Joe’s Woodshed; where was it located?

  • This is one of two images of a father and son posing for photos with this 1960s Chevrolet hardtop.

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

  1. Looks like a 48 Buick Super Sedanette with every possible dealer installed option to increase the price. 1958 Caddy convertible with a small camper, bet it would be more comfortable to sleep in the car. Unkel Joe’s looks like it is still in business in Altoona, PA, which should have been evident from the lack of front plates and the orange/yellow of the rear plates. Mountain country too. Where is this man’s pocket protector, he looks uncomfortable without it. Michigan plates, three Chevrolets, two Fords, those were the days. 1963 Chevy 4 door hard top, Impala.

  2. 56 chevy squared; 56 Ford; 49-51 Ford woody; 55 chvy; 54? chrysler; newest car 58 Desota; 53? Olds. GM fastback; chevy (oldest car) 57 chevy?; 54? Plymouth;49-50 Mercury; 52-54 Ford squrared;49?Nash; 57 Lincoln; 57-58 Ford

  3. 1st pic: 1949 Buick, not sure if it’s a Super or a Roadmaster since the ‘portholes’ (3 or 4) are obstructed, but I guess it’s a Roadmaster because of the length of the front fenders. It’s definitely an early year model, since it features the straight chrome sidetrim; later in the model year the trademark ‘Riviera’ curved sweep was introduced.
    2nd pic: no mistaking a 1958 Cadillac series 62 convertible. The caravan looks not in style with the car, it fits almost in the trunk!
    3rd pic: front row, from left to right: 2 x 1956 Chevy, 1956 Ford, 1949 or ’50 Ford wagon, 1955 Chevy, 1953 Chrysler, 1957 DeSoto and a 1950 Oldsmobile. Background behind the Ford wagon and ’55 Chevy, a 1954 Plymouth, next to it I think a Mopar from the same era (not sure about this one); at the right part we see 2 1952-54 era Fords, a 1951 Nash, 1956 Lincoln and a 1957 Ford wagon.
    last pic: 1963 Chevy in front of a 1957 Ford and a 1960 Ford Falcon, accross the street a 1957 Chevy wagon.

    • Luk,

      Good eye !!

      If one looks closely at the front fender of the ’49 BUICK, one can see the Super script. Interesting that the head-lights are tinted yellow.


      • I think those yellow lenses are a J.C. Whitney/Warshawsky add-on. They appear to be plastic rings of some type with the white lenses showing through in the middle. Maybe they got the curb ticklers the same place!

          • The French required yellow light from all headlamps from 1937 to 1993. The lens didn’t have to be yellow; the reflector or the bulb could be yellow, as long as the light coming out the front was yellow.

  4. First photo could be Don Draper! I see Unkel Joe has his schtick but I can’t make sense out of his signs! What is he selling? Last Photo – lots of saints on the dashboard!

    • Andy,

      The “saints” appear to be, left to right, Jesus, unknown, St. Christopher carrying Jesus, and Mary. If I’m not mistaken, St. Christopher [saint of travelers] has been “de-sainted.” His Feast Day would be July 25th.


  5. A beauty of a `49 Buick in the top photo. Roadmaster? Not sure, as the man’s coat-tail is blocking the port holes. In the second photo, that trailer appears as if an American bantam could pull it rather than the `58 Series 62 Caddy!
    In the third photo, I’m trying to figure out what ‘Unkel Joe’s Woodshed’ even was. An amusement center like a fun house or something? A nice new `57 DeSoto Fireflite sedan facing us, next to a `50 Olds 88.
    The young man leaning on Dad’s `63 Impala sport sedan looks like he wishes it was a 409 coupe instead. I don’t see a fender emblem, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this Impala was an inline 6 automatic. Note the base-model hubcaps rather than wheel covers.

  6. The 1949 Buick is a two doorr I believe. You can see the door post inside the car. The curb feelers or curb alarms as we called them, were treacherous for a grease monkey on a grease rack where one could put your eye out as you worked under the car They were though an efficient device to save scrubbing your new white wall tires on a curb.

    • I concur, it is a’49 Super Sedanette, 2 dr. Our next door neighbor had one when we had a ’49 Super 4dr Sedan. That was when I was 16, now I’m 83, time flies.

  7. So what, were those some kind of foglight “covers” that went over the headlights of the Buick? The Caddy is pulling a mid 50’s “CalCraft” trailer. Images show, they were pretty fancy inside. 3rd pic, well, my “hillbilly” dialect is a bit rusty, however, the big sign appears to say, “Seconds and irregulars in your favorite brands,sheets, blankets, shirts, stockings,,” Last pic, “Good heavens, my son is a nerd” ( apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you know), the plate is Michigan 1965. Falcon looks a bit haggered for 5 years old. Apparently, all the “Saints” on the dash must have worked on the ’63 Chevy. 2 years, and nary a scratch.

  8. The dusk pearl ’57 Chevy station wagon in the last picture is a twin for one that cost me one of the best concert experiences of my life. While home on leave, my two friends invited me to go along to see a group called “Big Brother and the Holding Company, playing at Tampa’s Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. We figured we could buy tickets when we got there. The main attraction was their lead singer having said she would drop the F-bomb on stage and the Tampa PD said if she did, they’d arrest her. Stupid $#%*! Chevy quit cold right in the middle of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, a 9 mile long bridge/roadway between Clearwater and Tampa. We walked to the boat launch, but no pay phone, so we walked all the way back to the Clearwater side to call for help. And we missed seeing Janis Joplin getting arrested by the Tampa cops.

    • I’m reading and posting this a week late. Coincidentally, I just saw “A Night with Janis Joplin” onstage today up in San Francisco. Quite a performance. A friend advised me to bring earplugs and I’m glad I did!

  9. It looks like the Caddy must have a lot of “junk in the trunk” as it is sitting pretty low. I cant imagine the tongue weight of the trailer alone would lower it that much.

      • Charles, Just below the comment box it is mentioned that off site links are not allowed; you comment has been removed.

    • There’s another location at 540 High St., Lock Haven, PA and to my eye that appears to be the building in the picture. It’s been slightly altered.

  10. No mistaking the Buick, Cadillac, or, for that matter, the cars in any of today’s pictures. Every one has its individual identity. The shot of Unkel Joe’s has most cars wearing black sidewall tires, contrary to most show fields today, though I have to admit I do like a set of nice white walls on that era’s cars. I couldn’t afford them on my first car, a 49 Plymouth, had to go with ‘port-o-walls’ when whitewall paint they used to sell just cracked. My 56 and 59 Caddys, and two Electras all wore them though – love the look.

    • John, it sounds like you went down the same road I did. I had one set of port-a-walls, but used a lot of that rubberized white paint. I had to repaint about once a week….

  11. The photo of the guy with the Buick belongs to Dave Gelinas and is available along with others of this car on his Flickr account. He describes the location as being in Pineville, KY, a coal town, in 1949. The guy in the picture owned the Texaco gas station at the corner of Park Street & Walnut Street. Looks like it paid well. The photo was taken from an original Kodacolor slide. It’s not colorized. Slides were more color stable than print film so it still looks sharp.

    • They were a parking aid intended to help the driver avoid scuffing or damaging the tire sidewalls. As the car got close to the curb the “feelers” would contact the curb and make a very noticeable scraping sound, usually amplified by vibration of the sheet metal of the fenders to which they were attached. This warned the driver that tire contact with the curb was imminent. If the driver stayed far enough from the curb that the feelers did not make contact it assured that the tires would be safe.

  12. Unkle Joe used to be overruns, factory seconds, last years style at discount prices. Since then, it has morphed into a combo Walmart and Dollar General with imported goods to round it out. There is a store in Lock Haven also.

  13. In the last picture , the ’63 Impala wears 1965 Michigan “Water-Winter Wonderland” plates, whose two-letter prefix was assigned to Wayne County.

    It’s likely this picture was taken in a residential neighborhood the city of Detroit

  14. It looks as if there are yellow plastic outer rings around the headlights on the Buick. Or is it possible the lights are just turned on? And where are the parking lights? Were there none on that model?

  15. So, the Buick. Was there ever a trend in America for yellow accessory headlamp covers? I had never heard of it. If not, I suspect this photo may have been taken in France where they were mandatory from 1937 until 1993. Today they are illegal, unless the car was registered before 1993. Note there is no registration plate either, so maybe it was just imported for a serviceman?

  16. The beige Impala, complete with statuettes on the instrument panel, and fitted with ’65 Michigan plates, sure looks like it is in the Detroit area where I grew up (my first car was a ’63 2dr Impala). And the ’57 Chevy wagon across the street seems to be depositing a black exhaust onto its left rear tailgate area. It almost looks like the tailpipes were rerouted into the bumper tips, ala Cadillac of that era. Nice spotlight too.

  17. Speaking of campers, while the kids were growing up (2) and with a very large black Lab,Chesapeake cross male dog we had the best of times in our little 14 foot Scotsman. It probably actually measured more like 8 by 8 feet or less. Pulled that thing every where behind a series of Jeeps. No potty, no AC, no heat, but it was dry in the rain and had a sink and cook stove. No crowded camp grounds where this one would go. My neighbors just purchased a new camper with two slide outs, microwave, Ac, cook stove sound system and what all. They complain about crowded camp grounds Loved the mid fifties and into the early 70s.

  18. David, did you mean ‘Odd Couple’ for the Caddie-Trailer pic? Or did you really intend to term the pair as an “Old Couple”.

    No I didn’t, thanks for catching my “typo of the day”

    ’63 Impala 4-door was probably a gutless six with a useless Powerglide. We had one and it was just okay, a step up from a similar style ’56 we had (which I inherited after about 103,000 miles!).

  19. The ’48 Buick’s headlamps being yellow hints of: French influence as this was a requirement for French vehicles into the early 60’s . So: The car may be from Quebec , Parlez- vouz? the “back road” looks like it may be a Northern part of an Eastern Coastal Mountain Chain –Appalachia ? Note that the Buick’s unique antenna is both: In the (rotated by handle) : UP position — and fully extended — meaning that: The Buick is: “out in the sticks”, way away from any AM radio stations!

  20. My bother has a ’63 Impala sport sedan similar to the one shown in Pic#4. His car is Monaco Blue and came with a 283 V8. What some of your readers may not know is that these cars were built in Right Hand Drive form using a mirror image ’61 Pontiac dash . They were built in the Tarrytown plant and shipped down here (Australia) in limited numbers and sold through Holden dealers as premium automobiles.

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