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Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Seventeen of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photo of a Navy sailor, apparently back home on a furlough with a friend enjoying a pint of their favorite libation. The scene appears to be at a farm of some sort in a location we hope readers can identify by the license plates on the Chevrolet sedans.

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.

  • New Jersey is the scene of this photo of a young man enjoying a new Ford convertible.

  • Chevrolet and Ford working vehicles at the site of a two-story addition in Pennsylvania.

  • And finally a family on a “Great American” road trip stopped on the side of the road for a break.

50 responses to “Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. Fourth picture: ’59 Pontiac wagon. First year for the split grill, a style that would remain (except for 1960) until the demise of Pontiac in 2010

  2. Great pictures !!

    In the lead photograph, car behind the sailor and friend, is a mono-tone, four-door, 1954 CHEVROLET 150.

    In the 3rd picture, parked on the left, is a two-tone 1954 CHEVROLET 150 Handyman station-wagon.

  3. Those guys leaning on the ’54 could be some of my uncles if the photo was from the red-clay south.
    The PA addition architecture is remarkably modern, and the Ranchero/Chevy Wagon (another ’54)/5-window is remarkably nostalgic.
    Great photo set.

  4. 1st pic from left to right 1955, 1956 and 1953 Chevy’s, the latter one a low-end 150 series sedan (no side trim, rubber window surroundings, relatively rare (for a Chevy).
    2nd pic shows LOADED 1955 Ford
    3rd pic 1954 Chevy Handyman and 1957 Ford Ranchero

  5. The black Ford is a ’56 Sunliner. The side trim on 1956 models is much thicker than the ’55, the ’56 taillight has a “crown” around its center, and the ’56 has a slightly different rear bumper.

    The Ranchero is a ’58, judging by its 1958 Custom 300-type side trim. In 1958, station wagons shared the passenger car taillight design, but the Ranchero used the 1957 style taillight.

  6. Closest plate I can come up with, is Idaho 1955, which would make the Chevy’s pretty new, even they don’t look like it. I think these guys are ready to hit bottle #2. I hope it’s after noon. 2nd, here’s a guy with his new Sunliner, decked out, smoking a cigar while sitting on the continental kit,,,life was good. Crisis? What crisis. 3rd, this was happening all over our great land in the 50’s. Families getting bigger, the 1 story bungalow won’t cut it anymore, and the old man wants( needs) a bigger garage. Judging by the progress, I think they’re pushing it a bit with the drapery guy. The Ranchero HAS to be new. They only looked like that for a year or 2, at best. ’59 Poncho, another typical scene. Took some creative fastening to keep it all there. Home made storage box, every door ( and tailgate) is open, and grandpa still in the car, can’t you hear him? “C’mon already, let’s go”. I believe those “dual stripe” tires were special, Uniroyal’s maybe?

  7. Looks like those two guys in the first picture are doing their own version of Vita-Vita-Vegamin. And they’ve had their third teaspoonful.

  8. Likely Washington plates on the two Chevrolets in the first picture. Also looks like good soil so possible we are looking at a small Palouse hill.

    • I agree with “Howard A” above that the Chevy license plates are from Idaho. The year is 1957, and the small “N” at the lower left indicates the car was registered in Nez Perce County. The slogan at the bottom of the plates changed from the previous “World Famous Potatoes” to “Famous Potatoes.”

  9. Pontiac color is Desert Rose, first introduced in ’57. More of a fuchsia to me.
    Didn’t hold up well, mucho faded after only a coupla’ years.

  10. That Chevy 150 is a ’54 model, by the chrome lip on the taillight. Looks like it has had a bit of bodywork – poorly matched paint. The other two are both ’55s…

    • I looked on a advertisement for 53 and 54 Chevys and all the pictured vehicles had what I believe was the bel-air taillight. I’m pretty sure you either had the tail lights in the photo for 53 and 54 or you had a Bel-Air. I’m sticking with 53 again because of the C pillar.

  11. That first photo sure looks like eastern Washington or eastern Oregon to me, and the color of the plates would be correct for Washington in the fifties. Those ramshackle buildings could almost be part of the farm where I worked as a kid, and the two guys could be people I worked with — with big brother back from his tour to tell all about the big world.
    That region has a lot of long, straight highways and by the mid-fifties they were paved, so those Chevs would have gotten a good workout.
    We just got back to the Puget Sound area after a couple of days back there — the smoke from the US and Canadian fires is thick everywhere, so the sky in that photo is the only blue on offer these days.

  12. Too soon to measure for draperies for that house addition in PA; might be the owner’s work wagon or the drapery guy is making ends meet by filling in as a carpenter when he can get some extra work.

  13. Definitely Idaho in the first photo, that small letter on the left is the county code. In this case, “N” for Nez Perce County, which had a population of about 25,000 people in the late 50’s.

    The plate could be any odd numbered year 1957 through 1967. Idaho alternated green and white each year during that time. Can’t be 1955, because the first green plate with “famous potatoes” at the bottom was 1957 (certainly that’s what it says down there). 1955’s were blank at the bottom. Idaho plates changed up in 1968.

  14. Another great Friday treat! Many thanks.
    Pic #2 – The caption say s New Jersey, but the plate looks like some foreign country.
    Thought license plates were standardized in the U.S. by 1956. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  15. Richard Wakefield is very, very close. Nez Perce County in Idaho is on the border with the southeastern corner of Washington state, right at the three way corner where Washington, Oregon, and Idaho meet.

  16. The Ranchero is obviously a ’58. The side trim on a ’57 (outlined in stainless with textured gold filler panels) starts just behind the headlight and ending just past the door. The stainless trim continues up along the top edge of the fin, back to the taillight.

    The ’58 is the reverse, with gold fill starting at the door and running back to the tail.

    Both accent lines share the same location, about midway between the rocker panel and the side windows.

    The taillights are the same as on the ’57, which is a bit odd in that the ’58 wagon has the same quad taillights as the sedans.

  17. Looks like brothers to me with the sailor home spending time with his little brother. And certainly could all be family Chevys with consecutive plate numbers.

    • So, too, does the Chevy wagon. Both vehicles are red and white, have red wheels with dog dish hub caps and whitewall tires. Looks like a pattern. Maybe hubby is the builder and the lady does interiors. (Or the reverse, don’t want to be sexist.)

  18. The second photo is of a ’56 Ford Fairlane convertible.
    In the working vehicles, we have a ’54 Chevy wagon and a ’58 Ford Ranchero.

  19. Hoo woulda thunk that: The C.B. Rig “Whip Antenna” on the vacationing family’s Pontiac wagon — would be the Fore -runner to: the Cell Phone , the Tablet, & the horror of: “texting while driving”!!!??? There are certain aspects of earlier traveling that were more luxurious and/or peaceful . Even the CB Rig was more peaceful. I have considered “reading a map”—as part of the adventure . Still do. I am navigating by County Map, — in our 1930 Ford AA 1-1/2 Ton Truck : No GPS and we can SEE each part of the continuing bouquet of wildflowers along the way! Fun to drive a Rolling Museum: 6 cars want to pass! I pull over (when Safe to Re-enter!) and at least 2 of the 6 cars pull over with us — to see the Museum ! Trips are always interesting — in an AA Ford !! Edwin W.

  20. I owned a 1953 Chevy 150 with the A-Pillar and those were not the tail lights a ’53 came with from the factory. Although, they may have modified a ’53 by installing 1954 tail lights.

  21. Hi you all
    I am the proud owner of a 1955 Citroën 15/6H . I love old cars regardless of the make or origine.I live in Montreal Canada and travel quite often to France or the U.K.
    I like your pictures and culture.
    Best regards and ” Bonne Route”
    Richard Boudrias

  22. I doubt any money would have been spent to install ’54 tail lights in a ’53. I say two ’55 V-8s and a ’54 150. Sailor is probably home on leave. JWL

  23. I’m coming in really late to this party but…I’d like to ask ….on the 1950’s Ford convertible with the continental tire kit…on the right top corner above the rear license plate there is a plate topper for triple A ( totally easy to discern) …what is that insignia on the left side top corner? It looks like AA. That’s not something to brag about on a car license plate …huh?

    • The Automobile Association. If you do a web search for “DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF AA CAR BADGES” all will be revealed.

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