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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Car Kodachrome Photographs

Number One-Hundred and Fifty-Five of the Kodachrome Car Photograph Series begins this week with an image of a rare late-1950s Ford that has been mildly customized. Share with us what has been modified on this car. Note the 1956 Chevrolet convertible and driver photobombing this picture.

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.

Your Editor will be taking the Memorial Day holiday weekend off and The Old Motor will return again on Tuesday morning.

  • A 1950s survivor of the increasing number foreign cars imported in that decade.

  • The crossed flag emblem and the slotted wheels denote that these Indiana State Police cars are high-performance vehicles, tell us about this package.

  • And finally only a fair quality photo of an attractive white over maroon Buick. 

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

    • That ’57 retractable hardtop went for $2,942 back then. That’s $26,278 in today’s dollars.

      That laundromart is really drawing in the juice. Look at the gauge of those incoming wires.

    • Yeah, the bus caught my eye, as well. Therty-six horsepower, no waiting. The delivery vehicle for people not in a hurry.

      • I had a first series VW bus, painted primer gray, long after the hippie era but it still got plenty of attention: enjoyment from younger people, suspicion from older ones.

    • Yes, and they don’t look very useable as mirrors mounted in that location—having to look right through the major bend in the windshield.

  1. 1st pic, hanging out behind the laundromat, nothing but trouble. Olds spinner wheel covers? 2nd pic, I’d say they got their use out of that spare tire on the MG. 3rd, I remember, these ’67 Chevy police cars had 427’s. I think Wisconsin used 4 doors for a time, and I remember seeing that “427” badge. These 2 doors were snapped up pretty quick at police auctions.
    Last, the mid-50’s, my parent’s heyday, except, I don’t recall any new Buick’s in our family.
    Have a safe weekend, all.

  2. MG TD with right hand drive. First one I’ve ever seen in the US. Unlike the previous model TC which was a right hand drive car the TD’s were shipped to the US with Left hand drive. Perhaps brought over from GB by a returning soldier or specially ordered by a serious Anglophile.

  3. The MG TD in the second photo is rather interesting. With the rectangular tail lamps it was built prior to October 1952, so it’s already ten years old, or more. It’s also a right hand drive car, not originally intended for the U.S. market. Someone probably brought this car in as a personal import. Also, it appears to have a red interior. The green exterior originally came with a green or beige interior so during its first decade the car was repainted green and they painted the wheels to match. The original wheel color would have been silver. Neat car. Maybe it has survived.
    The next picture of the Indiana police cars shows what look like 1967 Impala Sport Coupe (2-door hardtop) rather than the lower models in a two-door post sedan most often seen used by the Highway Patrol.
    I always look forward to the Friday photos, David, they are fun.

  4. The first photo looks to me to be of the period of 1961 or so, given how this `57 retractable is ‘customized’. Very popular in the day. I like the crocus yellow/black `56 Chevy pulling hard into a parking spot–no wheelcovers tells me the driver is probably 19 or so? In the third pic, the `67 Chevy Impala highway patrol cars for IN. came with a beefed-up version of the 325HP/396 V8s. If I recall this photo was shown elsewhere before, and I think these cars were rated at about 340HP.

  5. I see dual spotlights and spinner hub caps on the ’57 Ford and no hood ornament (?). This was the new Ford series of sedans introduced to compete with the GM 1955/57 series, of course. I was always disappointed with the grill on the ’57 Ford which looked cheap and aluminum, and distracted from a very attractive body.

  6. Dresdan blue on the 1957 Ford 500 Skyliner. The spotlights are Ford accessories, not aftermarket. I think it’s a re-paint as the blue has a metallic look to it.

  7. The white over maroon colors on the 54 Buick Riviera was a very popular combination back in the day. Looks like the owner of the 57 Ford retractable acquire his accessories from Warshafski’s or J. C.Whitney catalog.

  8. Those big block Indiana police cars had to be very fast with either a 396 or 427 under the hood. They must have been very exciting to drive at speed with the simple suspensions and bias ply tires of the day! These appear new. Someone appears to have mis calculated the door trim location as the protector strip partially covers the bottom of the door decal. These must have been an aftermarket addition to the cars? Why it was necessary to have door protectors on a police car is lost on me.

    Great pictures as always. Thanks and keep them coming.

  9. The ’67 Impala state trooper car has running lights/side markers on leading edge of the front fenders. A very rare option distinguished by the white lenses – non-option cars had black sheet metal in this area. My ’67 Super Sport convertible had the running lights; but not the 396 engine. I factory ordered it just a week before receiving orders to Vietnam. Wife and car were waiting when I returned.

    • Glad you made it back home, Jim. Those running lights were standard on Caprices, optional on other models. Can’t see why they were spec’d on a Police car. IN State Police must have wanted the fast back real bad to order Impalas instead of much cheaper Biscayne 2-doors. I’ve seen those special-order Corvette wheels on other Police cars that spec’d wider wheels than standard.

  10. The 1954 Buick color was Titian Red. Pretty popular shade used on many Hot Rods and Customs during the 50’s and early 60’s.

    • Bob, there’s a photo circulating out there of a 57 Skyliner assembly line with one car that is a one-color tan, and what most shocked me, blackwall tires. I can’t imagine anybody ordering one without whitewalls.

  11. It looks as if the driver of th ’57 Ford is in uniform; perhaps this is an unmarked police car or a department-owned vehicle used by a detective. The dual spots on the fenders would fit into that possibility.

  12. Almost bought a new ‘57 Skyliner, but settled for a Sunliner instead. The paint on this is not 1957 paint, nor or those spotlite mirrors. It’s also been lowered, etc.

  13. The colors on the 4th photo makes me think of a big piece of cherry pie I wanna eat.
    When I was a kid I thought that a MG TD would be the car that most resembles Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
    and that’s what would be used in a movie version.
    Then Disney and Dick Van Dyke got hold of it.
    I knew that was going to happen

  14. Maryland state police did similar with their trooper cars. Regular patrolmen drove 4 door sedans, ford customs in 1965. Captains drove two door ford customs. One of my neighbors, 19 or 20 bought a 2 door at the police auction. It was one mean car.

  15. I’m not a big collector of “things,” but I do have a Franklin Mint model of a ’56 Bel Air hardtop in the very same colours as the convert in photo 1. I keep it as a reminder of all the very fine cars I’ve driven over the years.

  16. The 57 Ford retractable has been nosed and had some chrome script removed. The front coils have either been chopped or heated to lower the front end. The rear has lowering blocks, maybe 2″. Accessory spot-light/mirrors. The hubcaps look like 57 Ford wheel covers with tri-bar spinners added. The paint appears to be 1957 Ford Pacific Blue. It’s pretty nicely done.

  17. I’m gonna take a stab and say that the shot of the Indiana trooper is a “First Day on the Job” photo. Another inch of sleeve length would not be amiss.

  18. I don’t think the ’57 Ford driver is in uniform – more likely a letter jacket. ’60 Valiant parked at the curb behind the MG.

  19. Looks like the mg TD is in Maryland. The plates on the 62 bel air station wagon look like Maryland plates that expired in March 1963. And the red brick row homes are reminiscent of the many Baltimore suburbs at that time.

  20. The blue Ford looks to me to have Pennington County, South Dakota plates which started with the number “2”. Not sure what year. Photo might be from Pennington County’s largest city, Rapid City, which sits at the base of evergreen-covered hills. Wouldn’t be surprising to see trees in the background .

  21. Sorry Guys, but the spotlights on the 57 Ford are OEM > I still have the extra long 1/2′ drill bit needed to install them in my tool box. There’s a couple of sets up on Ebay right now.

  22. I was born in 1946 and have vivid memories of the cars of the 1950s. One thing I have always thought is how American cars (of all the eras when hubcaps were part of the design) instantly loose their ‘status’ once the hubcaps are off. Even the most expensive, top of the line cars always looked seriously downmarket with no hubcaps. This is possibly the only advantage of the huge, ghastly alloy wheels now seen on today’s cars, which, in my opinion ruin ride quality and often take away from the efforts of a car designer to produce cohesively flowing lines.

    • See above: I comment on this because of the lovely 1956 Belair Convertible in the background, looking as if the owner paid far less money for it than he actually would have spent, because of the missing hubcaps!

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