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The Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photos Series

Number One-Hundred and Sixty-Four of the Kodachrome Car Photo Series begins this week with a postcard image of the Shelton Drive-in taken in the early to mid-1950s. There is the seaside City of Shelton, Connecticut located on Long Island Sound, and a quick search turned up another Shelton in Washington State between the coast and the City of Tacoma. Tell us all about the automobiles and also if you can find any information about the restaurant.

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 America.

  • Owning a station wagon like the one pictured made for the perfect vehicle for hauling supplies for the boat; tell us all about both conveyances. 

  • This image was taken in the San Isabel National Forest, located in Buena Vista, Colorado.

  • And finally, a fin fest at the parking lot of at Chicago O’Hare Airport in the 1960s.



47 responses to “The Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photos Series

  1. I’m not sure quite what it means, but the cars in the Buena Vista shot look awfully clean for having just driven up a dirt road. I also note the water bottle hanging on the fog lamp of the Olds.

  2. The first photo is in Salisbury, Maryland which is home to Salisbury University and the poultry firm of Perdue, Incorporated. This image is printed in the book “Salisbury, by Jason Rhodes in the “Images of America” series. The caption to the photo is as follows.

    “SHELTON DRIVE-IN. Located on North Salisbury Boulevard, this drvie-in [sic] restaurant was owned and operated by Christian Shelton and offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It closed in the early 1960s. The building was torn down, and the grounds have become part of Salisbury’s retail corridor.”

    • I was about to comment that the plates don’t look like Connecticut in the 1950s (and that Shelton is about eight miles inland from Long Island Sound, although it has frontage on the Housatonic River), but now I don’t have to. Thanks.

  3. I see litter was a problem in 1954 (?) as well. As a kid, we stopped at many of these in our travels. 2nd, is the boat a Chris Craft? Looks like their easy chair in the back of the wagon coming on board. 3rd pic sure hits home. I live in the San Isabel Forest region,( Salida) and Buena Vista is the next town over. I’m sure they are at the top of one of the many passes, and the Ford way back couldn’t cut it on a hot day. Haven’t been here long enough, but that mountain in the background is surely one of the Collegiate Peaks. And last, my folks had friends in Chicago, and we’d pick them up at the airport. I remember when O’Hare looked like this.

    • Either someone has altered the photo, or the car is wearing the wrong rear fender gravel guard. 1952 (only) had the stainless rear fender that went half-way up the leading edge of the rear fender. This one is the older style, or has been colored in in the photo.

      • I looked at some brochures for the ‘52 Stude and it appears some of the cheaper Champions had the black rubber guards same as the earlier cars. I had two ‘52 Champions over the years but they both had the “hockey stick” guards though.

  4. In the 4th photograph, on the far left, is a 1960 FORD Sunliner.

    If one were frightened of flying, this terminal doesn’t express confidence !!

  5. 1st photo – 1952 Pontiac Chieftan, 1952 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe, 1953 Chrysler
    2nd photo – 1946-48 Plymouth Deluxe station wagon, 1935 Ford
    3rd photo – 1947 Oldsmobile 66 convertible, 1941 Cadillac, 1948 Chevrolet, 1949 Ford (Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no mo’)
    4th photo – 1960 Ford Galaxy convertible, 1959 Chevrolet Impala 4-door hardtop, 1960 Chevrolet Belair 4-door, 1958 Ford station wagon, 1955 Pontiac Starchief.

    • Thanks, Terry; I was puzzled by that Plymouth wagon. My family drove cross country in 1953 when I was ten years-old; I remember those water bags and remember being surprised when the damp bag felt cold to the touch after we drove through the heat of the day.

    • Pic 2, looks like a 1941 Ford further in the background. The plates look Mass-ish, but that pattern equates to 1959, which seems a bit late for those three cars (and the boat, for that matter).

    • That first photo is a treat for me. One of my all time favorite cars is the Studebaker Starlight Coupe. It’s correctly identified as a ’52. Not sure if it’s a Champion or Commander.

      • Roger, I had two Starlights in college in the early 1960s. The first (my favourite) was a 1949 yellow Commander coup, the second a dark aquamarine 1951 Champion. In retrospect, I liked the ’49 because of its conventional stainless steel grill, but the torpedo front of the ’51 was an attention-getter. I won’t bore the readers with all the unique and useful touches of each, but they were both very fine cars, smooth running and built like tanks.

        • We had a ’51 Commander with hill holder and a 3-speed standard shift Also had the Borg Warner Overdrive. – It was the first OHV V-8. Interestingly, I was told that the overhaul gasket set was the same as a the OHV 135 h.p. Olds rocket engine . Mmmmm!

  6. The Olds convertible in the third photo and the people in the picture are the same people and auto in the third photo posted on July 13 in front of the cabin with the barbed wire fence. Could the cabin photo have been taken in the San Isabel National Forest? Sam orange plates that look like New York plates.

  7. Looks like the 51 Ford way in the back of line is running a little hot, maybe it to could use a water bag like on the Oldsmobile…

  8. I can’t pin down an exact year or model for the boat, but I agree with Howard A that it looks a lot like a mid-1950s Chris Craft.

    • Steve,

      The Chris Craft cabin cruisers of the ’50’s had a much more pronounced curve to the bow. I would guess this example is at least a decade earlier. I’d say a late 30’s early 40’s Chris Craft double stateroom . The two square portholes in the hull also lead me to believe it’s got to be close to a 40-footer.

      • Lacking the typical Chris-Craft badging, the design seems slightly off for a Chris Craft. My uncle had several 50’s models. That being said, it could be an earlier version.

  9. Ah, the old trick of keeping water cooler by evaporation, a cooling process.
    Get a bag through which water will very slowly seep, fill the bag with water, check that the outside of the bag becomes wet from the very slowly seeping water, increase the rate of evaporation and rate of cooling by driving.

  10. Fresh out of school at my first job, I was transferred to the company offices in Chicago, and used to fly Air Wisconsin out of O’Hare to Kokomo, Indiana, my hometown, almost every weekend. The fourth picture became a familar site to me for over a year.

    I flew home on New Years Eve 1968 after working the night before. Air Wisconsin flew small planes and I was the only passenger. It seemed we circled a snow covered Kokomo, for quite a long time. Finally, the co-pilot came back to me and asked me to join them in the cockpit and tell them if I recognized where we were in relation to the airport. Luckily, I could. Air travel has changed for the better now.

  11. Behind the 60 Chevy and Ford Wagon at O’Hare is a black 59 Caddy Flat top. Sorry, I can’t help myself from looking for my favorite make and year…

  12. I learned to drive in my folk’s ’47 Plymouth woodie in 1950. We drove it from Iron Mountain, MI to Denver in 1952 and after a year in that dry climate, the wood literally fell off. My dad drove it to a junk yard and got $15 for it.

  13. Considering the newest cars at O’Hare are 1960 models. Sunliner, Biscayne, Starliner, and the window on the Sunliner is very clear I would guess it to be 1960, or 61 at the latest. Considering how great the 56 Pontiac looks, doesn’t the 59 Impala look like it’s had a rough life?

  14. In picture 3, “Dad” appears to be holding an old Kodak Brownie box camera. Wonder what sight up the road has caught their attention? Had this been a typical family group snapshot, I’d think they’d all be looking at the camera.

  15. Re: Fin fest? Lets not forget the two Checker Marathon cabs in the background as well (though no fins there…)!

  16. Pretty sure the Pontiac is a 55. My mother had one and lent it to me one afternoon. I into a parked car at about 20mph. My only accident in 60 years of driving. Fingers crossed!

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