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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Thirty-Seven of the Kodachrome Image Series begins this week with a photo of a woman in a 1950s Chevrolet Corvette. She is wearing a headscarf as was commonly used by women to protect their hairdo in an open car up until the late-1900s. The frilly faux hood louvers on this model were featured for only one year. Note the chromed-reversed wheels.

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 at all the earlier parts of this series here. The images are via This Was Americar.

  • These Sunoco service station workers appear to be more interested in shop C/Gas Chevrolet drag car than the rusty Plymouth in the background.

  • What restaurant chain used these drive in islands with speakers and covered drive ups?

  • Hopefully our readers will be able to tell us the town or city where this parking lot was located.


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

  1. In the 3rd photograph, parked on the right, is a white over green, four-door, 1956 OLDSMOBILE, either a Super 88 or 88.

    In the 4th picture, three cars to the right of the red beat-up 1960 FORD beach-wagon, is a black 1960 STUDEBAKER Lark [emblem in center of front grille].

    • Also in the 4th picture, just past the black ’60 STUDEBAKER, looks like the roof of a light green four-door 1959 EDSEL Ranger [non hardtop].

  2. 1958 Corvette, probably her son’s car. Sunoco 1955 Chevy repaint, 1956 Plymouth nearby with wire wheel covers, not always a rust bucket. Gas jockey with shirt unbuttoned for the ladies (or it was hot), driver with horn rims and a white t shirt, I would guess 1963. Orange on the roof and menu makes me think A&W Root Beer. Two Renault Dauphines in the background dwarfed by the 1958 Lincoln in front. Based on the yellow plates, the rust belt cars, and the number of US highways (including RT 6), I guess Chicago. I like that Buick Wildcat.

    • It may not have been her son’s car, it may have been hers. I am 73 years young and my daily driver is a Mustang Mach I. Until a few years ago I owned a purple 1956 big window F-100 pick up. It was a street rod truck with many mods. I was attending a hen party about fifteen or eighteen years ago and a lady walked in and ask who the purple pick up belonged to. I replied that it belonged to me. She went on to say that when she and her friend were getting out of her car, she noticed the purple truck. She said to her friend that one of the ladies must have driven her son’s truck, then she noticed the purple scarf hanging from the rear view mirror. She said, “that truck does not belong to a man, it belongs to a woman.” She was so right. My brother in law once said to me, “Michelle, you have never owned a boring car in your life, have you?” I said to him “no and I never intend to either”.

  3. It’s a 1958 Corvette. The one year only hood louvers and the rear trunk chrome spears gives the year away. The non factory chrome wheels are not a plus in my opinion.

  4. My first real job was as a carhop at an A&W drive in that looked almost identical to the one in photo #3. I was 16 yrs old and was paid $1.00/hr plus tips. So my first guess I A&W. My second guess is a Big Boy restaurant . Their drive in part was similar in look. Here in Michigan they were Elias Bros. Big Boy as the franchisees.

  5. The last picture is almost certainly Omaha. US-30A ran from Clarks to Omaha along what’s now Highway 92. US-6 and US-73 also ran through Omaha at the time (US-73 has since been truncated), and US-75 paralleled I-29 in Iowa, which would be just across the river (it now runs along the old US-73 route).

    • On looking closer at the license plates, it may be on the Iowa side of the border. The plates look like the style Iowa used in 1961; Nebraska’s last year of blue-on-yellow was 1959, and the next dark-on-light was 1969’s black-on-white with the white being outlined in the shape of Nebraska.

      • It is Omaha. Evidently Highways 73-75 split here. 75 goes east with 6 and 30A into Iowa. Any Omaha parking lot would have a smattering of Iowa license plates. The picture was taken circa 1969, the green car in the middle is a 1969 Plymouth Fury III.

  6. Of course it’s a ’58 Vette with the waffle hood and trunk irons. And those gastly chrome reverse ( never was a fan ). The black with red cove is not a commonly seen combination either. And I bet it’s a Powerglide automatic.

  7. First pic: `58 Vette, right? The look on her face tells me she simply posed behind the wheel, and normally drives a `55 Studebaker Champion sedan. Third pic was probably shot in about 1961-62. While the `59 Continental Mark IV still looks fairly new, I see a couple Dauphines side-by-side and a MB 300 series sedan, which didn’t hit our market until after 1960 or so.

  8. Anybody remember why those wheels were called “reverse” wheels? I don’t recall, but remember they were real sharp with a set of Baby Moons added to smooth out the look. I have spent some effort to try and identify the location of the parking lot with no success. It seems it could be somewhere in Kansas or Nebraska. From what I can tell those are the only states that US Rt. 73 goes through. I’ll look forward to finding out where the parking lot actually is/was.

    • On reversed wheels, the inside wheel “dish ” is removed and put back into the rim backwards. This gives the wheels a wider track on the ground.

      • Hi Pat, also for tire clearance. With wider tires, it was a lot easier to hack away at the wheel well, than alter the suspension. Don’t forget longer shackle straps and coil over shocks to complete the look.

    • If I remember correctly, when I was at Art Center in the mid 60’s, Strother MacMinn had a ’63 Corvair convertible, triple black with chrome reversed wheels and baby moons. Beautiful car. He came back home from a trip and opened the garage to find the Corvair on blocks. Some one liked the wheels enough to steal them.

    • Henri, I’m an Omaha native and should’ve caught that! Sharp eye sir. This drive in must’ve been way S of me in Bellevue;
      an area I seldom have need to travel to. When I came along in 1960, the end of my street was a city limit. Now I’m in the middle of town! My how things change…

  9. In the 3rd photograph, parked in the back of the lot, to the right of the two RENAULT Dauphine cars, is a white, four-door, 1951 [or might be a ’52] BUICK Roadmaster, with roof radio antenna.

  10. My first thought in #1 was a staged shot with mom, but hey, you never know, mom’s had Corvette’s too. To answer Lew’s question, chrome reverse, ( with baby moons, my favorite) were regular rims, the center part was cut out, turned around, and rewelded and chromed. It gave a deep dish appearance, I think.
    2nd photo played out all across this great land in the 50’s and 60’s. The only reason you worked at a gas station, was the perks of using the garage when the owner went home. I had many friends that we’d hang out around the station in the evening, “tuning” up our “race” cars( usually dad’s car with the air cleaner and hubcaps removed) The Plymouth, while beginning to rust, was a pretty nice car for the time,,,also daddy’s car, I bet.
    3rd photo is Annapolis, MD. While I thought maybe A&W, being orange, there’s no evidence on the menu or cups. The building looks more like a “Big Boy”, and I think that’s just one Renault Dauphine, can’t place the dark one. What do you think, the Renault is the young man’s doing the car hop after school.
    Lastly, clearly the Midwest, and US 30 and US 6, I’d say Indiana. Newest car looks like the Plymouth, ’68?

    • Thanks for addressing the chrome reverse wheel for me. I had a good friend with a 65 Chevrolet convertible with chrome reverse wheels and baby moons. It was a silver with a black top and black vinyl seats. It was a really pretty car in spite of the 283 and powerglide drive train. I would love to have that car today!

      • Howard A. you may be right about the Corvette belonging to mom. See the the third or fourth comment from the top by me responding to the same question.

  11. There is a Maid Rite drive in in Lexington, MO that has islands like that. It no longer has the covered parking, but still serves the best hamburgers and fries. It’s been there since the late 40’s

    • Steve, here in Omaha, there is an annual contest for “the best burger”. If Maid-Rite was here, there’s no question; winner hands down! (Dinker’s Bar & Grill wins repeatedly!) Best fries? Bronco’s, OF COURSE! lol

  12. At the Sunoco station is the Chevrolet a stock car. It’s obviously a re-paint from the cream to the blue, but why would 283 be painted on the fender. It also looks like a stock number on the door.

    • The 283 had a Cu. In. abbreviation after it, so the car had the 283 cubic-inch engine. NASCAR up until the early 70s had either the horsepower rating or a cubic-inch displacement on the hood (ie: 245 HP, 426 CI).

    • I don’t think the ’55 Chevy at the gas station is a stock car, but a drag race car thus the “C/G. If it running in a gas class is most likely is not stock. I believe the 283 engine was not available in 1955 models. It was not unusual for racers to put the engine size on the car.

      • If memory serves, which it sometimes doesn’t, ’55 was the first year of the 283, and was among many revisions compared to the earlier cars.

      • Parked further from the camera appears to be a green / white, ’57-’60 Ford pickup, probably an F-100. Almost impossible to tell the exact year from the rear. I have a ’59 and don’t believe there’s any differences except for the grilles and headlamps.

  13. Steve Williams, thanks for a wonderful memory jog on
    Maid Rite. Best sandwiches in the country. Loved ’em
    in Indiana, they all disappeared from Indiana. Found ’em
    again in Iowa when I traveled thru there. On to Colorado,
    nada once more. Some guy tried to open one here in
    metro Denver, don’t know what his problem was, the
    place was shut down within 3 months. Got to try ’em
    twice, not so good. Still sweet memories. Thanks again

  14. Regarding the last photo, I agree with Steve K it must be the greater Omaha metro based on the confluence of US highways show. Looking at the street signs on the left of the photo it appears to be the intersection of 13th and Douglas, in Omaha.

    • Omaha for sure, but possibly 13th & Dodge Street instead of 13th & Douglas? The streets are only one block apart and Google Maps show Hiway 6 designation on both because they’re one-way streets going in opposite directions. Photo is just a little too fuzzy to make out the signage lettering for sure.

  15. Reverse rims involved de-welding the hub center, turning it around (reversing it) and re-welding the assembly. The end result produced a hub set back deeper from the outer surface.

  16. Not sure why the SunOilCompany would use a medical caduceus as its trademark.You know, the staff with the 2 snakes chasing each other.Maybe cuz the Indians used to use crude oil for medicinal purposes.
    Yeah,that must be it.

    • It’s a reference to the mercury vapor they used in the oil distillation process. The rod of Asclepius has one snake; Mercury’s caduceus has two.

  17. There was a time in my life, as a young Mechanic, while attending High school & Junior College – that I decided to stop memorizing Technical Specifications of Automobiles that had a Year- Model of 1958 or later. A “rash” of automobile parts that no longer were able to easily be Rebuilt on the Shop Bench — began to appear, First, in America and then, gradually, more automobile parts from foreign shores began showing the same “get rich quick” new junk -throw away car” schemes. “Automobile”, —( to me), means anything from 2 to 18 wheels. Yes, I do purchase: “new” “these days”, but it takes a much higher level of: “personal detailed research” to find responsibility in manufacture & durability of a product . I have my own preferences and they will remain mine. Good luck to All, and I really appreciate the “Old Motor”, because the Older vehicles (that I keep and use with pleasure! ), a 1951 Ford V-8 Automatic V-8 Fordor, & a 1930 Ford AA Stakebed, Truck , are continuing to “run strong”, – and have available re-buildable(!!!) parts . Try that with almost anything after about : 1957! Old Henry said: “These AA Trucks will last 100 years “! (Twelve more to go!, Hank!!! Edwin W.

    • Great post, Edwin. I think most of us here follow OM for those reasons. You must be a notch older than I ( 63) but I feel the same way, only I up the year to at least the mid-70’s. When the “Taurus” came out, I knew I was doomed. After that, cars lost a lot of zing for me. I recently went out on a limb, and bought a 2005 something, small, foreign, won’t say which, people have some moral disagreement when you have a bad experience with their brand of car, but it was indeed a throw away car. $3,000 dollar transmissions and tissue paper head gaskets, insure a replacement, it’s foolish to repair it. I’m buying one more vehicle in my life, and I’m looking at mid-60’s pickups. They come up from time to time here in Colorado. Newest would be a 1979 or 80, I suppose. I’ve had enough feeding into that auto repair scam, and being retired, I’ll never own a new car, not that I need one anyway now.
      The AA was one of my favorite trucks. The farm I lived at in Wis. had a AA dump truck for years in the woods. When I asked where it was, the guy said a few years back, he had a scrap drive, and guess what went, the AA dump.

      • Got to agree with Edwin and Howard. Since I bought my ’88 Caprice at the Police auction, I’ve bought two newer, used, domestic brand cars. I junked both in a few years, after I got tired of throwing money at them. The Caprice still starts every time and runs good. Been through 2-3 starters, a cat converter and other normal maintenance items. Our other car is now a foreign make assembled in America.

  18. The “head-gear” on the lady sitting in the Corvette was called a “B ABUSHKA”. It was Russian for Grandmother. Some how it became the name for a head scarf. Very common in Chicago in the ’40s,50s & ’60s

  19. on that 55 gasser, even back then hot rodders knew how to bore engine cylinders , 265 and 283 shared the same stroke@ 3in, so boring the 265 from its current 3.750 in to 3.875 in. would get u 283, those early blocks were pretty thick to begin with, but if that photo is dated 1957, then that is the year the 283 made its debut.
    on last photo parking lot, on left side top row behind sign poles, early 62-65 White Chevy II, prior to Nova

  20. I was in the market for an old vehicle(pre -computer GM products) but figured the older the buggy the less your’re going to be able to get parts at NAPA or wherever.And I sure as hell wasn’t going to go hunting stuff down even with the help of the internet.
    Am I right?

    • Hi Chris, don’t be fooled, many auto parts houses still have many parts in stock, or can get them, for older US cars. The problem comes in with older foreign cars, where dealers were told to throw away parts, and unless someone dug them out of the dumpster and resold them on Ebay, you’re kind of out of luck. I’m sure David won’t mind a plug for Hemmings, but they have all kinds of advertisers that have parts. It may cost you, though.

      • Hi Chris, Howard A is right, but bear in mind some counties require an emission test to register the vehicle. Can be a problem with older cars, especially as some have been modified. It could cost you serious cash to get it to pass.

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