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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 212

To start out this week’s “Kodachrome Car Photographs” feature we have a very unique mid-1950s Chicago street scene shot through the windshield of a transit bus. The spot is near the intersection of West North (IL-64) and North Laramie Avenues located about six miles northwest of the center of Chicago. In addition to describing and dating the vehicles visible out on West North Avenue, tell us the year, make, and model of the bus. View a modern-day image of the location here.

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.

  • Plastic wasn’t a form of payment for this ride. For the benefit of young readers would those of you in the know share with us exactly how the fare was paid and how change was made by the bus driver in the days long before the computer chip was invented.

  • A later view of train and automobile traffic near the “Windy City.”

  • Summer is officially here and so is the camping season, tell us the details this rig.

  • One of the two race track bred versions of a 1960s muscle car. 

55 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 212

  1. The chromed tubes near the driver’s right knee are a coin dispenser. A lever near the bottom of each tube dispensed one coin per press with a tube each for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Widely used by anyone making change on the job while on their feet or where an open till would be a disadvantage.

    • Especially the Good Humor guy!!

      The large metal box on the pedestal looks like an automatic fare payment system, likely paid in nickles or dimes with no change given and the reason for change maker next to the driver.

      I remember these machines making noise while sorting the coins into stacks and sometimes issuing a ticket stub, but that was ten years after this photo – higher fares requiring different combinations of coins.

      • I think the ticket stubs were actually transfer slips. There was a pad of them on the dash. Driver would tear one off and give it to a passenger requesting one.

        • The transfer “tickets” were usually time marked, the hours were listed on the transfer and a clip moved to the time of issue, tearing off the “ticket, or transfer” gave the holder of that ticket or transfer 2 hours free, or paid, ride in the transportation system.

      • It looks like one of those tire maker promo ashtrays. Glass center part was the ash tray and around the ‘rim’ was a rubber tire molded to look like whatever model was being promoted. The rubber tire kept the ashtray from sliding around.

  2. In the lead picture, driving toward the camera and viewed on the right side of the driver’s windshield, is a dark post WW2 NASH.

  3. The fellow standing beside the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona looks a bit older than I would’ve guessed, aftermarket mag wheels and all!

  4. Last picture is a Dodge Daytona Charger on Goodyear Polyglas tires.
    Don’t know who he is but I’m sure someone here does since there weren’t that many built.
    The other version is the Road Runner based Plymouth Superbird.
    They were so much faster on the track that NASCAR outlawed them.

    • This from Nascar banned the Superbird, Daytona, and all the other aerodynamic cars for the 1971 season. NASCAR officials were concerned with the dangerously high speeds as well the huge wing and nose cone as the cars didn’t look much like a stock car. The ban brought an end to the production of the Plymouth Superbird.

      From me: Also, because of the high insurance rates dealers couldn’t give Superbirds away. I worked for a dealer who had two Superbirds in stock for over a year.

      • Today special versions of cars like that can sit in dealer’s show room for over year trying to find the guy who will pay 10 grand or more over sticker for them.

        • I worked for a Buick dealer in the 70’s. They got in a 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1. 455 engine, special suspension, manual trans, bucket seats – the works. (Hot muscle car; Skylark body, standard engine was an inline 6.) I think the sticker was $5,800.00. Had many eager buyers – until they found out how much the insurance was gonna be. Sat on the lot for over a year. Finally, an older gentleman bought it for — (Drum roll) $3,000.00! And, boy, the dealer was glad to finally get rid of it.

          • I very nearly bought a British Racing Green ’70 GS Stage 1 in 1973. As a 20 year old, I could afford the car or the insurance, but not both. I don’t remember how much, but yes, the insurance was extremely high. Probably a good thing I didn’t get it as the fuel crisis hit later on.

      • Growing up in the ’70s we lived next door to a guy with a used car lot. He drove a lime green Superbird for months. Always in awe of the car. Asked him about the car once and he said he couldn’t give it away. “The only thing good about it is the damn wing sticks up so far it makes it easy to find in a big parking lot”.

    • I always thought the winged Superbirds. and Daytonas were the ugliest cars Chrysler ever made. I know they were built for a purpose, and were successful at that, but they are freakishly disproportioned, and just stone cold ugly. Glad they have a devoted following, as every car deserves a good home.

    • I’ve read they didn’t outlaw them directly. They changed the rules so it (and others) could only run a 305 CI engine.
      Sort of like excessive Balance of Performance weight and air intake penalties the sports car organizations like the WEC will do if you are too successful.

  5. In the Lead Photo, the Cadillac on the left appears to be a ’50, likely a Series 62 6-window Sedan (smaller bumper guard bullets vs a ’51). The Buick behind it would be a ’50 though missing its 9 bumper guard teeth…later model had a distinct dip in the bumper beneath the grille and larger cut-off bullets. Seen behind it, a ’55 Ford Fairlane and a ’40-’51 Packard.

    In Item 2 of 4, a ’60 Olds (not a 98 which had fatter side trim immediately behind the front wheel opening) over the hood of the ’55 Buick Super that AML identified.
    The ’58 Olds 2-door sedan would be a Dynamic 88 (no “Oldsmobile” lettering on the lower trunk lid vs a Super 88, which also didn’t offer a 2-door sedan).

    In Item 3 of 4, of course a ’60 El Camino with Deluxe trim and a ’57 Ford Custom or Custom 300 with its simpler rear bumper vs the Fairlanes…probably a 300 with its additional chrome window trim.

    In Item 4 of 4, a ’69 Charger Daytona…smaller “Daytona” lettering vs a ’70.

      • I believe that the two-toned Packard parked on the right hand side of the street is a ‘46-‘47 Club Sedan rather than the less popular ’48-’50 model. Although both designs look quite similar when viewed from the back – and particularly when you cannot view the entire car – there is one sure way that you can tell the difference between the two. And that is the rear window on the earlier model is not balanced equally but rather disproportionately over to the right and you can clearly observe this on that car. That small flaw though was corrected on the new more bulky looking designs.

      • Morgan, I was referring to the black Packard driving towards the bus driver, not the one at the curb to the right. But that’s an interesting quirk about the rear window…though the more I thought about it , it did make some sense, since for the driver’s purposes, when glancing over his or her shoulder, the blind spot of the C-pillar was a bit reduced. That said, when drivers looked in the rear view mirror, a car following would at first appear to be not directly behind…and possibly beginning to attempt to pass. That is, until the driver became used to the off-center view.

        • Thanks for the feedback. Are you sure that car is actually a Packard, as AML had earlier identified it as a post war Nash? I would be inclined to agree with him, although its really hard to tell at that distance. It looks like there is another ’46-’47 Packard parked under the Shell gas station sign but again it’s just too far off to make a positive identification.

          • I’ll vote for the Nash. It had a very tapered rear end. The Packard’s trunk was more square with less taper

    • Car 32 was a 48-seat coach smoker built in 1929 by Standard Steel. The East Troy Railroad has sister cars 30 and 33, the former of which is still operated on occasion. I believe car 32 is in storage at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

  6. Pretty sure that’s a 55 Roadmaster . The 1960 El Camino is well past its capacity, must be some suspension modification. Think that’s a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, twin to the Plymouth Superbird. The interurban coach is a 48 seat smoker purchased from Standard Steel in 1929.

    • Bill, if that Buick were a Roadmaster, it would have “Roadmaster” in script on the trunk lid vs the emblem seen here and two handles closer to the bumper. Also it would have no insignia on the side and have a chrome panel aft of the rear wheel. In ’55, Buick doled out 4 portholes to all models except the 3-hole Special, thereby confusing identification.

    • I might disagree with Will about the camper. I’m guessing low-buck, but not homemade. I wouldn’t think a home built model would have rounded corners, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong.

  7. I thought Gene would recognize the bus. Could it have been a Flxible Twin Coach by this time? Those big cylinders behind the windshield are air operated wipers, and appears to be an automatic, to the left of the meter. The truck through the drivers side coming at us appears to be a GMC and is that currency behind the coin changer? Things sure have changed. I didn’t ride the bus much, but in Milwaukee, you always asked for a “transfer”. I believe you paid like a quarter, and could ride the bus all day via transfers. 2nd, a chilly day in the Windy City, and the Buick has a left brake light out. 3rd pic defies common logic, that camper wasn’t mean’t for an El Camino, and very creative with the mirrors, by the way, if they do anything at all. Doesn’t look like a very fun spot for camping, although, the kid is in a swimsuit, there are water skis and a boat gas tank,,,this guy pulling a boat with this rig too? Good heavens, and last, I highly doubt that’s his car, more like the van and camper. Clearly the kid was one of the few that actually bought these. I remember, dealers couldn’t give them away, and many had the nose and wing removed and sold as regular Chargers. It sure whupped them all on the race tracks ,,for a while. I remember, USAC ran them a bit longer than NASCAR, and had similar great results. Anybody remember Norm Nelson from the Great Lakes area? He had a couple Superbirds and cleaned up on everyone.

    • Hi Howard, I used to ride the MCTS buses a lot in the late-70’s – early ’80’s. Yes, they were called “transfers”. I might have saved some at home so will check and report back on what they looked like. As I recall, they had the hour in a column and another column divided into 20 minute increments. You didn’t get all day rides, you got something like an hour or maybe it was two. The columns were arranged so the driver would have to slant the stack of transfers every so often so when he tore one off, it would be correct for that time period. The funniest thing I still remember after all these years is some drivers would look at you with disdain for asking for a transfer. They’d reach for it ever so slowly, tear it off quickly against the sharp edge of the clamp and hand it to you slowly while giving you the stink-eye. Then later, you’d sometimes wait anxiously for a bus hoping it would arrive before your transfer expired.

  8. Wiper motors – vacuum, compressed air, or hydraulic?
    And fare was payed with CASH. In coins made of 900 fine SILVER (unless you used pennies or paper. Small denomination paper money was often a SILVER CERTIVICATE – look it up). Change was dispensed from that arrangement of verical tubes which the driver’s right knee points at.

  9. Howard, Milwaukee was evidently generous. In Minneapolis I rode the city bus to high school downtown and later to the U of M….our transfers were good for only 2 hours. It was ok for a quick errand, but going downtown took about 40-45 minutes, so for more than a quick errand, you learned to ask for a transfer as you got OFF the bus…drivers mostly allowed that, but some wouldn’t.

  10. Being of the era of the Daytona, I noticed unmatched mags, shackles, rattle can stripe kit. Probably father or grandfather beside the car.

  11. I was a bus driver for almost seven years back in the 90’s. That wiper blade across the drivers window would be a safety hazard.
    Cash out and about, haven’t seen that in 20+ years. Driver is braking for the yellow light. Looks like a gear selector above the foot throttle.
    The best thing about being a bus driver was the old ladies around Christmas time, would bring treats for the drivers they liked..I ate well!

    • And it seems each one had two decals on the back, one on each side of the door: A jumping trout and a buck with a huge rack of antlers.

  12. 69 Dodge Daytona complete with ‘custom’ paint and mismatched mag wheels! The fronts are American 200S’s, and if in the same brand family, the rears would be TorqThrusts, but the spokes dont look right; think they are E-T brand from the shape. Looks like Grandpa is posing, wondering why in the world grandson wants such an odd looking car…

  13. Pic #2 is of the South Shore Line train departing the Hammond, IN station located at 4531 Hohman Av.

    Both the South Shore Line and the Homan Av station are still operating.

  14. I think the one who put in the pic here with the -69 Charger Daytona didnt knew exactly what it was, cause if one wants to download the pic one can see that it says “bird” in the copy text. 🙂

  15. I often look at photographs and think how and why. The bus photo is not just another snapshot but was taken for a reason, perhaps by a photographer for the bus company. Whatever, he managed to balance the interior and exterior light levels by using a fill flash to lighten the interior.

  16. A friend of my dad had the job of emptying the tills on the city buses in Chattanooga in the 1950’s. He would pull out old or unusual coins and had an impressive accumulation — several jars of Indian head pennies, numerous V-nickels and Barber dimes and even older coins. He gave me an almost perfect shield nickel from 1868 that had come from one of the buses.

    P.S. I know you’re wondering and I don’t know for sure, but I assume he reimbursed the bus company for the coins.


  17. I can’t help but wonder why use an El Camino to tote around a camper like that rather than a regular pickup.

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