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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 194

Image going back in time about sixty-five years ago and spending a long weekend touring the scenic Napa Valley while viewing the vineyards and visiting the wineries in Northern California with this Buick convertible; wouldn’t that be an exceptional outing?

Sorry to disrupt your vision of such an enjoyable adventure, but do tell us all about this automobile and the aftermarket accessories that are added to it.

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.

  • Three Corvette enthusiasts meeting back in the period when many for these cars were driven year round. Tell us what you know about the set of wheels visible on the Vette on the far-right. 

  • An very interesting scene in the paddock at a road racing meet in mid-sixties.

  • An interesting view of a steam-powered train passing by this parking lot filled with automobiles and commercial vehicles.


68 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 194

  1. In the 4th [last] picture, on the right, is a 1951 CHEVROLET Styleline Deluxe Station wagon in poor shape; and on the far left is a tan 1949 or possibly a ’50 PACKARD, non-Custom model.

  2. Although I admire the look of the red Cheetah GTS, I’m drawn even more to the little cream Morris Minor panel van!

    • I would definitely say a used car lot as there are no license plates on the front bumpers on any of the cars. I would imagine that the next destination that the Chevy wagon would be heading for is the scrap yard as there’s just too much damage on its right front end to make it worth being salvageable.

  3. The #64 sports car is a Cheetah, designed and engineered by the ledgendary Bill Thomas, the Chevrolet racing guru. It used Chevrolet engines, trans, and other components. Thomas wanted to build a car that would compete with the Cobra.

  4. I was born there well over 60 years ago and I can remember having to stop the car because tens of thousands of quail would be crossing the road. This happened all the time there. I remember their little heads bobbing up and down as they crossed the road, quite the sight!

  5. Looks like that Chevy wagon was just left sitting where it got hit…the tire is ripped and flat, so they didn’t drive it there. Parking lot hit and run maybe?

  6. In Photo #1, a ’60 Dodge Polara 4-door HT opposite a ’55 Pontiac 4-door sedan…the proportions of the rear deck suggest a Chieftain and the chrome on the beltline, an 870 model.

    In Photo #2, a ’64 Dodge 330 wagon next to a Moris Minor van. Out on the road a ’65 Olds Vista-Cruiser, possibly a ’64 or ’65 Stingray and a ’64 or later A-100 Sportsman van.

    In Photo #3, a ’48-50 Packard, a ’54 Ford Customline…the longer rear quarter window suggests a Tudor Sedan vs a Club Coupe, a ’40 Pontiac Touring Sedan, possibly a ’51 Chevy Styleline Deluxe wagon (sidetrim appears to have the ‘51’s distinctive wide portion aft of the wheel) and likely a late 40s International Panel van…with possibly a red/orange Metro behind it, though the side by the roof looks to be too arched. A ’51 or ’52 Chevy off to the right.

  7. The Corvettes appear to me to have hubcaps. Wire wheels for American cars were fairly hard to find back then. And I’ll take the wrecked woodie in the last picture

      • I agree the black ‘Vette is wearing real wire wheels, as did the one used in the first season of TV’s Route 66.
        They were probably made by Kelsey-Hayes which made wires for different 50s cars. Some were
        optional (2-Seater T-Birds, Chysler 300s, etc.) from dealers, others installed aftermarket. They are often seen on restored cars from that era but at $700/set they were not often seen back in the day.

        IIRC ’53/’54 Buick Skylarks and Caddy Eldorados had them as OEM standard.

        • Putting wire wheels on a torquey Corvette (not a ’53-54) could have been asking for trouble. The first thing Shelby did with the GT40 was to replace the wire wheels with alloys.

        • Everything ive read state the wheels used on the 60-61 vets on rt 66 were Dayton. A little custom work done by George Barris.

          Long live Buzz and Tod !!!!!!!!!!!

          • Wow. Kelsey-Hayes must have had the world’s best publicist. Either that, or people just like the name…a lot!

            The Vette on the left appears to be wearing Lyons simulated wire wheel covers, but certainly not wheels. The Corvette on the right–if those are real wire wheels and not Riviera wire wheel covers–then the wheels would have to be Daytons, not K-H.

            Thanks for the great, great photos!

  8. My, that shiny `49 Buick Super cvt. sure looks fitting near the Napa Valley sign! Only car more at-home in that photo would be a DeVille! Ah…..a meeting of the Corvette Boys, even in winter! I’d like the `60 Dodge Matador 4dr. hardtop in the street behind them instead. The last photo is a blue-collar special–someone’s limping by with their wrecked `49 Chevy wagon, while someone else next to it is holding on to their `40 Pontiac sedan well into the 1950s.
    Howard….is that an IHC panel delivery next to the Chevy wagon?

  9. In the last photo the steam engine is a “Pacific” 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. It’s the mid 1950’s I’d guess. The light blue Ford sedan in the front row looks like a 1954 model. These were the last years for main line steam locomotives and diesels would soon take over.

    • The B&O was among other things one of the great carriers of Appalachian coal, so they held onto steam longer than some other RR’s, even longer than the eastern Pennsylvania anthracite carriers, such as the Reading and Lehigh Valley R.R. The “coal car” also carried the water needed to keep the steam boiler going- it was a rather efficient system.

    • I would like to add that the steam engine in thee above photograph is a B&O Pacific Type, one of the President class,, The numbering on these began with George Washington as 5300. The locomotive in the above photo looks to be # 5318 which would make it The President Garfield. The tender is full, so it’s just been under a coaling tower.

    • Always loved the Cheetah since I first saw one race at Riverside, just pulling away strongly from the bevy of Cobras trying to catch it on the back straight!. However, upon further reading, I found that it was a hell (literally) of car to race since the placement of the engine so close to the driver made the cockpit unbearably hot after a few laps! The engine had overheating problems as well, but the big problem was it was first designed to be a cruiser demo model to show Chevy and the frame was not built to withstand cornering stresses! Still see that red Cheetah flashing down the back straight!!

  10. In the first photo Buick has Headlight shades, Bumper guards, Chrome glamor rings with moon hub caps, Chrome stone guards Front and rear. Not sure about the radio ant.

    • Dave, those moon hubcaps are standard for Buicks and have an embossed “Buick” across the centers. I believe the trim rings were standard on the Super, optional on the Special…only the Roadmaster had full wheelcovers. The windshield header-mounted antennae was a Buick feature from 1940 through ’53 (except on the chopped windshield ’53 Skylark). They were great for picking up distant radio stations, as you could angle them as needed with a twist of an inside knob.

  11. That’s a pretty fancy Buick for right after the war. It wasn’t the boom mike operators car, that’s for sure. 2nd pic, clearly a midwest locale. I think the car behind the black Vette is a Packard. The 3rd pic, I’m sure there was a Louis MG in Milwaukee. Obviously, I can’t name the track, probably Road America. Last, I think that’s some kind of storage yard. Lot of trucks. The B&O steam engine,,,”this train got the disappearin’ railroad blues”,,,

    • Howard, I think the car behind the black Corvette is a ’55 Pontiac Chieftain sedan…in its very typical dark green. I’d say Road America is a safe bet.

    • Louis Auto Sales, Inc. was the MG dealer in Milwaukee. They were located at 4106 N. 76th Street. That would make it logical that the race track would be Road America in Elkhart Lake, which would be about 60 miles away.

      • Thank you, John. Road America would be a long ride for the Morris. RA usually attracted regional drivers, I wonder who had a Cheetah in the area?

        • Very many years ago, I found a MM Panel Van in Fond du Lac, WI. It was owned by a guy who had a custom glass shop there. He used it for deliveries and got it from a foreign car shop in that area (whose name escapes me at the moment), and it supposedly came from a MG place in Milwaukee. I was not able to work a deal with him so I couldn’t add it to my small fleet of MM’s at the time.
          A couple of years ago, my girlfriend was invited to bring her ’59 MM Panel Van to a show at RA. She lives in Racine, and yes it is a long trip in a Minor, about 90 miles, but then she has also had it at the Iola show. Kinda an Iron Butt run for cars.

  12. Those look like Dayton wire wheel conversions judging by the large type flange at the brake drum side of the wheel hub.

  13. To bad the Buick convertible doesn’t have a White convertible top! Had a 1959 225 Electra convertible with White top that I scrubbed every Saturday with Comet cleanser.

  14. The Corvette to the right is wearing a set of 1964 Buick Riviera wire wheel hubcaps – I had a set on my ’64 Riviera.

  15. The #64 Cheetah was raced by Bud Clusserath, running a 377 Rochester fuel injected small block which made a 215mph run at Daytona. This photo was taken at Road America, it’s raining so they’re changing from slicks to narrower grooved rain tires. The car was sold to Sam Goin who raced it with an L84 327. Goin sold the Cheetah in 2018 for $625,000.

  16. In the Sheets photo, behind the Dodge wagon .a a black Vista Cruiser, behind that is a White C2 Corvette coupe….but it looks odd.
    It looks like the back glass is covered over, but probably a bad reflection, or given the venue, might it be a racing modification?
    Cheetahs were rare, so probably a big race at a big venue…which might increase the chance of it being a modified late model Corvette.

  17. The ‘Pacific’ type 4-6-2 steam locomotives with their tall driver wheels were primarily passenger train locomotives, built for speed rather than massive drawbar power for heavy freights. The car following the tender looks to be baggage car which suggest this was a passenger train.

    The trucks and sedan delivery group may have been inventory of a commercial fleet dealer. The damaged Chevy station wagon awaiting repair before being made available. Home grocery delivery was still a common service then, the station wagon popular for that use.

    The ’54 Ford, ’40 Pontiac and ’49-’50 Packard were employee cars.

  18. The comments here are just as interesting as the pictures.
    The B&O RailRoad had a place on the Monopoly game.
    How many people know that “strumming to the rhythm that the drivers made…” in Johnny B. Goode song refers to locomotive driver wheels.Lots of people think it refers to the locomotive driver as in engineer.
    And that photo could have been taken by O. Winston Link,the great railroad photographer who shot the passing of the N&W steam locomotives in the 50s

    • One of my favorite photographers, he made terrific night shots with complicated flashbulb mechanisms and large-format (4×5) cameras. His subjects were mostly Norfolk & Western steam trains in the mid-South , and his photos are readily seen in several books.

      • The Norfolk & Western was one of the last railroads to abandon coal-fired steam locomotives. Perhaps understandable since nearly all of their business was hauling coal from the Appalachian coal fields to the Chesapeake Bay ports. I could be wrong but I think I remember reading that the N&W actually ended up constructing some of their final coal burners at their own shops because no one was willing to manufacture the steamers for them.

      • I can’t say for sure, but I believe my grandfather had a book of his, with lots of pictures. As I recall, he used his last flashbulbs for a steam shot as they were being phased out. Unfortunately, he forgot to put film in his camera! I believe it was a large format single exposure film he used. Don’t quote me though.

  19. The ’54 Ford in the last photo looks like the car Barney Fife bought for $300 on a recent rerun episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Although, Barney’s car was black. It was a beautiful looking car despite everything that was wrong with it.

  20. I notice no one’s mentioned the numerous panel deliveries in the locomotive picture; I count at least five. One assumes that’s not coincidental, but I won’t venture a guess as to the reason.

  21. Regarding Wire Wheel on a Corvette – they tend to be Dayton Wire Wheels and when the TV show Route 66 came out and the 1960 Corvette “that was a star in it’s production” featured Dayton Wires and their popularity exploded (that being said, a set of Dayton Wire Wheels” has never been cheap and at the time many people equally had no idea where to buy them no matter how much they liked the look).

  22. Found this as to the Corvette:
    During the planning phase of the television series Route 66, the “King of Kustomizers” George Barris, then consulting for General Motors, was asked how he could make the Corvette more interesting to the viewing public and a centerpiece of the show. He recommended that the car be equipped with authentic wire wheels, painted gray in color and centered with big, brightly chromed spinners. And so the 1960 Corvette that debuted with Tod and Buz on the night of October 7, 1960, featured a set of dental drive wire wheels manufactured by a small company in Xenia, Ohio; Dayton Wheel Products, one of only a handful of firms producing real ones.
    Each weekly episode that followed showcased those wire wheels, even after the boys had unceremoniously switched to a 1961 Corvette, until the twenty-second week when the script for the April 7, 1961, episode called for Tod to sell his knock-offs to raise $300 for gambling money. Afterwards, the Corvette featured original equipment wheel covers for the rest of the season. But by then, true wire wheels had grown in popularity as an aftermarket accessory, so much so that many Chevy dealerships offered Dayton’s as optional equipment.

    • Rounded and strong “teeth” that the driving and braking forces travel thru farther out on the hub and wheel center, as opposed to splines on the OD of the hub and the ID of the center of the wheel that are weaker and wear quickly if the knockoff loosens up.

  23. In the winter meeting of the Corvette club the Corvettes with the wire wheels are likely 60 models and I agree that one is wearing Buick wire wheel caps. Hard to tell if the white car is a 53, 54, or 55. And the Vette in the paddock shot is probably a 64 coupe based on the vents in the pillar behind the door. 63’s didn’t have vents, just two indentations.

    • Boone’s Farm is produced by E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto, California. Modesto is not in Napa Valley. The Napa Valley welcome signs (there are two of them) have been restored. They no longer list the different wineries, but instead have the Robert Louis Stevenson quote “. . . and the wine is bottled poetry . . .”

      • Probably don’t currently list all the wineries as there are so many now. Back then, there just weren’t a lot of them, so they included Beaulieu Vinyards which is in Sonoma Valley. Took a long time for the California wine industry to recover from Prohibition. Many vineyards torn out to make room for other crops.

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