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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Twenty-Seven of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a colorful photo possibly taken on an Easter Sunday of an attractive young woman with a bright red coat and a flower in her hair. She is posing with a Buick sedan, and a Plymouth is behind it.

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 are via This Was Americar.

  • The “Sea Serpent” was about 26-years old when this photo was taken on Nantucket Island, MA in 1955.

  • An early-1960s postcard image of the main drag in Sunland, California.

  • If you lived in a subdivision, this campground with a tree at every third driveway would feel just like home.

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

  1. Again great pictures !!

    In the lead photograph, up front is a 1049 BUICK Roadmaster.

    In the 3rd photograph, driving away, in front of the white over red 1955 BUICK, is a green 1951 STUDEBAKER.

    In the 4th photograph, 4th car from the front, is a red 1961 CHEVROLET Impala Sedan.

    • AML, I like the ever-present `59 Ford Country sedan wagon further back in pic #4! at least in my area (Omaha) we must’ve had 4 of them in various colors in my neighborhood until I was about 6 or so!

  2. Last picture. Almost had the cars in chronological order: ’56 Olds, ’57 Chevy,
    ’58 Ford, ’61 Chevy, ’59 Ford, ’60(?) Caddy.

  3. It’s always interesting to see the old campground pics. Not a pickup in sight. Of course today, there are no cars suitable to pull more than a weeks worth of groceries, much less a camper.

    • There are some cars today with decent towing capacities but the reason why pickups weren’t common family towing vehicles back then is because they were a lot more primitive and didn’t have the available passenger room or amenities of today’s pickups. Then there are also today’s popular crossovers and SUVs.

      • Many subdivisions of tract houses in the fifties did not allow trucks! Our neighbor bought a sharp looking new 1959 Ford pickup, and though it was legal, all the neighbors were scandalized. When his son and I were given a ride to a fancy party in Corpus Christi, he couldn’t understand why we insisted on being let out two blocks short of the house.

  4. The 26 year old 1929 Ford Model A station wagon seems to have had a pretty hard life even for it’s age. I can’t say for sure but it looks to have a sealed beam headlight conversion . What’s going on with the driver and his “hat” and what is the man behind him up to? This looked like a fun station wagon then and would be today. Timeless classic.

  5. Well, SOMEBODY needs to comment how its about time you have an earlier car here in the color pictures! All kidding aside, I always enjoy your forays into my own childhood with the Friday’s color pictures. Sometimes I even see pictures of places I have been.
    Although the 1929 model A Ford is a bit newer than I usually play with, it is a very interesting look at a hard-used and rare (then) survivor. If I recall correctly, 1929 was the first “official” year of a Ford factory offered station wagon. A mostly wood body, with fixed roof and simple seats, it followed the pattern of the many depot hacks offered by after-market body suppliers from the beginning of the model T (and actually before). It would be nearly twenty years more before station wagons mostly stopped using wood as a construction material for the bodies. (It always amazes me how some changes are so slow.)
    This car looks to have had a tough life (although I would guess it had sat somewhere for a few years). Repainted, and a tarp nailed onto the roof to slow deterioration. It also sports later sealed beam headlamps that were offered for model A Fords (and other cars) through the ’40s and ’50s. It still has its original size 21 inch wheels and tires. Many model As had been altered to 16 inch wheels and tires at that time.
    I hope that car has been beautifully restored and is still being used today.

    Thank you again, David G. I do always enjoy your Friday feature.

    • Other than the fact that the Model A is a wagon, how can you tell a ’28 from a ’29? Around 1960 my brother and I had an early ’28 Tudor sedan, with the handbrake on the left. We “restored” it with a pretty darn good coat of Brewster Green, applied via spray cans and rubbed out with DuPont polishing compound (that stuff was great).

      • Frank, 28’s and 29’s are very difficult to tell apart. The 30/31 A’s are pretty easy to tell apart. I have some of each year.

      • Frank, From a photo like that? The angles and details shown? You generally can’t tell a ’28 from a ’29, for most model As. And the few things one might be able to spot (like the tail-lamp or steering wheel) could likely have been changed over twenty plus years.
        Don’t shoot me if I am wrong (or, maybe you should?). But if I recall correctly from some friends years ago that had and restored model A station wagons, that body did not appear from Ford until late in 1928, considered the ’29 model year. So, if Ford did not offer it as a ’28 model, and it clearly is not the later ’30 and ’31 style, it must be a ’29.
        For some body styles, including tudor sedans, coupes, and roadsters, the bodies were basically alike throughout ’28 and ’29. In those, it is all in minor details. A slight change in the inner skirt of the front fender, another slight change in the hood louvers, headlamp lenses, front engine mount, slender front brake arms, and about a hundred other little things that changed in about a year’s time.
        Other body styles, such as the sport coupe, had several makeovers during the two years, and several variations of the fordor sedan were only made for a short time, (leather-back, blind-back variations) some were early, some middle, and others only late in the two years. (Don’t ask me about all of those! ) Special coupes (the actual designated name for them was “special” coupe) and some “business” coupes were also made for only a short time (mostly ’28) . Did I say that I am not an expert on model A Fords and that they are newer than I usually play around with?

        Regardless, Frank B, Good question!

      • Wagon body was first offered on Model A in 1929. The license plate looks like the Mass. pattern for 1949, making it probably just two decades old – hard life apparently.

    • The Caddy is I think earlier than 56, somewhere in the 50-52 model year range, the bumper, guards, and parking lights in the grille etc, point to an earlier model.

  6. Great picture at the campground. As an old RV employee (Holiday Rambler)
    it would be interesting to see a shot of the trailers too. Chuck B. is correct
    about the Airstream/Cadillac combo. The Airstreamers were/are a rather
    select group (at least they thought they were). Thanks David for another
    great set of pictures. How is Stanley doing by now?

  7. There is every chance they the persons in ” green serpent” are university students. Their dress and sense of the ridiculous is probably a give away. Looks like the drivers door has been jammed closed with a towel or a shirt. Whe I was an apprentice in the RAN we weren’t paid a lot of $$$$ so any old banger would do. We had some real oddball cars and this was in Australia in the late 1960’s.

  8. 1st pic, somebody’s mom. I don’t think she’s old enough to have a car like that. Probably dad’s new “Roadmasher”. Little scuffing on the right front whitewall,( and what a whitewall) could use those curb feelers. 2nd pic, bunch of “stewed prunes” in the Model A wagon bouncing around. Looks like fun. We see pristine Model A’s running around today, but I bet, this was far more representative of what they looked like. I bet that area doesn’t look like that today either. California, yeah, just got 3-4 inches of snow last night in N. Wis. , 2nd minor snowfall so far. Legend has it, if it snows on Halloween, gonna be a doozy this year. ( that info brought to you by Toro) The last pic, oh, I’ve been to places like this in our travel trailer days as a kid. A place like this would be “3 W’s” on the Woodall’s rating system. 5 “W’s” would be the “Hilton” of campgrounds, ( swimming pool, shuffleboard, etc) while 1 “W” would be behind a gas station. The old man was cheap, so we’d always head for the 3 “W’s”. It was my mom’s job to find one. The Woodall’s was like the Hemmings of the camping world. I believe the trailer in front of the Caddy is an Avion ( with those ribs on top), with an Airstream next to it, before Airstream owners seceded from the rest of the camping world into their own group. That hitch on the trailer in front of the Olds ( which just got off the highway, note white exhaust pipe) was like my old man’s hitches, with those long stabilizer bars. The old man was always messing with the chain settings for a better ride,,,,nothing worked, oh, and don’t forget those electric brakes on those campers. Either they did nothing, or they locked the wheels.

  9. In the Sunland photo, we’re looking east on Foothill Boulevard between Interstate 210 and Mt. Lukens.

    The following locations were easily found:
    Roscoe Hardware , 8256 Foothill
    Security First National Bank, 8334 Foothill
    Sunland Paint & Wallpaper, 8345 Foothill (Colorama Paints)
    Sunland Market, 8355 Foothill

    • You’re spot on! I looked on google maps prior to reading your comments and noticed that the bank building hasn’t changed much.

  10. The “Sea Serpent” name on the Model A Ford is likely a humorous reference to the news of a sea serpent appearing on the beaches of Nantucket in the summer of 1937. After gigantic footprints appeared, scientists came to measure the markings on the beach made by the creature, but there were also immediate doubts as to what made the sand tracks.

    “A few days later, however, a gigantic creature was indeed spotted on South Beach. People came flocking to investigate but instead of the long awaited New England Sea Serpent they found something quite different – although most definitely a serpent of some kind, it turned out to be of the inflatable balloon variety.”

    It was all an elaborate staged publicity stunt/hoax by Tony Sarg. The sea serpent remained in place for several weeks on the beach, and then was a featured balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that year. Sarg was a balloon maker, and the stunt was likely unleashed to draw attention to his business. Sarg was the creator of the large balloons that first appeared in the 1927 Macy’s Christmas Day Parade (as it was originally called).

    And a final bit of sea serpent and Macy’s parade trivia: Sarg had the inflatable balloons made by Goodyear, the same company that still makes automobile tires.

    Quote from The Public Domain Review website story “The Nantucket Sea-Serpent Hoax (1937).” A partial biography of Tony Sarg is on Wikipedia.

  11. As always the pictures with Buicks in them catch my attention first. That 49 Roadmaster is a beauty! The campers with the cars brings back fond memories as a child of the 50s-60s(my wife says I still am) my family pulled a camper all over the United States. Dad would have nothing but a big Buick and Serro Scotty trailors. We would never stayed at a park like in the picture, Dad had to have trees, camp fires and a lake to be happy! I look forward every week to the Old Motor series, keep up the good work!!

  12. The Westinghouse Company opened their Sealed Beam manufacturing plant in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1940. The last separate bulb /open reflector with separate lens, lamp door mounted, Ford cars were 1939. Model A Fords had simpler versions of the same thing, but they were in Nacelles on a headlight & license plate “cross-bar” in front of the radiator . The “Standard” Model A had 3 C.P. “running lamps” on the same reflectors , inside the nacelle housing . The DELUXE Model “A’s had separate Cowl lamps, styled after the Lincoln Automobiles, — as was the whole Model A Ford , — from 28 thru 31 , AKA: “The Baby Lincoln”! The design & improvements ’28- ’31 were no accident! Their head lamps, Duo- lamps , Cowl lamps and drum and later dish shaped Stop/ tail lamps and dual tail lamps Sold lots of Baby Lincolns, as did the addition of bright trim on ALL later Model A’s ” Bright trim” was “optional special order” on ALL Commercial Model A’s Like the Sea Serpent’s later” Sisters”, Pickups, and the same was true for ALL “AA” (“big Iron ) Trucks, Vans etc.. The “KING BEE” Company (etcetera) capitalized on “after – market” bolt-on Sealed Beam Nacelle headlamps — with a small 3 C.P. running lamp on top to take advantage of the Model A Wiring. A Great improvement in lighting, it also required” boosting the Model A generator output a few Amperes— to compensate for more current draw! Many of these “Plain Jane” Lamps dismissed the Lincoln “styling CUE! ” but ten years later — Nobody cared !!! , there was a World WAR on — and fancy was out!!! and Model A’s got many folks through that Bad time !!! Edwin Winet. I was THERE in the “Rumble seat” — at age 5!

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