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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 201

Today’s colorful lead image filled with fifties cars appears to have been taken in high-class shopping district in a neighborhood of Los Angeles area. A clue in the photo that may be used to identify the exact location is the see-through placards with stars that are attached to every street light pole.

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.

  • This Cadillac certainly brightens up this grimy industrial area with vibrant color.

  • This smiling gentleman, certainly had the salesman check off all of the option boxes on the order form for this Chevrolet. 

  • It looks like spring was in the air on the farm when this young man was photographed with this convertible.


33 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 201

    • It is a Super 88 because you can just make out the round medallion on the front fender. The Ninety-Eights had a script emblem in that place.

      • Bruce, good catch! And yet, the new-for-‘55 Holiday Sedan (4-door hardtop) had a “Holiday” script emblem there on all three models and no emblem or medallion indicating the model number/name anywhere on the sides…though I’ve seen some photos of 88s and Super 88s with an “88” emblem or “Super 88” medallion mounted in various places on the front fender near the “Holiday” script…suggesting either the owners added them or dealers added them in a mid-year running change.

    • On the left side, toward the camera is of course a VW beetle… year is impossible to identify from that partial view. (Not sure if a full view would narrow it down to the proper year anyway.)
      Behind the ’55 Olds Super 88 ragtop, is a Mercedes, possibly a gull wing, but I’m no export on those cars so not sure about a model number.
      Behind the Mercedes appears to be a 1957 Cadillac with its hooded, single headlight.
      Pulling out from the curb behind the Caddy is a 1957 Sunliner convertible all decked out in Colonial White over Starmist Blue,.
      In front of that is a 1960 Thunderbird in Corinthian White.
      The wagon is a 1956 Ford Country Squire done up in Fiesta Red.
      To the left of the Country Squire is what looks to be a 1953 or 54 Ford or Mercury convertible.

      In the second photograph is a 1956 Cadillac Seville coupe in Alpine White over Princess Green.

      The third photo is that of a Tuxedo Black 1962 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport convertible. The checkered flag emblem on the front fender shows that this car has one of four upgraded V-8 engines… either a 250 hp, 327 cube, 300 hp, 327 cubic inch, a 380 hp, 409 cube mill, or a 409 hp, 409.

      • As Bruce Kunz noted, starting in 1956, Eldorado Seville was a coupe and Eldorado Biarritz was a convertible, and, starting in 1957, Eldorado Brougham was a sedan best known for a stainless steel roof, but there were no Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz coupes until 1976 and none after 1991.

        There were Eldorado Biarritz coupes (with stainless steel half roof) from 1979-1985 and 2000 Biarritz Classic coupes (with beige-and-brown two-tone paint), and Eldorado became ETC and ETS and ESC — and, to note the Golden Anniversary of the Eldorado, in 2002, Cadillac offered 1596 coupes in 3 batches of 532 (the number of Eldorados — all convertibles — built in 1953) but all were white or red, none were stainless steel-roofed, none were gold and none Biarritz.

        But for ONE.
        It had a PAST.
        It had a FUTURE.

        A customized car that corresponded to a custom-built car that was recently discussed here.

        Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Towne Coupe and Hispano-Suiza Town Coupe Fernandez & Darrin.

        Google an image search for “1968 Cadillac Biarritz show car” (or something similar thereto.)

        Google an image search for “J12 T68 Coupe de Ville Fernandez & Darrin,” and, as in Ronald Reagan’s favorite tales, find a car (not a pony) there (not in a barn, at Pebble Beach) in two-tone browns. Then look in to Old Motor 132470 and see the very same car in different hues.

        Robert M. Lee (BOS at 2006 PB with 1931 Daimler Double-Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe and 2009 WIC with 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet) bought #14036 (for $150k) in 1982. That J12 (built for Anthony Gustav de Rothschild [H-S had a store on Staftsbury Avenue and a service garage in Fulham]) was a “self-drive” car with its teardrop rear enclosed enough for passenger privacy. The LWB (146.5”) K6 (#15008) was a “Coupe Chauffeur.” At PB 2014, both cars wore identical paintwork. Less than two years later (on 1/28/2016), Lee died at age 88.

        Do you want to see his obit and car list, see more of the “brown” Town Coupe and the “gold-green” Towne Coupe to compare them, (and compare a fully décapotable H-S by F&D)? Cool!

        I hope the no-link police will let you wrench on these:

        wikimedia commons/wiki/Category:Robert M. Lee

        They are not actual or shortened links.
        They are not bumpers to hang httpses on.
        They are not bags for overheating radiators.
        They will require use of more brain than brawn.
        They will reward if you truly are into old motoring.

  1. 0pening photo, 1956 Ford Country Squire, a Square Bird , followed by 1957 Ford convertible. On the driver’s side of wagon is a 1953 Ford Hardtop. Fellow with the green Dodge Convertible looks like Dagwood Bumstead.

  2. Parked behind the Olds ragtop is a Mercedes 300 SL — appears to be a convertible with removable hardtop rather than a gull-wing. High class neighborhood in LA indeed.

  3. In the lead photo, behind the ’55 Olds identified by AML appears to be a Mercedes 300 SL with a hardtop followed by a likely ’57 Cadillac and further back, a ’57 Fairlane 500 Sunliner.
    In traffic a ’56 Ford Country Squire, and a ’60 T-bird beside a ’54 Ford Sunliner (simple lead edge on the side trim vs ‘a 52 or ’53).

    In Item 1 of 2, a ’56 Eldorado Coupe…the ’56 had a ribbed area on the side of the rear bumper but it’s very subtle, almost invisible in the photo. But it’s got the ‘56’s side emblem, hood ornament and higher bumper bullets than a ’55.
    Behind the Hudson spotted by AML is a greyish ’51 Ford (with one of the silliest bumper guards ever offered on a car) and possibly another ’51 further away in black.

    In Item 3 of 3 a ’46-’48 Dodge Custom convertible with chrome vs the more common white wheel “spats”…suggesting it may be a ’48…along with the young man’s white socks and more full-cut, very wide lapel, double-breasted suit that was quite popular in the very late ‘40s into the early ‘50s. It’s almost a zoot suit look, finally filtering down to suburban America from its jazz musician origins…and potential complaints over its “unpatriotic” ostentatious extravagance during the war would’ve subsided…making it a “safe” fashion choice.

  4. First photo…
    Third car parked is a Mercedes 300 SL roadster.
    Hopefully it survived, if so, it’s worth about a million dollars as roadsters values have pretty much caught up with their Gullwing brethren.The

    When I look at these photos, I always wonder if any of the cars are still around, finally, we have a likely candidate.

  5. In lead photo, up front is a 1956 Ford Country Squire fake-wood-trim station wagon, with the Thunderbird engine option – probably a 292 4-barrel with 198 hp, or perhaps the top option 312 4-barrel with 225 hp.

    Also in the pic I count at least five convertibles: the 55 Olds mentioned above, a 57-60 Mercedes 300SL behind the Olds, a turquoise and white 57 Ford behind a white 1960 Thunderbird, and – to the right of the red wagon – a 52-3-4 orangey-red Ford.

    • I had a 1955 two-toned two door Mercury Coupe for quite a few years back in the 1980’s, and I was quite surprised to discover that the engine in that car, which was 292 Cid and 188 HP, was basically the same engine that was used in the 1955 Ford Thunderbird. That car had a wheelbase of only 102’ compared with 119’ for the Mercury, and yet somehow the Ford engineers were able to get that big size Mercury engine into that little bird!

  6. As for the 62 Impala convertible in the second photo, the crossed-flags front fender emblems denoted at least a 327 engine (or larger). 283 powered 62 Chevies got a V emblem without the crossed flags, while the inline sixes, of course didn’t have a V emblem. Odds are this one had a 327, but a 4-speed 409 convertible Impala would have been really awesome.

  7. 1st Photo — High end, indeed. Behind the Olds appears to be a Mercedes Benz 300SL. Convertibles are plentiful; besides the Olds in the foreground I see a Square Bird, a 1957 Fairlane 500 and another, possibly Ford or Mercury at the far left next to the 1956 Ford Country Squire.

    2nd photo — The 1956 Eldorado is certainly out o f place in that neighborhood. Maybe in nost any neighborhood with it’s flashy optional gold turbo wheelcovers. Behind the Hudson is a 1950 (possibly 1951) Ford with a gargantuan bumper guard.

    3rd photo — The owner didn’t check off EVERY box. It’s not the legendary “409”. The crossed flags on the front fender identify it as having a 327 cu. inch engine. Looking at the clouded plastic back window the car appears to have some age on it when the picture was taken.

    4th photo — Looks like a 1947 or 1948 Dodge in an attractive color.

    • In the second photo the For is a ’51. The trunk lift is flat across the license plate. The ’50 Ford’s lift came part way down the sides of the license plate.

    • “298 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills” in Google’s Instantstreetview puts you at that spot: most buildings are the same, but facelifted (so what else would you expect there?) And it’s Dayton. As in Stoddard and Courier — first cars to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, and start (pace) the Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

      I could add something about Cadillac Eldorado but, unfortunately (as always), don’t have time.

      Maybe another day.

  8. 1st pic, a VW and what looks like a NSU or Simca in front of the Ford. 2nd pic looks like one of those “colorized” photos. I never remember seeing 50’s cars that color. 3rd pic, apparently, this is where this guy was in ’62, and last, going to prom in dad’s newly painted convertible. Don’t remember that color either.

    • Thanks for pointing out the VW Howard. It was the first vehicle that I spotted. I’m thinking it’s a ’58 or newer judging by the large rear window. I owned a ’59 VW from 1961 until about 4 years ago.

  9. A 300SL parked on the street, could only be Beverly Hills or Hollywood.

    The emerald green ’56 Eldorado Seville was the first year for a hardtop coupe in the series. Owner certainly looks proud, though the fellow in the brown coat trudging away with his groceries seems unimpressed.

    What could be better than a warm spring day, a shiny new Dodge Custom convertible with whitewalls and the top down and a new suit, time to go cruising!

    • Hi 58, I saw that guy too, shlepping along, probably thinking, “I live above a bowling alley, and this guys driving a new Caddy with gold wheel covers”,,, Sure was a sharp lookin’ car, hey?

      • I’m thinking that guy posed with the Eldo, may not be the owner. His clothes look pretty shabby for an owner of a car like that.
        There are a few possible scenarios here:

        1. He was passing by and asked his buddy to take a picture of him standing in front of the flagship Caddy coupe.
        2. His hat looks like that of a chauffeur. Now, although it’s not a limo, it is still possible that he drives for the owner. (Maybe the owner is disabled and can’t drive.)
        And, I’m going to bet that the car’s owner was a union goon, or a mobster… probably inside collecting an “insurance” payment from a tenant… CASH of course!

  10. I moved with my family from the east coast to Los Angeles in December of 1955; I was 12 years-old and in 7th grade. Cars had increasingly become more present in my awareness. The street scene in the lead photograph matches nearly identically with my memory of being on that street or one nearby at that time. Within a year or two after moving to L.A., I became a denizen of the backyards in Santa Monica where a boy could find an abandoned Model A roadster project which could be purchased for the princely sum of $50.00. Just this week I saw a 1951 Hudson all original parked at a neighborhood grocery store, I chatted briefly with the man who owned the car who, although younger than me knew the very small difference in details between the various year Hudsons which bracketed his ’51. There’s hope that many of the cars which seem to otherwise be going extinct will, in fact, survive.

  11. Picture 2 — It may be self-evident, but I think the reason the gentleman with the Cadillac is in that “industrial area” is that he’s just come out of the car wash. A lot of car washes have their entrance on the street and the exit dumps out on an alley behind the building where the motorist has a choice of direction to surrounding streets.

    The sign and the wet tire tracks would seem to support this.

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