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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Thirteen of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with an interesting photo that is different from our usual fare and for a change we will identify the cars and the owner.

The five Cunningham racing cars were built between 1950 to ’55 by American sportsman Briggs Cunningham here in the US and when constructed three were powered by Chrysler “Hemi” V-8 engines, one with a Cadillac V-8 engine and chassis, and the fifth with a Meyer-Drake Offenhauser engine. Visit our friends at the Collier Collection and scroll down the page to learn more about all of the cars and view more photos. The image is courtesy of the Revs Institute.

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 below are via This Was Americar.

  • This Little America location served as a travelers oasis in this mid-1960s photo.

  • A late-1950s Main Street image with a mix of vehicles, can you identify the location?

  • A late-1950s to early-’60s image of ferry boat and its operator on Chippewa River in Wisconsin. Tell us all you know about this winch driven by a circa-1930s power plant. 

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

  1. Great pictures again !!

    In the 2nd photograph, at the gas pump on the right, is an early blue CHEVROLET Corvair station-wagon.

    Also in the same photograph, parked 8th vehicle in, is a yellow 1956 DeSOTO.

    • Can’t identify the 3rd photograph, but can say there are two 1958 CHEVROLET cars parked on the left [the forward one looks like a convertible] and a black 1957 CHEVROLET beach-wagon.

  2. Top photo: VERY nice to see the 1950 “Le Monster” Cadillac race car! It was said this car could hold 140mph all day long. 3rd photo down is an interesting ‘Main st.’ scene of a town I’m not familiar with. I see two `58 Chevys, a `60 Olds Super 88, a Morris Minor, and the unusual `54 Plymouth ‘Patrol’ wagon! Reminds me of some remote tiny fishing village.

  3. If you were driving across Wyoming you ALWAYS had to stop at Little America, even if just for a soft serve ice cream and a restroom break!

    • I still stop there when I’m crossing Wyoming, Puhnto; gas up, find a spot to park in the shade, and take a snooze before motoring on again.

    • And the soft-serve is still pretty good. Was there last week — 75 cents and your choice of chocolate, vanilla or swirl!

  4. 1st I know nothing about, except I think I built a model of those cars. 2nd, Covey’s Little America, Granger, WY. ’63 appears to be the newest cars. The ’53 Plymouth wagon , Schols Patrol, or Echols Patrol, I’m sure was a private security business. The KB International looks pretty nice for being at least 10 years old. Research shows, this ferry is a 2 car deal that crossed the Chippewa River at Caryville. Some of these rural ferries were used into the early 60’s.

    • I had a 1949 KB2 (3/4 ton). I have owned many trucks but that is still one of my favorites. Bought it for $150.00 and sold it a year later for $150.00. The fun facts I remember about it are: 70hp flathead six capable top speed of 55 mph on level ground (going up hill, much slower), built like tank – the sheet metal could take a lot of abuse, no synchronizer manual trans with floor shifter – 1st gear less than 5mph, crank out windshield, very reliable, just routine maintenance. Regret selling it, but was young and wanted a new truck. PS Have a picture of it on my office wall.

      • Our local dairy had a KB120, and I, as a kid, would join the owner on his route every now and then. Boy, those 12-bottle wooden crates were HEAVY for a 12 year-old kid. Milk was kept cool in the uncovered bed with chunks of ice strewn about. In later life I owned a 1960 3/4 ton 4WD. Tough as nails, both of those trucks.

    • There is still a 4 car ferry similar to this on the Willamette River near Buena (pronounced Boona) Vista in Oregon. It’s part of the State of Oregon road system and is free.

      • The ferries used to be free….last time I used the Wheatland Ferry it wasnt free. Another change with the times. Bummer.

    • It is Columbia, a State Park. Original Gold Rush buildings. The streets are now closed to cars. The two-storey building on the left (with awning) I believe is the Wells Fargo building. Guinness Book of World Records used to claim this was the most photographed building in America. Stage coach rides are available (and you always get held up by bandits).

      • The stage ride is still available in Columbia, but I believe the “holdups” are gone. So is the St. Charles Saloon, which would be a block behind the camera and to the left. One of the last real saloons left in California. On the other hand, the City Hotel has a very fine restaurant and a good bar.

  5. That looks like Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird LSR car on top of the Sinclair sign in Little America.
    The main street image shows the back of a 57 Chevrolet Nomad, a rare car even when new.

  6. I saw the Cunningham racing cars during a Lime Rock Vintage weekend (I think in the late 90’s). Although not at race speed, Le Monstre was quite the sight taking the esses at the end of the front straight.

  7. In the Main Street picture,on the left facing side,there’s a late ’50’s Morris Minor,a possible Chevy pickup,a 1960 Oldsmobile,an International pickup,and a ’58 Chevrolet,followed by a mid-’50’s Pontiac;right side of the street,a ’53 Plymouth wagon.and a ’56 Buick Caballero wagon(pretty ritzy for small-town America!

  8. Echol’s Merchant Patrol was based out of Oakdale, California so perhaps the photo is from near there or Modesto. The owner, William R. Echols (1906 – 1975) was a patrolman with the Peoria, Illinois police in 1940 according to U.S. Census documents. His security business lasted at least through 1972., and his son John also worked for the business.

  9. I agree with Jeff F . It looks like Columbia. It is a State Park now with lots of restoration having taken place.

  10. I attended the Briggs Cunningham museum in So Cal when a group of British tourists stopped in to visit Briggs’ Bugatti Royale. They were on a ’round-the-world tour to see them all. Briggs was giving spirited rides to all in one of his Le Mans cars, (number one in the photo). The museum docent told me to get in line and go for a spin. I did, and Briggs proceeded to give a thrilling demo as he vigorously worked the car out, narrowly avoiding obstacles such as the concrete lamp bases and my KZ1300 parked within reach. All in all, an unforgettable moment.

  11. Little America looks OK I guess,but none can match the sheer beauty and magnificence of Pedro’s South of the Border on I-95,particularly their famed Honeymoon Suite.

  12. I would guess the power for the ferry in the last photo was from a Fordson tractor. Gas tank and radiator cowl fit the design used in a Fordson.

  13. Judging by the bent up condition of the driver’s side roof rail and front door upper frame it looks like the ’58 Chevy wagon on the ferry has suffered a pretty severe whack at sometime in its past.

  14. Fairly sure that is an OSCA at the top of the Cunningham photo, and it was in the Gooding auction at Pebble Beach last year. Bob

    • Bob, That car is the 1953 Cunningham Chrysler hemi-powered C-5R that placed in 3rd at the Le Mans 1953 race. The Collier Collection OSCA was entered by Briggs Cunningham in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1954 and co-drivers Stirling Moss and Bill won the event with it. The OSCA that Gooding & Company sold is a different car.

  15. Comment about the Corvair station wagon… When I was a kid, my great uncle had two white Corvair station wagons – one for him and the other for my great aunt – stored at the lake in northern Michigan for when they flew there for the summer. The autos were labeled in hand-painted script, “His” and “Hers,” on the doors, just outside the driver’s window. He loved those Corvairs so much he wrote a somewhat stern, if I recall correctly, letter to Ralph Nader when “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published.

    The third white Corvair wagon was my father’s in Indiana. Six of us piled in, along with luggage, and headed west to see relatives in Wichita, Kansas. In the back was a narrow crevace (above the engine, of course) where I read and slept the entire way – save for when a tire blew on the old Kansas Turnpike and my father somehow kept that Corvair from crashing. He didn’t write Mr. Nader any letters.

  16. Was at Little America just last week. Building looks the same, but there are a lot more trees now. And it’s just as “klitschy” as ever!

  17. When the source for Caddie engines dried up (racing perhaps not being the image Cadillac wanted to promote) , Cunningham switched to Chrysler Hemi’s. However, in order to increase the compression ratio in the C2, he used Caddie pistons and rods, boosting the CR from 7.5 to 8.6, helping to up the HP from stock to 270 in the end….152 death defying mph at LeMans!

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