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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Old Car Photos

Number One-Hundred and Forty-Five of the Kodachrome Car Images Series begins this week with an image of a Volkswagen Bus at a VW dealership located in Nova Scotia, Canada. The license plate on the van is dated 1964 and note the clever advertisement on the billboard on the far-right titled “Got a lot to Carry? Get a box”.

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.

  • An attractive young woman posing with a red on red early-1960s Corvette.

  • The red Ford coupe with 1950 Montana plates points to this photo being shot at Yellowstone Park.

  • This 1950s Ford hardtop appears to be the subject of a “new car moment” photo in Massachusetts. 

44 responses to “Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Old Car Photos

    • I’m pretty sure that Oldsmobile didn’t make an 88 model in 1858. 1958 maybe! (LOL, Sorry, I just couldn’t help it.)
      On to serious business… you may or may not know this, but that ad on the wall of the dealership wasn’t just a clever ad. There actually WAS a VW bus cardboard box like the one in the picture. I know because I had one! I don’t remember how old I was, or where I came across it, but it was around for years and was stuffed full of my collection of AMT and Jo-Han, 1/25 scale plastic model cars. It had a lid that folded over the top and a pull string with a knob on the end of it to pull it around. At some point in my adult life, I lost track of it, but now wish I had one.

      • Chris & Fin,

        Thanks for the correction, interesting “8” isn’t even my favorite number !!

        For some reason also remember such a Volkswagen bus cardboard box. By 1964 I would have been “too old” to have one [or admit I wanted one !!]; Maybe a friend’s younger sibling or a cousin had one.


  1. The 1957 Ford in the top photo looks a bit worse for the wear. Placed in the front of the used cars without wheel covers? The young woman would have been skilled to enter that 1961 Corvette in that skirt. Playing with bears is never a good idea. Remember, they were all new cars once. Early spring, she looks happy.

  2. I think the third picture is actually at Jellystone Park, looks like Yogi and BooBoo are up to their old tricks at the door of that Studebaker………….

  3. In the 3rd photograph, on the left with bear at driver’s window, is a four-door 1941 STUDEBAKER Land Cruiser, either a Commander or President.

  4. Each Montana county has a unique plate prefix number. In this case the red Ford in the bear photo with a “38” prefix was licensed in Glacier County.

  5. The Yellowstone bear is begging at the window of a ’41 Studebaker, either Commander or President Skyway Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser was new for 1941, a four window sedan with integrated trunk that took design inspiration from both Cadillac 60 Special and the new-for-1940 GM Fisher C-Body Torpedo sedans that were an instant hit. The Skyway trim-level was the top-of-the-line for each model series, had the clean, unadorned look of the 60 Special.

    The red ’49 Ford with Montana license plates is a Club Coupe with the shorter roof than the ‘Tudor’ sedan

  6. In the top photo, do the plates stay with the car when it’s sold? Like CA.? Odd.
    In the third photo, looks like Yogi is checking out the `41 Studebaker for a pick-a-nick basket! The young lady appears proud of her shiny new `56 Fairlane hardtop. A popular color combo: Peacock blue and white!

    • Those 1956 model Fairlanes are one of my all time favorite Fords! And that color combo is also my favorite on that car. The young lady standing next to that beauty is rightfully proud! I would love to have one just like that today. Only thing better would be a Sunliner convertible, same year, same colors.

  7. Again, some really fun photo’s to enjoy. Thank you for bringing them to us.

    It looks like the used car selection at the VW dealer contains vehicles that have seen some hard use! Certainly they are not detailed with much effort, if at all. They must be low value trades that can be priced to compete with the low price of the new VW’s being sold?

    • It appears the Corvette is most likely a 1961 based on a few features found in the photo. 1962 models did not have chrome molding around the body side coves so this car must be a 1961 or earlier model. The exhaust exits behind the rear wheels were first used in 1961 along with the updated rear bodywork. So, this must be a 1961?

      • Yes a 1961 for sure: “ducktail ” rear, exhaust not in bumper, cove trim, no rocker moulding that the ’62 had.

  8. The VW bus has to be a 1960 or older. ’61 had oval turn signals, so I’d say it’s new. The ’57 Ford looks like most all ’57 Ford’s looked like, tired looking for only a few years old, probably a trade in. Think they made the car look tired (with no hub caps) for a reason next to their new bus?
    2nd pic, yeah, some guys had all the luck. That Merc across the street looks nice. Pretty sure that’s Yellowstone, I’ve seen this pic before in a group of vintage Yellowstone photos somewhere,,, I wouldn’t get out of the car, for sure. And last, what a difference between ’56 and ’57 Fords.

  9. Photo #1. What kind of car dealer doesn’t even bother to put hubcaps on the cars? Certainly not adding to the appeal of this 1957 Ford.

    Photo #2. A nice 1954 Mercury in the background.

    Photo #3. An idiot standing next to the 1939 or 1940 Studebaker, a red 1950 Ford, and a rarely seen 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe 4-door Fleetline.

    Photo #4. The lady standing next to the 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria (2-door hardtop) looks like she ‘s ready for spring.

    • Depending on the neighborhood, any hubcaps he put on the cars in the lot may have been gone by morning. Perhaps there are hubcaps on the VW’s because thieves wouldn’t bother with them.

    • I could be wrong, have been before. I think the Merc in back ground on pic #2 is a 52 no a 53, tail lights look too small for a 53.

      Thanks David for another great series of pics.


  10. What caught my eye was the bill board advertisement for Volkswagen in the background (Got a lot to carry….)
    Volkswagens’ advertising in the 60’s was legendary and certainly much different from other car companies.

    There is a book called “Think Small” printed in 1970 that tells the story of it. Very amusing reading, I guess if you can find the book now.

    • There appear to be at least three editions of “Think Small”. The first printed in 1967, the second in 1971 and the third in 2004. Might there be more?

    • There is a newer book called “Is the Bug Dead?” which is a great compendium (?) of ads by Doyle Dane Berbach ad agency.

    • You may or may not know this, but that ad on the wall of the dealership wasn’t just a clever ad. There actually WAS a VW bus cardboard box like the one in the picture. I know because I had one! VW dealers used them for promos or customer giveaways. I don’t remember how old I was, or where I came across it, but it was around for years and was stuffed full of my collection of AMT and Jo-Han, 1/25 scale plastic model cars. It had a lid that folded over the top and a pull string with a knob on the end of it to pull it around. At some point in my adult life, I lost track of it, but now wish I had one.

  11. First pic was definitely 64, i was a newborn living in Nova Scotia. Up until 67 we had a new plate every year, then we started with the stickers for the different years. Unlike today, the plates stayed with the vehicle when sold, it was great fun collecting all the different years.Notice that there is only five numbers, our population was small and still is today. I am surprised to see the ford not rusted to death, we have a very harsh climate, rockers never lasted too many years. The dealership was in halifax, the only one in the province. Thanks for the great site, i never thought i would see my hometown on it.

    • the dealership looks like the present day colonial Honda on robie st. this was a vw dealer before changing over.

  12. That 57 Ford at the VW dealer is most likely a customer’s car, probably stopping in to see what those funny little furrin’ cars are all about.

    That photo could have be shot at Annis-Morrill VW in Framingham, MA back in ’61 when my Dad , driving a ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon at the time, stopped in to investigate the new Beetle. He was thinking about buying one as our first “second” car.

    Ultimately, he did, it quickly became our “first” car and the Ford sat at the end of the driveway most of the time. VW durability and 30 mpg were tough to argue with.

    We went everywhere in that little car, parents up front and me and my two sisters stuffed in the back. NY Worlds Fair (twice), Easter vacation in DC, Lake Ontario and upstate NY, Montreal and Quebec. Five of us in the bug and no AC! Every vacation we were on the road somewhere. I guess we were to dumb to know better, but we saw a lot of this great country and had a ball doing it.

  13. When you bought a new VW in the 60s they threw in a copy of “Think Small”.
    Great short story by Jean Shepherd in it but what it had to do with VWs I don’t know.

    And who amongst us will never forget those home movies of tourists feeding beer to the bears at Yellowstone for laffs,though I don’t think I’d wanna be around when it starts taking effect.

  14. If the rough looking ’57 Ford in the first photo is in the front row I wonder what the cars in the back of the lot look like?

  15. The hub caps for the 57 Ford at the VW dealer may be in the trunk. I remember dealers doing that even for new cars to prevent theft.

  16. I’ve never seen a radio antenna imbedded with the VW badge on the front. I always remember them mounted on the door pillar. Was it an early model tradition? Can someone helps me out with this question? The Old Motor Club is my new Sunday morning paper. I just can’t wait for next weeks.

  17. A Dodge-Plymouth dealer, Wayne Motors, near my home in Newark, N.Y. had a set practice. All trade ins got hubcaps or whee covers removed and put in trunk, new paint job, blackwalls got a coat of black tire paint, some got porta white walls, and all vehicles were brought in to the building at the end of the day.
    When the dealer died and they sold off all the equipment there it was: a device that re-grooved tires. I saw it for myself.

  18. I wonder if that slick looking 61 Vette belonged to that good looking gal or to the lucky man in her life? My aunt had a green 54 Merc HT like the one in the background. The third picture reminds me of our trips to the Rockies and the Smokies back in the 50’s. Dad never would let the bears scratch up the Buicks! He was not too fond of the guys that wanted to plaster bumper stickers on our car at the tourist stops either. My older cousin bought a new 56 Ford Victoria, blue and white just like the one in the picture. I was 5 years old and remember going with him to drive it right out of the showroom at the dealer. It had a 312 T-Bird Special engine. He didn’t have it a week before it got dual “pacemaker” glasspacks. I have loved loud mufflers ever since!!

  19. It is definitely a 1961 Vette. First year to trial the future stingray back end, but still retained the three chrome bars for the side coves and stainless surround trim and 283 cu in based power train. Had one in 1963 that had been well used. My girlfriend did fine with skirts getting in and out. We were a lot younger and much more supple.

  20. A (shirt-tail relative ) Great Aunt that I knew , during the mid- fifties, bought a new Ford every other year. That Family always inherited her previous Ford and as the ’53 (inherited) Flathead Ford was in service , The great Aunt chose to buy a ’56 Ford four door sedan , light blue. what the “salesman” didn’t say, was that the Ford agency couldn’t get anyone to buy it, she asked for a new 4 door, they “agreed” and “there it was”! Also, what the “salesman didn’t say – was — That it was Thunderbird Engine equipped, with Four Barrel Carb. Twin Pipes and higher than usual Sedan H.P. output !!! It frightened her and she was going to “take it back!” The family convinced her to “Trade early ” so they could get it , but: the Great Aunt simultaneously inherited a big Chrysler from her family, — and she liked it. The ’56 4 -door was really great for Mountain travels because it was not lacking any HP, even at the altitudes of the High Sierras. in its day, it was a fast (“old lady’s”) “sleeper” 4 door car, with high output engine (for its day) . These days, it wouldn’t be a “performance car”, but it was , then!

  21. The Micro-bus was quite a break-through for those who had the patience & ear- plugs to operate one! a variety of body styles from utility to “Family wagon” use. The earlier ones had individual reduction boxes on their rear axles. 1968 saw swing axles with Rzeppa C/V. joints. the same year added the sliding one , then two – doors on each side . in 1972 a major HP increase happened. In all, the Micro -bus ,has an on-going following ! Big money changes hands for an early multi window bus which has a Sunroof and Fold-out Front windows, like a Model A & later ’30’s Fords have. Edwin W.

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