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Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Twenty-One of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a unique photo taken from the inside of a car looking backward. It appears that whoever shot this was interested in trucks or possibly the camera was triggered by mistake. Regardless, it gives us a rare view of a pair of semi’s in traffic, on the left is a White pulling a refrigerated trailer, and on the right a GMC tractor and trailer rig.

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.

  • Miss America and her official 1950s Nash appear to be sharing the limelight with Miss Dairy Products.

  • A pair of 1950s Ford station wagons, the family vehicle of choice for decades before the minivan appeared.

  • And finally, a late-1950s Buick two-door hardtop with a family posing for a Christmas card photo?

36 responses to “Four Fun Friday Fifties Kodachrome Car Images

  1. In the lead photograph, driving away on the right, is a 1948 or ’49 HUDSON Club Coupé.

    In the 2nd photograph is a four-door 1954 NASH Statesman Super.

    In the 4th photograph is a 1959 BUICK Invicta.

    • Made an error. The 1959 BUICK is an Electra as stated by Will Fox below. The Electra had a small chrome molding going downward from the back of the outward headlight; neither the Invicta nor LeSabre had this small chrome molding.


      • The Buick is an Invicta. The chrome peace at the bottom rear of the front fender is the clue. on the Electra it had a piece of chrome that came up and swung back. this car does not have it.

  2. That last photo is a keeper! A wonderful family and their brand-new `59 Buick Electra coupe! I love the top photo, as for many of us this was the view we had out the back window in our wee years. Looks like a `49 Cadillac on the left. Not sure who won ‘Miss America’ in `54; (I only know Lee Merriweather won in `55.) but she was given a pretty metallic gold `54 Ambassador sedan! I’ve seen the pair of Ford Wagons before, and it appears the `59 might’ve also been brand-new then like the Buick Electra coupe. This was when we knew make, model, and year of cars 4 blocks away. Nowadays? Not so much.

    • The 1059 Buick is an Electra, The chrome peace at the bottom of the front fender is the clue. Look it up. The Electra had a peice that swept back from the top of that square piece that formed a sideways U.

    • The Cadillac convertible isn’t a 1949 which had a different quarter panel design ( actually a rear fender – shared with 1948). The one pictured is somewhere between 1950 and 1953.

    • John,
      Correct – Nash were the sponsors of the Miss America Pageant. As well as Evelyn receiving a Metropolitan, her family received a brand new Ambassador as well.

  3. Finally, some trucks. The GMC is a pretty fancy rig, OTR truck, note sleeper and full “west coast” mirrors ( and fender mirror) compared to the White. Year unknown, they changed little but looks like a model 950, most assuredly powered by a 2 cycle Detroit, probably a 6-71. They called these trucks”Cannonballs”. Does anyone remember the 50’s TV show Cannonball? They drove a truck like this. I used to love the song, ” the rumblin’ of the diesel, the shiftin’ of the gears, the rhytm when he’s movin’, is music to his ears,,,Cannonball”,,,the White, is a bit older, late 40’s, very early 50’s, a W series, also an OTR truck, note integral sleeper and smaller mirrors. What’s interesting here, is this is an old reefer trailer. A bunker and blower setup. Note ladder on front, you’d fill a bunker with ice, and that 1 cyl. gas motor turned a big fan and blew air over the ice. That was truck ( and rail) refrigeration back then. You modern reefer drivers think you have it rough,,pfft. 2nd pic, meter’s expired, sharp car, though.
    3rd, people really were brand loyal in the 50’s and 60’s. ( except my old man, who looked for the best deal, and had them all) and last, when people were just as proud of their new car, as their family. Looks like this guy finally worked his way up to a new Buick.

    • You sure know your trucks, Howard! These two are before my time, but I been told those early 50s GMCs had 4-71 Jimmies in them if they were single axle and so did GM buses. In the mid-1960s, I seen some of those Whites single axles were still running side-valve 6-cylinder gas engines. Apparently they had plenty of torque.

      • Hi Jim, I leave the cars to the experts, but I’ve been around trucks all my working life. Thanks, but even I can’t hold a candle to bus and truck spotter extraordinaire , Gene Herman.

    • Hi Howard. I love truck photos too. That photo looks like it comes right out of Dave Dudley’s song: “Six Days on the Road.” “Just passed a Jimmy and a White…” The GMC is likely a 950 although it could also be a 970. This one is definitely a long nose so the Cannonball truck wouldn’t quite apply. Speaking of Cannonball, there’s a couple of videos from the series on You Tube. I remember those old reefers with the blowers. The floors eventually disappeared due to the heavy corrosion.

  4. Ah, the 59 Buick Electra, my first car in 67. Mine was black with white roof and same roofline. Bubble top? That was some boat. Mine had electric seats and Windows and factory air, with big chrome pull-our vents in the dash. Starter in gas pedal and one speed “dynaslip” trans. She used to flex like crazy on bad roads. Great memories from H S.

  5. Hit it out of the ballpark this time.
    Were Ford station wagons the most popular line of station wagons of all the other brands in that era?

  6. Top photo is how I remember many rides as a child. Looking out the rear glass in my aunt’s 53 Pontiac. Her dog Mickey sat in back with me. Many a trip from Montgomery to Nashville, no seatbelts, sleeping in the floorboards when cold out to stay warm.

  7. The one-piece windshield on the GMC truck makes it a ’53 or ’54.
    The White trucks had a long nameplate on the sides of the hood. The large WHITE logo was in the middle preceded by the word “Super”, and followed by the word, “Power.” No matter how you read it, WHITE Super Power, or Super WHITE Power, would not meet the approval of the Politically Correct crowd today.

  8. Wonderful pictures. The White trucks always looked, to me, more stylish than most haulers, and beyond the Nash in the second photo, across the street, is a nice baby blue Caddy ragtop. The 59 ford wagon is really sharp, and I too had a 59 Buick Electra. It was the 4 door flat top, white with a blue interior. The starter under the gas pedal, buttery smooth progression of power from the dynaflow, the chrome dash, ribbon speedometer , were all neat features– not to mention the styling and fins. Took all day to Simonize it

  9. Photo #1; It brings: Fond memories of my own neighborhood , being: The Los Angeles Neighborhood of “Atwater”, bordering : Glendale , (another L.A. County City) — The earlier: Famous: “Highway “99”, (a Northerly portion of which was/is called: “The Ridge Route”, a Major Artery of Commercial Truck, Automobile , Motorcycle , (Mostly Police), an: (S.P.R.R.) Single track (from major lumber yards, nearby and one Tricycle, (later a bike ) on the sidewalks of this: Black Diesel smoke – filled, noise filled with engine exhaust, Gear shifting , accelerating , brake squealing, “Four- Laner” , of a constant stream of traffic : “24 -7”, especially during the WAR years ! WW-2 , —as: The road also (purposely) connected to the side of the: SPRR North Taylor Freight Yard My “melody “for going to sleep” were the Trucks, Steam Freight Trains ( with heavy War related Items ), and rattling windows , punctuated by : Truck air horns, and Multi -toned Steam whistles — “hooting out” the Freight-Yard Codes of the extreme traffic! Edwin W.

  10. The ’54 Nash , to me, looks like an Ambassador Custom. Miss America deserves nothing less. I could be wrong . It won’t be the first time.

  11. Evelyn Ay “. . .

    There’s a large collection of information on her hometown Nash/Rambler/AMC dealership at the following link including pictures of her with the dealership owner in 1954. Replace the word “dot” in the link with a period.

    theamcforum dot com/forum/ephrata-pa-dealers_topic56690.html

  12. My 2 cents worth on the ’59 Buick pic. I n 1959 there were 2 Electra series offered.
    You could choose an Electra or an Electra 225. The Electra 225 offered a flat roof
    hardtop sedan , a 6-window hardtop sedan or a convertible. The Electra series
    offered a 4-door sedan not a hardtop, a flat roof 4-dr. hardtop and a 2-dr. hardtop.
    The sideways U trim was on the 225s only. In addition, all the 225s came with
    fancier wheel covers, not used with any other series as standard equipment.
    I agree that the car pictured is an Electra , but is shown with the wheel covers
    of the Electra 225. Maybe the guy ordered them as an option, who knows.
    Regardless, it’s still a very sharp looking ride. wish I still had mine.
    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks David for another great
    Friday selection.

    • Well, it’s certainly not a LeSabre!!! Right on, Jim…it’s not a 225, which cost a lot more than the coupe which is the cheapest Electra you could get., the same model in the Invicta lacked the chrome parking lite eyebrow return to the fender side and the front wheel trim, also lacked the Electra’s full rear wheel opening trim. Another thing it is not…it only appears so- but a tricolor paint option was not available that year. I think it, the gorgeous foto with the proud family… was just the different planes of Buicks’ flamboyant spaceship design in conjunction with Kodaks(?) rich, rich color spectrum which was unique at that time, ‘Nuff said. Atfer Cadillac’s outrageous fins in 1959 the Buick and /or the Chevrolet fought one another for 2nd place.

  13. In picture 2 with Miss America and her new Nash. I believe the lady
    shown with Miss A would be her chaperone. If memory serves , and
    it may not, Miss America was always accompanied by a chaperone.
    Solo appearances were heavily restricted. Times were so different.
    Wonder if that still happens today.

  14. Jimmy diesels, in 1950 I worked nights in a Shell, later Union station on the corner of Capital streets and Court st. in Salem Or. That was the main route to Portland from the south. Loved the sound of those engines with the supercharger as the came to the stop sign there and then took off. Late at night bouncing off the walls of state buildings along Capital.

  15. My step father had one of these, what a dreamboat , horizontal rear fins , and a big V-8. I used to sneak into it and set the speed warning (which was very loud/irritating) a 45 miles an hour … it was our running gag .

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