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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Images

Number One-Hundred and Forty-One of the Kodachrome Car Images Series begins this week with two men posing for a photo at the Bonneville Salt Flats with a convertible produced by the Chrysler Corporation. The car is carrying a heavy load, and the man on the right is wearing pants that appear to be oil and grease stained. Could they be part of a racing team leaving at the end of Speed Week?

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.

  • This scene was photographed in the northeast; tell us what you think the tow truck is hooked to, where was the Pontiac-GMC dealer located, and what else you see in this scene?

  • This man evidently took great care with the appearance of his car, tell us more about it.

  • The street was not even plowed yet, but this neatnik already had the parking spaces in front of his house cleared and scraped down to bare pavement.


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

  1. Nice pictures and thanks for Kodachrome Fridays !!

    In the 2nd, driving away, is a white over blue 1956 BUICK and driving toward the camera is what looks like it may be a STUDEBAKER Hawk.

    • And behind the Buick appears to be a postwar, two-tone Chevy Aero Sedan ( like my brothers’!). Either that or its a Pontiac, Oldsmobile or Buick of that body style/era.

      • Henri,

        You’ve a good eye !! You’re correct, the car being a post-war CHEVROLET Aero. Looks like it could be a 1947. Not an OLDSMOBILE [similar type rear lights, but rear plate set in bumper], definitely not a BUICK [different rear lights] or PONTIAC [no “silver-streak”] .


  2. The young man washing his car in the alley sure is proud of his catch–a clean `57 Ford Fairlane hardtop! Looks as nice as the day it was built 2 years later according to the MI. plates.

  3. Regarding the tow truck location, I’m saying the south side of the bridge carrying SR or CR 1005 over the Clarion River at Clarion Pa. Google Earth road curvature looking east seems to match. And do I see a tow line stretched into the ditch ? Someone may have been thinking of a delicious hot dog and missed there turn……….

    • The Ford Fairlane is more precisely a Fairlane 500. In ’57 there was also a Fairlane on the same wheelbase as the Fairlane 500 but with different side trim. There was also a Custom 300 and a Custom on a shorter wheelbase. Why Ford thought four versions of the same car with two different wheebases was a good idea, I’ll never know.

      We had the plain old Custom 4-door six cylinder that my Dad bought new. It was not well built. Panels and trim didn’t line up, one rear door lock wouldn’t work and when a door closed, it sounded like banging on a tin can. He traded it in on a new ’60 Chevrolet Belaire which was a considerable step up.

      • Interesting this example looks as clean as the day it was built… and better than your Dad’s, ‘pears pretty straight to me, He must wash it every weekend… next foto, ’60 Pontiac flattop w/ man shoveling snow in the upper left corner going away, parked on the other side of the street, looks like the 4th edition of the Custom Color edition , that Pontiac started on its’ 1st year Catalina 2 door hardtop. Further, 1954 was the 1st year they introduced the name Star Chief and expanded the line to include a 4 door sedan and so it remained thru the model years… until 1957,Pontiac introduced the Bonneville a fuel injected “Speacil Edition” of their convertible… things really got complicated from then on with a “plethora” of names and models for every body In the every car maker had NAMES annnd today in the 21st century we’ve got NUMBERS. The pendulum swings!!!

    • The ’60 Pontiac is a Bonneville 4dr hardtop (the Vista model). From 1959 until Pontiac ‘s demise in 2010, the front end had a split grill, except for 1960

  4. A shot in the dark on the Bonneville pic, car is a late 40’s, but sagging springs and lazy door handle mean it’s probably at least 10-15 year sold, so I’d say early 60’s, possibly from California and the guy on the right did some fixin’ to get there. Christmas wreath on the front?
    Apparently, Clarion had at least 800 phones. With no skid marks and cables intact, I don’t think it’s an auto retrieval, but pulling ( or stabilizing) something with a block under the right rear wheel. Something in the river under the bridge, maybe?
    When this guy put his coveralls on, Saturday morning was reserved for cleaning his ’57 Ford, which still looks nice after 2 years in Michigan. They were sharp cars.
    And last, Pa was always pretty focused about clearing the snow. 5 minutes after he finished, the plow came by, and filled ‘er back in. My grandfather had a hat just like that.
    Thanks for the FFFF&S pics, possibly while in pain.

    • More specifically, 1958 plates (no other year had that color combination, six characters, and started with a letter), but with validation stickers that were used through 1964.

  5. The line is not into a ditch but the Clarion River it’s self. Although we left the area in 1950 when I was fifteen I knew it was not uncommon for vehicles to miss the bridge. As can be seen from the picture there was a fairly steep hill on approaching it and a sharp turn entering it from both directions. Occasionally some one would find a vehicle that had been in the river for along time so that may be what this is about as the guard cables and signs appear to be in good shape.

  6. Great photos again, Dave.
    2nd picture – if Superman was in the phone booth they wouldn’t need a tow truck. And the store is advertising milk shakes. I wonder what happened to malts? The last one I had was in Wichita Falls about ten years ago. My son lived there and he knew of a small cafe off the beaten path. Wonderful malts and fries. Don’t know where malts can be found anymore.

  7. Look at the lower left of the tow truck pic. The guard rail cable is broken. See the turnbuckle at the bottom of the white sign? So, maybe someone had an “Oops!” I believe that the location is old route 322 . As always, thanks for the great pics Dave.

  8. I found a 1956 newspaper clipping in a local paper that features an ad by Vowinckel Bros. Pontiac, Main St., Clarion, PA
    They also sold boats. I live about 20 miles from Clarion and know that spot well.

    • Good work, Eric. I try and do that too, as old dealerships are interesting. Seems GMC and Pontiac went hand in hand and for good reason, GMC’s used Pontiac motors.

  9. The clean ’57 ford ‘s license plate was issued for Mason county Michigan residents from ’58 to ’69
    (Mason county includes Ludington on Lake Michigan) where you still can cross the big lake to Wisconsin on a coal fired, steam powered car/passenger Ferry, the Badger.
    It is the only one left of that type in regular operation not only on the great lakes , but in the USA .

  10. Yes, it sure would be fun to see what is on the end of that wrecker cable! Especially neat pictures today. The fellow washing his Ford is enjoying a nice summer day as the trees look to be in full bloom. This time of year here in Michigan anything that has to do with summer looks pretty good. Thanks for posting these.

  11. The Bonne. Salt Flats “Sign” picture has some realities and some possibilities: 1.) The sign, hand painted by Kimball, (Ugh!) -(see signature plaque ) reveals that the “Artist” was either in a big hurry, or: 2.) That the “Artist took “Artist’s licence” for the amount that Red Horse wanted to pay for,— in: What a high-speed record attempt Bonneville Salt flats streamlined vehicle might “look like”. 3.)I’ll go for the “speed lines” but the tire diameters would limit it to 120 mph, max ! The body is way out of proportion, also. Then, 3.) There are the mysterious “Pyramids ” in the background ! SO many! (more than Egypt?) Science Fiction mag. front page.
    The De-Soto appears to be a “pickup truck”, with 500 lbs. of “swap-meet treasures to sell” at the NHRA racing event . 4.)The Tourist Sombrero came from Tijuana , Baja Ca. , Norte. 5.) The reflected color underneath their “truck ” might be coolant? The elegant De Soto Convertible has succumbed to: A lesser purpose. 6.) There were three guys. 7.) It quit , right at the sign., notice the folded arms! Room for “stuff” , none for water.

    • Hi guys,
      I believe the guys at the Salt Flats billboard are disgusted for some reason and I don’t believe it is their DeSoto. It is not unusual for Speed Week to get rained out. I believe that is simply rain water under and around the car on the salt surface which makes it useless for speed trials untl it is quite well evaporated for safety sake. So no matter where you drive from, if the racing meet is called off, it is a terrible disappointment and means you made the trip out there for nothing (grrrrrrrr). The photo is obviously a posed shot to capture the famous landmark sign so that they can tell everyone about their lousy trip for nothing. Remember, this area (south of SLC) is high desert and can be sunny immediately after a flash rain storm. It really pours hard and then takes several days for the water to evaporate. Hope everone has watched “World’s Fastest Indian”, the story of Burt Munro’s first trip from New Zealand to the Bonny Salt Flats. Great flick.

  12. In earlier days, Pontiac & GMC were a good match!!! It saddened me when the original durable, powerful , GMC Six became “something else”! It also saddened me when Pontiac’s flat-head inline 6’s & 8’s were dismissed!!! “Body by Fisher” also became a bad dream! ’57 Ford Sixes had terrible driveline misalignment issues, that didn’t go away. Dad had to negotiate: “Take this back , and sweeten the deal!” for a ’57 V-8 with Overdrive, and those problems went away.

  13. The “Hook” looks like it’s coupled to an “over the cables” river recovery, which will require 2 or more sequential hookups. The “bridge road” cables are down , suggesting the rest of the story. The Jimmy 6 Tow Rig was reliable and durable, and as usual , outlasted anything that came after that combination! The larger Chevrolet Trucks were NO match for their GMC (way better than!) counterpart! This was more than evident , — in the two fleets that we serviced.! You get what you pay for! Juan Manuel Fangio , in his Argentina racing days, used a GMC / Wayne equipped racing engine in his ’41 Chevrolet Coupe , that allowed him to become famous in: “Over the Andes Mountains” racing events . Good truck engines & racing are “close kissin’ cousins”, — another example being: The Flathead Ford V-8 Ardun (Arkus-Duntov) OHV conversion For Trucks (& later), racing applications!

  14. I absolutely love the 1957 Fords. One of the prettiest Fords ever built. My dad bought a new one in 57 with the 245 Horse 312, I was a teen with a license and it did not take me long to figure out that it ran pretty strong. I later owned a 57 with the same engine coupled to a three speed manual with OD. It was a fun car to drive. When I got out of college I bought a new 63 Galaxie 500 XL convertible 390 car.

    • I have to agree, in my opinion the 57 Ford was one of the best looking cars of all time. I owned 2 of them in my younger days and never had a problem with either. They were always ready to go and ready to go very fast.

  15. I don’t think that is a wheel chock behind the left read wheels of the wrecker. I think it is the right mudflap and the angle of the picture makes it look like it is something behind the left rear wheels.

  16. I grew up in Detroit in the 50’s and 60’s and that’s what we did ………………shoveled in front of our house then put chairs or saw horses or whatever to stop someone else parking in fron of your house.

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