An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Parking Lot Series: Pastel-Colored 1950s Cars Fill Park Facility

This colorful late-1950s parking lot view contains for the most part vehicles painted in pastel colors popular in the 1950s and early-1960s. The vast majority of the automobiles are average everyday cars, and one appears to have a custom grille; in the mix are a handful of luxury vehicles.

The appearance of the vegetation on the hills in the background and the number of California license plates visible suggest this state or national park facility under construction is in the State or the southwest. We are confident a reader will be able to identify the location of this facility.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph via Mase Mason at This Was Americar.

36 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Pastel-Colored 1950s Cars Fill Park Facility

  1. Some brave soul taking a Renault Dauphine into the mountains. Maybe the folks looking are thinking the same thing. Yellow truck looks like a Dodge and Ford trucks for the park service.

  2. 1956 Pontiac in foreground. Dad bought one of these heavy cars new in 1955. No A/C, no radio, no extras. Stick “three on the tree”, no power steering. We wound up in a town with steep hills/steep streets. To this day, I will never forget my Mom, a woman of medium build and strength, being able to parallel park that monster on a hill. We still had that car when I got my driver’s license, and I was on the football team. Even for muscular me, was not easy to parallel park on a hill! (Tribute to Mom!!) Dad installed seat covers. Heater was under the front seat (to allow more heated air into back seat?) Winter came, and poor heat. The front seat cover had come loose at the bottom limiting air flow, so we had to secure them better. What an engine! That car just would not quit! Dad traded it in on a new car in 1963. Still saw it going strong around town for years after.

  3. Color-wise, a scene this country will never, ever be able to repeat again, sadly.
    Ah! The dreaded Renault Dauphine lurks in the distance! I spot what appears to be a new-looking brown/white `58 Fairlane sedan next to a black `50 Pontiac woody wagon, a teal green `58 Buick Special sedan, a nice turquoise `58 Bel-Air coupe, a salmon/white `55 Plymouth Belvedere, a soft yellow `55 Olds 88 sedan, and a two-tone `56 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Catalina sedan among the offerings.
    I notice the later in the decade, the more colorful cars became. In this photo, it was easy to find your own car in the lot. Today? You’ll need to hit your key fob so the ‘chirp’ can guide you to your blah silver sedan.

    • I remember reading a story where a man related how he and his wife took a trip to DisneyWorld in Orlando in the mid-70’s. They took an orange Gremlin for a rental car. Only after leaving the park and getting to the parking lot did they realize how many orange Gremlins AMC had sold to the rental car companies. He said there seemed to be hundreds of orange Gremlins in the parking lot. And, of course, in those days there was no “chirp” to help you find the car, and being rentals they had no distinguishing marks.

    • Will, I think that ’56 Pontiac appears to have the slim side trim curving down from the driver’s window of an 860 or 870, not a Star Chief and the older Pontiac wagon doesn’t appear to have the 5 wind split grille teeth of a ’50…more likely a ’51 or ‘52

    • I have a 2008 black Chevy station wagon that I used to have great difficulty in finding in the car park amoungst all the other black, grey and other nondescript coloured cars, so now I clip a Union Jack flag to the drivers window and can now spot it from a mile away.

  4. I’ll take the Pontiac station wagon. With the logo on the door it must be a courtesy car for the park.

    I don’t see a custom grille unless you’re referring to the bug screen on the ’53 Chevy between the green ’58 Olds and t he red ’55 Plymouth.

  5. In Photo #1 the black car on the extreme left with the chromed C-pillar is maybe a ’58 Bel Air 4-door sedan. Another ’58 Chevy in the front row, a silver one to the left of a ’55 Ford Fairlane Victoria….then a ’58 Olds 4-door sedan with script on the front fender chrome and body color-accented wheel covers suggesting a Ninety Eight, a ’53 Chevy with a fly screen, a ’55 Plymouth sedan, a ’56 Chevy Bel Air Sport Sedan (one of the few non two-tone cars) a 53 Mercury and another ’55 Fairlane, a V8 sedan.

  6. In Photo #2, to the left of the Dauphine, is likely a base ’51 Chieftain with its faux wood treatment but no chrome side trim or splash shield. Just past the white over red ’55 Chevy wagon in the center of the lot is a yellow ’55 Olds with its unique to the ’54-’56 B-body, forward-leaning A-pillar. The C-body (seen on the ’58 Buick next to it) didn’t get that sloped A-pillar till ’57 and the A-body, not till the one-year-only ‘58s.
    The Mopar hardtop seen just beyond that Buick is the only Chrysler product I’ve spotted, apart from possibly a yellow early-‘50s Dodge truck seen above the Dauphine.
    In the far distance to the right, seen to the left of a silver ’58 Chevy wagon, appears to be a black ’51 Ford.

  7. Canyon Visitor Center, Yellowstone National Park, since remodeled. A coyote once followed me through that parking lot. Cool Park Service Pontiac woodie.

    • Agree on location. On right in background is service station, leased by ConocoPhillips when I worked there in summer 1961. Great summer job for college students. One incident I remember was an oil change on a new Cadillac when the guy forgot to add new oil. Car returned after 50 miles with complaint of loud noises coming from engine. Easy diagnosis- just check the dip stick!

  8. In the 1st picture, the two tone 55 Ford in the center. Does anyone know Fords name of the paint color on that car? It always reminded me of Crayolas “Flesh” color crayon.

  9. FIRST PICTURE: Not to pick nits, but I’d say it has to be late ’50’s rather than mid. 1958 or later. I see a couple of 58’s there. A Chevy (3rd from right) and an Oldsmobile (9th from right) in the unenlarged picture. Both two-toned: blue with a white top.

    I note also the crushed-stone roof on the building to protected against sparks should there be a forest fire. Surprised at the wood fence and siding for the same reason.

  10. I wonder if white tops were popular on cars of this vintage (especially in Cali) because most people didn’t opt for option a/c back then?

  11. Compare this view with a modern parking lot. In this lot are numerous very colorful and bright colors. The only all-black car is the 56 Chevy and that is festooned with chrome. A comparable modern lot will show a slew of monochrome cars mostly in slightly differing shades of silver. With all the modern manufacturing techniques we have today we seem to have lost all imagination concerning color. By the way, my 2016 Ram truck is RED.

  12. The 1956 Pontiac and the 1958 Chevrolet both have 1958 Utah license plates on them. The two Fords on either side of those cars are both California plates. Several other cars in the front row appear to also have Utah plates but they are too far away to really be sure. The Utah plates can be easily distinguished by the fact that they always had two letters placed in a vertical position at the beginning of the plate which was then followed by the numbers. An unusual arraignment to be sure and quite unique among the states for passenger cars. Not sure why so many cars appear to have those plates on them other than they came there for a group outing of some sorts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *