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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 218

The pair of two-tone blue and white sedans in the lead image parked out in front of Al Fink’s modern new car dealership building appear to be twins? We are wondering if the scoop like object at the top of the rear quarter panel below the rear window on the car on the right-hand side indicates that this car was equipped with air conditioning? Note the Neon GM “Hydramatic” sign in the showroom window.

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. 

Editor’s Note: We will be competing at the Mt. Equinox Hill Climb over the weekend and will return with a new feature on Monday and hope all of our readers have a great weekend.

  • A 1960s highway scene near the “Motor City,” based on the sign visible in the image can you identify this roadway.

  • The young boy behind the wheel was enjoying being in this sleek two-seater. 

  • A shopping center parking lot view on the other side of the world contains some interesting vehicles.

65 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 218

  1. Great photos as always. Just guessing on your last picture, from the right, two ford Falcons, a 58 VW, a Holden wagon and a Hillman? The styling of the Fords is very similar to the US. The Holden just seems to share a reduced size look of a Chevy Suburban. The Hillman could be a Japanese car, but I’m thinking that the mid 60s was too early for a car of that size. Australia was not so different.

    • Bill, the car you’re thinking as being a Hillman, is an early (1963??) Mk1 Ford Cortina, a basic model at that (government fleet) with that cheap bar grille..

    • bill the 2 falcons are 65 xm models then vw next 58 fc holden [gmh] then mk i cortina and far left mk1 ford zephyr , fear quarter on left is 62 ek holden and rear roof is bmc mini deluxe

    • It appears that only the one to our right has air conditioning. Also, it has a license plate and has been driven, as evidenced by the dirt on the lower front fender and, more obviously, on the wheel covers. The one to our left is cleaner. Maybe one new and one used car, the latter brought to the dealer for whatever reason by its owner? Or maybe both new, but one driven (on a dirt road?) by the dealer or by potential customers as a demonstrator?

    • Not only does that scoop behind the back door indicate that this 98 has a/c… so does the clear, plastic tubes that run into the roof from the rear deck on each side. The air conditioners were located in the trunk on these models.

      • So, did the AC service the back seat before the cooler air managed to get to the driver? Opposite of today’s approach. I recall those old units but can’t remember ever experience one.

        • Clark,

          No, the plastic tubes (also used on Buick and Cadillac) blew the cold air from the trunk mounted AC unit, along the headliner, to be distributed over the heads of the front passengers. A bit crude by modern standards, but the unit in the trunk would never have fit under the dash in those cars. Technology was adapting and progressing! One of the more common AC systems was a ‘Mark IV’, as I recall it, mounted under the dash. I don’t remember the actual manufacturer, but I assisted in some floor demonstrations at a local car show in San Francisco in 1956!

          • There were distribution ports on top of each door. There was one round on with an extendable tube that could directed just about anywhere, like they used to have on airplanes. Then running lengthwise of the fixture were tow flaps, maybe about 1 1/2″ inches long. The top one directed air up toward the roof to distribute air across the top to get to the middle passenger and to cool the outside passenger without a direct blast of air. The lower flap was to cool the outside passengers by blowing down the window area, also used to defrost the windows, if needed.

            At least that is how I remember them ion our ’56 Fleetwood. Thinking back real hard, I seem to remember the lower level deVille models just had vents on the package tray.

  2. In the 2nd picture [1st expandable photograph] can’t identify the location, but the 2nd car back & driving toward the camera, is a white four-door 1960 FORD unsure of the model.

  3. Yes, the blue and white Olds 98 does have factory air. Interesting there is no Oldsmobile neon sign on the building, or any other Olds signage anywhere outside. Inside is a poster on stand showing all models available from Oldsmobile.

    • Do a google search for Al Fink Oldsmobile and you will find several pix of this dealership and one or both of these two Oldsmobiles. There was an Oldsmobile sign to the right, just outside the frame of the above picture. The dealership was located at 421 W. Main Street in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. Today, that is the location of the local Habitat for Humanity. Same building, looking a bit run down these days, and painted an ugly turquoise and white. The black and white two story house visible to the left is still there (now all white), as is the house between, set back farther from the street, whose roof is visible above the dealership.

      • It does not seem like Al Fink was in the car business for very long, as I googled his name just like you suggested and there are around have a dozen photographs depicting his dealership but each picture shows that same ’53 blue and white Oldsmobile sedan and no other cars. It would be nice to know a little bit more about Mr. Fink and what happened to him. Incidentally, there is a great 40 minute color video available on Youtube called “The Lady And The Rocket” which features many of the then new ’52 Oldsmobiles. I’m more of a Hudson man myself, but the red Oldsmobile convertible that the lady in the picture drives sure is a stunner.

        • I did another google search, this time for “Al Fink Nanticoke Pa,” and ran across the picture book, “Nanticoke” by Chester J. Zaremba, which has a couple more pix of the Fink dealership. Looks like it was in business at least as early as 1948, and at least as late as 1959. Beyond that, ?????

          • Thanks for the research. It is reassuring to know that Al Fink was in the car business for more than just one model year, but appears to have had a steady career selling new Oldsmobiles and possibly other GM made cars in Nanticoke, PA.

      • I graduated high school from nanticoke and know the building well. I almost bought a buick wildcat convertible off of one of the guys that used to run a garage in the building. The location was repurpose many times. Nanticoke used to be a bustling city but like many others in the northeast when industry died off so did the towns and cities. There isn’t a single dealership left there. As little as 15 years ago, there were Ford, Gm, and Dodge dealerships. Times change. The region has turned into a giant warehousing hub due to the proximity of multiple interstate junctures that connect to all of the major northeast cities.

  4. Al Fink just received twin ’53 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight sedans, the right hand car with factory air conditioning as evidenced by the air scoops on the upper quarters and the clear plastic tubes visible in the rear window. The 1952-’53 Ninety-Eights were the second extension of Mister Earl’s extended deck concept to create a luxury model with standard body basics. These are OB bodies shared with the Olds 88 and Buick Special but longer wheelbase and significantly longer rear overhangs. Worked wonderfully for sales and unit profits.

    On the expressway, ’59 and ’65 Mercurys and ’60 and ’63 Fords headed in opposite directions. A dark-colored ’65 Thunderbird keeping company with them.

  5. I’ve seen the lead image a few times and always admire the twin `53 Olds 98 sedans, although the one nearest us has the ultra-rare factory AC that was new in GM C-bodies in `53. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in AL Fink’s showroom then! Has me wondering if Al ever got a rare `53 Fiesta cvt. in his inventory. A $5700. car was a very hard sell back then.
    Second photo is obviously one of Detroit’s inner freeways; not sure which one. Coming at us in the foreground is a silver `61 Chrysler Windsor sedan, with a `60 Ford Galaxie 4dr. behind it. Next to the Galaxie is one car I’d love to own today–` 2dr. `60 Ford Falcon wagon! Driving away from the camera, I spot a `65 Mercury Breezway sedan with a vinyl top; a rather beat-up `59 Chevy Biscayne sedan that’s been hit from behind; a `63 Dodge 330 sedan, a `64 Rambler sedan.
    The last photo from Australia has a few of my favorite Holdens; the `56-59 models. Those always reminded me of a `55 Chevy mated with a `57 Pontiac that mated with an Opel of the same vintage! LOL The pink rear corner on the left reminds me of Pontiac’s taillights in `57. The American GM influence in Holdens was very clear.

  6. In the first photo those Oldsmobiles are 98 4 door sedans with air conditioning. A very rare option back then and even into the early 60’s. I believe the A/C option would have added at least 20% to the cost of these luxury Oldsmobiles.

  7. In the 3rd photo the ’57 Thunderbird has it’s left fender air vent open. This was added to the 1956 Thunderbird after owners of the first year 1955 thunderbirds complained about excessive heat in the passenger compartment. Of the 3 year run of the two seat T/Birds ,the ’57 is considered by many to be the best looking with the tail fins added.

    • A question for this august group. Keith, you mention the air vent on the 57 Thunderbird. I was once at a car show and a 56 T-Bird was parked next to a 62 Gran Turismo Hawk. The vents looked very much alike.

      Did they come from the same supplier?

  8. Two interesting Volkswagens in this series: a VW in Detroit in early ’60s was very rare (and in danger of being “keyed” when parked). In the last picture, the oval rear window indicates a pre-1958 VW.
    The T-bird has the soft top folded but not stowed – hope they don’t drive off that way.

  9. Vintage air conditioning; so interesting. Two mechanics, (a friend and I), installed air conditioning in a 1957 Rolls Royce. It had never had A/C. We pieced it using a Jaguar condenser, (York?) compressor, and an aftermarket evaporator unit. (Evaporator in boot) He fabricated the compressor brackets perfectly! I removed the aluminum trim panel in the boot for access to the rear parcel shelf. We put the A/C outlets where rear radio speakers would have been. I was amazed at the Rolls quality; no sheet metal screws. Bolts were used throughout. Behind the cover panel, I removed the “Blanks” from where rear speakers would have gone. Get this – no one would have ever seen these “blanks” but they were laminated wood ovals covered with (drum roll) leather!

  10. Al Fink Oldsmobile was located in Nanticoke, Pa. and this was a publicity shoot. Can’t find the reason for the identical cars. 2nd pic, couple Craig trucks running together. 1st one looks like a early 60’s Peterbilt 352, and the 2nd truck looks like an Emeryville IH, and another IH behind them. The driver in the VW has a lot of guts in Detroit in the mid 60’s. 3rd pic, only a hand full of states had only one plate, I bet this T-bird is brand new. Last pic, I found, Homecrafts Appliance is located in Mandurah, Western Australia, and still in business.

    • The location of the last photo is could not be Mandurah WA as all the number plates are VIC for Victoria. I have an FC Holden wagon in the same colour as the one in the photo. They are very much like 55 Chev in styling, but slightly smaller. Lots of GM parts though are used, eg interior door handles, and speedo is from early 50s Chev. I live in Sydney, but keep the car at our beach house on the south coast. With the back seat folded flat the interior space is quite good. When loaded with garden refuse the workers at the local rubbish tip love the car so much that they let me in for free.

  11. In those days the air conditioner unit was very large and it was set in the trunk. Clear plastic tubes extended through the rear window package shelf and blew up and forward a lot of the time on the back of peoples heads. Some didn’t have very good or no thermostat controls therefore cold was cold.

    • First (on Packard) had no on-off switch.

      As discussed (fought over) in detail here:

      forums.aaca/topic/32996-air-conditioning/

      Stay cool under the collar to learn about early AC.

      About later AC, too, next time you look at a Mark II.

      If you want to learn even more and to look at pictures:

      curbsideclassic/automotive-histories/cold-comfort-history-of-automotive-air-conditioning-part-1-pre-world-war-ii/

  12. In the Lead photo, two ’53 Olds 98s, the right one with a/c.

    In Item 1 of 3 on a Detroit freeway heading towards us, a ’61 Chrysler Newport or Windsor sedan, a ’60 Ford sedan beside a ’63 Falcon Deluxe wagon.
    Next “row” back, a ’59 Mercury, a ’63 Dodge Dart and a likely ’63 Pontiac Catalina Safari.
    A white ’65 Chevy, a ’65 Coronet and a VW.
    A black ’61 Chevy a black over red ’65 Impala and a red ’66 Falcon closely followed by a black ’65 Chrysler 300.
    A white Olds 88, etc., likely a ’64, a ’65 Tempest and probably a ’64 Mercury in white.

    Heading away on the freeway, a black ’63 Galaxie behind a ’65 T-bird.
    A silver ’65 Mercury Breezeway Sedan, likely a Montclair beside a ’63 Dodge 330 sedan.’
    A black ’62 Dodge Dart, probably another 330 behind a white over red ’64 Ambassador and beside an Advanced Design Suburban Carryall with open clamshell tailgate…and a ’59 Chevy Biscayne sedan.

    In Item 2 of 3, of course a ’57 T-bird, but also notable as the Ford Division’s first effort to integrate the bumper and grille…something the Mercury and Lincoln Divisions had done since ’52. Some might say even the ’46-’48 Lincolns had somewhat done that, though it just used bumper caps on the old ’42 bumpers.
    Ford’s second effort to integrate bumper and grille on the ’58-’60 T-bird fully encircled the grille…while on the full-size models, it encircled part of the grille.

  13. Al Fink Oldsmobile was located at 421 West Main St, Nanticoke, PA. A neon “GM Oldsmobile” sign along with the parts and service center are to the right out of the frame of this shot The store still exists but is now a thrift shop and the houses beyond Al’s store are still there.

  14. Those two acacia blue and polar white Oldsmobile sedans parked facing one another in front of Al Fink’s dealership definitely make an impressive photograph. Not too many people know this, but the original design planned for the ‘54 models were slightly more boxier than the ’53 models seen here, but the president of the Oldsmobile division didn’t like their looks and ordered the new modern design planned for ’55 a year ahead of time. Too bad, as the cars seen here are very nicely styled and 1955 was such a banner year for new innovative designs that it is indeed a pity that Oldsmobile doesn’t figure in on that memorable list.

  15. That 3rd car in the freeway photo driving away from the camera,left lane.Wasnt that the Chrysler product with the roll down rear window?
    Also note that the green highway sign says Chrysler Fwy,right lane.

  16. Regarding the lead photograph. Not too many people know this either, but Hudson copied very liberally from Oldsmobile. The new grille on all the ’51 Hudsons was in large measure copied from the grille of the Oldsmobile, much like the car seen on the left. And the famous rocket emblem which first appeared on both the back and front sides of the ’51 Hornet was essentially lifted off of the back of the Oldsmobile Rocket 88. Then the taillights of the ’53 Hudson Jet came directly from that of the Oldsmobile, and finally the vertical chrome strip which appeared on only the ’54 Hudson Hornet drew its inspiration from the chrome strip seen here on the side of the car at the right, with the difference being that the strip on the Oldsmobile is well designed whereas that of the Hudson Hornet definitely was not.
    So why did Hudson copy so much from Oldsmobile? My guess is that the Hornet is generally regarded as the nation’s second post war muscle car whilst the Rocket 88 was considered the first, so they used that car as a major source of design.

    • Hudson’s biggest dealer was in Chicago, and the owner of the dealership had the ear of the top brass at Hudson. When the Jet was proposed, it was a very different design by Frank Spring. The Chicago dealer did not like what he saw, and said the car should look like a 1952 Ford with Olds 88 taillights. Frank Spring’s design was changed, and. Thst is how the Hudson Jet was designed..

      • “Jim Moran , the Courtesy Man” was Jim Moran, of Courtesy Motors, the Hudson dealer in Chicago. Moran sold 5% of all Hudsons in the US at the time, so, of course he had the ear of Hudson in Detroit He knew how to sell cars. His contribution to the industry can’t be measured. Perhaps his biggest insight was to establish South East Toyota. That was the foundation of JM&A associates, the biggest purveyor of F&I products in the industry.

        • Jim Moran was an incredibly successful car salesman. He went from being the nation’s largest Hudson dealer to that of the nation’s largest Ford dealer and then later became heavily involved in Toyota. When he died about a decade ago he was a multi-billionaire and even made the cover of Time magazine once back in the late ‘50’s. A true legend in the business.

    • Hudson specifically TARGETED Oldsmobile as a competitor.

      As seen in the four-page bulletin for Hudson salesmen (then a PC term) dated July 15, 1949. You will enjoy seeing it here:

      hudsonterraplane/tech/1949SalesFacts

  17. That T-bird is sharp. Considering the driver is probably the photographer, four people in one seat must have been a squeeze, even with the boy on a lap.
    That Olds with air was in deed rare and apparently cost $550 at the time. One source suggests base MSRP for a 1953 Olds 98 @ $2771 for comparison. That A/C option must have made the neighbors of the owner absolutely green with envy. But of course, unless your home was also air conditioned, it would be a big let down leaving that cool car for a warm house.

  18. The last photo from Australia shows from right to left; a pair of early to mid-60s Ford Falcon XM sedans, an early oval window VW, Holden FC wagon current from ’58 to ’60 and a rare ’62 or ’63 Cortina Standard, the base model with the body color slatted grille which did not sell in large numbers and was discontinued as the Deluxe model cost very little more. The green roof on the foreground is an Austin or Morris Mini, not sure what the pink finned rear end on the left belongs to………

    • and the cream colored sedan next to the Cortina looks like a ’50s Ford Consul. Behind that just visible is a green late’30s looking split screen model which I might guess to be a GM (Buick or Pontiac possibly).

      • There is a blue FJ Holden barely visible and to the left of the off white Ford Cortina. The FJ was produced between 1953 and 1956.

    • The pink finned car visible on the left of the image is an FB or EK Holden. The EK was a facelifted version of the FB, with few obvious differences. These models were produced from 1960 through 1962.

  19. In photo #2,
    Thinking it was late summer ’65 heading west on I-94 just approaching the Chrysler fwy exit, and near the exit sign is a stroh’s beer truck followed back 3 vehicles is a ’59 chevy with appears some damage, to the left rear trunk/tail fin area.

  20. At first (on Packard) with no on-off switch.

    As discussed (fought over…) in detail here:

    forums.aaca/topic/32996-air-conditioning/

    Stay cool under the collar and learn about early AC.

    Later AC, too, for the next time you look at a Mark II.

    And you can learn even more (and look at photos), too:

    curbsideclassic/automotive-histories/cold-comfort-history-of-automotive-air-conditioning-part-1-pre-world-war-ii/

  21. So far I haven’t seen any Detroiters (or Michiganders) identify the freeway. It’s hard to tell with any road signs other than the Chrysler exit. It’s either the Edsel Ford or the John C. Lodge freeway. If memory serves me correctly it’s the Ford.

  22. I am from Detroit and the freeway is definitely I-94. I think we are looking east and the bridge is Beaubien Street with the photo taken from the Brush Street Bridge. Those bridges are still there which tells you a lot about Michigan road maintenance.

  23. 2nd picture is Edsel Ford I-94 to the Chrysler Freeway Interchange. I used to live in Oak Park which is a suburb of Detroit.

  24. The Australian picture is definitely in the State of Victoria where I live. The number plates are Victorian. Love the pictures.

  25. The car beyond the Cortina in the third pic is a Mk I Ford Zephyr from Dagenham, although possibly a Consul, the 4 cylinder equivalent.

  26. The Black and White Australian plates are from Victoria.
    New South Wales had two letter three number plates in black and white, but went to black lettering on yellow for three letter three number plates. They are called “registration plates” in Australia. My father had a grey 1959 Holden FC Special sedan similar to the cream and red wagon in the photo. It had a yellow plate BVZ-111. The preceding 1952 Ford Prefect was PA-817, white on black plates.

    I can’t identify the town in the photo but it is a relatively small rural town. The cars pictured are parked crosswise between the traffic lanes.

    The Volkwagen is only slightly older than the two Falcons in the foreground, with the “G” prefix plate, so would be a late car with the oval rear window. Volkswagens were built in Australia, as were the Holdens and Falcons. The VWs were sometimes behind European production regarding design changes.

    Nobody seems to have mentioned the vehicle just in the photo in the foreground. This must be a metallic blue BMC Mini.

  27. I had a total stripper which went like fun but the rust killed it in 6 years.The Consul prefix was on the Classic and Capri too following US practice,but it irritated sales staff in the UK and was soon dropped.

  28. Regarding the freeway, I think it is the Chrysler freeway I-75 with the exit to – get this – I-75, the Fisher freeway. This is the only place that the central Detroit freeway makes a right bend at an I-75 exit, all other areas are straight ahead or have identifiable bridges, or did not exist when the photo was taken. These are two independently built freeways, combined under one route number.

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