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Four Fun Thanksgiving Holiday Kodachrome Images

Number One-Hundred and Twenty-Eight of the Kodachrome Image Series begins early this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with a colorful photo of one of the Ford Motor Company’s popular Thunderbird two-seaters. We featured one of these early T-Bird’s recently, but today we are going to pretend the woman driving it traveled home to visit mom and dad for Thanksgiving. Tell us what you know about this Ford sports car.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving to all: Due the Holiday weekend we will be back again on Monday morning.

  • Before you hit the road for the holiday make sure get your car washed.

  • Leave early so you don’t get caught in traffic at the toll booths like these travelers in New York City.

  • If your are not going home for the Holiday how about a nice road trip to to a scenic area?

 

46 responses to “Four Fun Thanksgiving Holiday Kodachrome Images

  1. The first image is interesting, as it features the very same T-Bird prototype that graced the turntable at a `54 auto show, with henry Ford II at the wheel. It lacks wing windows, and the rear exhaust housings in the bumper were just a fraction bigger than production models got. Interestingly, I’ve been down this very street in Farmington Hills, MI. where this was shot, and viewed these homes. Obviously much larger trees now, after 60 years. The `57 Ford in the second photo is in probably my favorite two-tone combo of that year of orange & white. My aunt drove a Country Sedan wagon that combo when I was very small.

    • Wind wings were not available in 1955. They came about in 1956 along with fender vents. No airflow through a 55. I solved that problem on mine with A/C. I do not believe color matched wheels were a option. Fortunately the lovely young lady was able to find a color matched scarf to go with her new car.

    • The 55 Thunderbird also doesn’t have chrome on the rear fender skirts like all the 55-57 Thunderbirds did. This is the way Ford should have done it. I think it looks odd with chrome on the rear wheel openings and not on the front wheel openings.

    • There is a picture posted online (INTERNET SEARCH FOR “THF108020 / Front Side View of 1955 Ford Thunderbird Prototype”) at “The Henry Ford” (formerly known as Henry Ford Museum) taken in front of the same house with the same model and a T-Bird which is captioned as being taken by “Ford Motor Company Photographic Department” and dated in the online caption as being taken 20 August 1954.

      ” Front Side View of 1955 Ford Thunderbird Prototype
      Summary

      This is a prototype of the Thunderbird, Ford’s response to Chevrolet’s powerful Corvette. (then continues with some additional uninformative details.)

      THERE IS A HANDWRITTEN NOTATION ON THE BACK OF THE IMAGE APPARENTLY- “Inscriptions

      Handwritten on back side of image: Never produced”

      The body side trim in the image in this archive differs significantly from the image in the TOM post above. OPINION ONLY: It looks like someone borrowed the trim from a 55 Buick and flipped it before applying it. 🙁 OPINION ONLY: Probably a good thing this wasn’t what was produced!

      HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL THE STAFF AND ARCHIVES CREW AT TOM AND EVERYONE WHO READS AND COMMENTS!

      • Interestingly enough back in the early 70’s late 60’s, I saw a 55 Tbird in front of a wrecking yard in North Hollywood, CA. with these side moldings. I always wondered if I was looking at the prototype or moldings off a 55 big car.

        • A little more research reveals that POSSIBLY (according to one account : Internet search “A Rare Wisconsin Bird by Terry Kohl”) there were two prototypes constructed with what APPARENTLY is called the “Fairlane Stripe”.

          One of these apparently was purchased and then resold to a collector by the Volo Auto Museum in October 2002.

          The prototype side trim distinct resembles the side trim used on 1955 and 1956 Ford Victorias, but matches the Fairlanes.

          • The book “90 Years of Ford” by George Dammann shows a photo of a Thunderbird with the Fairlane-like trim and states the following about the car.

            “The T-bird that never was. Still causing confusion today are Ford publicity photos such as this, which show the Thunderbird wearing Fairlane-like side trim. Initially the car was proposed without such trim, but later in its development, top Ford management wanted to bring the Thunderbird closer to the rest of the Ford family in looks, and thus the side swash was contemplated. Thus many Thunderbird ads from August on show the cars with this trim. Even as last as November, 1954, the back page of MOTOR TREND carried a T-Bird ad showing three different colored cars, all with the swash. However, the stylists hated the trim, fought against it, and eventually won, apparently only weeks before production actually started. One thing the trim would have accomplished – it would have prevented the side dings and scrapes so common on Thunderbirds that had to park in head-in situations.”

            Another rare Thunderbird would be one with an original Sanco conversion which would allow your hardtop to slide back over the trunk area, stay attached while you drive, and allow you to close the hardtop if it starts raining. The company claimed that air would slipstream over the opened top and that passengers would not be buffeted by the wind.

          • There was a T-Bird with that trim at a convertible event I attended in Wisconsin a few years back. The owner stated that is was that way from the factory and one of only a very few done that way. There were folks there from many states but if I remember correctly this gentleman was from WI.

          • Ford Division chief Lewis Crusoe had a black 55 built for himself with the Fairlane stripe as well as a continental kit. It’s an interesting continental kit as it’s not like the 56 kit, but with the rear bumper and exhaust pipes extended to accommodate the spare.

          • Here is the story on the car Volo had. I doubt the car left Ford with the “Fairlane stripe” and that Continental kit. Lewis Crusoe did have a black car like this and I was told by a well-known T-Bird restorer/dealer many years ago that the car still existed but was in poor condition. I was not told where the car was located. If the “Volo” car was built that way by Ford, then I would have to say this is the Crusoe car restored and repainted red. I have also been told making the Fairlane stripe trim using Fairlane pieces for the ’55 T-Bird is not particularly difficult by another restorer. I photographed a ’55 in the late-1990s with the trim for an article I wrote for Car Collector. It was not being passed off as authentic, though the owner would not say it had the trim added on either. Being a later build, it clearly had to have been added by someone. Here is another ’55 with that so-called “prototype” Continental kit.

    • I have walked across that bridge several times. It is amazing how windy it is over the gorge and how much the bridge sways with the wind.

  2. Fourth photo shows the Royal Gorge Bridge, just outside Canon City, Colorado. The flathead Ford seems to be suffering from altitude sickness, and the magnificent Olds station wagon appears ready to slip into the gorge.

  3. Great pictures again !!!

    In the 3rd photograph, in the foreground right, is a black 1953 BUICK Super Riviera. Forward of this ’53 BUICK Super is a white over blue, four-door, 1951 BUICK, Super. On the far left, can be seen the tail-end of a dark green over light green, four-door, 1952 BUICK Special.

    Happy Thanksgiving’s Day to all !!!

    • In the 4th photograph, 5th car parked to the right of the bridge, is a white 1960 FORD, parked next to a white over brown 1955 BUICK Riviera, either a Century or Special.

      • Also, 2nd car in, between the Dodge and the Chevy appears to be an early ’50’s black Cadillac Series 75, either a Limo or a 9 Passenger Sedan… a bit out of its’ element, no?

        • Not really, tour companies used Caddy limos to bring visitors to the Royal Gorge. The Broadmoore Hotel even had custom built tour cars. My favorite was the 1959 models. Do a search to see them.

    • Late to the party again… AML, beyond the ’51 Buick Super is an early postwar Chrysler… see bumper, and to it’s right a ’50 Plymouth Convertible . Hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate too much turkey, I did… felt it was my duty!!! Had my fill ’til Christmas, can’t wait! Wonderful fotos, David.

  4. Since this past September, all bridges and tunnels in N.Y.C. are cashless tolls. Now they take a picture of your plate from overhead cameras , and send you a bill in the mail.

  5. In fourth photo is what appears to be a ’56 Chevy 210 in Del Rey trim, a not widely known upgrade trim for the 210 two doors, including special upholstery.

  6. Second photo: Fiat 500/600.
    My dad had a ’58 600D. Water-cooled.
    I learned to calculate fuel mileage riding with him in the Fiat. 7 gallon tank! 41 mpg.
    Late 1960, my oldest brothers had a low speed crash with some Detroit iron. It bent like a beer can! They recovered; the Fiat was totaled.

    • My brother received a gift for graduating from the USCG Academy from my dad’s long time buddy, a Vespa 600. Fun little car for us kids to ride in, but my brother died in a head on collision on Sunset Blvd on the way to his first duty station. No headrests allowed luggage to strike the back o f his head and the lack of shoulder harness allowed him to be speared by the non-collapsing steering column. Safety has come a long way!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you all, readers and especially Dave for this great site!

  7. The T-Bird apparently is new. Surely that isn’t oil drops under the center. Although I’ve heard of new cars with oil leaks on the showroom floor.
    I don’t think the ’58 Olds in the bridge picture is a station wagon. It looks as if another car is beyond it.

  8. The ’55 T-bird was Ford’s highly successful answer to the Chevy Corvette but is was definitely NOT a sports car. “For the driving sport, not the sporting driver,” sniffed Road & Track magazine.

  9. Saw an encounter in Spain between a Fiat 600 and a Benz.The Benz sat in the middle of the road somewhat bedraggled looking and its grille caved in,the Fiat was off in a ditch somewhere and there was a priest on the scene.
    Bad news.

  10. please stop posting pictures of early T birds,I have had to buy a Triumph Stag to go some way to assuage my desire for one.The Stag is often said to be a bit of of an oddball,but I do think it is a’ personal car’.Would I be right in thinking the Thunderbird a bit of a gamble by Ford?

  11. As to the Thunderbird pic, I was surprised to see that it did not have the Fairlane chrome stripe, because I was sure this car in front of this house had the Fairlane stripe. It has dawned on me that it’s very possible this car has the Fairlane chrome stripe on the other side and photos were taken of the car from both sides.

    Again, David, thanks for Kodachrome Fridays, and all the other days of the week, too.

  12. Good old Kodachrome. I need to show the second photo to my 20 year-old coworkers (who are unaware something called film preceded their smartphones) to see if they can identify the white “dots” on the left side of the photo.

  13. Greetings stalwarts from beautiful Colorado. I’m actually not far from Canon City, in Salida, about 100 miles NW. I can tell you one thing, I’m not in Wisconsin anymore. Beautiful.
    The T-bird shot is clearly staged, I just don’t see that happening in real life. The car wash is neat. Anybody see if that’s a retractable? My great nephew or cousin, had a ’57 Ford retractable. Same color combo. I remember it being quite new, then didn’t see it for many years. When I did see it again, it was sitting in a garage and I was horrified by what had happened to it. The dang headlights were falling out. I’m pretty sure he junked it. That car wash, I believe was a big spool with a hook on the end, and the attendant would pull the cable back from the previous car, and it would pull the car through. Anybody? Sure looks like that. I’m about as far removed from the traffic jam as one could get. Have fun with that, those of you that still deal with that foolishness, which leads me to Royal Gorge bridge. I think cars can still cross it, but mostly foot and bicycle traffic. It was the #1 tourist attraction in Co. for years. No thank you. I get weak knees climbing a step ladder. So, what do you think the guy with the glasses is doing to the Ford? I say, he’s fiddling with the points. Years ago, ignition was the #1 car problem. Take care all, I’m off to see the mountains. 🙂

  14. Some of the early 55 TBirds were delivered with the chrome headlight “eyebrows” that the Crown Vic’s had that went with the swoop side trim that came on the big Fords. Some of the early promotional material showed that trim and the headlight bezels with mounting cutouts for the trim are now available from aftermarket manufacturers.

  15. Interesting mix of peds and cars on the Royal Gorge bridge. I am surprised that no one named the Lincoln Tunnel entrance photo. It is quite distinctive. I have been through there several times. The most exciting tunnel experience was getting a flat in the Holland Tunnel and driving out on it!

  16. Pete Shields
    Nice pic of the ’55 TBird. The color was called Thunderbird Blue; I’ve always thought that description was a bit of a stretch.
    One of the upgrades from ’55 to ’56 was the chrome edging on the fender skirts. It was quickly realized the paint would get sandblasted away, hence the chrome in ’56 & ’57. The light reflection on the lip of the skirt makes this one look like it has chrome trim.
    WOW; The ’57 Ford passenger car getting a bath is a rare hardtop Fairlane tri-color, the bottom was pink, the center was white, and the top was purple. I owned one and the family referred to it as “the pink thing”. A horrible color combination.
    Years pass and cars get modified according to owner preference. The car is later sold, perhaps several times, The subsequent owners, following the modifications, generally haven’t a clue as to what was original configuration. So, when asked at a cruise night, if something is stock, the current owner readily agrees.
    This was very true regarding the ’55 Fairlane headlight rims. They were an attractive addition to a two-seater ‘Bird , consequently popular but not stock. A real case of a truism.

  17. Very late to the game this week. Henrie, think you are correct about the Olds in pic #4
    I enlarged it and studied it for a while, the Olds is a 2-dr. HT and directly behind it is what
    I think is a ’60 Chevy 4-dr. flattop HT based on what can be seen of the trim and dual an-
    tennas. Some kind of a brown color. Maybe I’m way out in left field on this.

  18. A subject very closely aligned with cars – especially Ford T-Birds and the like – is Fender guitars who started making the Stratocaster model a few years before the car in this picture in either 1952 or 1954 – can’t remember exactly and won’t google it now. The point is Fender used regular automotive nitro-cellulose paints to finish the solid colour (this is NOT a spelling mistake!) guitars and one in this car’s colour would have been to die for!!

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