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Four Fun Friday Fifties, and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Twenty of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photo of the General Motors Parade of Progress set up in an unknown location in the fall of 1955. In the foreground is a pair of Oldmobile F88 and Buick Wildcat concept cars, followed by two Furturliners and a line up of show cars produced by the various GM divisions.

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.

  • A family about to hit the road with their mid-1950s Buick hardtop pulling a General Trailer.

  • Neon hued lettering on travel banners standout on the front of this Dodge after a road trip to Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

  • A circa 1963 view of a traffic tie-up in a city in the Northeast?

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

  1. The 1946 -48 era Dodge in the 3rd pic is the rare Town Sedan, with front hinged rear doors and 4-window lay-out, instead of the much more seen six-window sedan with suicide rear doors.

  2. Great pictures !!!

    In the lead photograph are color coordinated General Motors fleet in the background [excluding the black rag-top on the BUICK].

    In the 2nd photograph is a white over black 1955 BUICK Riviera, either a Century or Super model.

    In the 3rd photograph is a black1947 or ’48 DODGE with those un-removable stickers !!

    In the 4th photograph, 5th car driving away, looks like a red 1961 CHEVROLET Biscayne Sedan [maybe a fire department vehicle].

        • Frank,

          Thanks for the thought. All 1955, 1956, and 1957 BUICK Roadmaster, Super, and Century models had four “portholes.” The Special models had three.


          • In looking closely, I would say the ’55 Buick is a Super. It appears to be on the senior chassis, which encompassed the Super and Roadmaster. The Century and Special shared a smaller body.

          • The ’55 Buick is a Super model #56R. It is also a later production unit as it has the “long” trim at the rear of the sweepspear. This was for the availability of tri-tone colors, available in mid-year ’55.

  3. My father was a silk screen printer and did bumper stickers for some places in NJ and Pa. Some of them didn’t attach by sticking them on, they had wires in the corners and the one on the Dodge’s grill sags a little. Might be wired on.

    • They used to wire them on your bumper in the parking lots while you enjoyed the attraction. I remember returning to the family car to find one attached up in New Hampshire. Fine with us kids!

  4. The GM Futureliner Tour visited Oklahoma City University on November 2, 1955 according to the schedule (available on-line) and the buildings in the photo seem to match images of current OKCU facades although some renovation is apparent. The stage of the leaves on the trees is about right for November.

  5. Last pic: apart from a shoe box Ford, it’s CHEVROLET street! I see a late fifties Chevy truck and a 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961 and a brand new 1963 (left corner) model. By that time the make offered several compacts and subcompacts and of course the Corvette, but here it’s al about full-sizers. Love it!

  6. I was able to find the P-O-P stops in the fall of ’55. With leaves on trees, it had to be in the midwest. From Sept. to mid Oct. they hit Green Bay, Milwaukee, Janesville, Davenport, Des Moines, K.C. and Joplin (Oct. 14, so leaves after that would be gone). The Olds and Buick are 1954 models. The ’55 Buick could be a Super Series 50 (?) The trailer next to them looks like a Spartan.
    In the 60’s, we traveled a lot with our camper, and we had many of those banners on our cars. My old man made us take them off, ( the sticker ones were a chore) and the wired on ones littered the highway for miles. I guess it was still advertising in the ditch.
    The last picture, I think, is New Castle , Pa. Highway 422 and 65 intersect just south of town.

    • According to several websites fall foliage change typically peaks during the last week in October and first week in November in Oklahoma. So that puts the trees in the photo in about the right stage for the Parade of Progress visit there on November 2. GM’s schedule appears to be moving south as the seasons change – sorta following the turning of the leaves.

  7. The lead image is amazing! This is THE first original color photo of any of the 4 “F-88” concepts GM built that I’ve laid eyes on! If I recall, this particular car was given to an Olds exec after the Parade of Progress ran its course. Another one had been painted white, and one that Harley Earl drove awhile was black. In the background, I see representatives of each division parked, mainly cvts., and all of them red! The Roadmaster cvt. on the far right end has the optional wire wheels; very sharp!

  8. Love all the pictures, especially the first one, but it seems that the 4th car over from left to right between the the Futureliners is a 57 Chevy.

        • John has it dead on. That is a 1955 Olds 98 sedan. The sweep spear trim, barely visible on the side, is what identifies it as a 98 model. The top section of the “tongue” shaped trims begins at the front door vent window. The same piece on 88s and Super 88s started back farther where the typical-for-the-period, GM beltline dip was located.
          True, at first glance it appeared to be a ’57 Chevy, but when I looked closely the Olds features became apparent. What at first looked like the Chevy “V” on the hood is actually the Olds planet earth with Saturn rings around it. (Strange, I know.) What at first appeared to be the Chevy parking/turn signal lamps in the grill are actually the oval dagmars of the Olds. Conspicuously absent are the ’57 Chevy rocket ship hood ornaments. And FINALLY, with the exception of the Cadillac convertible at far left, the cars are parked in sequential order from L to R, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick.
          My father was an Olds guy and it wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I found the Buick was the make just under Cadillac in the pecking order, not Oldsmobile.
          Bruce Kunz- The FIN MAN.

  9. The second photo of the travel trailers. The stainless steel one in the back ground is an early 1950s Spartan Airstream trailer. My parents bought one somewhere between Indianapolis and Vincennes, Indiana in 1954.
    They rented a spot in the trailer park on the west side of Georgetown Rd. across the street from the old main entrance to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My father worked for Allison Division on Main St. in Speedway. I was born in June 1956 and spent my first two months on planet Earth in that trailer before my family moved into their first new home. My dad ended up working for Allison for the next 42 years. I have presently worked for Allison Transmission in Speedway for 43 years now and have worked at IMS for many special programs for many of those years. We have recently found some old photos of my mom, dad, older brother standing in front of that motorhome and you can see the top of the grandstands in the background. Great photo!

  10. Growing up in Mass, we hit all the same vacation spots this family Dodge did. Cadillac Mt, (ME), The Desert Of Maine, Franconia Notch and Santa’s Village, (NH) were all standard fare for a summer motor trip up north.

    Santa’s Village and The Desert of Maine still exist as attractions and Franconia Notch and Cadillac Mt, being actual places, are still around as well.

    I guess they skipped Polar Caves and the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Either that or the bumper stickers (probably the wired on kind) blew off on Rte. 3 (I 93 hadn’t happened yet).

  11. Confirming the Butler, PA location mentioned by “Bill Mack” and “Henri” above are the following businesses.

    143 S. Main: F. W. Woolworth Co.
    215 S. Main: C. E. Miller Shoe Store
    235 S. Main: Butler News Co.
    241 S. Main: Blatt’s Auto & Radio Store
    243 S. Main: Dean Phipps Auto Stores

    Opposite side of the street:
    146-50 S. Main: Sun Drug Co., Inc.

    • Great to see my hometown make these pages.
      I believe Miller’s is still going. The addition of a mall up the hill in the background took a beating on downtown (as most towns endured), but I’m happy to report downtown Butler seems to be doing well each time I visit. ..As it should with these cool merchants operating today, to name a few:

      2 good micro breweries (Butler Brew Works & Reclamation Brewing)

      Cummings Coffee and Candy (a must visit to experience the products, service, & the charm of this family owned business)

      Cycle Warehouse (another must visit if restoring or in the market for an old bike. The business occupies one of the tallest buildings in town. Every floor is jam packed with cycle parts. This used to be a dept store my mom & granny used to shop at, so it’s a trip to go there now & see some great old iron. A very unique attribute to a small town)

      Fudoli Music (family owned musical instruments)

      Burger Hut – THE hole in the wall – worth it.

      • Cycle Warehouse is in the old A. E. Troutman Department Store, 200 – 202 S. Main, which was billed as “Butler County’s Greatest Store.” Troutman’s is visible on the left hand side between the red furniture store sign and the Sun drug store sign.

  12. In the last pic, is that someone holding a bag standing in the path of what looks like a early ’60’s IH V190 truck, possibly a T/T?

  13. I have a 55 Roadmaster Riviera with factory A/C and the black 1955 Bucik strikes me as a Super, but hard to tell without seeing the rear window and hard to make out the wheelbase – the Roadmaster and Super basically are on the Cadillac body platform (and have the same style as Cadillac rear window).

    • As mentioned earlier it is indeed a Buick Super Riviera Hardtop as per the reasons mentioned .The Century was built on a smaller chassis platform which additionally had a differently styled wraparound windshield with an angled rear pillar instead of the vertical pillar of the senior platform.

  14. The Pontiac in the middle of the lineup in the first picture is a Safari, with the same layout as the Chevrolet Nomad, but far rarer.

  15. These guys have done a great job with Butler, PA. Just wondering if there
    is still a Goodyear Tire Store on one of the corners somewhere in Butler?
    Think it was owned by a man named Pinkerton. Thanks

  16. Great photos. And note that the “GM” letters/logo on the front of the Futureliners are in gold, not silver as some have claimed in recent years.

    A 1955 Roadmaster ought to be easy to pick out without guessing at wheelbases and ventiports. The Roadmaster should have a wide stainless stone guard following the lower rear wheel opening (this car doesnt have it). And I usually saw these Roadmasters when new with 2-blade flipper/spinners (looked like two of ones of three on the Olds concept here) on the wheelcovers as opposed to plain ones as shown here for other models. Roadmasters also had different trim on the decklids including two little chrome lift handles.

    So… what is that thingy bolted to the leading edge of the RH passenger door?

    And yes, so-called “bumper stickers” shown here do not appear to be bumper stickers at all, but rather the typical wire-on placards that were attached to your car bumper when parked in one of these tourist attractions. They were not stuck on, but rather, attached with very thin wires. You had to be around back then to recognize these…

  17. Regarding picture # 2 of the black 1955 Buick with the travel trailer: the straight up and down of the vent windows indicate the larger Super/Roadmaster body shared with Cadillac. The lesser series had a slight slant back at the bottom of the vent windows.

    • Yes, because the vents had to follow the profile of the windshields. The Special/Century windshield ended on a slant but the Super/Roadmaster windshield ended vertically.

  18. I don’t believe the Buick is towing that trailer. Besides not quite lining up and being heavy freight for the Buick, the unit appears to be a rental on a lot. I think the Buick owner is taking a picture of a somewhat elderly couple who live in the trailer before he leaves. His wife is on the left waving goodbye along with them for some reason.

    I wonder if that fixture ahead of the door is a long CB whip antenna. It seems to extend upward above the background trailer. Perhaps he has to secure it to the rear fender after the missus gets seated.

    Was GM still promoting their ’55 models in the fall of that year? I’d imaging the ’56s were on deck or in showrooms by then.

    • I agree with you that it doesn’t look like that Buick is actually hooked up to that trailer. Would it even have been possible for that car, equipped with a Dynaflow transmission, to tow that trailer?

  19. The gold F88 is the cornerstone display in the Gateway Resort Auto Museum, Gateway, Colorado. It was acquired several years back in a intense bidding competition at Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale for over $1,000,000.

  20. With these P-O-P events showcasing a variety of models from each GM division, would there not also be,in addition to the fleet of Futureliners, a fleet of auto transports for these cars, or were the local dealers expected to provide the new car display?

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