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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Volume 175

The Kodachrome Car Photograph Series begins this week with a circa late-1940s to early-1950s image of a Pep Boys store in an unknown location. The first two vehicles in this scene date back to the pre-World War II days and the pickup truck and dark-colored sedan in the background were manufactured in the postwar days. The photo originates from the Dave Gelinas collection.

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 found via This Was America.

  • A mid-1950s view of new vehicles in the parking lot behind a Ford dealership.

  • Mother, father and daughter pose with a large postwar two-tone four-door sedan.

  • Postcard image of Holding’s Little America Travel Center located on the Lincoln Highway. 


42 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Volume 175

  1. Great pictures again !!

    In the lead photograph, stopped in front of the “Pep Boys” store, is a brown 1942 PLYMOUTH, with visor & radio.

  2. Great pix this week. I have a soft spot for ’56 Fords–I’m torn between the red and black Sunliner at the left of the back row, and both the Sedan Delivery and the Country Squire at the right, in the front row. Also, that’s a nice ’42 Plymouth parked by Pep Boys in the lead photo.

  3. The Pep Boys building and the buildings next to it still exist. If you search 99 W Orange St
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania and play with the map, you will see it.
    Prestently home of Kim’s Custom Cleaners

    • At the time of the photo, likely circa 1952 based on the other businesses in the photo, the Pep Boys store had two addresses because it was located on a corner lot. The first was 57-59 N. Prince Street which is the side of the building with the lawn mowers. The other address was 48 W. Orange Street which appears to have been the primary address.

      From left to right we can see the following businesses.
      55 N. Prince: Mary E. Long’s restaurant
      53 N. Prince: Lancaster Modern Electric Company
      49 N. Prince: Jim Miller & Co., storm doors and windows
      47 N. Prince: Richards Photo Shop
      45 N. Prince: Andy Kerner’s Record Bar
      43 N. Prince: Lancaster Distributing Co., hotel and restaurant supplies
      41 N. Prince: William Dietrich’s newstand

      At the time of this photo, the Pep Boys location was managed by Kenneth L. Bickel (1907-1966). This location opened sometime between 1927 and 1929 (Pep Boys was founded in 1921).

    • I did as you said with the map on google earth. I noticed that the two last buildings down the street on the same side as the Pep Boys store was, is removed now for a parking lot. That is such a same, they looked the same condition as the first two were in the picture. Even the Pep Boys building storefront has changed some. Gee, it is hard to go back to a place to find it the way it was in time, to get a feeling of the past. So much of our past can change so quickly with the machinery of today.

  4. Hooray, it’s Friday! As always, thanks David!

    My thoughts, please

    1) There were thousands and thousands of downtowns like that which are all but abandoned today.

    2) The Pep Boys offers “Free Parking for Tire, Battery and Seat Cover Installations”. Well, it would be pretty hard to do any of those without parking the car, wouldn’t it?

    3) Today, the ratio of cars to trucks at the Ford dealership would be completely reversed.

    4) Amazing how the sun visor all but covers the windshield of the DeSoto.

    5) At the Travel Center I see only one all-white car. There were colors back then.

      • Record Bar was a chain of record stores from 1960 – 1993. They also sold VCR movies, music CDs and cassette tapes, etc. The 150+ chain of stores eventually all became part of the Blockbuster Video brand in 1993.

    • #2 If people parked there for other purposes they would be in the way of people waiting for the battery , tire and seat covers. #4 The people in front of the Desoto with the large sun visor are non tall and probably not bothered by it blocking their vision.

      • Hildreth, you said that very nicely. I was going to comment on the people with the DeSoto, but didn’t want to use the word I might have used. Nicely said.

  5. 1st pic almost looks “colorized”, as we never saw color pictures like this. No front plates, Pep Boys, which we didn’t have in Wis. and building style suggest down south. Back when auto parts stores sold lawn mowers and wagons for the little ones. Notice the little wagon inside the bigger one. Radio Flyers? GMC pickup and Poncho look pretty new, so I’d say ’52, ’53.
    2nd pick, when the back row was for new cars and trucks awaiting prep, no hubcaps. Sure looks like the winter of ’55 or Spring of ’56. The Chevy,( ’55?) which can’t be too old looks out of place at the Ford dealer. Someone must have liked the new Ford’s better. 3rd pic, Pa was always pretty good with a spray gun, and did a nice job on the aging DeSoto. I can hear it now, “Agnes, get me some more rope”. And last, Little America was in Granger, Wyoming. It was a beacon of hope for many travelers. Look around, not much else there. Their slogan was ” Look for the big red racer on the billboard”. The semi on the right, is an early ’60’s Dodge C900, possibly a gas job. The motor coach next to the AAA sign looks like late 50’s Flxible. Can’t tell the other semi fueling up, but has a sleeper. 55 gas pumps, hard to beat that. There still is a Little America Travel Center( truck stop sounds a bit harsh) in Cheyenne off I-80, but not the same one, I don’t think. Lincoln and Barracuda look pretty new, I’d say 1965.

    • Barracuda is a ’64 and Continental is a ’61-’62 or a ’63. Cannot specify without frontal view.

      Cannot cull from paint color either, at least via Kodachrome: Royal Red (B) and Black Cherry (X) from ’61 and ’62 and Spanish Red (Q), and Burgundy Frost (X) from ’63 were similar, so
      we’ll call it a Royal Red ’61 or ’62 — not a ’65.

  6. The top photo is interesting and appears to have been taken perhaps around 1951. At the light, a dark bronze `42 Plymouth that appears to have survived the war years very well! The second photo of the `56 Fords behind the dealership makes me drool. I spot a sedan delivery in the second row; a dark green Country Squire, with plenty of mid-line Customline series models. Sadly, no Crown Vics nor Skyliner glasstops—the one model I was truly hoping to see as a brand-new, unsold car. Maybe Mom, Dad, and daughter Priscilla are all packed for a camping trip or a tour of route 66? That sun visor sure is low—keeping that sun glare to a minimum.
    Does anyone know if “Little America” survived today? Probably a huge, fancy truck stop now, with like a zillion pumps!

    • Yes, Will, there are still “Little America’s”; at least one I’ve stopped at in recent years in Wyoming and another in Flagstaff, Arizona. The one in Flagstaff has, besides it’s more usual cafe, a notable restaurant tucked away in the expansive motel. The one in Wyoming has some parking spots in the shade where an exhausted driver can catch a few minutes rest for his eyes. I’ve been to both in recent years and can heartily recommend them as a good place to stop to break up a long drive.

  7. What a great American street scene in photo #1. Fantastic! In photo #2 the parking lot scene, one pickup truck. Nowadays, the pickups might be equal to the passenger cars.

  8. The family about to go on vacation has a ’47 or ’48 De Soto, perhaps a Suburban. I don’t remember the adjustable sun visors.
    Maybe had a Fluid Drive.

    • Looks like the long wheelbase version frequently used by livery services and, equipped with a sunroof, appeared as as a “skyview” cab in New York City and elsewhere.

  9. Second pic, isn’t that the Empire State Bldg. in the background? I’m guessing this was taken on a Monday, wash out on the lines.
    Last pic, first year Barracuda? I’d like a road trip in the Lincoln, though the ’58 turquoise and white Chevy looks good too.

  10. In the Ford dealership pic: Is that the Empire State building in the background?

    Notice the gas pumps in the archway in the DeSoto picture.

    In the travel center picture I see 3 pickups. Plus a Corvair Greenbrier van, plus a regular Corvair sedan.

  11. Great pics. Knew the 2nd one had to be a Ford dealer. Red Continental in the last pic seems a color not often seen. Always use to seeing them blue, light blue, light yellow, black, white, off white, green and even dark red.

  12. My grandfather owned a 4-door Lincoln Continental like the one in the foreground of the #4 picture; his was black, not sure if it was a 1963, ’64, or a ’65. I remember him telling me that he had switched over to the Lincoln because his last Cadillac (which I don’t remember at all) had a “burr” on the driver-side door which had caught and damaged his coat. He told me that the Cadillac quality had declined which caused him to buy the Continental. I remember driving the Lincoln (and this might be a clue as to its year) and using for the first time the cruise control which I’d never experienced before.

  13. In the ready for the road DeSoto pic, looks like the left front fender was resprayed following some unfortunate incident, as the color does not match the l/f door or the hood.

    • I certainly can not tell if it is a respray, but I can tell that the drivers door is slightly open, and therefore the light will reflect a slightly different shade.

  14. The ’42 Plymouth parked at Pep Boys was unusual even in the early 1950’s. The Desoto Suburban displays the rich metallic gold which was available then, appears to be the same color applied to the Golden Anniversary 1949 Packards.
    Bright red wasn’t a common choice for 1961-’63 Lincoln Continentals by personal recollection. On the other hand, the green and tan ’53 Kaiser on the right side of the lot has one of the combinations available on the Dragon, which this car might have been.

  15. I was noting the blurred person in the crosswalk. Then I recalled how early Kodachrome had a low ISO. It’s archival qualities give us these jewels of past years. Thanks again, Dave, for posting these!

  16. I would say that Chevrolet in the second picture is one the Ford dealer went out and bought so they would have a car to sell a customer when they decided a new Ford was not in their future. Did I mention I am a hard core GM man?

    • Hi Mike Carter. I should think that the Chevy is being traded in on a new Ford. Did I mention that I am a hard core Ford man?

      • And, I’d guess the Ford dealer was confident enough about the Ford that he could put a Chevrolet on display to help sell Fords.

  17. Whatever the location of the Pep Boys Store, judging by the shadow of the light next to the doorway, it is high noon there. Those dinky little mowers are a hoot from today’s perspective. Or are they toys like the tractor next to them?

    The 3-tone Chevy wagon under the Lttle America sign makes me think that our current “boring” color schemes are maybe not so bad.

  18. Little America, WY. The original was on the Lincoln Hyway, now relocated to I-80 . There are other locations and resorts owned by that company, but the big rest stop is still there. Their billboards warn you of the $ .50 ice cream cone for 200 miles in each direction!!! It’s at the 68 milepost on I-80, 68 miles from Utah. The only drawback to it is that we have yet to find a sit down restaurant/diner there, only walk up counters to buy food and not much table space to sit and eat. Still a very nice oasis , and lots of souvenirs to browse.

  19. This photo of Little America located in Wyoming, I-80 at Exit #72 doesn’t really look too much different today. There are other Little America’s located in Cheyenne, Wyoming and in Flagstaff, Arizona.

  20. I’m familiar with both “Little America” locations in Wyoming; great rooms and restaurants . The flagship location is a beautiful hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Outstanding!

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