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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 a young man seen earlier in “Number One-Hundred and Eleven” of this series with a blue 1949 Buick Sedanette with amber headlight covers. This time around he is in a late-1940s to early-1950s convertible in front of a Texaco gasoline station. The Continental Hotel sign might make it possible for readers to identify the town or city he lived in?

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.

  • Motorists out for fall foliage season ride, one in a rare import, stopped at a roadside Pottery shop.

  • The tiny little import on the far-left stands out in contrast with the two GM cars in this photo.

  • This Buick with its extended rear quarter panels must have made parking lot maneuvers a bit of a chore. 

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

  1. Great pictures !!!

    In the 2nd photograph, parked in front of the green dinosaur, is a light green, four-door, 1958 BUICK Special sedan.

    In the 3rd photograph, parked near the front door of the building, is a 1956 CHEVROLET Two-Ten four-door station-wagon.

    In the 4th photograph is a beautiful 1963 BUICK Electra 225 convertible.

    • The lead photograph was taken in the early Spring; notice the Forsythia blooming in the upper left of the picture.

      Looks like a warm day so why not take the convertible out for the first time that season.

  2. The trading post with the wigwams looks like it might be along Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail. That does kind of look like New England in the background. I checked the Indian Trading Post in Shelburne, but it doesn’t seem to be a match.

    I’m also impressed by the number of small, foreign cars that do show up in these photos. More than I would have expected in the age of American Iron. I’m curious to find out what the two-tone number in front of the trading post is.

    • The little two-tone in front of the trading post is a DKW 1000 coupe made and sold by Auto Union of Germany from 1959 to 1965. Auto Union was merged into Audi in 1965. I did not know that this model was imported and sold in the US till I saw this photograph.

      • Auto Union was formed in 1932 by combining four German Companies, Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer. The 1000 was made under both the Auto Union and DKW brands.

        • The merger of the four companies resulted in the four rings logo that continues to this day on the Audi. I recall Henry Manney describing a Porsche with similar two tone colors, except reversed – cream on the bottom and red on top – as looking like a bowl of tapioca pudding with a tomato on top.

        • By those years the DKW 1000 was made in Argentina and Brazil with minor differences with the german version,I´m not sure but I believe it lasted more into production in Brazil than in Argentine.(In Brazil they also made a kind of jeep called Candango on the DKW basic frame).

    • David, it all depends on where you grew up. My hometown was Ventura, CA…within reach of the L.A. radio and TV stations (and certainly within reach of the urban influence) , where imported cars were not a rare sight. Our church’s pastor drove an MG-TC. My best friend’s parents had a TR-3 and a Fiat 600. (We’re talking late ’50s here) My dad bought a ’59 VW in 1961. I can remember him asking to take the Opel “loaner” from the Buick dealer when my mom’s ’61 LeSabre was in the shop. Many years later, I married into a many-generation Michigan family…and my wife, her father and his father had all worked at Buick. Even in more recent times, my sister-in-law (who never lived outside the state) was floored when she would visit most any other part of the country and see how import brands had penetrated the market.

      • In the late 50’s imports from England, France, and Germany were on display at the auto show held during the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

    • Thank you, gentlemen. And it is a stylish little car. What are the chances that it would happen to show up in a random photograph?

      • Imports began making a serious appearance here in the SF Bay Area in the late Fifties and early Sixties. VWs were the most noticeable at first, but others, such Dauphines, Simcas, Hillmans, and DKWs followed. Of course the British sports cars were mightily present as well. The Japanese influx began in earnest after 1966.
        I remember the DKWs had very colourful yet tasteful paint schemes, like the one in the photo.

  3. Great shot of the ‘baby Lincoln’ convertible, and same for the 50 Caddy–could it be winter in NY? No skirts and snow tires in prep for the season?

  4. The 1950 or ’51 Cadillac convertible is sporting snow tires and sans fender skirts (left ’em off in case chains will be needed?)although it doesn’t look as if it has seen much winter slop.

    • More likely, the left rear (whitewall) went flat, so the black-wall spare was installed and the fender skirt left off until the proper whitewall could be fitted.

  5. In the third photo, in front of the parked `56 Chevy, that looks like a German Goggomobile! Those little cars were so tiny, they could park on my desk!

    • hi
      the red car is a vespa 400.
      2 stroke engine, 2 cylindre, 24 ci placed at the back
      the battery located in a drawer above the front bumper

  6. Very neat to see a DKW at the trading post, wedged between an early ’50’s Chevrolet and a 1957 Oldsmobile sedan, themselves bracketed between a pair of ’57 Ford Fairlanes.

    • My Dad, who turned 85 today (9/23) was an Ohio state highway patrolman during the 50s and 60s. I asked him recently which patrol car was his favorite. I know he had a 1951 Ford, 1954 Ford, 1957 Ford, and lastly a 1964 Ford. He told me his best and favorite was the ’57 Ford. When the patrol cars were up for trade, Dad asked to be able to buy his old patrol car, but some how or another, when the car went to Columbus to be traded, Dad was left out of the game.

  7. I’ve always thought those Lincolns were, well, ugly is such an ugly word, let’s say unusual. Droopy face, set in eyes, this guy had a nice taste for cars. 2nd pic, Lots of 2 doors, ’57 Ford’s look sharp. I believe the 2 tone brown car is an AutoUnion 1000. (Audi) The Caddy is clearly double parked and the passenger being given a stout warning. The little car, I think, is a mid 50’s Fiat 1100. (?) And lastly, that “deuce and a quarter” isn’t any bigger than any other ’63 Buick. They were big cars.

      • WADR, longer than what? Specs show all 225’s from ’61-’64 were on a 126″ wheelbase and overall length grew 1 inch from 219.2 in ’61 to 222.8 by ’64.

        • Before posting the photo I researched it quite a bit and did see a couple of side views of other models with noticeably shorter rear quarter panels and the difference was at least six inches or more.

          • Perhaps the LeSabre? In ’63 it rode on a 123″ wheelbase and a total length of 215.7, which would make it over 6 inches shorter than the 225.

    • My guess would have been that the passenger in the Caddy was chatting with a doorman. Remember Christmas is coming. In the trade tips were essential.

    • I learned to parallel park in my dad’s ’63 Buick LeSabre, on ridiculously-crowded Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA. Trust me, LeSabres were not much shorter (if at all) compared to the Electra.

      • I took my drivers test in our family 63 LeSabre. I had drove anything anybody would let me ever since I could see over the steering wheel so i had it pretty well mastered. When the examiner had me park and I backed it right in , he looked out the window and said “You are about four inches from the curb, was that luck or skill? ” I asked if he wanted me to go around the block and do it again.” He said, kid if you can park this big Buick like that again I will pass you and buy your lunch to boot!” Best burger and fries I ever had!!!

  8. First pic is a 49 Lincoln convertible coupe. My guess is that the fellow driving is a car salesman. New and used. The deuce and a quarter was sign you had arrived in 63. Convertible and air conditioning. Did it get any better?

  9. Hi,

    Hooray for Kodachrome Friday! My thoughts, please;

    1) Colors!! Almost all of the cars here are two-tone. So unlike the white, black, silver, charcoal (which are mixtures of white and black) and the occasional red you see today, these cars are colorful.

    2) In the first photograph the car would have looked so much better with the windows down, and the tonneau installed. The car may not be new, as the driver’s initials are on the driver’s door. Perhaps it’s the station owner. Also, I’d bet the Continental Hotel isn’t very “continental”.

    3) In the 4th photo, I’d guess it’s in the Northeast someplace. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen wash on the line.

    Again David, thanks so much for all you do!

    • Yes, but notice that it is the very rare standard Lincoln (made on a Mercury body) not the Cosmopolitan. They only made this model convertible for 1 year although you could get the Mercury based standard 2 door and 4 door models in 1950 and 1951.

  10. The red ’49 Lincoln convertible is the one-year-only model 9EL, Body style 76 which shared its body with the concurrent Mercury. Originally, Lincolns were to have hidden headlights, the sunken, tunneled headlights were the cheap, quick solution when the added engineering and tooling expense nix the idea.

    The tan Buick convertible is a 1963 Electra 225, very long at 221.7″ OAL, one of 6,367 built. They are among the first GM cars to show Bill Mitchell’s design ethic of clean, tailored themes.

  11. I think the caddy is wearing the spare tire while the whitewall is being repaired. That type of car would be garaged during snow weather. The older second car, a ford or chevy, would be put into service for winter use.

  12. The Texaco Gas Station was in Pineville, KY on US Route 25E Park and Walnut Streets. The guy behind the wheel was the station owner.

  13. In the Trading Post picture, that’s a ’58 Buick, super or Century, next to the DKW (DasKlieneWunder). There’s also a ’59 Ford, probably a Fairline/500 just visible above the tan-and-white ’57 Fairlane 500. And those big Electras from the mid 60s were really sharp.

  14. Note to convertible owners ( re: red Lincoln):

    When you put the top down, please roll the dog-gone quarter windows down too ! :O

    • Right on! I always said that riding in a convertible with the top down and windows up was like wearing shorts with knee sox.

      • Ummm… back in the fifties, knee sox were pretty much de rigueur with our madras plaid or seersucker Bermuda shorts. But yes, those rear windows sure do spoil the photo.

  15. Don’t forget Uncle Sam when you are tracing that DKW.

    US Forces got their personal vehicles freighted out to their station by Uncle Sam free, and back again at the end of their term. It was common round here for them to sell the US vehicle while they were here, and get a tax-free deal locally on some trendy “foreign” novelty which Uncle Sam took home for them, again with no import taxes.

  16. I really like the Texaco station in the first photo with two red Fire Chief pumps with the silver Sky Chief pump in between. It would be great to have a shop just like that to fix and store my cars in today. I at least have a Coca-Cola thermometer like the one above the shoulder of the man leaning on the building. It’s a start!

  17. The first photo is what I believe is a ’51 Lincoln Cosmopolitan convertible.
    The second photo, after the Plymouth hardtop, is ’57 Ford Fairlane, DKW, ’57 Buick and another ’57 Ford. It’s possible that the car after the ’57 Ford might be a Mercury.
    Rog

  18. I’ve been looking closely at the various suggestions for the little red guy in the third paragraph, and I’m leaning toward the Vespa. The Goggomobile didn’t have the chrome trim stripe, and the Fiat’s rear wheel wells were rounded rather than squared off.

    Still, another unusual car showing up in the background of a random photo.

    • Without any doubt is a Vespa 400 ,I repaired one of the only 5 that where imported in my country.(in fact 25 where imported but due to poor sales rate only 5 where sold so the importer returned them to France where they have a heavy demand ,and where they were really made .Many people think they were made in Italy ,and its incorrect).

  19. My dad bought a new 50 baby Lincoln. We don’t get much snow in W. Oregon but the first snow filled the sunken headlights clear full of snow. Not a good option in snow country

  20. ’57 Ford in second photo my favorite, however blue ’54 210 Chevy four door next to it is what caught my attention. Dad had one just like it only without all the options. Seems odd to me that this mid trim level model would be so well optioned, rather than stepping up to a Bel Air.9

  21. In Picture one, my guess is: That The Lincoln “bathtub” belongs to the Town’s Mayor— and that it his Son — driving it! These cars area far cry — from an early Leland Lincoln (or the early FOMOCO Lincolns) , say: ’30 – ’31 . Most of the later models gradually became more Luxury Ford- like — and less Lincoln – like . The later engines & drivelines, idn’t compare — and only (occasionally) would their styling offer something special for the money invested. How can anyone “follow the “act” of the amazing clever engineering of the earlier V- 8’s & & 12’s If you don’t believe it — drive one! , or at least: Be a Passenger! American Automotive Excellence! Edwin W.

  22. IN PIcture #2 : Note the concrete or plaster or fiberglass Teepees and the Dinosaur, — all to provide accurate (Hysterical moments of “History” for the motoring public ! The ’57 Ford : Way more comfy than a ’56 —and “cleaner” than a ’58 . Note the “Peak of the Chrome Race”! , — behind the D.K.W. Re: The D.K.W. : Very popular in Europe, a : Three cylinder – Water cooled – 2- Stroke design, powerful for its size , leaving any V.W. in it’s 2- Stroke smoke! Front Wheel Drive with large, alloy finned! Inboard Drum Brakes ! “Horch ” (Family name) = “Listen” or: “Behave” (large, expensive vehicles, with strange drive- train components, ( Like their fan’s vee belt!!!). “DKW”; (‘Das Kleiner Wunder”) or: ) “The Small Wonder!” An Engineering success, – popular in its Day! Seen regularly, — in Calif .! and at: sports – car racing events! Good power & economy. Enter: the AUDI Super 90 (Didn’t sell well here) Enter: The 100 LS a 115 MPH Four Door (36 MPG at normal HWY speeds) Front wheel drive, 4- stroke 1.8 L. 4- cylinder: Poor front brakes ,- and a “killer” of sales: A SOLEX ( French Factory) Carburetor Assembly Bench Tool fault!!!) that : ( until: I isolated the problem, Myself, — ) It devastated the car’s “Sales Potential”! (Too late!) Later AUDI models without Solex carb. troubles — and brake wear troubles, — became very popular ! E. Winet,( Former Audi Technical Instructor) “Audi” is LATIN for: “Horch ” to escape “patent issues”. Note: The DKW, being a 2- stroke, had a Pollution problem that couldn’t be solved . Other than that —- it was an excellent reliable small sedan!

  23. Somehow in 1961 I bought a 1959 Buick Electra 225 convertible. I never drove it with out the boot cover
    on and all windows down and sun visors folded into the windshield so they wouldn’t show. This way it looked
    finished and cared for. Scrubbed white roof every Saturday with comet cleanser. Also had wooden speed boat with a 50 HP motor, big at that time. Had to sell them both when I got married and little ones started coming along.

  24. Looks like the 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan convertible to me. They were very similar to the Mercury of that year. Ford used the term “Pontoon styling” to distinguish the Lincoln.

  25. Picture #2 starts off with a ’50, ’51 or ’52 Dodge (all 3 yrs. used the vertical
    taillights) and ’50 was also the first year for the Diplomat the name given
    to the new 2-dr. hardtop. Think one commentator called it a Plymouth.
    Like the Chevy 210. Agree its unusual to see one accessorized like that.
    Who knows, my sister had a ’53 210 Club Coupe with fender skirts and
    of all things, the Autronic Eye, usually seen in high-end Buicks and
    Cadillacs. The thing worked like a charm too. Whatever makes you
    happy. Thanks David for another fine series of Friday pics.

  26. Yep, nothing beats the time period of Indians, buffalo pulling carriages, and dinosaurs – think someone got a bit confused about …..

  27. Both my wife, and I thought Cherokee, N.C. as the location of the second picture. Can’t confirm that, but we both had been there in the late ’50s, and early ’60s when Cherokee had the eclectic vibe, and was a weird oasis of diversity in an otherwise strange, beautiful, and lonely Blue Ridge region.

  28. W O W ! I never, ever leave this weekly without learning. The four rings of the Audi logo? I (and many others, I’m sure) had no idea. Few sites entertain and educate. Grateful that we have David and The Old Motor. And thank you to the entire readership for being fantastic, caring teachers. Without the enlightening comments, others would never know. You’re passing-on history.

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