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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photo Series

Number One-Hundred and Sixty-Eight of the Kodachrome Car Photo Series begins this week with an image of a team of “Thrill Drivers” performing at a show inside of a drive-in movie theatre. Apparently, Kupp Ford sponsored the grey four-door sedan and possibly the entire show.

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 you find 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.

  • A gentleman with a 1950s Chevrolet in a city that be identified by a clues in the image.

  • A 1960s view of a parking lot filled with vehicles in an unknown city. 

  • And finally, a photograph of a four-seat Thunderbird at a scenic waterfront location.


57 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photo Series

  1. David,

    Great pictures again !!

    In the 2nd photograph, parked behind the 1957 CHEVROLET, is a 1955 CLIPPER Custom Constellation, or possibly a Panama Super.


  2. Apparently, Kupp Ford was in Portland, Oregon, and I’d say, this driver needed a bit more speed or a longer ramp( out of view) as I think he meant to clear both cars. Thrill shows were great, one of the few things my old man took me to at State Fair Park. Joey Chitwood, it was.
    2nd, when enlarging the image, it comes up St. Petersburg, 1950’s. Clearly, these folks aren’t from around there, and better pay the meter, or they will get a bonus on their trip. The church van is an International Travelall.
    3rd pic, whatever that place is, it’s big. I think the focus of the picture was the cherry ’55 Chevy in the mid 60’s.
    The last one, car is too dirty for a publicity shot, probably a couple of folks enjoying the good life cruisin’ up the PCH (?) in their new T-bird.

    • More specifically, the second photo shows the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Visible are the following business. Everything in this block has been demolished, and it is now a parking lot.

      600: Owl Shoe Rebuilders (note the owl sign)
      602: Kwikie Kafe
      604: Loren’s Clothing
      606: Charles H. Hicks Real Estate & Insurance
      608: Acousticon Stowers Co. (Hearing Aids)
      610: Bud & Mary’s Juice Bar
      614: Bedford House Furniture
      616: Associated Radio-Television Appliance Corp.

      The Chevrolet looks like it has a 1957 Virginia license plate along with a city tax plate attached at the top.

    • Last image: Your eyes may be better than mine, but I don’t see that T-Bird being all that dirty. If you’re referring to the rocker panel, that seems to be reflecting the mottled surface below it. Look instead at the reflection of the woman’s face in the paint. It seems to be perfectly sharp, which would seem unlikely were the car driven to its location. I think it is a publicity shot, especially since it is a photo of a person taking a photo. At least one other person (a photographer) was present and seemly would have been a third wheel in the scene portrayed.

      • I’d have to go with the “snapshot” theory. I can’t imagine Ford corporate going with the one visor up, one visor down, nor the junk on the trunk. Both distract from the car’s fabulous styling . The light burn on the right side of the photo was a common amateur photographer boo-boo.

    • Nope, that is not any part of PCH that I have ever seen. May be a large lake somewhere as shown by the land on the horizon and lack of waves.

  3. Second photo, parked behind the ’57 Chevy, is a 1955 Packard Clipper Custom Constellation 2 door hardtop. Note the stainless trim around the rear wheel opening where the fender skirt would ordinarily be. The 1955 Clipper Customs had Packard’s new electric torsion bar suspension as standard equipment. Another great Friday of color Kodak photos, thanks!

    • Stu,

      Good observation about the stainless trim around the rear wheel opening on the 1955 CLIPPER Custom Constellation which differentiates it from a Panama. Hopefully I’ remember it !!


      • Thanks for acknowledging it’s a Clipper, not a Packard. Of course, that’s a battle not unlike Imperial, not Chrysler. And the new one just starting, Genesis, not Hyundai.

        • If it was a ’55, Mike, it was still a Packard; only 1956 was the Clipper a stand alone marque. At least that’s what I’ve always thought the situation with regard to the Clipper’s history was. In 1959 I became the owner of a 1950 Packard which all my friends called “The Submarine” because of a fearful whine it made when accelerating; eventually the source of the strange sound became known when the transmission or something in the drivetrain failed and the parts necessary to fix it, even at that early a date, were unavailable through conventional channels. I think I got $50.00 for it from the scrap yard.

        • p.s. my reference for ’56 being the only year that the Clipper was a stand alone marque: Angelo Van Boggart, Just Packards, Chapter 24, pages 115 to 117

  4. Thanks again, Dave for a great blog! The 4th pic of the T-Bird had me puzzled at first. What appeared to be the letter “B” in dust on the trunk lid, I saw was actually a pair of sun glasses. I wonder if this was a professional “promo” pic. If it is professional, it lacks some of the “finesse” of pro work . If it is amateur, it is very good. Either way, a great shot! Thanks!

    • I would guess it to be a fluke. If this were a Ford promo, the Swing-Away steering wheel would be “swung away”.

      • This is a 1961 Thunderbird… first of the “bullet birds”. The swing-away steering wheel was a $25 option on 1961 models, but became standard equipment in 1962 .
        As far as the ad men at FoMoCo swinging the wheel to the side, a brochure page shows a 3/4 rear view photo of a red 1961 convertible parked next to a sand dune, while two couple walk hand-in-hand across the dune. The steering wheel is NOT pushed aside. This seems odd, because the text of the page shows a small inset illustration of a woman’s hand pushing the steering wheel aside.

    • I’d agree that the extraneous items like the sunglasses and sport coat (neatly folded tho!) the one visor down and the other up as well as the fact the very front and rear of the car were cut off makes it doubtful this was a Ford picture. But why couldn’t it have been a photo for a travel brochure? It’s definitely a professionally done picture arranged to be an attractive setting.

      The light leak on the right side makes me think this was shot with a Hasselblad. They had a tendency to do that with the dark slide removed if the sun hits at just the right angle.

  5. In the third pic, to the left of the ’55 Chevy is some kind of station wagon in red and silver. The rear fender line looks a bit like a second-gen Rambler American, but pretty sure they never made a wagon. Would be curious if anyone can ID that car. Couldn’t be a Volvo Duett, could it?

    • Perhaps they figured the Nash wouldn’t bring much on their used car lot but by painting their name on the side of it for the demolition derby they could write it off as an advertising expense. Plus, it would be bad for their business to demonstrate how easily a Ford would crumple in the same situation.

    • IDK, methinks this may be some dealer hooligans at the track getting rid of some old inventory. The damage on the car in the air doesn’t coincide with the extensive damage to the car on the ground, and the white powder and the damaged car next to it, indicate a fire from a previous jump. Hey, they were just old cars, and post war fun was post war fun.

  6. I believe the city in the third picture is Boston looking from about Northeastern University towards the “PRU” Prudential Center

  7. I always hated to see demolition derbies or thrill shows because of the damage inflicted on the cars. But, saying that, I admit taking the boys to see a monster truck show and I’ve also participated in numerous ‘Honda Bashes.’ Looks like that ’38 Dodge might still have a salvageable grill but the rest of it is headed for the foundry.

    A late ’57 to ’60 International Travelall in the next pic down. Lots of them out west back in the day.

  8. Second pic behind the Clipper appears to be a 1956 Dodge 2-door sedan and in the demo-derby pic the car on the right may be a 1936-37 Chevrolet. I look forward very much to Friday nite. Thanks

  9. 3rd photo car on far left is a 1967 Chevy Caprice or Impala. We had a 67 Caprice that we drove from Northern California to Ensenada. The new toll-road had just opened up. Guess what they used for roadside reflectors? Empty beer cans spaced out along the right side of the road.

  10. I guess that’s St. Pete by the famous green benches,unless another city had them also.
    Also guessing its Central Ave. around downtown.If it is,a lot of those buildings were later trashed.
    Life magazine did a less than flattering photo essay about St. Pete,city fathers later had the benches tossed because of the image of the area as “God’s waiting room”

  11. Pre-war cars and those of the immediate postwar years by the mid-’50’s had only scrap value unless the car happened to be one of a handful sought by early collectors. When it came to demolition derbies or thrills shows, they were readily available, viewed as no loss when wreaked. Only those in unusually good condition might escape this fate.

    The red and white ’55 Packard Clipper Constellation hardtop in the second photo was an example of how management broadened the Clipper line to better compete versus mid-priced Buick and Chrysler models. The chrome-trimmed open rear wheelhouse and color breaks were intended to evoke the looks of the ’54 Caribbean where they were first seen.

  12. If the license plate on the Chevrolet is a 1957 Virginia tag, then the International Travelall is from the same year. The “A” bodied Travelall was introduced in March 1957, and it finally had a third door (two doors on the passenger side). The “A” stood for “Anniversary” which marked International’s 50th year. The earlier “S” bodies did not have the wrap-around rear windows.

    The book Special Use Vehicles, by George W. Green, describes the Cathedral Caravan as follows (paragraphing added).

    “From 1947 to 1955 Ray and Darlene Brubaker coordinated from St. Petersburg, Florida, the ministry program of five Cathedral Caravans. These were sream-lined, aluminum trailers which operated in over 15 different states in the Southeast, Midwest and South. They were towed by neon lighted station wagons which were detached to circle the areas visited to broadcast invitations to the meetings over loudspeakers.

    “The front of the unit was built like a living room where counseling took place. The rear was specially designed to from a platform which pulled out from below on hinges to make an illuminated stage, which folded up to close the entrance. The back raised to from a canopy. In addition to the public address system there was a movie projector, generator, midget piano and 25 folding chairs. The program offered sermons, gospel movies, music, magic, felt-o-graphs, chalk-talks and passed out tracts.”

    Photos of some of the vehicles that towed the trailers, and also the trailers, can be found on the Internet. For about 55 years the Brubaker’s also had a radio ministry called “God’s News Behind the News.”

    • I was wondering if it could be a B series Travelall . The only way I know to tell the difference between the A and B is by the grill.

  13. In the 3rd photo, the Mustang between the Coronet and the Beetle would be basically brand new. I note that it has the snazzy Embassy Roof, but what is that on the C pillar? It looks like a Mustang II emblem!

  14. In the 3rd photo, that Black Mustang between the Coronet and the Beetle is basically brand-new. I see it has the snazzy new Embassy Roof, but what is that badge on the C pillar? It looks like a 1974 Mustang II badge!

  15. I love the photos. Keep them coming.

    In the third picture the ’55 Chevrolet is a 210 series with a Belair paint scheme. Many owners had the trunk and rear quarters painted to match the top to make their 210 look like the classier Belair. I have seen mixed opinions as to whether that paint scheme was available from the factory on 210’s.

    You can tell it is not a Belair because it lacks the chrome spear on the front fender, extra chrome around the side windows and door post. The Belair also had richer trim and a Belair logo on the rear quarter and a small vertical trim piece near the rear bumper separating the two colors.

  16. Definitely a Hillman Husky next to the VW Beetle in pic 3. I think the lighter colour was Foam White rather than silver. It always surprises me how often Hillmans – usually Minxes – appear in these parking lot shots

  17. Pre-war cars and those of the immediate postwar years by the mid-’50’s had only scrap value unless the car happened to be one of a handful sought by early collectors. When it came to demolition derbies or thrills shows, they were readily available, viewed as no loss when wrecked. Only those in unusually good condition might escape this fate.

    The red and white ’55 Packard Clipper Constellation hardtop in the second photo was an example of how management broadened the Clipper line to better compete versus mid-priced Buick and Chrysler models. The chrome-trimmed open rear wheelhouse and color breaks were intended to evoke the looks of the ’54 Caribbean where they were first seen.

  18. First picture showing the 40/41 Nash w/Kupp Ford on the side is indeed at the old Portland Speedway. Kupp was quite involved i racing and as I remember sponsored a couple of Kurtis V8-60 midgets in the late 40s.

  19. Hutterites live on farming colonies throughout western Canada. They made good use of International Travelalls during the 50’s and 60’s to haul colony members ‘to town’ for various reasons. At that time, women were not permitted to drive. Thus a stigma was attached to the Travelall and very few were sold to the larger community. Things do change over time and the women of the colonies can be seen wheeling down the road in the colony’s flashy new oversize, chromed-up pickups. Cheers! Vin

  20. Howard,

    I agree that the T-bird is too dirty for a publicity pic, but what amateur photographer would arrange to be a photographer taking a picture of a man taking a picture ?

  21. The upright wrecked car in photo #1 appears to be a ’37 or 38 Chevy coupe…you can see the diagonal character line going down from the body through the front door. I agree that the overturned car looks like a ’38 Chrysler

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