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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Thirty-Three of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with an early-1960s photo of motorists filling up on what appears to be opening day of a Humble gasoline station. All of the signs of a filling station grand opening are in place: fresh paint, colorful banners, a table for giveaway trinkets in front of the office window and a tanker the local Humble distributor sent over for the day.

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 images are via This Was Americar.

  • This looks like a posed photo of an Ohio Turnpike Patrol officer helping a motorist. The State of Ohio certainly did not splurge at all on patrol cars, check out the skinny tires on the front of this Chevrolet.

  • Mother aways sends the chauffeur with this Caddy when we go butterfly hunting, not the Rolls.

  • Could this be a “Home Sweet Home” photo for a Christmas card?

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

  1. Wonderful pictures !!

    In the lead photograph there is a white over orange 1955 BUICK.

    In the 2nd photograph is a white over blue 1954 BUICK Estate Wagon, either a Special or Century.

    Happy Holidays !!

    AML

  2. The Ohio picture is some time between 1956 and 1958. Before 1956, they didn’t use TP series license plates, and in 1958 they had blue over silver plates to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Highway Patrol (which ran the Turnpike Patrol). In 1959 they switched to red over white and 1960 to blue over yellow, then didn’t have plates until 1977, so the plates are a good dating system for Ohio patrol cars of this era.

    Given the low number and the posed nature, I would guess it’s winter of 1956. In ’57, the Turnpike Commission bought Dodge Coronet D-501 sedans (at least 8, possibly 10 of the 56 that were built) in order to have a faster vehicle for highway use, and I would expect promotional photos to use the more impressive-looking Coronet if it was winter of 1957.

      • There is no V on the hood in ’55 for V8 engines, that was for ’56 Chevrolets. You’d have to look for an under-taillight V on this ’55 to determine if it had a V8.

      • The absence of bright molding around the windshield suggests that this is the base 150 series car. it had to have an accessory fuse block added for all the electronics as the 150 series came standard without a fuse block, making it hard to add electrical accessories.

      • In 1955 the way to tell from the outside if a Chevy was a V-8 was little V’s under the taillights. The V’s under the emblems on the hood and trunk were used in 1956 , 1957 and 1958.

  3. The bottom photo seems to be a ’55 model year Pontiac with ’54 plates on it. So I’m guessing new car purchase as well as Home Sweet Home.

    Also, I can’t quite make it out, but I wonder if the dealer tag under the trunk trim reads Sauers Buick. They’re currently a Buick/GM dealership in La Porte, Indiana. May have been Pontiac as well in the fifties?

    • The dealer was Shaver & Cross Pontiac at 150 Pine Lake Avenue which was owned by Richard W. Shaver and Wilbert W. Cross (1909 – 1971). Their business seems to have lasted less than five years. The building is still there, and it is possibly used to sell antique cars. Quite surprisingly a late ’30s early ’40s car is on display in the front window on Google maps. There are also at least two other old cars visible through the display windows.

  4. In the midwest, we had “Pate” gas, which I believe became Enco/Esso, and finally, Exxon. We would get promotional items that said Humble on it. The tank truck appears to be a mid-50’s Ford F-600 cab over ( or cab forward, depending where you lived) The Buick is probably getting regular, while the ’62 Chevy,,premium, dude.
    I read ( which makes OM so cool) about the Ohio Turnpike Patrol. 1955 was the grand opening of the Ohio Pike, and theses officers were commissioned to patrol only the turnpike, and all had green ’55 Chevy’s. This must have been right after it opened. Nothing unusual about a 50’s car ( any brand) with it’s hood open.
    I do think those are some lucky kids. I never remember my parents taking me out in the desert to catch butterfly’s in their new Caddy.
    And last, young families had to start somewhere. The Poncho looks pretty new ( with ’54 plate) I’m sure this trailer park is in LaPorte, Ind. The dealer tag says so, and people usually bought cars in their home town. Looks like #3 on the way, and that trailer home won’t cut it much longer.

  5. Another wonderful set of Friday pics. Thanks so much.
    What’s up with the ’55 Buick at the outside pump? The
    only other real Buick I see is the ’54 Estate Wagon in the
    Ohio State Patrol pic. How is Stanley doing?

  6. Looks like the last photo of the family with the Pontiac was taken in or near La Porte, Indiana. I’d guess that single wide trailer was their home. Probably pretty cold in Northern Indiana winters and possibly some lake effect snow. Looks also like their sidewalk was made from old pallets. The Pontiac looks like a 1955 Chieftain.

    • If that photo was taken in or near La Porte, Indiana then “some” lake effect snow doesn’t begin to describe it. My uncle’s job transferred him to La Porte (circa 1960); the first year he and my aunt lived there the ground was snow covered from the middle of October until late April. Other years weren’t quite that bad but La Porte is close enough to Lake Michigan to receive lots of lake effect snow.

  7. Wow- first time I’ve seen a period picture of an Eldorado Brougham in ‘everyday’ use. Usually the factory photos or modern restorations are all we see. That was one well to do family out for a spin, and the car looks awesome.

  8. The Coke machine in the first picture served as a handy cocktail for our boss. Just pour out some coke, add whiskey, and no one knew the difference. Happy pumping boys.

  9. The photo of the kids with the `57 Eldorado Brougham remind me of a couple wealthy kids I was in school with. One girl got dropped off at our grade school in her Dad’s Ferrari 330GT coupe! ALL heads turned when he pulled up to let Dena off.

      • When Standard Oil was “broken up” by the federal government the regulators though that they had really stuck it to John D. Rockefeller. In reality his new small companies were worth more that his original Standard Oil. Rockefeller had the last laugh.

    • From my quick research it looks like Humble Oil Company was bought by Standard Oil Company of New Jersey in 1959, who was then later purchased by Exxon. Humble stations eventually sold ENCO branded gas also.

    • Standard Oil of New Jersey acquired Humble in 1959 and eliminated the Humble name in 1973. SONJ had some of the rights to Esso, some of the rights to Enco, and the Humble name. They couldn’t use Esso in other Standard Oil territories, didn’t want to use Enco because it sounds like a Japanese phrase for “engine failure,” and Humble was used primarily in the West (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona). It was used in Ohio because Sohio had the Esso rights there and they had complained the Enco branding looked too similar to Sohio’s Esso branding. When they decided to standardize on one brand name, instead of becoming Esso, Enco, or Humble, they became Exxon.

  10. That circus poster stapled to the power pole at the Humble station is probably worth a lot today. They were only intended to survive until the actual event. Years ago I was lucky enough to find a similar poster for Irish Horan & The Lucky Hell Drivers!

      • Ha! that’s right- I was born on Friday, April 13, 1962, and had figured ’62 for the year of the picture counting back the days-making that a new Chevy at the pump and another behind the 57 Ford.

  11. PMD: There’s no way to tell a 1955 6 cyl Chevy from a 8 cyl Chevy from the front end. . No ’55 Chevy had “V” on the hood. The only way to tell was one small “V” under each tail lamp .

  12. In photo #1 is that a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror of the 1957 Ford in front of the station? You would think that fuzzy dice were almost a mandatory addition to cars of the 1950’s and 60’s if you judge from the cars at the local cruiseins. I’ve been looking for them for a long time and this is the first set of fuzzy dice I’ve found in the hundreds of images posted on this site.

    In the same photo the 1962 Chevy Impala hardtop has fender skirts, another accessory that is much more common at cruiseins now than in the old days. I always thought they degraded the appearance of this handsome model.

    The 1955 Buick seems to have a sagging rear spring on the drivers side — or maybe there’s a body in the trunk. The station wagon in the rear is a base model 1961 Chevrolet.

    The 1955 Chevy in photo #2 is the base 150 model 2-door sedan, the least expensive model available. Almost devoid of chrome, even the windshield trim is rubber. It could be either a 6 or V-8. The V emblem on the hood indicating the larger engine didn’t appear until 1956. In 1955 the only exterior indication was a small “V8” under each tail-light.

    In #3 I’m reminded of the summer of 1966 which I spent with a wealthy (and flamboyant) Texas family. The rancher took us jack rabbit hunting in his Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The chauffeur crisscrossed the fields until we spotted the ears of an unlucky bunny. Then he would turn so that the side of the car was toward the critter. We would roll down the power window and fire out the open window, then drive over, pick up the deceased prey and toss it in the back floor of the Caddy.

    In #4 I note the Pontiac doesn’t have a trailer hitch. And from the rust streaks on the trailer it had some age on it. Not likely home for a family who could afford such a spiffy Pontiac.

    Keep the photos coming.

    • Dlynskey, your comment about the 57 Ford and fuzzy dice brought back memories of my own teenage years. In the 60’s I owned 2 different 57 Fords at different times and both had fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror. I do not remember any of the other cars I drove having them, but the 57’s. At the time it didn’t feel right not to have my fuzzy dice hanging on my mirror, like driving around in an dirty car.

    • Dlynsky, in my opinion it’s just the way the light is hitting the rearview mirror, not fuzzy dice. Ford rearview mirrors in those years were painted in a light gray, almost flat silver. I do agree with you at what you see at car shows. I never remember seeing a Chevrolet with a tissue dispenser. Now, you’d think no Chevrolet was ever delivered without one.

  13. In #1 photo of the filling station, is a ’57 ford with the driver standing outside, it appears to be a lady and behind her is a ’62 chevy station wagon looks to be heading out of the station, with a full tank & clean windows as was the practive in the day.

  14. According to a reply to the picture of the Humble station I saw on Flickr the station is located at 306 Charles Street in Humble Texas.

    • Humble, Texas, was the birthplace of the oil company of that name. According to generally-useful and frequently correct Wikipedia, it was founded by brothers Ross and Frank Sterling. Other commenters have pretty well sketched its relations to Esso, Enco and finally Exxon.

  15. I wonder what was wrong with the orange Buick sitting the gas pump while leaning to the left. Broken spring, shock, flat tire? Hope the attendant offered a repair.

  16. Ill betcha that: That Circus was at the “County Seat” (Near the TV Station) DTRA (Down The Road Apiece) from the small “Tank” town where the Humble Station is: Why? look at the T. V. receiving antennas: High Gain Stacked Phased Arrays ($$$), — way up high —- (to get over the horizon). Edwin W.

  17. That :
    “Top of the line ” Cadillac with “suicide doors ” Looks “a bit out of place”, – ((as few of them ever left “L.A.” or were only seen on the Las Vegas Road from LA.) The small road, the mountains , the sky (and butterfly net) look like: Springtime (Wild flowers, Octillo & Cholla “Cacti”) on the Anza- Borrego Desert, near Borrego Springs, in Southern California ‘s Southwest. Edwin W.

  18. Not only did the Ohio Turnpike Patrol skimp on tires (altho I would suggest that narrow tires will cut thru deep snow better than wide) it looks like they ripped off that logo from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    • The comment about narrow tires is spot on. I have read or heard that Volvo used to routinely install tall, narrow wheels and tires for that very reason. Their thinking, I believe, was that a narrower but longer tire contact patch was safer on wet or snowy roads. I had a ’70, 142S coupe here in Minnesota and it seemed notably more composed in those conditions. I don’t know if the company is doing the same today, but it would probably be less useful with front drive anyway.

  19. My take on the Ohio Turnpike photo. The state bought the
    cheapest model available and I’m guessing they all were or-
    dered with a V-8. If, as stated, they were used on the new turn-
    pike for patrol, there would have been many opportunities
    for some high speed driving situations. Speaking from experi-
    ence (as the turnpike progressed on into Indiana) I remain
    guilty of illegally accessing the 4-lane before it was finished.
    What fun it was to drive at those higher speeds always on the
    lookout for Johnny Law. Bet I’m not alone on this.

  20. It’s Christmas Eve, cold in Colorado and somewhat bored.
    Oh, boo hoo hoo. First picture, don’t think there is a problem
    with the Buick, think the problem is with the driveway. Look
    at the ’57 Ford, it appears to be leaning also. The Chevy looks
    level to me. The driveway was poured at a slight angle for good
    drainage. Think it is still done fairly often. My 5c worth.

  21. I AM ASTONISHED AT THE LACK OF INTEREST/COMMENTS ON THE ELDORADO BROUGHAM ON A “NORMAL” CAR OUTING IN THE DESERT…..IT’S ONLY AMERICA’S MOST EXPENSIVE ‘LIMITED’ PRODUCTION VEHICLE…AT THAT TIME….JK

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