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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Edition 182

This Friday the feature Kodachrome image is identified by the source as a view of a harborside thoroughfare in San Diego, California, filled with early-to-mid-1950s automobiles. We see a blue sky, palm trees, short sleeve shirts and a wide array of mostly pastel-colored cars to check out.

On the other side of the coin, since winter-like weather and snow has arrived here in Vermont at The Old Motor, the balance of today’s photos are of vehicles and people, who for the most part are out in and enjoying the snow.

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 take look back at all the earlier parts of the Kodachrome Photographs series here. The images are via This Was Americar.

  • Three young car enthusiasts pose with pre-war Ford, and inside of the garage is a post-war Plymouth. 

  • It appears that the Marlboro Man spent some of his time in the mountains of Arizona during the winter?

  • Only one minor mistake while driving on snow-covered roads and your car can end up stuck in a ditch like the driver of this Chevrolet did.

66 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Edition 182

    • One of my favourite cars. I drove a ’54 Monterey 4-door for awhile in college in the early and mid ’60s. With her brilliant metallic emerald green and white paint scheme and leather seats I believed I had a real luxury car.

  1. 1st picture: 1953 Mercury at curb; pair of Pontiacs ’55 and ’52(?) bracketing a nice Studebaker.
    3d picture: good thing Marlboro Man is going downhill; he would never get up that slope in his ’57 Pontiac even with the Packard hood ornament and after-market stars.
    lastly: the ’62 Impala in the ditch has a 283 engine emblem covered with snow.

  2. 1939/40 Ford coupe is a mold custom. Lowered, flipper caps, skirts and a white painted roof. 1957 Pontiac hardtop had 57 flipper caps, and a Packard hood ornament , plus extra stars on hood and fender. Feel sorry for the owner of the ’62 Impala. Horrible feeling . Great pictures as always, Dave.

    • I spent nearly 20 years in a Chrysler-Plymouth Mazda dealership in Reading, PA. I pushed a lot of snow off a lot of cars in my time. Remember, that if it’s 2 inches of snow, every car on the lot gets brushed off. If it’s 4 inches of snow, every car gets brushed off, moved, plowed underneath, and moved back. Repeat 20 times per winter.

      I agree, “enjoying the snow” is an alien phrase. Perhaps you agree with me that “If it’s not snow and ice, it’s nice.”

      • “Enjoying the snow” – some people enjoy looking at it while it is coming come down looking at it after it has fallen , which includes myself. I enjoy driving in a snow storm and afterwards for the challenges it provides. Driving in it is a good way to learn how to deal with understeer, oversteer, braking, accelerating, and a clear parking lot cover in a couple of inches of snow can be used as a ski pad.

        Others especially here in Vermont like playing in it: by skiing, sledding, tobogganing, snow shoeing and riding on skimobiles. I have a friend who has a Model A Ford skimobile and enjoys driving it.

        I do however acknowledge the opinions of those who do not enjoy it.

        • We here in Minnesota also know the meaning of “enjoying the snow”. I am not a native but I’ve never lived in a place where the locals enjoy frozen lakes and a good snowfall as much as these folks. Ice houses, snowmobiles, cross country skis, pickup hockey games and even bicycles with snow tires instantly appear. Many members of our Model A Club drive their cars year round. And it is a cherished tradition that on each Feb 29, 2-3 dozen Model A members drive their cars on a trek of 50 miles or so no matter what the temperature, no mater what the road conditions.

        • David, excellent points. I, too, find the challenges of Cleveland winter driving stimulating. Driving makes us hyper-alert, though having to drive much slower at times.

          • We used to practice in a K Mart parking lot while in high school. The E brake slides in my VW were pretty good. I left early one night when a guy laid spread eagle on the hood of a “55 Chevy and was hanging unto the windshield wipers. Later that evening a ’64 Corvette lost a fight with a light pole.

        • Being a truck driver most of my life ( ret.) I can enjoy snow, as long as I don’t have to be anywhere. Waking up to a snowy day, immediately added many hours to an already long day. Takes a long time to get somewhere at 25 mph. Believe it or not, I’m strongly thinking of moving from Colorado back to the UP of Michigan, because I actually miss the snow. Snow in the mountains, but I’m too old for skiing. Plains here haven’t seen snow in years.

          • Howard, I hear you. While I have “enjoyed the snow” while driving cars, the best times have been out of town (Motor City), such as the hockey tournament I drove my Town Car to a few years back, in Ontario, in January, with nice new Goodyear winter tires. The best memories are of driving my many Beetles through the countryside in winter, in my youth. As for driving a big truck, I do not envy those guys when the white stuff starts flying. The worst part has to be the idiots in the four-wheelers, who I have had enough of dealing with in my four-wheeler (I know how to drive in snow). I wish you well should you return to the U.P. It is indeed pretty up there. As for me, I been “enjoynig winter” for too many years (62 and counting). I retire Dec. 31 and I’m a burn rubber out of here! I plan to enjoy West Texas, NM, or AZ (haven’t decided which). Over.
            Schlock (“Ted” on Hemmings.com)

        • I enjoy the snow here in VT. On the Friday of that first storm, I went cross-country skiing with my dog. I didn’t think last Tuesday’s storm dropped enough snow in the mountains, so I goofed and didn’t go up.

          On a weekday, the lower parking lot at Mt Snow is a great place to practice turns in the snow.

  3. In the first photo, a `56 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Catalina sedan like my Grandpa’s prepares to parallel park. Could the boys be standing beside a `37-`39 Ford coupe, slightly ‘customized’ to their tastes? The ‘Marlboro Man’ appears to be standing next to one gorgeous `57 Pontiac Star Chief Catalina hardtop! (Not sure what the stars stuck on the hood & fender are supposed to signify; county sheriff maybe?) Sure sucks to be the driver of the yellow `62 Impala….he’s stuck alright!

    • I get a kick out of seeing people having trouble parallel parking today’s econoboxes, when we all used to be able to parallel park much larger cars.

    • That Studebaker may well be a ’54, it is hard for me to see if the vertical pieces are in the side grills or not. If they aren’t there it is a ’54 with then a ’54.

  4. 1st pic from left to right: 1954 Mercury, 1956 Pontiac, 1954 Studebaker, 1954 Pontiac and 1953 Plymouth. In the background a mid-fifties Ford
    2nd pic postwar Plymouth is a 1949 model (one-year-only bumpers are giveaway clue)
    3rd pic 1957 Pontiac, the owner added some extra stars on it…
    4th pic 1962 Chevy

  5. The dude standing in the middle of the 1940 Ford coupe picture is really cool with that pipe in his teeth. Those guys could have been us . in those days. The car in the garage looks to have a 1949 Plymouth Bumper which like the 1932 Ford ribbed bumper, became a popular customizing addition.

  6. In the first photo the Mercury is a 1954. I find it hard to believe that this photo is from San Diego as California has always and still does require a front license plate and there are none visible in this picture. In fact there does not even seem to be a mount on any of the cars front area. The only license plate visible is on the rear of a light colored 55/56 Ford seen over the Blue Plymouths trunk and it appears to be smaller than Ca. plates from that era and looks to are black w/white letters – not Ca. colors.

  7. My initial impression of the first pic was Florida. That was before I read your post.
    Background scenery aside, the lack of front license plates and Morrison’s
    Cafeteria sign sort of clinched it for me. Anyone know if Morrison’s were in Cali
    and if they needed front plates back then? Entertaining as always David. Thanks

    • I wondered that to, Rich, given no front plates. /when did they go to two plates and what’s the reason they’re required?

  8. 1st pic, I’m not sure this is California. Didn’t Cal. always have a front plate? Florida always had one plate, I think. 2nd pic, is” me and my boys”, or my boy (on our right) and his best buddy. They painted cars in the garage, and looks like a nice job. Looks like an early 50’s Indiana plate on the Plymouth. 3rd pic, I’d say things got worse on that little shortcut through the mountains, MIL in the back seat hollerin’, kid freaking out, Pa having a smoke. And last, them “Town and Country’s” , which this car appears to have, won’t help you now.

  9. Every time I see a new Yellow ’54 Mercury 2 door H.T. I remember a yellow & green glass top Merc that was owned by RCA in Cherry Hill N.J. I was 12 years old and the RCA employee was an engineer there who drove the Mercury home every day.. It had a built into the dash color TV, and green tires instead of black. I asked him to turn the TV on , but he said it wasn’t operational yet. Memories of a young gear head.

  10. Those stars on the Pontiac look exactly like the plastic stars that were on bottles of Seagrams Five Star Canadian Rye Whiskey. Growing up in the 60’s, kids would take the stars off their parents bottles and use them to be Sheriff or throw them at each other like Ninjas.

  11. I’ll take a wild guess on the first photo. I think it’s more in Mission Bay, maybe Morena Blvd.. The Harbor area doesn’t look like this at all.

  12. The third and fourth photos are why people drive SUVs today.
    Maybe not as stylish or fun, but a lot more practical experience n the winter.

  13. The turquoise Pontiac in-the-snow was apparently purchased at one of Frank Salta’s many, many dealerships, this one in Prescott. I remember the huge one in Long Beach.
    It does seem that Morrison’s Cafeteria was pretty much confined to a few southeastern states.
    I like the Pontiac’s chances of getting home more that the Chevy’s.

  14. I spent 57 years of life in massachusetts. In june moved to a desert and I love it. You get tired of the snow. And I did have fun when I was young sliding around on the slippery parking lots.

  15. The happy trio in the second photo reminds me of myself and my brother. In high school, in 1958-60, he drove a ’28 Model A Tudor, and I drove a ’46 Mercury two-door. We had almost no money, and Pennsylvania winters really put us and our steeds to the test. Since the cars lived outdoors, starting was the biggest problem. We had entrusted this daily task to used six-volt batteries, which were about as useless as, well, used six-volt batteries. We put light bulbs under the hood. We used ether. We prayed. We froze our tails off. I can still hear the sound of a flathead starter cranking slower and slower and slower…

  16. I don’t think I like the looks on the punk on the left in photo 2.He looks like a troublemaker to me,Better keep an eye on him.
    The cops know how to deal with a character like that.
    Just watch your step,Sonny.

  17. OK I have to ask. In photo # 1 on the left of the photo is a row of cars parked at the curb facing us, then I see three rows of traffic all facing us which would make me think it is a one way street. On the right side of the photo is a row of cars parked facing in and angled in a way that would make one think they were heading away from us when they were pulled in to park. Can any one explain this? I’m sure I’m missing something here. I’m from snowy Northeast where we have 2 lane roads. Beautiful cars.

    • Hi Joann, I believe there is a stoplight to the right of the picture, so no cars are going the other way, and that side of the street probably heads to the beach, and angle parking is implemented.

    • Don Williamson is correct as to the location.
      Checking the location on line one can see that the area shown has 3 lanes of traffic coming at you and 2 lanes going away from you with diagonal parking.

    • It’s Daytona Beach, FL, not San Diego. The red sign “Lloyd Cox Book Store” on the left was located at 132 N Beach St.
      Beach Street was not a one way street and wasn’t during the era of the photo. I have no idea why three lanes of cars appear to be going south in the photo.
      The city of DB could never figure out how to have parking and traffic lanes on that stretch. It flipped back and forth from diagonal to parallel parking many times over the years, and now there is an ill conceived plan to widen the sidewalks and make the street only 2 lanes.

  18. I’m thinking the Marlboro Man is wearing a Stetson. Colorado School of Mines I believe had them as a sign that you were a 4th year student. (Senior??? Canadian here.)

  19. I was wondering if that star on the front of the ’57 Pontiac might have had some law enforcement reason, but then I saw the Coromont on the hood…

    Glad to see the first pic is from Florida – that didn’t look like any California Beach front I’m aware of, not the least because the street is so narrow.

  20. Boy, isn’t it nice to see cars in the first photograph with no front license plates? They look like kids going out to play. Thank you, David. Bundle-up; it’s going to be a Duesy of a winter.

  21. I think the “cowboy” in the 57 Pontiac picture done some J.C. Whitney shopping for his stars and hood ornament. He seems to like do-dads, check out the reflectors on the bumper bullets and reflective tape on the bumper. I do like the original spinner wheel covers though! I walked many a mile of swap meet rows to finally find a nice set of those!! I hope the Impala owner turns out his head lights before the tow truck comes, or he may need a jump. That slick Ford coupe reminds me of my uncle, he always had a souped up Ford back in the day. If I had to pick my favorite car in the first photo it would have to be that 54 Pontiac, second would be the 56 Pontiac. My GM roots run deep!!

  22. Seeing the color photo of the mid-’50’s Florida street scene makes me return to the frequent reflection of why life here in the U.S. changed so much in the years since then. I’ve lived through that change; even so, I’m not able to identify the reasons why the automobile manufacturers abandoned the bright colors of their cars which so many of us enjoyed and which I can imagine spurred sales, as well. There’s obviously more than one reason or answer to my question: perhaps the war in Viet Nam or the increasingly polarizing political climate. I can’t imagine that the manufacturers abandoned their styling design of a distinctive hood ornament or trim package simply to increase their profit margins. You would think that the automobile manufacturers would have continued with what had proven to be a good thing: innovative styling and those engaging paint combinations such as that terracotta and cream Star Chief or the distinctive style of that Studebaker, recognizable to everyone – especially teenage boys – who inhabited that era.

    • Here in the Uk and continental Europe colour and two tone is coming back have a mooch through Citroens site for example.

  23. Lads, the Ford coupe is a 1938. The line from the rain gutter wraps clear around the top of the rear deck and meets the rain gutter on the other side. ’37 did that too, but the wee bit of hood louvers looks like ’38 to me. I have a ’38 Standard coupe. Wish I had the skirts on this one. Not crazy about the two tone paint though. The white paint on the roof follows that same line I spoke o f.

  24. Taking a second look at that 38 Ford coupe, and considering the overcast sunlight, the blue paint has a miles deep mirror-like finish. Looks sort of like the”Spectra-Flame” finish on the original Mattel Hot Wheels. Probably 50 coats of lacquer and lots of sanding. And I agree, I don’t get the white roof at all.

  25. You have to admire the Marlboro Man’s bravery while smoking the cancer stick. He also isn’t afraid to park his spiffy
    Pontiac in the middle of the road, downhill, in a turn, on an icy road. I hope the next guy coming down the road has a sense of humor and aftermarket seat belts!

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