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Four Fun Friday Fifties and Sixties Kodachrome Car Photos

Number One-Hundred and Sixty of the Kodachrome Car Photo Series begins this week with an image of a 1950s Chrysler station wagon and a wooden boat and trailer. The men at the rear of the vessel are lifting and pushing it forward on the trailer. Share with us what you know about the cars, boat, trailer and the location.

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.

  • A group of tourist’s 1950s to ’60s cars appear to be in parking lot at a state or national park.

  • A General Motors Photographic image of a 1950s Buick Convertible.

  • This woman appears to like the 1940s Plymouth convertible she is posing in.

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

    • The boat looks a lot like a “Sweet 16” by Kettenberg (spelling?) Built I believe in the San Diego area by a boat builder whobuilt mainly larger craft. As a kid, my dad’s buddy had one with a 60 horse Scott Atwater motor. Pretty boat.

      • Ah the days of underpowered outboard motors and overweight boats. Now-a-days that sized boat would probably have a 100 hp Merc on it.

  1. Wooden ships and iron men. I have no idea what they are doing but it’s a good thing that the 35 horse Johnson isn’t on the transom. That is a great looking wagon. That’s a 1959 Buick LeSabre convertible. The tow truck to pull it off the beach is out of frame to the left.

    • Chances are pretty good that the photo was staged in a GM Photographic studio and not actually on the beach. No tow truck needed.

      • Note the lack of tire tracks leading up to where the car is parked. It might be on a real beach, but it was certainly carefully staged.

        • The point is, how many owners thought it was just fine to drive onto the local beach making the local TT owners really happy! Plus, all that great salt surely was surely appreciated in the summer when strong breezes came through the floorboards!

  2. In the lead photograph looks like a brown 1951 CHRYSLER Town & Country station wagon. Across the street is a post-war CHEVROLET Fleetline Aerosedan.

  3. Happy Friday!

    My thoughts, please:

    1) That’s a lot of man-power loading a boat without a motor. It’s going to be a disappointing day if they’re planning on water skiing.

    2) The 57 Belvedere is easily the best-looking car of the bunch.

    3) You can tell that’s a “factory” photo. It looks as though the car floated in the air and landed gently on the beach. No sand was disturbed in the process.

    4) PA tags on the Plymouth, when PA was a two-plate state.

    David, thanks again for Kodachrome Friday!

    • Well, as I remember from the Saturday afternoon movies, the cowboys would lasso a tree branch and drag it behind them to erase their horse’s hoof prints, so why not?
      Alternatively, you could lay down some 2x10s and drive the car out on them, then remove them or simply leave in place and kick up the sand to hide them. Leaving them in place would keep the tires from sinking too far into the sand, just like this Buick. Once in the right spot, jack up each end and rotate the wheels so the hubcap emblems are upright and dust the sand off the tires. Granted, the tires “should” have sand on the edges to be completely realistic, but more people would notice how messy the sand on the tires looked (since all cars in car ads are just, well, “perfect,” aren’t they?) than would notice that the sand wasn’t there.

  4. I like the top image. Probably taken in about `52-`53, and depicts suburbia as it was in its infancy!! A young family in their starter home, with a `53 Chrysler Town & Country wagon & snazzy boat to tow! Looks like CA., but who knows where? The homes in the background are of the design so popular everywhere starting after 1945 or so. The second image is a nice colorful assortment of cars, with the newest ones I see are `61 models. On the left, a `60 Rambler Super base model with single headlamps, while a more deluxe model `60 Rambler in the foreground on our right. Next to the `60 Chevy on the left is the very top corner of the headlamp housing on a `57 Mercury Montclair or Turnpike Cruiser.

  5. Up the street from the Chrysler Wagon pulling the boat , there looks to be a 1950 or 1951 Ford sedan? Also, the boat trailer appears to have no fenders and white wall 6.00 x 16 tires. Probably well used tires off of a prewar car. How many of those men are WWII Veterans enjoying post war life in suburban USA? Nice clean neighborhoods where the kids can walk around barefoot.

    • The Ford is a 1950. (Ford for Fifty! Fifty ways New! Fifty ways Finer!) You can tell by the new Ford Crest on the decklid.

  6. Great pics as always. A highlight of Fridays.

    About 20 years ago after it’s first paint job during my ownership I drove my ’64 Impala SS onto one of Milwaukee’s soft sand Lake Michigan beaches for some scenic photos like the one of the Buick. My wife cautioned me about getting it stuck, but no, I was going to do it anyway. Uh oh, I could feel it bog down. Now what? A tow and a ticket – probably a couple hundred $$, and the embarrassment. I was able to get it back to the paved parking by clearing the mounds of sand away from in front of all the tires and making it smooth for a few feet. I accelerated fast enough to get some momentum but just slow enough to not spin the rears. That would really get it stuck deep. It was a close call but it worked. I won’t take that chance again.

    • Funny coincidence. My kids just brought a Rockford Files DVD home from the library and in the first one we watched, Rockford chased the bad guy through a golf course. The chase ended when the bad guy got his Ventura stuck in a sand trap.

  7. I’m trying to decide what the”men” are doing. The guy in the back appears to be trying to keep it from coming back, ( it’s forward as it’s gonna go) while the other guys are clearly lifting. So typical, women off to the side smoking cigarettes and woman with hands on hips,,”I knew this would take all day”, mom watching the little one, daughters cautiously looking on, can’t you just hear the swear words? The way the wagon is sagging, the motor maybe in the back. Next, any mountain rest stop, 3rd, Lake Michigan, and last, that’s a fancy Plymouth.

    • The trailer is definitely a home built…, the boat , a home built Glen -L Squirt or a like model, probably a test fit of the boat on the trailer . Been there and done that several times in my youth with my Dad , my dad’s best friend Mel and a bunch of other boaters from the Santa Cruz County Water Ski Club…… the good old days ! We would go ski on the weekends at Pinto Lake in Watsonville, CA , so small when you got 3 boats on it at once it was like an Ocean. Probably so full of pesticides from the strawberry growers back then…no wonder we aren’t all dead from cancer ! Now, no motorized boats , I don’t even think they allow swimming (probably because of the pesticide runoff !).

      • I remember back in the day, it was a major task to get a boat on the trailer correctly. So many times you had to wrestle it around after pulling everything out of the water. Then someone invented the ‘Easy Loader,’ so people could still end up wrestling the boat into position….

    • The women standing off to the side, smoking. I remember that being a common sight back when I was a kid; half the population in America smoked. In my school class we once figured that out of 34 households (there were 34 in my class) only 4 were non-smoking. There was at least one smoker, usually the woman of the house in the rest of them. When I was in high school, half of us smoked. Went to our 40th reunion, there were 3 smokers left, and they had to go outside to light up….

  8. I’m speculating here, but this post war suburban shot is so full of information. Good neighbor and bad neighbor (look at the freshly mown lawn and the one next door, full of clover). The blond daughter looking at the boat, born before dad went off to war. Her young siblings are baby boomers. All the neighbors pitching in to balance the boat on the trailer. The wives have a lot to talk about. Such a great picture. Thanks

    • Alex; you and I think alike, I look at all these photos and analyze them as to who belongs to who , and sometimes the obscure items in backgrounds or on the ground, etc

  9. Interesting to note in the top photo that the road is made of concrete – was it cheaper and easier to use concrete instead of bitumen/asphalt?

  10. Ah , the memories ! The boat looks like a glass over wood home built Glen-L Squirt or a like model. My Dad built our first boat , a similar Glen – L inboard with a 265 Chevy V-8 in our Garage in Santa Cruz when I was just shy of 2 or 3 in 1963 / 1964 . Local Cop Larry Miles would back his police car into our driveway and drink coffee and chat with Dad till some unsuspecting car would run the frequently ran stop sign at David Way and Oxford. IN 1969 He built the Glen -L Thunderbolt Inboard with the 283 and Casale V-Drive, and then put a 400 small block in it circa 1973…… I can still hear dad at Clear lake telling me when I was 16 “Don’t hot rod the damn boat, you’re gunna rip the fiberglass off the bottom ! I kinda had a thing showing off tot he jet boat crowd who thought they were the neatest thing since sliced bread….. that boat would fly ! Dad is 82 now , I’m 56 , I sold it 20 years ago after I had the engine all prettied up with a new intake and Holley Carb…. Kind of wish I never sold it , but glass over wood is hard to take care of and I never wanted to lay on my back and get fiberglass in my mouth and eyes taking care of the bottom of that thing…. not from Hot rodding it , just from age and old fiberglass…… The guy who bought it had plans for the motor and drive train but when he saw it , he said he might just have to restore it ….he was from Nevada and the last I saw of it , he was towing it out of the driveway with his brand new Hummer…….

  11. I cant get over the rear door hinges on the wagon.
    Customizers would kill for them now.
    Kind of Medieval looking.Grandpa Munster would have used them on Dragula.

  12. Betting the guy with the Chry and Boat always got invited to BBQs with hopes of getting an invite to go for the weekend.

  13. The first 2 cars on the left in the second photo are a ’60 Chevy and a ’61 Mercury. Can’t tell the models though.
    3rd photo is a ’59 Buick LeSabre convertible

    • Further down on the left, is a Rambler (60?), a red ’61-62′ Ford, a ’57 Ford, and way down what appears to be a white ’59 Buick

  14. Upon a second look, some things do not add up in that Buick shot.

    The fender mounted antenna appears thicker than normal, white and only maybe 8” high. Shouldn’t it be either completely retracted or at least maybe 15” high?

    Like wise the side view mirror appears to be only 2” high.

    Back where the woman is seated there appears to be a slight gap near the bottom of the convertible boot where perhaps her dress shows thru?

    The woman is missing a couple fingers on her left hand.

  15. Jay,
    Very keen observations!

    Could the antenna be a powered unit that had not been fully retracted? According to Wikipedia, they started to appear on higher-end cars in the 50’s, but drivers had to operate buttons or dials to raise and lower them.

    As for the missing fingers, perhaps this is yet another example of the sinister subliminal seduction we all were so heavily exposed to in advertising of those days? Or, maybe the woman lost them trying to operate the antenna manually, but went on with the shoot anyway because she knew that’s what General Motors would expect her to do. Mmmm. Crazy where the mind can go looking at these seductive photos…..

    Very enjoyable collection…as always. Thanks!

  16. Many many years ago I found a Chrysler wagon like the one in the first photo for sale . I don’ t remember what was being asked for it, but i fell in love with it. Problem was that as a fairly new public school teacher i could not afford/justify buying it. I would have loved to have it……

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