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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Volume 185

This week’s Kodachrome feature begins with an image taken at Walker Motors Inc. of the rollout of the new Ford models on October, 3 1956. Since the banner at the top of the front of the building spells out what is being shown here and when the only unknown here is the location of the dealership. So, in this case, let’s take the opportunity for the readers to discuss how the 1957 Ford and the 1957 Chevrolet stack up to each other.

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.

  • It must have taken a pocket full of quarters to fill up an empty tank at this filling station.

  • A rare Ford model and an Edsel serve as platforms for race fans at a speedway, tell us what event they were watching? 

  • Pre and postwar automobiles waiting in line at a traffic tie-up. 

54 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Volume 185

    • Had a lady friend in college (looong ago) last name Holder. Her father started a used car dealership with a friend named Parker. She said “Parker and Holder Used Cars” was laughed out of business in short order. Swear this is true!!!

  1. How handy,check out the new Fords while gassing up. Not going to let anybody stand on my new 60 Starliner or Edsel for any reason.

  2. There are several Walker Ford dealers, the changing colors on the trees would indicate a northern location. I believe, the ’57 Ford outsold the ’57 Chevy. Where are they today? They were terrible rusters. I had a great nephew(?) that had a ’57 Ford retractable. I saw it as a kid, brand new, then didn’t see it for many years. Years later, I asked him if he still had it, he said it was in the garage. I was horrified when I saw it. The headlights were gone, and doors sagging. He junked it shortly there after.
    The coin-op gas station is a bit odd. The guys hat says Texas, but I think the wagon has a Cal. plate. Remember when gas pump hoses were that long?
    Standing on car hoods and trunks? Don’t try that today. The Ford on the left is a 1960 Starliner, and last, got to be Yellerstone.

    • I remember the 57 Ford introduction well. Our local Ford dealer, doing business in a former farm implement store, had a car, covered with a tarp out front with a sign that said “THE NEW 57 FORD- LONGER & LOWER” A couple of nights before introduction a group of us kids sneaked over to the dealer and uncovered the car. What a bummer! It was actually a 54 Nash, resting on it’s hubs! Longer and lower alright!

  3. Ford vs. Chevy sales race in `57 was a heated one, but in the end, Ford DID outsell Chevy. But it wasn’t by a huge margin I understand. If I had to pick one back then, no question–I’d buy a `57 Fairlane 500 2dr. hardtop! Make mine a 312 with a paxton supercharger! The guys in the third photo sure are brave to stand on the hoods & roofs of their cars. It’s VERY easy to have put a good-sized dent in such broad sheet metal like that, and I see the guy standing on the `58 Edsel’s deck lid is using a hard, flat platform to stand on to limit any damage. But still…
    The last photo taken some time shortly after WWII is interesting, in that most of the cars shown are 2dr. coupes. (Loggers heading to work maybe?)

  4. If the date was Oct 3, 1957, wouldn’t they be ’58 models instead of 1957’s? Nevertheless, Old Motor is still the first site I visit in the morning — keep the great pictures and stories coming.
    can’t help with the location of the 1960 Ford and 1958 Edsel.

  5. That date for the first photo would have been October 3, 1956 o course, given that the new models are introduced in the fall of the previous year.

  6. The Ford dealership looks very similar to the one in my dad’s hometown in western Wisconsin…where we actually bought a 57 Ford. The dealership was run by a classmate of dads, Fred, who got the dealership from his father. who no doubt started it in the Model T days. Whenever we visited the farm town, (for years the town sign read “Pop.616”) dad would visit Fred to hang out and catch up on town news. In fact , dad would buy his last new car from Fred…a 69 LTD four door hardtop.

    In 1963, Dad finished a military assignment in Japan. After a week of flights, including my first jet ride…a Pan Am 707 from Tokyo to San Francisco…we found ourselves in Wisconsin. We needed a cheap car to get us the 500 miles to our new home in Kansas City. There, we had a new car waiting for us: a 1963 Rambler Classic 770 with a V-8 and factory air…bought though the BX in Japan.

    As usual, Fred came through, fixing us up with a nice red and white 57 Ford two-door Ranch Wagon. It was the deluxe Del Rio trim package and a “Thunderbird” V-8. As an 8 year old boy I loved that car. It served us well for a couple of years until it was replaced by a boring new sedan. I recall giving it a fond farewell pat when we traded it in on our new car.

    A few years ago, I stopped by the old hometown on the way west from Chicago where I had picked up the latest addition to my collection.
    Yes, the Ford building was still there, though it’s now just a repair shop.
    I went to the town cemetery on a hill just south of town to pay my resects to my grandparents. Nearby was Fred’s resting place. He died in the 90s at a ripe old age.
    His headstone featured a finely etched rendition of a 56 Ford Crown Victoria Coupe.
    I smiled…”Once a Ford man…”.

  7. There was no real comparison between the 57 Chevrolet and the 57 Ford. The 57 Ford was “junk”. Ford realized this and rectified the problems for 58.

    This was a big year for Chevrolet as it was the introduction of the 283 ci. engine along with the famous “270” and “280” versions. The former was equipped with a Duntov cam and twin four barrel carburetors whereas the “280” had a Duntov cam but was fuel injected and this was a first for the general public. Needless to say these engines were well received by the “Hot Rod” generation.

  8. Photo 1: a ’66 Plymouth Fury III 4-door hardtop and likely a ’61 Ford Country Sedan

    Photo 2: a ’60 Ford Starliner, a ’58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop…maybe at the Daytona track

    As for the ’57 Ford vs the ’57 Chevy, when introduced, the Ford, particularly the Fairlane series, to my eyes seemed to be a more expensive class of car compared to the Chevy. Though the Chevy had been stretched 2-1/2” from the ‘56s…it was still nearly 8” shorter than the Fairlanes and almost 4” taller. Granted, the Chevy had handsome new bodywork, but it still had old style, mid-‘50s proportions, while the Ford had slim roofs and gracefully sculpted lines.

    • Second Picture: I agree with Pat. They’re gassing up a 66 Plymouth Fury. My parents bought a ’66 Plymouth Sport Fury in a gawd-awful metallic mauve color. Great car. Lousy color. I also agree that’s a Ford wagon in the background, but without seeing tail lights, I wouldn’t venture a guess as to the year. I’ll leave that to Pat.

      Had to chuckle at “coin operated.” They’d need a bill/currency reader today.

      Third Picture: A 1960 Ford and a ’58 (?) Edsel. Say what you will about cars of that era, I wouldn’t try standing on the hood, roof, or trunk of a car today, much less multiple people standing on it.

    • The Chevy small block is one of the most successful engines in automotive history. I never saw a ’57 Ford challenge
      anybody to race at a stoplight on El Camino Real. The Ford looked good until you had to look at it from the front. Those
      froggy headlights made me ask what were they thinking of? The dashboard looked chintzy also. Ford had a torquey 6
      cylinder engine though. The ’58 and ’59 Fords had better designs. The Ford design engineers had a draft horse in mind when they put their pen to paper. The Chevy guys were trying to get beyond a long history of using 6 cylinder motors by getting their inspiration from thoroughbreds. Disclosure: I have lots of Ford cars and no Chev. cars.

      • My parents bought a new 57 Ford because my mom thought they looked so nice. That car drove so poorly – bad design/engineering – that my dad sold it and bought a new 58 Pontiac, whether mom liked the looks or not. Dad was an engineer and could rail for hours about how poorly that 57 Ford drove… [even so, Ford did indeed outsell Chevrolet that year. But the Chevy was a hundred times the car]

        • The distinction is that Ford sold more 1957 Fords during the 1957 model year than Chevrolet sold of its 1957 Chevrolets. But Chevrolet actually sold 136 more cars during the 1957 model “calendar year” than Ford.

  9. My guesses for the last photo, beginning from the right: 1941 Chevrolet coupe: 1937 Chevrolet coupe; 1939 Plymouth coupe; 1938 Packard touring sedan; 1942 Chevrolet Fleetline Aero sedan; 1937 De Soto sedan; 1942 Plymouth sedan with trailer; 1942 Dodge coupe.

      • It also has Chevrolet-style tail lights so it is probably a Canadian-made-and-sold Pontiac Fleetleader model. The landscape looks Canadian, too.

      • Good catch about the Pontiac. I went directly from the first Chevy to the second and forgot to include the Pontiac.

  10. Today the 57 Chevy seems to be more the car of choice over the same vintage Ford. I would think that the sales volume had a lot to do with price. Someone reading this will have an idea what that difference was and maybe can share that with us.

    I cringe looking at those beautiful cars with people standing on them! My first car was a very nice 66 Fairlane GTA with one exception. The roof was caved in due to a couple servicemen who climbed on the roof to see something after a few too many beers. Other than that it was a really clean and pretty fast ride with it’s 335 HP 390 high compression engine. I wish I had that car today! Unfortunately when I decided to replace it with a new 340 Duster, I let it go as a trade in for $350!

    Great pictures again providing some great memories. Thanks for the efforts to share this with us all!

  11. Great stuff Mr. Greenlees, thank you. If you peer into the window of the 1957 Fords photo, that could be Mr. Walker at his desk. And way to the right of the coin op gas station I see a cool old yellow truck, Howard, any thoughts?

  12. Have to comment about the top picture of the two “57 Fairlane’s. The one on the left is like my very first car. I should of kept it.

    • The one on the left has “Fairlane” script above the grille but the one on the right has block letters “F-O-R-D” so it is a Custom or Custom 300.

  13. My parents bought a 1957 Ford convertible right off the showroom floor. It was salmon and white with black and white upholstery and a 312/245hp Thunderbird engine. It was a very nice car to look at but it did not age well. After a few years rust began to appear in the rocker panels and elsewhere. This was in New Jersey with lots of salt used to clear winter roads of ice. They kept it for five years and traded it in for a ’62 Pontiac Catalina 2dr hardtop.
    I have many fond memories of the Ford as it was mine to drive during my last year in high school. Of course this was after my older brother got to drive it first and wore it down a bit. Oh well, I still liked that car!

  14. In my younger days (hate to say that) i had 2 ’57 FORDs and a ’55 Chev. Beat the sh-t out of all 3. FORDs never gave me a bit of problem. Think 3 transmission and 2 engines in the Chev.

    Have a ’57 Tbird today that ive had since 1975 and its only failed me 3 times for startup. Also ’60 Vet – GUESS I NEVER LEARN.

  15. True that the 57 Ford is a tough to find in good condition. As long as you have a good frame you can put a 57 Chev.
    together with a myriad of parts from a catalog.
    You can literally build it from the ground up.

  16. I’ve always loved the 57 Ford’s and my Dad did have a new one I got to drive alot. I started restoring cars back in 1985 but I could never find a 57 Ford. I know rust was a major issue as it was with Mopars also. In 89 I found a 63 Galaxie 500 xl convertible and it came out great. The only rust issue was the trunk floor and I was lucky to find a perfect one 8 miles from my house for $100.00.

  17. At the Speedway : “They know not what they do !” In order, the ’60 and ’58 are My two favorites of all time. “Get off of My cars ya buncha knuckleheads !! ” 🙂

  18. On the coin-op pumps, Tenneco was mainly a Southeast thing except for buying out Bay in the Rocky Moutain region from what I’m finding. Maybe someone else can throw in their two cents.
    Also, the banner on the Ford dealership is dated October 3rd.

  19. The Edsel’s license plate says ‘Peach State’, which is Georgia. Location could be Atlanta Motor Speedway which had its first race in 1960.

  20. There are Palm trees around the track. That means the race is in California or Florida. My guess is they are watching the Daytona 500 race.

  21. Some internet sites talk about coin operated gas pumps in the WWI era, but I can’t find anything as late as the 1960s. It appears to be a Tenneco station, which were not all that common as I recall.

    As I recall, gas in the middle 1960s would have been no more than a quarter a gallon, so you could get a good number of miles out of a dollar’s worth , even with the lower MPGs of the era. I know I was still paying 18 cents a gallon on an Air Force Base (no taxes) in 1972 before we ever considered the possibility of a gas crisis. Off base, the gas cost about 25 cents before the gas crisis.

  22. In the photo of the coin-op pumps isn’t that a city sign with Laramie on it with the population and elevation below the city name. It is just behind the far right pump

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