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Parking Lot Series: Westgate Shopping Center Asheville, North Carolina

Today’s feature image is an interesting early-1960s exercise in time-exposure photography. The picture captures the movement of automobile head and taillights in the parking lot at the northern side of the Westgate Shopping Center located in Asheville, North Carolina. The Shopping Center has survived and is between Cliff Street and the Westgate Parkway next to the French Broad River about two miles west of the center of the City. The Bank of Asheville building has not survived.

The majority of the vehicles in the scene date to the fifties although there are a number of early-1960s cars visible along with a Model “A” and a mid-1930s Ford sedan. Note the couple on the far-right sitting in a 1950s Packard with the lights on who apparently did not move at all while the time-exposure was taken.

Share with us what you find of interest in this Huge M. Morton photograph courtesy of the East Carolina University Collections.

View over seventy-five other images in the Parking Lot Series.

19 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Westgate Shopping Center Asheville, North Carolina

  1. David,

    Great picture !! The photograph is very clear which makes it easy to identify numerous cars, so shall only comment on a few, so others have chance to add their “two-cents.”

    The PACKARD you pointed out on the right looks like a 1951 PACKARD 200; in front of this vehicle is a two-tone gray 1953 BUICK.


  2. Is that a 63 Rambled Classic on the fourth row, fourth from left?
    Also, at least three Corvairs.
    And a ’59 Ford next to the Packatd.

  3. Behind the dark ’60 Pontiac in the lower right there appears to be a ’57 DeSoto (though something seems a bit off with the bumper) next to a white ’60 Corvair sedan and in pale olive, a likely ’61 Corvair coupe (narrower emblem above the plate vs a ‘60’s “Chevrolet” script and vs a ’62or ’63 with either crossed flags, or disk for a Spyder, beneath “Corvair” lettering).

    The newest I see are a dark ’63 Dodge four rows up beside a white ’60 or ’61 Valiant and a ’63 Rambler another row up between a black over red early-‘50s Buick (?) and a dark grey ’54 Chevy and ahead of a pale green ’58 Olds.

    Of interest, mid-way up on the right, a ’51 or ’52 Packard next to a two tone ‘59 Ford…seems to have the broad “Fairlane 500” script on the trunk lid.

  4. Seen to the right of the Packard appears to be a ’57 Buick…likely a Special or Century with maybe one broad strap semi-visible on its rear window.
    Upper left there seems to be another B-body ’57 Buick next to a mid/late 30s coupe with outside spare, possibly a ’36 Ford.
    Up towards the front and side by side, a ’58 Plymouth coupe somewhat towered over by a ’57 Chevy that seems to be missing its grille bar and appears to have fender skirts

  5. That’s simply a long exposure (due to the relatively insensitive color film available at the time, with iso eqivalents as low as 6) rather than time lapse. The exposure was at least in the six to eight second range.
    Time lapse photography was often done with a movie camera, for instance one frame every 10 minutes for say three days of a seed germinating, then when viewed at normal speed the seed sprouts before our eyes. With digital photography it’s easier than ever.

  6. Mopar memories continue for me this week with the ’57 DeSoto. Tail fin “stabilizers” really show off at this angle! Behind a ’60 Pontiac in the lower right .

  7. I’d opine the Packard is a ’54 Clipper by the ’53-’54 style grille insert bar and the ’54-Clipper-only chrome wrap-around trims under the larger wrap-around bars which were carried over from the prior year.

    W.T. Grants Co. stores were common in many smaller cities and towns at one time. Apparently, in the late 1970’s, an ill-conceived program to increase sales by humiliating store managers who didn’t produce caused those manager to extend store credit to anyone who walked in the door whether credit-worthy or not. While sales increased, so did massive uncollectable bad debts causing W.T. Grant to go bankrupt then liquidate.

  8. I’m trying to track the movement of the vehicles (almost impossible) by the light trails. The ’59 Chevy? parked under the Winn-Dixie sign appears to have reversed quite a distance to park.

  9. I don’t see many pictures with a Valiant in them. I always thought they were nice looking cars and I still have my friction drive version on my bookshelf.
    I wonder if the pre-war cars had been converted into hot rods.

  10. I used to go to that shopping center with my Dad to Kiwannis Club Meetings in one of the two diners there on Tuesday night…I searching for one of his Oldsmobilesi n this picture…I’m quite sure that I knew or know owners or children of owners of some of these very cars. I love the picture makes my heart Happy and Glad to see it.

  11. Oh, how I remember WT Grants n New Castle, Indiana! Along with Perfect Circle (my great uncle’s company) and Chrysler (formerly Maxwell-Briscoe)!

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