An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Drivers On the Go in the Snow at Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Snow is in the forecast for later on in the week here in the Northern New England so its a good time to share a couple of winter driving photos taken in the 1960s in the “City of Brotherly Love” by press photographers for the “Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.”

The lead image was taken in 1961 on Christmas Eve and shows a 1959 Chevrolet convertible and last minute-shoppers on Sixty-Ninth Street in Philadelphia. The driver of the Chevy is having a hard time getting it to climb up this hill, and a couple of friends riding with him or some shoppers with Christmas spirit pitched in to help out.

The second enlargeable picture (below) was shot on March 17, 1967, and the slow-moving traffic in the left-hand lanes is identified by the source as heading south into the City on the Schuylkill Expressway in the vicinity of the Philadelphia Zoo.

Share with us what you find of interest in the images and which vehicles you can identify and date in these press photographs courtesy of the Temple University Libraries.

23 responses to “Drivers On the Go in the Snow at Philadelphia Pennsylvania

  1. 1st pic, we look at that, OMG, a ’59 Chevy ragtop, how could they? Proof, that at the time, these were just beaters that were acquired somehow, and had to be driven in all kinds of weather. The missing rear window and no wheel covers shows it’s “beater” status. 2nd pic, looks like an early 60’s Mack B 53(?) and with no up pipe, it’s probably got a gas motor pulling what looks like an old Thermoking reefer trailer. Man, those units were noisy. IH Loadstar 1600 straight truck behind. Going the other way, I hope that Econoline has some weight in the back. Those things would get stuck going downhill.

  2. Bypassing the automobiles this morning, I am reminded of a time when those shops existed. Hosiery, Milinery, Women’s foundations, Shoes by brand..etc. I must be in a sentimental state after seeing that the Tappan Zee bridge was being demolished. We used to take a ferry across that span before it was built.

    • I agree, Jack. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when a business could make it just selling things like hose or shoes.

  3. In the lead image, behind the ’59 Impala with what appears to be the rear window unzipped, could be a ‘53 or ’54 Chevy (a crease on the front fender vs the very similar Pontiac) parked behind a Corvair 95 Corvan or Greenbrier.

    In image 3 of 3, a ‘57 dual-headlighted Chrysler Windsor 4-dr HT behind the white ’64 Chevy and on the left lane, an Auto Club’s ’62 or later Jeep Wagoneer or Gladiator pickup with shell. Farther back, behind the pre-’63 Mercedes 190, a white ’62 Dodge.
    The newest may be the ’67 Dart HT up front.
    Going in the other direction, a two-tone ’56 Plymouth, probably a Belvedere, while our friend from the lead photo may still be driving the ’59 Impala convertible…up the exit incline…this time unaided.

  4. Trying to push a car up a snowy incline like that is not a plan for success (or longevity).

    Lots of Impalas and not many Fords there.
    Looks like a dark, early Dodge Lancer beyond the Mercedes

  5. Howard, maybe the ’59 Chevy isn’t a beater. Unless what looks look like a crease along the hood line indicates a bend where the hood stuck and would not shut. But the front tire could be the spare because it is a wider whitewall. And we don’t all replace the hubcap when we change a tire. Also it is only two or three years old. And the body looks decent. And the rear window could be in place and cleared of snow.

    But hey, it could also be a beater.

    • Given the way they used to salt roads, I would think, if the Chevy were a beater, we’d see rot developing at the wheel wells. Someone else suggested that the back window might just be unzipped, possibly so the driver could yell commands at the pushers.

  6. “It snowed last night? No problem, I have new tires now” heard in Grand Rapids MI during an Autumn snowstorm. Funny how many folks with ‘new tires’ seemed to end up in the ditch on the freeway! I had ‘new tires’ on the 4WD VW Tigant I rented then and ended up skidding into the middle of an intersection, proof that ‘new tires’ mean zilch in those conditions which makes me wonder why more folks did not switch to snow tires at the first hint of snow. Of course, I was also guilty of driving sort of a beater ’64 Impala in Seattle for two years and mastered getting up from the bottom of our hill with that beast on definitely ‘un-new tires’. But those two pushers took their lives in their hands as it looks like they had ‘un-new, skid prone’ tires on each foot! Great pic!

  7. Having lived around the Great Lakes my whole life I feel qualified to lend my opinion. Regarding that Impala, it certainly appears that the owner of that 59 Chevrolet does not have a snow brush. Might also be that he has a fancy set of chrome wheels for warmer weather with plain steel rims for use in the salt brine coating the roads in winter. That all said, in wet heavy snow there are not many good options for improving traction. I can’t imagine how we got along as well as we did with only rear wheel drive and one spinning tire to push us along on many slippery roads.

    • Snow tires, chains and lower speeds generally. In the ’50s virtually every car on the road in the winter had snow tires on. You could always spot the “road warriors” (traveling salesmen) as their cars often had snows all the way around. Many times I helped my Dad put chains on his car on a snowy morning.

      The promotion of radial tires as “All Weather” led to a lot of people thinking they did not need snow tires. Add to that the proliferation of front wheel drive and also the fact that with liquid deicers and heavier traffic loads there are a lot more bare roads in the winter now.

      When I was a kid in the Syracuse, NY area we sledded on snow covered suburban streets all winter. They were usually snow packed from Before Thanksgiving all the way through March.

      As “Mad Dog” found out, 4 WD does nothing to help you stop!

  8. That Mercedes-Benz may be a 220S or 220SE (wider grille than the 190). I drove one for years, and it was a great car but scary on snow and ice.

  9. With the ’59 Chevy convertible being only two years old in ’61, the missing wheel covers shows what some newer car owners did, namely remove them during the winter months to avoid having to do so if tire problems arose. The other motivation was to prevent loss on the pot-holed streets that developed as winter wore on.

  10. I often “volunteered” as a pusher of cars which were unable to proceed because of icy streets. This was in our pre-car days when my pals and I walked to school or around our neighborhood. I remember what well may have been the false sense of safety I felt at the time because with only a modest amount of pressure on the side or trunk lid of a car we could change the car’s direction, make it slide sideways, for instance. I was also one of the boys who occasionally hitched a ride on a slow moving car or a car stopped at an intersection which gave us enough time to grab on to its bumper; then, after the car got underway, we would slide on the soles of our boots for a hundred yards or so up or down the street.

    • Just like Daniel Statnekov, my friends and I would go up to the corner of our street and push cars out of drifts or help them keep going. Growing up in South Buffalo, NY, we had PLENTY of opportunity to do it. Was great fun, especially on snow days from school. Always will remember the ‘ching ching’ sound of cars with chains. Great memories.

      • That ching-ching and the muffled sound of tires pacing down the show, Most sound was attenuated but bright sounds like the chains stood out.

  11. Boy if the owners of that ’59 could only have known what that car would be worth now! It certainly wouldn’t be out in the snow and driving around with no back window! Yikes

Leave a Reply

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