An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 189

This week’s Kodachrome feature begins with an image of a 1950s automobile that appears to have been close to new when the grandparents came to visit their grandchild. When viewed from the front the vehicle’s narrow track is quite noticeable due to the wide “upside down bathtub” styling the automaker chose for this model.

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.

  • Out with the top down for some for some late season skiing in Ontario, Canada?

  • Anyone recognize this toll booth which appears to be in New Jersey or Pennsylvania? 

  • Quite a few tail fins visible in this early-to-mid-1960s vacation or weekend photo at the Flamingo Club in Las Vegas. 

62 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 189

  1. The Barracuda driver is certainly “tougher” than I.

    Appears to have snow tires on all 4 wheels, so maybe not completely crazy.

      • You see a lot of top-down convertibles in the winter in Europe, particularly in England, but not so much in the U.S.

        • I have always drove a convertible. I live in Central Texas and the winters were about the only time I drove with the top down, on warm days of course. The summers were so hot that you couldn’t stand to have the top down. This part of the country has a lot of warm days in the winter so it was no so bad to go topless.

          • Yes, yes, I drive my convertibles on sunny winter days with top down, windows up and heater going full blast, Very pleasant way to swan about around the holidays.

      • Probably has limited slip rear end.
        I had a’62 Ciuntry Squire with limited slip that climbed snowy hills like a mountain goat.

    • I’ll repeat myself from a previous post: You could always spot the “road warriors” (traveling salesmen) as their cars often had snows all the way around.

      Not surprising to see snows all around in Ontario. Remember, you gotta stop as well as go!

  2. I’m digging the Barracuda; I’ll bet the owner was pretty interesting. It looks like a ’68 Formula S to me; I wonder if it’s a 340. I believe the 340 came out some time during the ’68 model year. Although the E-Body ‘Cudas are the most popular, this is my favorite bodystyle.

    • It definitely is a ’68 Formula S. You can tell by the round side marker lights and the round emblem on the fender between the front wheel opening and the door. Formula S could be either the 340 or the 383.

    • Aaron, it did. The 340 I swapped into my ’61 Dodge Lancer came out of a ’68 Formula S Barracuda that got broadsided.

    • The ‘Cuda was a real sleeper with the 340, supposedly putting out 275 hp, but actually rated at 290 or more, almost as much as the 383! Less weight, better mileage (LOL), better handling I would imagine. 4-spped would seem to be the way to go with that baby. I truly like this Avid Outdoorsman’s choice of steed and accouterments (as well as top down driving style!). Driving in a number of snowstorms here in Japan has made me a firm believer in adequate lighting, something the incandescent headlight of the time were sorely missing, thus the addition of driving lights would seem to be a given. I can’t believe I survived years of riding motorcycles in the dark back country or unlighted portions of Hwy 1 with the puny light given out by my 68 Kawasaki 350! One reason I fashioned a bracket over the headlight and added my own halogen driving light before leaving Texas for LA… a real godsend when speed limits were over 100 mph in some places!

    • The tires on that Nash almost look like they belong on a wheelbarrow. No chance for throwing up rocks to damage the rocker panels on this model.

  3. Woa there, partner! That’s one pretty blue `51 Nash your folks behind you are driving! In the last photo, Donna Mae is asking Frank to hurry up & snap that pic because she’s bakin’ out there in the Vegas sun! Behind her is a `59 Plymouth wagon keeping company with both `59 & `60 Cadillacs, and what looks like a new `64 Gran Prix! Meanwhile along the Joisy turnpike, it’s crunch-time at the toll booths. On the left I spot an over-loaded `64 Dodge 880 Custom wagon, a `71 Impala sedan on the far right, and a mid-60s Econoline window van in the pack.

  4. Love that Bonneville in the last pic. For me, this was the peak design period for GM’s large cars – Riviera, G-P, even Deville.

    Jersey or PA pic looks to be around 71 – the Beetle, Brookwood & Opel GT led me to at least 1969 but the tail lights peaking out behind the Econoline say “71 Chevy”

    • I thought that the ’64 Pontiac in the last picture was a Bonneville too, but it’s actually a Grand Prix, based on the Sports Coupe roof and slanted rear window and lettering on the trunk lid. Bonneville’s had the “Bonneville” letters in the chrome strip below the trunk lid and on the rear quarters.

      The sign announcing the opening for Jimmy Dean and Dorothy Loudon on Thursday July 9 would indicate that this photo was taken in 1964.

  5. I suspect one of the reasons for the narrow track on the Nash (besides cost savings) was necessity. With the enclosed front wheels, a wider track would have made their already sizesble turning radius even larger.

  6. Toll both pic shows the new Dodge Charger (66/67) waiting its turn to pay the toll behind a 62 Chrysler station wagon (obviously part of a relocating family based on the Ford Econoline van ahead of it). Ah, American on the move!

  7. In 1951 we formed a drag strip and invited local car dollars to race each other. The Nash dealer agreed to race the new Oldsmobile. The laughter died fast when the Nash passed the Olds in the quarter mile. A dual carburetor on the big Nash six cyl engine did the job. Seems Nash had a sleeper hotrod in it’s inventory.

    • A `51 Nash outran a `51 Olds? That HAD to be an inline 6 in the Olds. The only way I can see a Nash winning. The V8 would have left the tub in its dust.

        • As much as I like my early Olds 88’s, the published 0-60 and 1/4 mile times I’ve found on the web show that the Nash Ambassador is quicker! Not by much though as both 1951 Nash Ambassador and Olds 88 took nearly 15 seconds to get to 60 and did the quarter in about 20 seconds. Some of the data was “simulated” but regardless, they were close in performance. We tend to forget that while the first Olds V8 was quite the thing when introduced, these cars were slugs by the standards of 10-15 years later. And just think: nearly all of today’s average cars can do sub ten second 0-60 times with most in the 8 second range.

          • I’m not surprised that the Nash was quickest although I’ll explain more in a moment. The July 1950 Motor Trend “Motor Trial” of the ’50 Olds V8 recorded a 0-60 mph time of 12.22 L0-Dr) and 12.44 in Drive only. Very quick and they pointed out that the Olds was the first car tested with a top speed exceeding 90 mph (92.11 best one way run).

            However, the Nash Ambassador described by DAVE B was obviously a ringer. There were no dual carb engines available for the Ambassador in ’51 (’53 yes). In ’51 the Nash-Healey had a twin carb engine with 2 British SUs and the carb spacing on the side of the head was far apart. When the Le Mans dual Jetfire engine came available in 1953 it used side draft Carter carbs located closer together and a 8 to 1 compression ratio for 140 hp as used on the later Healeys.

            Why not just get a dual carb manifold? Simple, the ohv Nash engine’s intake manifold is an integral part of the cylinder head.

            Even with stock vehicles, dealer’s choices, Nash w/low rear axle ratio b/c overdrive equipped and Olds with automatic with salesman/sales manager driving vs highly qualified driver in Nash would handicap the Olds.

            To further illustrate early ’50s performance the November 1951 Motor trial of the Cadillac sedan with its’ 331 V8 garnered a best 0-60 mph time of 16.62 seconds with the 1/4 mile time of 21.22 in Low vs 21.36 in Drive although Low was the wrong choice for quickest 0-60 time. The top speed time was 97.08 mph – best one way run. The brakes and handling were faulted and it was suggested that 70 mph on a straight open road was as fast as one should drive unless a true emergency. Fifty five miles per hour was recommended for roads with gentle twists or turns. Interesting look back in time.

            For the Ford V8 fans the Motor Trial of the ’51 Ford with Fordomatic in the Jan 1951 issue had a 0-60 time of 17.82 (Lo – Dr) a 1/4 mile in 21.19 (Lo-Dr) and a fastest one way run of 88.50 mph. Speedometer error at 60 mph indicated 66 mph – not unusual then. Hmm, wonder what it was at 80 – 85 mph as the error increased from 6.6% @ 30 mph, 8.9% @ 45 mph to the 10% at 60 mph.

      • I was thinking the same thing. It must have been a 6 cylinder 76 Special which the company retired about that time. They only had around 100 HP. Not hard to beat. I recently saw an entertaining 40 minute color movie on YouTube that was put out in ‘52 for promotional purposes called “The Lady And The Rocket”. No way could a bathtub Nash beat one of those powerful beauties. About the only car that could back then, at least on the race track, was a Fabulous ’51 Hudson Hornet. And that was it!

  8. At first glance the granddaughter looked like one of those stuffed dolls that were all the rage at car shows a few years back. The Barracuda could easily been pictured in Southern Ontario, that looks like the Niagra Escarpment in the background.

  9. 1st pic, judging by the background and kids clothes, it’s not warm, and while Nash never sold well outside the Midwest, it’s clear, Gram and Gramps watched Superman on TV. 2nd pic, the Barracuda is quite new, as that’s a 1968 Ontario plate( ’69 was blue) and gives new meaning to the toughness of our northern neighbors. 4 snows, top down, skis loaded, what’s the problem, eh? I’m a little indifferent as to the mounting of the driving lights on a brand new car, however. 3rd pic, I believe the photo was taken from a bus with that front window latch. Off to the left, the people in front of the Charger ( the saggin’ Chrysler wagon and van) look like they are going for broke. Is that an Opel GT in front of the LeMans? And last, mom was clearly a tourist from up north. I believe they came in the Rambler or the Bonneville, but not the Caddies. Speaking of Caddies, there’s a 60’s Cushman golf cart up by the door.
    BTW, have fun with the foot plus of snow predicted for the Vermont area this weekend.

    • You’re right, Howard – I think that IS an Opel GT. And 3 cars ahead of it is one of the newest cars in this photo, a 1969 Lincoln Continental.

    • At first glance I thought that yellow car in front of the LeMans was Camaro, but you may very well be correct that it is an Opel GT. You don;t see many of them in these old photos.

      • My brother’s daily driver was an Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale. He had to go to San Francisco from his office in Oakland, parked the car at a meter, fed it some coins and went to his appt. He returned to find a ticket that indicated his car was an ‘Opel’. He beat the ticket because of it but was totally insulted that the cop couldn’t tell the difference.

        • An actual Sprint Speciale? Wow! Lucky guy. Hope he hung on to it, those go for well over 100k these days.

          I remember as an impecunious college youth perusing one the town’s used cars lots and seeing an unusual white Alfa coupe with a Boano coach work emblem on it. The only thing that sticks in my memory was the nearly circular rear window. I’ve never been able to find out anything further about that. I often wonder what sort of fabulous bargain I passed up there.

  10. At 201” long and over 77” wide the ’51 Nash Statesman was anything but compact. A ’51 Olds 88 was 202” and 75” in those dimensions. And though its front track was over 2” narrower than that Olds due to its skirted front wheel opening, the rear track was nearly an inch wider. It had one of the largest interiors on the road; nevertheless, it certainly did look narrow from the front.

    In photo 2 that ’62 – ’64 Dodge 880 wagon on the left truly does have everything! That’s likely a ’68 Mercury Monterey poking in from the right.

    In photo 3 at the Flamingo, a ’64 Galaxie with possibly a ’61-’63 T-bird nose visible over its flanks, a ’62 Rambler Classic, a ’64 Grand Prix, a ’59 Plymouth wagon and the interesting comparative of a ’59 and ’60 Cadillac with a white over red ’57 Lincoln (standup hood ornament vs a ’56) appearing beyond.

  11. The 51 Statesman in the first photo doesn’t really qualify as a “compact”. It used the same body shells as the full-size Ambassador from the cowl back but lost 9″ in wheel base (112″ versus 121″) due to the shorter front sheet metal that accommodated the smaller flat head six shared with the Rambler models.

  12. The toll exchange is exit 11 on the NJTP. After the toll, you could straight up the ramp and either to the right for Route 9 and 440, or bear left onto the GSP southbound to go “down” the shore. Looks like a weekend day in the summer for the shore crowd.

  13. I’m amazed at how shiny the paint is on the Nash. I never saw a Nash that shiny, as a child, or now at antique car shows. Judging by the shine and the tires I would say this is the day the Nash came to its “forever home”.

  14. Second Photo: My very first car was a red 1965 Pontiac Convertible, the same model and year as the one in front of the van (middle right). That looks like a ’69 or ’70 Mercury Marquis behind the van.

    Third Picture: My family had an 1959 Plymouth station wagon (red and white) like the one between the Pontiac and two Cadillacs (behind the charming young lady). Pretty sure the “Jimmy Dean” on the marque behind her is the sausage king, not the dead movie star from Fremont, Indiana.

    Dorothy Louden is one of those names you can remember, but can’t remember what she was famous for. She was a broadway singer/actress best known for playing “Miss Hannigan” the orphanage matron in “Annie,” the roll played by Carol Burnett in the movie.

  15. FWIW, Jimmy Dean and Dorothy Loudon opened at the Flamingo on July 9, 1964, a Thursday.
    I think you had to be grandparents to buy a Nash in those days.

    • During the late 50s and through the mid 60s I went through that toll gate many times. I never would be able to identify it though—you see one toll both you have seen them all!

  16. That first photo is worth a million bucks.I hope that little girl still has that photo.If she does she should get it enlarged and have it hanging in her house.I bet shes wearing buster browns.

  17. OK, what is sticking out of the driver-side window of the Nash? It looks like a dogs paw but there doesn’t appear to be a dog in the back seat.

      • I wondered too. It doesn’t cast a shadow on the lawn.
        I think it may be Mom and long-suffering Grandpa in the car, with Grandma taking the pic.
        The kid sort of looks like a girl, but is packing heat and just dropped her/his bandana mask.

  18. Toll booths are on the Garden State Parkway , North bound in Raritan, NJ. Based on the cars of the time, you would have paid 25 cents.

  19. I do believe the Barracuda has dealer plates on. Quite common in that era to “equip “ a vehicle like this to go to a resort, show, tell, make deals.
    The really good guys would have taken a stack of contracts with them and worked the Apres Ski circuit.

  20. Quite a styling contrast in the Flamingo view: the last of Harley Earl flamboyance in the ’59 & ’60 Cadillacs versus the modern Bill Mitchell tailored elegance of the ’64 Pontiac Grand Prix. Lurking far to the right is a red and white ’56 Lincoln sedan, a ’62 Rambler Classic nose to nose with the Grand Prix.

    The bathtub Nash narrow tread width overhung by the body sides reminded us of a fat lady’s legs with her skirts hanging out well beyond to each side. But, Nash was like your old maid aunt: solid, sensible, had money in the bank…and was no fun at all!

  21. 1967 Chevrolet at the toll booth in front of the van with the rear doors open… Looks to be an Impala. 1966 Dodge charger behind the open door van! Nice!! Methinks that is a 1965 Pontiac GTO, looks just like the one my brother had! Yellow 1967 Camaro in front of that!

Leave a Reply to Dave b Cancel reply

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