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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 193

Today’s feature image contains an automobile with all-new body styling by a well-known auto designer of the period. This vehicle was at the forefront of the longer, lower, wider late-1950s design movement with tail fins that became larger and more extreme every year. This example is equipped with standard dual headlights, although quad headlamps were also available on cars that were sold in states where it was legal at the time.

As is the 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.

  • Salmon and black colored two-toned cars were popular in the 1950s to early-1960s along with three-toned color schemes with the roof generally painted white. 

  • A visitor captured this view with a colorful rainbow above Niagara Falls behind a line-up of pre and post-war vehicles. 

  • And we finish up for today with this circa-1960 view of Las Vegas, Nevada.

59 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 193

  1. I LOVE the ’57 Imperial in the top picture; the instrument cluster is my favorite of all time. Does anybody know if California was a state that didn’t allow quad headlights in ’57? Many manufacturers had to design front ends for both dual and quad headlights, and most of them look a little unfinished with duals.

    • Aaron, no it wasn’t California. .if I recall it was maybe South Dakota and a mountain state. And the fenders remained the same with either dual and quad headlights…Chrysler, Imperial and Desoto fenders accommodated either, while Studebaker and Mercury had awkward add-on cladding for their quads.

      • But conversely the ’57/’58 Plymouth fenders couldn’t be swapped over because the headlight mounting section was completely different for quads versus duals.

    • Yes, that Imperial by Chrysler is certainly a beaut, and a whole sea change in styling from the previous year. For anyone who is interested there is a fantastic video available on Youtube featuring Don Wilson and the Sportsmen Quartet both of Jack Benny fame introducing the new Chrysler of 1955 called “Chrysler’s New One Hundred Million Dollar Look! It is 36 minutes in length in full color and has some very nice footage of a royal red 1955 Imperial. In watching it I thought to myself my what a gorgeous looking car, but the ’57 model shown is practically, but not quite, as nice. It is definitely worth watching if you haven’t had the opportunity to see it yet.

      • This is from a 1957 Lincoln Owner’s Manual: “The following states allow only one pair of driving lights: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.” (I know, that’s 15…)

        • Thanks, Kit. It makes you wonder why this Imperial had only two headlights, since it has California plates. I wonder if it was simply a car availability thing; if you wanted a certain car, you took what you got. I prefer four headlights on the Imperial, but having only two wouldn’t keep me from buying it.

          • Aaron, per an Imperial brochure, in regard to the regular Imperial model, as this one is (no crown emblems above the headlights), dual headlights were an extra cost option…they were a no cost option on the Imperial Crown and LeBaron.
            Also, the restrictions on duals were not limited to just some of the States; per a Canadian Chrysler brochure: “The installation of dual headlights is governed by Provincial legislation. Your dealer will be pleased to advise you of the regulations of your own Province.”

        • Interesting that only a few months into 1957 caledar year Kit, all those states approved quads, so when the `58s started production that summer, everyone had quads, including pickups.

          • Up here in the great (?) white north we were limited to 2 seal beams until 1958!
            Brian in Ontario Canada

        • Kit, that’s puzzling that Lincoln’s Owner’s Manual mentioned those states allowing “only one pair of driving lights” since Lincoln, in their brochure, promoted their (presumably standard equipment) Quadra-Lite Grille as having “a combination of headlights and road lights (to) give you a clearer view of the road and road shoulder”…and with no mention of any legal restrictions.

          That brings up several questions for us to ponder. Does “driving lights” include the Lincoln’s “road lights?” And might that suggest that those “road lights” would be dummy lights and wouldn’t be connected/wired in those 15 states? Otherwise, why would they bring up the subject in the Owner’s Manual since Lincolns had only one pair of headlights anyway? And besides that, who looks at the Owner’s Manual before buying? It seems the buyers in those 15 states might be in for a surprise when they finally got around to reading it.

  2. In the first photo, someone must be very proud of their brand-new (early edition) `57 Imperial hardtop! Built prior to 1/1/57, it still has the single headlamps to conform to certain states that had not legalized quads yet. In the last image showing the Vegas strip, front & center is a `58 Pontiac Chieftain sedan. Across the street I spot a `57 Ford Fairlane 2dr. Driving away from us appears to be (GASP!) another dreaded Renault Dauphine!! Those things sure got around in the late 50s-early 60s, didn’t they?

    • Hi Will, I don’t think that’s a Dauphine. The roof looks too tall and it seems to be bigger than a Renault. Something British, maybe?

      • Howard, I based my guess on the trim piece on the rear deck, and the front wheel arch as well as the roof. I can almost detect the side sculpting that resulted in trim ahead of the rear wheel openings. If I’m wrong, it’s something darn close.

        • Will, all those points occurred to me as well (especially the crease in the rear door leading to the engine cooling inlets) and I’d add the split, sliding windows in the rear door. They all seem to scream “Dauphine.” The apparent anomaly of size can simply be an optical illusion. Think of all those “brain teasers” you’ve seen of “Which whatever is longer, larger, etc.”

      • Looks a lot like a Ford Consul, thru 55/56. Not real sure about the trim on the decklid, though.
        Howard, perhaps you should look into joining the Wisconsin Society of Automotive Historians (google for website), lots of kindred spirits about WI auto history, we wrote the book on it (Wisconsin Cars and Trucks)!

  3. I’m pretty sure the Imperial is a ’57. I read, California was one of the few states that did not allow 4 headlights in ’57, but did in ’58. Pretty fancy car for the neighborhood in ’57. I believe the Rambler wagon is also a ’57, 1st year for the all Rambler name. Growing up in Milwaukee, these 2 and 3 tone Ramblers were a common site. 3rd pic, got to be right after the war, with a couple new Fords. Reno,,never been, never cared to been either.

        • I thought the same thing, (to me it looks even more like a later Rover), but that wouldn’t be very likely.I

          When in doubt, consider the odds.

          • Judging by the rear fender shape and the thin stainless trim, I believe the light green car behind the Imperial is a ’57-’59 English Ford Zephyr. My first car at 16-years old was an English Ford Consul MKII cabriolet… the model just under the top-of-the-line Zephyr.

    • A very obscure image on the street for sure. The only things we’ve got to work with is part of a quarter panel, some stainless side trim, the side of a bumper and a tail lamp. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s a ’53 thru ’55 Chrysler or Desoto sedan. That lime color was featured in a period Desoto brochure of the day. Maybe this car belongs to the family of the new ’57 Crown Coupe in the driveway? Maybe the owner just couldn’t part with it and decided to keep it for some other family member? With the ’57 Plymouth also on the street this neighborhood sure likes their Chrysler products. My kind of people!

    • AML,

      If you look really close at that car behind the Imperial in the lead picture I think you’ll see a a late 50’s Plymouth tailfin. (I thought it was a spoiler when I first looked at it.) That little bit of roofline kind of cinches the deal.

      In the “Reno” picture, I see a 58 Pontiac and a ’60 cream-colored Oldsmobile two cars back. Three cars back is a 54 Ford On the other side of the street a ’57 Ford. with a 55 Pontiac in front of it.

      I have to say, if that’s Reno, I don’t recognize any of those Casino’s , they’d be on Virginia Street and I used to live there in the late mid-90’s. I’d be more inclined to believe Vegas and Fremont Street because of Tex on the Pioneer Club and the fact that the Lucky Strike Club was in Vegas. .

  4. The lead photo is a ’57 Imperial Two-Door Southampton with its standard single headlights.

    In Photo #1, a ’57 Rambler Custom Cross Country

    In Photo #2, likely a ’47 Pontiac, could be either a Streamliner or Torpedo, next to a ’49 Ford Club Coupe (wider tulip panel behind the rear window vs a Tudor sedan and no Ford emblem above its fully-chromed license light/lift vs a ’50 with its partially-chromed lift and an emblem).

    In Photo #3, a ’58 Pontiac Star Chief Custom 4-door sedan ahead of a ’54 Dodge V-8 4-door sedan; it seems to be a Royal with its raised headlight rings. Then a ’60 Olds Holiday SportSedan, either a Super 88 or a Ninety-Eight with what appears to be chrome on the upper edge of the rear fender (vs a regular 88). Behind that, a ’54 Ford.
    Possibly a mid-‘50s Renault Dauphine in the street beside a ’55 Pontiac Catalina, probably a Star Chief with its stretched rear overhang vs a Chieftain.

    • Chris, it may be the 4th photo on the page but David has numbered it “Item 3 of 3” When I’m trying to identify cars with the photo enlarged, I’d rather not have to minimize it and scroll to the lead photo to count down to see which photo it is on the page. Instead, David has kindly posted an identifying number below the enlarged photo.

      • I receive my TOM in a weekly e-mail and there are no numbers on the photos so I have to count down from the first picture which makes it confusing.

        • Dave, the lead photo does not enlarge, but when you click on the other photos, they do enlarge and the numbered count (“Item 1 of 3,” “Item 2 of 3,” etc. appears in the lower right corner on the black border. Hope that helps.

      • Philip, I believe you’re right, but not because of the taillight which, when enlarged, appears to have the chrome extensions on the right and left of the red lens…shared by both US and Canadian Pontiacs. 1947 Chevy taillights had a consistent-width chrome bezel on all four sides of its rounded top and bottom, though basically rectangular shape.
        What is distinctively Canadian is the use of the US Chevy bumper (no rib along the bottom vs a US Pontiac and doesn’t wrap around as much as US Pontiac’s bumpers) and the use of US Chevy fenders with screw- off gas cap visible in the photo on the right fender…US Pontiacs had a gas filler door on the left fender. I’m looking at a family photo of my dad’s yellow 47 Pontiac convertible to help verify that bit.
        Interestingly, the 1950 Ontario license plate was white on black and in one version, the 4th character (of 5) is a letter that’s smaller than the other four numbers and has a small crown above the 3rd number…which seems to match the plate in the posted photo.
        Good eye!

  5. Hiding behind the truck of the palm tree on the right of the first picture is what appears to be another new ’57 model 2-door hardtop, perhaps a Plymouth.

    • I agree. It looks to also be a 57′ model. The neighborhood looks upscale, perhaps Hancock Park a district in Los Angeles. Wonder if it was a Chrysler photo shoot or the home of a dealer?

  6. in photo #3 on the right is a mid 40’s Pontiac Streamliner, next to that is a ’49 Ford shoe box (I think), next to that is a ’37 or ’38 Pontiac sedan, the coupe next to the red truck is a 37-38 Buick

  7. The 56 Rambler (Ed Anderson styling) invokes a ton of memories. The Nash/AMC car bodies were made in Milwaukee at the Nash plant on N Richards Street, and trucked to Kenosha on two tier trailers. At the Kenosha plant the vehicle was completed with engine, running gear, interior, etc. Over the years I saw hundreds of these trailers headed south on S 27th Street (US 41), en route to Kenosha. For years bodies were built in Milwaukee by an independent coach builder for Nash. Nash finally bought the operation and eventually produced only Nash products.

    • Hi Robert, I believe the wagon shown is a ’57. ’56 had a smaller turn signal.
      What you say about the cars in Milwaukee sure hits a nerve. I grew up on Appleton Av. ( Hy. 41) and Capitol Dr. The Rambler bodies were made at the plant on E. Capitol Dr.( now a Walmart) and were indeed shipped on 2 tier open flatbeds, 6 to 8 at a time, depending on the model. We used to ride our bikes down to the plant to watch the trucks, IH 4000 daycabs, if I remember, as the trucks didn’t come out to Appleton Ave. and turned on 27th st., which became Hy. 41 after National Ave. A truck passed by every 5 minutes, in all kinds of weather, which may or may not explain their premature rusting problem. I remember the colors were beautiful, and the wagons were the nicest.

      • Howard, also on a ’56 Rambler wagon, that orange panel on the side would have wrapped up onto the roof sides via the C-pillar, enclosing the rear-most and tailgate windows and extending forward above the doors’ windows to the windshield surround.

  8. Well, I have been educated about the quad headlights versus two headlights. I simply thought that in 1958 almost all cars were dressed with four lights and all the ’57’s had two lights.

  9. In the Rambled wagon photo…notice the luggage in the back seat and someone, who looks too big to be a kid, in the far back.
    Also, what is hanging in both front windows? At first I thought it was one of those old fashioned metal dearer-installed sun shades you saw on a lot of Ramblers back then, but they seem to have holes.
    Pull down window shades?
    Evaporative coolers?j

    • John, a very wild guess about what we see in the front windows. Could it be a gizmo that reduces wind noise when you have the window down a bit? I know – really reaching!

  10. Is that Christine from the Stephen King movie in #1?Sure has the eyebrows over the headlights for it.They slanted down in the movie to make it look like the car was whizzed.
    I think Rambler,Stude and Checker were competing witrh each other to win the the butt-ugly station wagon contest.
    Notice how all 3 in the early 60s resemble each other.
    Dark orange and black.Harley-Davey’s racing colors.Also countless colleges.
    Hunter S. Thompson tells a funny anecdote about someone getting whizzed at being annoyed by the Big Tex sign because it had a tape recording of him saying over and over”Howdy Pardner” 24/7 so they vandalized it but nobody cared to repair it.

    • I’ve got to disagree with your aesthetic opinions.
      The Rambled here is trying very hard to be current…three-tone paint and stylish reverse slope C-pillar.
      The Checker is well, funtional. Nothing overtly ugly or even questionable…and since it doesn’t have the huge trunk, arguably better looking than the sedan.
      Studebakers, what year are you hating on?
      Their 50s cars were fine, if a bit goofy with the two-door only years. The Larks were good, and the Brooks Stevens cars were even better…basically a sub-scale Jeep Wagoneer.

      • John, I share your opinion on the aesthetics of these Ramblers…to my eye they were truly distinctive designs… first on the market with a pillarless hardtop wagon and with their roll-down tailgate window starting in ’56, beat Mercury by a year, GM by 3 years and Ford by 5 years. Though Chrysler Corp. pioneered that feature in ’51 on Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge. Curiously Dodge dropped it from ‘53-56 and Chrysler/Desoto omitted it in ’55 and 56…resuming it across the board for the first time in ’57.
        With their spacious interiors yet much smaller exterior dimensions, reclining seats and affordable air conditioning, Ramblers had some highly-desirable features unmatched by others. But for those who generally follow the crowd, they probably didn’t have much appeal.

  11. I never know about quad headlights being outlawed in some states. INTERESTING. Makes u wonder what would have happened in ’58 with some of the designs or nosell if they had not changed their laws. IE ’58 corvette which has quad an integral part of their design.

    • Barry, it would be interesting to know if states prohibited them based on the number of headlights or on the size of the sealed-beam lights…5-3/4” duals vs the 7” singles that were set as the standard for 1940. I suspect it was the latter.

  12. One notable feature of the ’57 Imperial is that it featured curved glass in the side windows, which may have been a first.

  13. The last photo is definitely Las Vegas. The view is from Main Street and Fremont Street looking southeast down Fremont. The location of some of the businesses in the photo are shown below.

    15 Fremont, Monte Carlo Club
    22 Fremont, Ace (Package) Liquor
    23 Fremont, The Westerner
    25 Fremont, Pioneer Club
    101 Fremont, California Club
    117 Fremont, Lucky Strike Club
    401 Fremont, Cornet 5-10-15 Store

    Since September 1994 Fremont Street has been closed to traffic in this area, a 1/4 mile long barrel vault canopy was placed over the top of the street, stages were added for nightly performances, and the location is now called the Fremont Street Experience. There is also a nightly light parade using 12.5 million LED lights on the ceiling of the canopy. The attraction opened in December 1995.

  14. I wonder if anyone knows the color code for that Imperial? My guess is that it’s either Seafoam Aqua or Saturn Blue. Dad was a dealer and I have a few of the old color chips and fabric swatches but can’t tell which color is the one in the photo. Thanks

  15. Since I don’t think it has been mentioned above I’ll add this trivia to the 4 head light discussion. All 1957 Nash Ambassadors were designed and built with the new 4 head light arrangement. It was also the last year for the big Nashes which used a body shell first seen in the fall of ’51 on the 1952 Golden Anniversary models and known to Nash fans as the “Farina” body style since Nash had hired Pinin Farina to claim credit for at least some of the styling. Even though according to the famous Uncle Tom McCahill they were “more Wheatena than Farina”. I guess we can assume that enforcement of the old head light laws was either light or non-existent.

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