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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 211

The black Oldsmobile hardtop on top of the platform at Grande Auto’s used car sales lot was getting all of the attention on the day the lead image was taken. To add a little color into the front row the management flanked it with a yellow on white compact car and a pink or salmon on black sedan. Can anyone identify the location of Grande Auto?

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 of interest in the photos. You can look back on all the earlier parts of this series here. The photos are via This Was Americar.

  • A mid-1960s view of a section of Niagara Falls and a number of period automobiles and vans.

  • This young boy’s family was traveling in style with this bright red two-door hardtop.

  • And finally, a rare 1950s station wagon seeing duty at the drag strip in the mid-196os.

53 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 211

  1. In the 2nd picture [1st expandable photograph], behind the street lamp, is a two-door 1960 BUICK Electra hardtop, not a 225.

    • Agree.
      A bit of trivia: The Electra 225, also know as the Duce and a Quarter, has a wheel base of
      225 inches, thus the number.

      • JJS, the 225 referred to the overall length, not the wheelbase….and that was only true for the ’59 and ’60 models but not the convertibles, which were just under 221” like the regular Electra. By 1961, all 225’s were under 220” and didn’t return to 225” overall length again until 1970.

      • I think you’ll find that 225 inches was the overall length, not the wheelbase. The Electra and Electra 225 had the same wheelbase, 126.3 inches. I believe the extra length of the Deuce-and-quarter was in the tail.

      • Uh, let’s try the overall LENGTH of the vehicle being 225″. A wheelbase of 225″ would be quite extraordinary! Don’t know that there has been a production non-commercial passenger vehicle with a wheelbase of nearly 19 feet! The wheelbase of 59-60 Buick 225 was 126.3″

  2. If the “Fuel Injection” script on the 1957 Nomad (that model itself was rare) is from the factory the combination would have made it a really rare Chevy.

    • The placement of the FI script appears to be too low. It was a popular aftermarket addition to add FI onto the sides of these cars to make folks think you had it. He may have had FI, but the script is shifted. It could have been a later unit too.

    • It certainly would be super rare. The FI script is correct for that year. I have only seen one genuine street driven 57 FI Chevy that was not a Corvette. That was sometime around 1960 – 61.

      • But this is drag racing and the FI unit may have been allowed in the class even if it didn’t happen in production. Hot Rod magazine did a couple of articles in the late 60’s or early 70’s on building a drag car for an NHRA stock class. If I remember correctly the car was a Chevy wagon of either 55, 56, or 57 model year. The idea of the wagon was to have more weight on the rear tires. The articles discussed the engine preparation in detail but that was to many years ago for me to remember if FI was allowed or not.

    • For 1957 fuel injections was also available on the Pontiac Bonneville. It probably had the same script on the side as the Chevrolet. I don’t know if fuel injection was available on other Pontiac models. The 1957 Safari was Pontiac’s version of the Nomad. I believe the Safari was a good bit rarer than the Nomad. I’ve only seen one or two at car shows. The 1957 and 1958 Chevrolets seem to be far more popular than the Pontiacs. They have very similar lines. The 1958 sport coupe of both had that fake air extraction vent at the back of the top, above the rear window.

  3. In the first photo the pink and black car is a ’56 plymouth 2 door hardtop, not a sedan. This was a popular color combination on Chrysler products as I remember in 1956.

    • Specifically, a 56 Plymouth Savoy 2 door hardtop. Belvedere would have had chromed backup and taillight housings. Although it is a sporty 2 door hardtop, it is powered by a flathead six – as shown by the horizontal trunk emblem. A V8 would have had a “V” emblem. Behind the pink and black 56 Plymouth is another 56 Plymouth (not a 55 as stated earlier). Most noticeable difference up front is that the 55 did not have “PLYMOUTH” letters across the bottom of the hood; 56 did. If we could see a bit more of the grille, we could tell if it was V8 or six powered. V8 had a gold “V” attached to the mesh in the center of the grille; six just had the mesh.

    • Agreed, a ‘56 Plymouth, and I believe it’s a Savoy Model. It may be a six cylinder too, by the trunk emblem.

  4. In the last photo a ’57 Chevy Nomad 2 door wagon is set up for racing. This one has the rare factory Fuel Injection option (see fender badge). It was also more expensive than the ’55-56’57 Chevy convertibles of the same years.

  5. Seems a shame to use up a perfectly good ‘57 Nomad like that

    I was thinking that ‘62 Galaxie 500 had nice wheels but looking closer, they and the whitewalls don’t match. Is that rust all along the bottom edge or a reflection of the grass. From a distance the car looks good but the reality looks like something else

    • You are correct on the tires not may matching. I bought a new “62” and that was the first year for narrow white walls.

  6. The 1957 Olds was stunning design. A fellow by the name of Art Cross was design chief at Olds when the 57 was developed. Also on the staff was Irv Rybicki, who very likely played a significant role in the final 57 product. Irv would go on to replace Bill Mitchell as VP GM Design.

    • I always liked the 57 Olds. If I’m seeing it correctly, this one is a four door sedan. The extra doors don’t harm its looks at all.

  7. The ’57 Olds deserves that podium, it was the nicest design. Just amazes me the difference in the ’58’s. Black was a very unusual color around that time. Colors were in and a black car was sinister, like a hearse. I rarely remember seeing any black cars growing up,,of course, I grew up in Milwaukee, home of the multi colored Ramblers. 2nd, grandma finally got o Niagara Falls. My grandparents did that,and was a very popular destination. 3rd, not sure that car belongs to that kids family, Asians had a rough time in America in the 60’s, and I doubt they’d be driving a new Galaxie 500. Last, it looks like the mid 60’s, so this car was already becoming a beater. It appears to have been driven to the track with street tires, jack and X wrench nearby. When drag racing was low buck fun.

    • Flat towing was a thing. T he 57 wagon was probably flat towed and then the track tires were installed. My father told me about flat towing in maybe 1964 his NASCAR car from South Carolina to Riverside, running in the race, flat towing back to South Carolina, all on the same tires!

      • And if anyone did have a trailer it was most likely open and may not even have had fenders. The tow bar and milk crate remind me of when “racing” was racing. That is a a substantial floor jack, tho.

    • Station wagons were popular vehicles for drag racing in the late fifties/early sixties. The theory was that the additional weight in the back would aid in traction; maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t. Plus, if one was on a low budget, you could carry your racing tires, jacks, tool boxes and whatever else you needed in the back of the wagon, where at least your stuff was in a locked vehicle and not in the bed of a pickup truck.

    • According to a site on NHRA classifications (The NHRA data is no longer accessible for some reason), J/S cars were expected to run in the low 12’s, and I would imagine only an FI 283 was capable of such times. Hence, the script is not there to brag about something not on the engine, but a real representation. As for the comments about Asians, there were plenty of accomplished Asians in the US during the 60’s and so I cannot agree that this was not this kid’s family car. His facial features speak of him being a Chinese American and as they were not subject to the depredations Japanese Americans suffered during WWII, many were quite successful at that time. And yes, drag racing used to be much more accessible to the common man, i.e. low buck fun. Finally, pretty funny to see that line up of VW’s in one spot and the harbinger of the Japanese wave parked there. Changing tastes in both the US and Canada were on the horizon.

  8. In the second photograph, I really like the color of that brand new looking 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. It was called ‘Prairie Bronze’ and was available on all Ford models, including the Mustang, only in the years 1964-1965. Makes quite an impression in my opinion- as does beautiful Niagara Falls!

    • It’s a Galaxie 500 “XL” with the little star shape near the back of the side chrome strip (visible through the lady’s legs), center console, and bucket seats. The latter were left tilted forward, probably to keep them from heating up too much in the summer sun. Vinyl can get skin-blistering HOT.

      • You spotted something that I never would have observed. I guess that makes a well designed hot looking Ford that much more hotter as there weren’t too many Galaxie 500 XL’s produced compared with the more standard (and very popular) Galaxie 500. Good eye!

  9. The only complaint I have with the “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome” series is that its on Fridays instead of on Mondays when its most needed cuz on Monday is when the weekly grind starts and we sure could use it then to get us through the rest of the week.

  10. Note the symmetrical design of the Metropolitan’s door stamping. That was done so that both door skins could be stamped with one dieset to save on production costs.

    • This comment reminds me of a story I read many years ago about the Healeys, father and son, who when first envisioning their (in) famous Bugeye Sprite hoped to get all four fenders from just two stamping dies. They abandoned the thought later.

      • AMC once did a show car, called Cavalier, where LF and RR fenders, doors (clamshell) hood and deck lid, front and rear bumpers and splash pans were interchangeable. It was in the mid-sixties and looked somewhat like the later-to-come Hornet.

  11. An HA Vauxhall Viva at the Falls.A bit of a curate’s egg ,and a dreadful record for corrosion,but good mechanicals.

  12. The signs on the pole behind the ’57 Olds say “90” and “Day”. I wonder if there is a third sign, not visible behind the car, saying “Warranty.” A lot of used car dealerships offered only a 30 day warranty in those days, and only on their best inventory. I remember getting a 30-day “50-50” one thousand mile warranty which meant that I would have to pay half the cost of any repairs needed within the 30 day one thousand mile limit. Fortunately, none were needed, since I had no way of preventing the dealer from jacking up the purported repair price so that my 50% covered the entirety of his costs (and maybe then some). In reality, the “warranty” was just a sales gimmick to help move the less desirable inventory. Cars and used car warranties are much better now, but the prices have sure gone up, too.

  13. I queried the experts at tri-five.com (55-56-57 Chevys) and one sleuth came back with some info from Jalopy Journal that a ’57 Nomad was raced by the Golonka Bros. at Englishtown, NJ in 1969, at least. That race track recently closed, alas.

  14. The sighting of the Vauxhall in the Niagra Falls photo confirms that this PC was taken on the Canadian side of the Falls ( hence the beautiful Vista).
    Happy Father’s Day!

  15. You are correct on the tires not may matching. I bought a new “62” and that was the first year for narrow white walls.

  16. Last weekend I judged a concours in Denver, and one car in our class was an original, unrestored, black ’57 Chevrolet hardtop with fuel injection. Sold new in Nebraska, a little surface patina here and there, but amazing overall. The wise owner has no plans to restore it.

    • A friend of mine’s neighbor had a still spanking new FI unit from a 57 Chevy. His dad & another friend of mine had a speed shop and he raced the 57. Perturbed that he couldn’t get it idle & run right, he took it off & put a conventional intake & carb on it.

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