An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 213

Today’s lead image gives us an excellent view of the rear side of half a dozen late-1950s to early ’60s cars and a study in contrasts. Within a time frame of five years, the rear end styling of the automobiles in the photo went from over the top 1950s excess to the simpler and smoother designs of the early-1960s. Share with us what you find of interest in this picture.

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 springtime view of a parking lot filled with 1960s vehicles. 

  • This photo taken in Kuwait in the early-1960s contains American, British, and German vehicles.

  • And finally, mom is preparing lunch on the tailgate of this station wagon on summer road trip.

45 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 213

  1. In the lead picture, parked in front of the ISLANDER’s front door, is a rare two-tone 1961 BUICK hardtop sedan, either a LeSaber or Invicta.

    • AML, I’m fairly sure it’s a LeSabre. The two-tone option wasn’t chosen by many, and it’s a shame. It really accentuated the lines of the `61 Buicks. I also spot a `57 DeSoto Firedome Sportsman 4dr. HT, next to a `58 Olds Super 88 4dr. sedan.
      The photo taken in Kuwait has far too many for me to ID; a real “buffet” of pastel colors and interesting models. But among the parked cars I see a white `60 Chrysler hardtop with a toilet seat on the deck lid that possibly could be a 300F, and a two-tone blue `59 Dodge Coronet 2dr. sedan.

      (I could study this photo all day if i had the time!)

      • Will,

        Thanks for the comments.

        Agree with you that the ’61 BUICK is a LeSabre. After enlarging the picture, noticed that there is “script” on the passenger’s side below the trunk lid. The Invicta has a rectangle plaque in the same location.

        When a kid, a neighbor had a brown with tan accent on the sides 1961 BUICK Invicta two-door [with bubble-top]. If memory serves me correctly, the interior had the same combination colors. You’re certainly correct that, with the accent color, these cars were really something !! My mother had a ’61 BUICK Special. The Invicta won the looks and also had a more powerful engine than anything offered in LeSabre.

        AML

      • Question for you Will, and also Luk Martens if he sees this: how do you ID the ’58 Olds as a Super 88 and not a 98? I am interested in knowing what you saw that differentiates the two. Thanks.

        • As GHWB said, it is prudent to say it is not a Dynamic 88, because it shows the above-gutter roof brightwork that was worn by both Super 88 and 98 post sedans.

          Without seeing wheelcovers and front clip, it is risky to be more specific.

          Check out “The Mobile Look”
          in lov2xlr8 bilder 3, 6 and 10.

  2. In the 3rd photograph, parked in the lower right corner of the picture, is a two-tone 1960 CHEVROLET Kingswood station-wagon or possibly a Parkwood.

  3. Top pic : indeed a nice bunch of full-size USA-cars, not a compact or import in sight.
    form left to right
    – 1957 or 1958 Plymouth
    – 1960 Chevrolet Impala
    – 1962 Pontiac (seems a plain low-end series 2-door post sedan). This is the newest car in this pic.
    – 1961 Buick (I think 2-tone job only available on Invicta, not sure though)
    – 1957 DeSoto 4 door hardtop, the oldest one here but still looking sharp
    – 1958 Oldsmobile 88 (a pillared sedan, not hardtop)
    – 1961 Mercury

  4. In the last photo of this set it looks a good meal was an important part of the preparation for the trip. I can see multiple coolers, a propane bottle cook top and what appears to be some kind of meat being sliced up on a cutting board. In addition to the difficulty of a sanitary clean up, packing and unpacking would involve quite an effort. I also remember those old coolers were not the most efficient. If they are all full everyone will need to eat a lot before the food spoils. I think the taillights are from a 63 Ford. Why mom is sitting in the back of the car on the tailgate seems odd. Even the little kid seems to be wondering what is going on. Hope no one ended up with food poisoning!

  5. The “Springtime” pic shows how much more colorful out transportation options were in 1968 (based on the aqua Bonneville, the newest car) as I see only two black vehicles – 63/64 Dodge Dart second on the left and a 61/2/3 Thunderbird sixth on the right.

    • What I find interesting is that the T-Bird’s rear is lower than that of the Mustang parked next to it. My ’63 T-Bird was sitting next to my ’65 Corvair in the garage the other day, and the T-Bird was almost as low as it. AND I just installed new leaf springs.

  6. American cars certainly stand out for their size in the Kuwait image. Just passing the crosswalk is a cream-color 1958 Lincoln Capri or Premiere or perhaps a Continental Mark III landau. Bets are the styling gave citizens there a pause to wonder too.

    One ‘Islander’ motel patron arrived in a white 1961 Mercury Monterey four door hardtop. The 1961 Mercury Meteor and Monterey models were pulled back from a uniquely Mercury product to part and parcel Fords with Mercury styling. It was another round of the vacillating management approach applied to Mercury, either dolled-up Ford or cut-rate Lincoln. The pendulum swung back and forth, ultimately it was the undoing of Mercury.

    • To me, the last “real” Mercurys were the 1960 models, with their own body shell & styling. My second-favorite year of Mercury after the `55 Montclair/Sun Valleys.

  7. Last photo. We didn’t have a station wagon. May have had that basket.
    We used a green metal Coleman for a cooler. Which I still have and is probably 65+ years old.

  8. Also in the Kuwait photo, parked directly behind the bronze and white 1956 Plymouth Belvidere sedan is an export-only blue and white 1957 DeSoto Diplomat custom sedan which was essentially a 1957 Plymouth fitted with a 1957 DeSoto Fire Sweep front clip.

  9. What makes the Kuwait pic interesting is the fairly large amount of Mopar vehicles. Amidst the nearest parking lot we see a white over blue 1957 DeSoto, but look closely and you’ll see it has a Plymouth-based body, as identified by the shorter upright fins instead of the half car-length sloping fins of a regular DeSoto. Indeed this is a built-for-export-only DeSoto Diplomat. Not clearly visible, but this could also be the case with the 1956 4-door sedan next to it and the blue 1957 sedan at the far right. They can be either Plymouths, Dodge Kingsways or DeSoto Diplomats.

  10. Kuwait photo, at the bottom, nearest the camera, the black car may be a very early VW with the tiny rear window. Or it may be a DKW.

  11. In the lead photo, on the right a ’61 Mercury Monterey or Meteor 800…as far as I know, the first cars to incorporate a rubber strip in the side trim. At the far end, a ’62 Pontiac Catalina 2-door sedan, a ’60 Impala 4-door sedan and possibly a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere4-door sedan.

    In Item 1 of 3, along the right I see a ’63 Olds Super 88 convertible and a ’62 or ’63 white over black T-bird. Along the left side a white ’64 Fairlane Custom Ranch Wagon between a white over red ’60 Impala Coupe and a beige ’61 Chevy sedan, possibly a Bel Air.

    In Item 2 of 3 in the lower right a ’56 Mercury Custom or Monterey 2-door HT with continental kit next to a white over tan’53 Pontiac Chieftain sedan (slight gap down the middle of it silver streaks vs a ’54) with a white over blue ’57 Belvedere sedan (or export DeSoto Diplomat) passing by followed somewhat behind by an ivory ’58 Lincoln Capri or Premier with a pale blue ’60 Chrysler or DeSoto aimed at it in the lot.
    Closer up in that lot a ’57 export DeSoto Diplomat (Plymouth body with a DeSoto front clip) in white and light blue next to a brown and white ’56 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Sedan.
    Along the left side, this side of a white over red ’60 Chevy Parkwood or Kingswood wagon, a black and white ’58 Ford Fairlane (only model with no side trim on the rear quarter panel past the wheel, apart from some hash marks or script). Five cars back, a white over red possible ’56 Monarch Richelieu, maybe a Phaeton.

  12. 3rd. pic is a MG Magnette the red top car? and at the zebra crossing it looks as a Gutbrod or Goliath threewheeler…. .Y love those threewheelers!.

    • It is a Farina styled BMC which were badge engineered as Austin Morris MG Riley and Wolseley.This grille was seen on the last 3.I do not know which brand was promoted in Kuwait,but there is a 1500 Woseley or Riley along side the old timer roadster ,with a 100 series Ford to its right then a Moggie Minor.

  13. The variety of vehicles in the neat Kuwait (City?) photo is amazing.
    VW’s are well represented, including a single-cab PU in the scrum section in the center of the parking lot .
    I also like the traffic circle at the top.

  14. That third photo makes you wonder if you’re still in the States but I had a friend who worked the rigs over there and he confirmed that there were a lot of American vehicles over there. I see a ’56 GMC plain as day. There’s a ’57-’60 Ford stepside (I think) over to the right and off to the left I see a ’58’59 GM stakebed.

  15. The Islander Motel is, or was, in Clearwater Beach Fla. We went to Florida every winter pulling a camper, and when my grandma and grandpa came along, we HAD to find a motel for them, and they very well could have stayed here. The Olds looks like a Wisconsin plate. They were maroon for a spell. 2nd pic, clearly a northern location, and I see an Albers Grocery Store sign. I read, Albers was primarily in the northeast, Wilmington Delaware was one, I believe. I think the VW is a ’67, making it pretty new here. 3rd pic, lot of small cars, only one Lincoln. A dignitary for sure. Last pic, if you missed stuff like this, that’s a shame. We did a lot of this, it was dad’s job to drive, and mom’s job to feed us. My folks had traditional roles and we all turned out ok. Yogi Bear would love that pic-a-nic basket, and the stove looks like a JC Higgins propane camp stove, I think sold by Sears.

    • the first picture, islander motel, the ’62 Pontiac Catalina 2 door sedan, maroon, is most likely mine. my father-in-law lived in clearwater and we would stay in the islander. that car was a base-line vehicle. not even a radio.

  16. In the lead photo there is a two-tone biped moving towards the ’61 Buick.
    Hard to say for sure but i believe it has the rare ‘dome-top’ accessory that were available on the older models.

  17. Thanks again for a great blog Dave! 4th pic – station wagon full and roof rack loaded. Then, station wagons; today SUV’s. Some basic ideas don’t change, only the execution thereof. Anybody remember the Studebaker Daytona wagon with the sliding retractable roof? Don’t know why they did not catch on. Seems like a very practical idea that would be a selling feature today.

    • Hi Mr. P, I remember the Daytona Wagonaire sliding roof, another novel Brooks Stevens idea. Too bad it leaked like a sieve,,

    • For one thing they tended to leak. GM actually sold something similar to the Daytona wagon some years ago; a woman that my wife worked with had one, I want to say it was badged as a GMC but don’t hold me to that. Anyway they had a lot of trouble with the sliding roof, it was noisy when it worked and had a nasty habit of getting jammed while it was sliding closed. I don’t know if this was just a flaw on this particular vehicle or it was something common to the design. I know that they didn’t keep the car very long. I wonder who or what would be the intended market for an SUV with a sliding roof over the rear; it might possibly be useful for carrying a refrigerator in an upright position but how often would you need that.

      • This problem also affects the choice of commercial van usually the desire to deal with as many load types as possible is the way ,but a lot of the time you run around light ,but when you are asked to carry a seven foot tall papier machee maquette of the Hulk..being able to say ..oh yes.. does wonders for repeat trade.

      • Hi Joseph, in most of the ads, that was their claim to fame, the upright refrigerator. I saw they also made a slide in camper for the car that looked incredibly unsafe. If you google “Wagonaire camper”, you’ll see.

      • Yes, the GMC Envoy XUV, which came out in 2004. Useful also for moving grandfather clocks, but refrigerator service techs and clocksmiths proved to be too small a market. It was gone by 2006.

  18. Lead photo: Interesting how coincidence has represented each of the GM divisions in front of the hotel with a Mercury (Ford) and DeSoto (Chrysler) to spare.

    Evidently, it must be a waterfront -hotel as it boasts “pier” on the sign.

  19. Wow I sure miss those days of stopping on the side of the road on the way to the Jersey shore for an impromptu lunch. Who would have thought it would have left such an indelible memory on my soul.

  20. The first Fun Friday photo brings my oldest sister to mind. Her first car was a Dodge Dart, same year as the one pictured (only painted what we think was an odd variation of beige). I remember her driving us in our grandmother’s white, 2-door Impala (same year as the one pictured) to a lake near our hometown to swim. Along the way was a 1.5-mile straight stretch of country road. As she had recently attended her first Indianapolis 500, she enjoyed setting a “new new track record” a time or two on the way to the swimming hole. Top speed was a least 70.

Leave a Reply to Kit Foster Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *