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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 220

We are undecided about the origin of this high-quality image of an orange Chevrolet with a gentleman standing next to it. Is this a test photo by the automaker in a non-standard color, is it a fleet car for a business painted with a commercial color, or does show the happy new owner posing with a repainted car after arriving at home?

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 taking the labor day weekend off and will return again on Tuesday morning September the 3rd, and hope that all of our readers have a happy and restful labor day weekend.

  • An interesting photo shot out through the rear window of a car Southern California. 

  • A second photo that may have have been taken in California?

  • And to finish up for today, a parking lot on the East Coast with plenty of clues to use for identifying its location.

75 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 220

  1. In the 2nd picture [1st expandable photograph], driving toward the camera in the right lane & two cars back, is a two=tone 1956 PLYMOUTH with a V8 engine.

  2. The 1958 Chevrolet in the opening photo looks like Rio Red, which had an orange hue to it. Popular on ’58 Impalas.

  3. Actually, “Omaha Orange” was a factory color offering by Chevy in `58. Not sure what this photo is supposed to promote, but that Del Ray does catch they eye! It actually looks pretty nice in that color! The second photo is interesting, taken out the back window. I think I see part of a tail fin on the far right(?)–so I’ll guess we’re riding in a `57 Plymouth sedan of some sort. A beautiful `57 Chrysler Saratoga hardtop in the third photo! Across the street from it is a `60 Dodge Dart/Seneca wagon.

      • I googled 1958 Chevrolet color charts. Some of them had no orange hues, some had a color called “Omaha Orange” that looked like the Chevy above. I couldn’t figure out if that color was a Corvette only color or maybe a truck only color or what the deal was, so didn’t comment at first. But I agree that it does look like Omaha Orange. Why doesn’t that color doesn’t show up on many 58 Chevy color charts? No idea.

      • It was treated as special order–much like taxi yellow. There is one `58 Impala cvt. I’m aware of with fuel injection this color. I’m wondering if this Del Rey is a co. car of some sort, requiring the color?

    • I think it’s a Biscayne, based on the fancier side trim and chrome windshield pillars. Too bad the gentleman in the picture is standing directly in front of the series’ name script.

  4. The third picture is looking north on E. De La Guera St, south of Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara. The building on the right is part of city hall. Almost all the buildings are pretty much unchanged. I am sorry to say the Firebird is no longer parked there.

  5. In the Lead photo a ’58 Biscayne.

    In Item 1 of 3, a late-‘50s Morris Minor 1000 followed by a ’56 Plymouth. That appears to be ’54 Ford Sunliner on the right with a ’57 Dodge beyond it.

    In Item 2 of 3, a ’57 Chrysler Windsor ahead of a ’68 Firebird (wraparound signal/marker lights), a VW bus, and a ’63 Falcon. Across the street, a ’66 Ford Galaxie 500 and ahead, a ’60 Dodge Dart wagon

    In Item 3 of 3, of interest up front a green ’63 Plymouth sedan next to a ’68 AMC Rebel wagon.

  6. In the first photo, aside from the unusual color, those side-spears don’t look right to me. That’s supposed to be a 210, I’m pretty sure–it’s not a chrome less 150, and of course certainly not an Impala. So I’m going to go with it being a pre-production test vehicle that’s carrying a test color and test chrome side-spears.

  7. A Pinto Squire in number 4. Only a bit less absurd than if it was a Cimarron. Doesn’t get more eye-rolling silly than that.

    That’s a white ’63 Falcon wagon behind the orange and white VW Type 2 in number 3.

    • I owned 2 ’58 Bel Air 2 door hardtops back in the early 60’s. There’s still lots of ’58 Bel Airs around today.

  8. As a lifelong Californian, here are my identifications for the second and third photos:

    In no. 2, the freeway scene, the car from which the photo was taken is headed west on the Hollywood Freeway just north of downtown Los Angeles. The view out the back window is towards the split between the San Bernardino Freeway and the Santa Ana Freeway, before they were upgraded/renumbered as Interstate Highways. The year is roughly 1955, the same as that of the Thomas Bros. Atlas I used to nail down the location. (Those atlases were the gold standard map for anyone navigating through Southern California in paper map days.)

    No. 3, the street view is likely downtown Santa Barbara, near the county courthouse. The building with the arches may be a local government office building. The year is roughly 1963, based on the vehicles.

    • And the Santa Ana Freeway was the key to the soon to open Disneyland! Well, at least part of the way at that time! As a kid, that sign gave me quite a thrill as I knew we were on the right track!

  9. 3rd pic: a remarkably clean 1957-58 Mopar coupé (Chrysler or DeSoto), given the fact these were notable rusters and it’s about a decade onder than that Firebird!

    • Vehicles would rust at a slower rate in arid (and warm) California than in most of the rest of the country. No snow, at least not in Santa Barbara, so no need to salt the roads. There would be some salt in the air near the coast but this wouldn’t attack the sheet metal to the extent that road salt would. The only places better for preventing, or at least slowing, rust would be in actual desert areas such as Arizona and Nevada.

  10. The only thing I can add to the first photo is that the ’58 Chevy Biscayne is a California assembled car. One piece bumpers vs three piece prove that. As far as the color goes, who knows.

    • That Biscayne would have been the equivalent to the previous year’s 210 series, and features more brightwork, with stainless trim around the window frames. The V on the hood indicated a V8 engine.

        • Hi Charles, that’s true. People didn’t have red cars, and the ones that did got tired of , “where’s the fire, Chief?” Same with black, that was for hearses only.

  11. The location in the last picture is New York City. It is the St. George end of the Staten Island Ferry. There is a ferry in the background. The wording on the side actually reads Department of Marine And Aviation, City of New York. The Dept of Transportation operates it now. In the distance is the newly built Verrazano Narrows Bridge. At that time the longest suspension bridge in the world.

  12. Third photo parked at the curb a red 1968 or 1969 Pontiac Firebird. My Uncle had one just like it for a short while. He sold it because the 400 cubic inch engine was a bit too thirsty.

  13. 1st pic looks like a California plate. Can’t see the name but looks like a basic Biscayne. Truck across the street is an AD Chevy. 2nd pic, a Morris Minor and what’s odd, traffic is moving and you can see the hills. I believe the picture is taken from a Chrysler. The red truck going the other way looks like a IH R190. 3rd pic, still a pretty clear day for S. Cal., the ’68 Firebird looks like the newest car. Again, the blue car, those Chrysler fins, and last, the AMC wagon and Opel are tied at one a piece.

  14. The second enlargeable photo is depicting some automotive royalty, both foreign and domestic, parked near Santa Barbara City Hall at 735 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, California. There is at least one VW bus, a Camaro and a Mercedes. I would take them all if I had a place to park them…!

  15. The man next to the 58 Chevy in the first photo bears a striking resemblance to actor Ed Harris, probably best known for his role in the movie “The Right Stuff”.

  16. For the 1958 Chevrolet, I’d venture that this photo was not a “company” photo due to the rather shabby locations as background. Chevrolet in 1958 was featuring these cars next to swimming pools and such. Plus, the attire of the gentleman seems rather pedestrian for a professional photo shoot. My guess, based on the look of the paint, was that this fellow special ordered this color. It’s a California car probably from the Van Nuys plant. Who knows, he may have worked there. Nice car, regardless. From research, this would be a Biscayne, The Del Ray was the lowest trim while the Bel Air was top trim and then the Impala, referred to as Bel Air’s “halo” vehicle, available only in 2 door hardtop or convertible.

    • Hi Art, I believe the ’58 Chevy has a 6 cylinder. V8’s had that exhaust pipe behind the front wheel, that would always rust out right there from tire spray.

      • Howard…
        No mention of engines by me, so not sure of your 6 cylinder vs V8 comment. You are however, correct as I do recall the exhaust pipes making a visible bend just behind the left front wheel, followed by the muffler and yes, perfect for catching mud, salt and water for an early demise. I think the 1959 -1964’s did the same. My uncle bought a new 1958 Biscayne when I was very young and I recall it was a two tone blue, 2 door sedan, six cylinder and stick. I also remember it being a very wide car but again, I was very small. There was a small painted panel above the rear bumper that when pushed or lifted revealed the gas cap. Funny the things that come to mind from memories.

        • Six cylinder 58 Chevy would have had a large Chevrolet emblem on the hood with no “V” under it. V8 had a much smaller Chevrolet emblem with a “V” under it. Hood trim on this example says it’s a V8.

    • Omaha Orange was a ’57 (716A) and ’58 (774) Chevrolet car color for Australia AND it was used on US Chevrolet/GMC trucks from the mid ’50s through the late’60s. It has also been claimed that 11 ’67 Pontiac GTOs were painted Omaha Orange and one of the “survivors” has “1”(for experimental) in the paint code. You can be the Judge (!) of that.

      You can compare colors with the ’65 C-10 (Lot #397) sold for $31,350 by B-J in Scottsdale in 2010, and on the uniquecarsandparts.au chart.

  17. the rear window shot of the Morris Minor is not quite the same as the Mustang in the mirror in Bullitt is i t?0940 bst

  18. First picture is a 58 biscayne. Del Ray didn’t have split chrome spears on side. Bel air had their script at back of car, and would be visible. Del Ray, biscayne and impala all had model insignia directly behind front door, and would be hidden by man in picture. Lastly, brochures on lov2xlr8 site show a Sierra gold color very similar to this.

    • I thought it to be Sierra Gold also, especially the rear quarter near the bumper where the light is more subdued. Looks like the front bumper is one piece which would indicate California if that state regulation was still in effect in 1958.

      • The ’58 Chevy’s Sierra Gold paint was more of a dark honey/caramel color and the Rio Red was a tomato red shade. I doubt either would be mistaken for the paint on this distinctly orange Biscayne.
        I suspect what with Chevy sales down by 25% in ’58, some anxious dealer was more than willing to put in a special order for the Chevy commercial vehicles’ Omaha Orange paint…keeping in mind the Chevy wagon-based Sedan Delivery, a “commercial” model, likely went down the same assembly line as other Chevys, at least in some plants.

  19. Hey, Doris, look at that funny little foreign car in the back window. Take a picture of it! When we get the prints back from Thrifty Drug in three weeks we’ll show the kids.

  20. Several months ago I saw photos of a 1958 Impala convertible in the same color. That car turned out to be a Canadian build and the color was offered as a standard one there. Perhaps the car shown in the photo was sold new in Canada and was later sold to a U.S. resident who moved to California, or subsequent sales resulted in it being a California car.. Can anyone determine the year on the license plate?

  21. The ’58 Chevy is definitely not a Del Ray, unless someone added the extra side and post trim when they had it painted “awful orange”. Maybe it is a Halloween Special. My first new car was a ’58 Del Ray 2 door in silver blue, 283 V8, 3 on the tree, power nothing. Loved that car!

    • The stainless window trim was an option on non Impala post models. When I ordered my new 1970 Bel Air I paid an extra $15.00 or $18.00 extra to dress up my Bel Air with this trim . This trim was standard on the same nmodel Impala.

  22. If my memory serves me right,the ’58 belair had the chevy crest on the hood/trunk if a 6 cylinder engine.
    If a V8 engine, a “V” was added under the crest.
    As far as the exhaust system, yes indeed it followed the outside of the “X” frame (’58-’64) and frequently rusted out quickly due to the front tire water spray on the heated pipe.
    Enlarging the photo did not show a pipe, possibly it was tucked tighter to the floor,
    or just not visable in the photo.

  23. Just my two cents worth on the 58 Chevy:

    First, that is one beautiful car in that color combination. It is also highly polished and appears to be a more or less candid shot — definitely not a publicity photo by the company. That man spent a lot of time waxing that car and he is very proud of it.

    Second, when I was growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we had several neighbors who were managers at new car dealerships. I don’t know if that orange color was standard for that model or not, but I do remember that some dealers could special order colors, interiors, and even engine and transmission combinations that were not standard build items. I saw plenty of cars that had been special ordered. If this was not a standard order for that model, it could have been special ordered. It is definitely not safety orange, a color still available today as evidenced by all the town and county government trucks where I live.

    Third, there are people who choose colors and even have cars repainted based on their college colors. I live just outside Princeton NJ and there are many, many orange cars in this area because Princeton University’s colors are orange and black.

    Fourth, and I am not really suggesting this, but just mentioning it. One of our neighbors in the late 1950s and early 1960s was some kind of highly placed engineer for the power company. He got a brand, new, very well optioned-out Chevy station wagon each year and in a couple of years, those wagons were painted in this exact color combination. In other years, they were all orange. Bizarrely, by the middle 1960s, his wagons had black bodies and orange roofs, Very strange. I don’t believe this is any kind of a company car because it is a two door and has white wall tires which would not have been common on a company car at that time unless it was an executive car. I bring this up only because I saw this color combination on those power company station wagons driven by our neighbor.

      • Reasonable question, but then what is the percentage of any car model that survives today? The popular models dominate the old car market. Let’s be honest — there are far more 55 – 57 Chevys than Fords out there. I’ve never seen the appeal of the Chevys of that era, but each to his own and I don’t put anyone down because they own such a car. I can’t imagine someone owning a bathtub Nash, but plenty of people do.

        Why don’t special order cars survive? Maybe because they were special order and appealed primarily to the person who ordered them. I was visiting in SC in the 1980s and took my dad’s Buick in to the dealer for service. There were a couple of Rivieras that looked bizarre to me. One was purple outside and orange inside. The other was orange outside and purple inside. Why? They were the colors of Clemson University and the cars had been ordered by a man for himself and his wife. I thought they were ugly and I doubt they held up on the used car lot years later unless another Clemson alum bought them.

        Most of the special order cars I saw the local dealers get for their friends in the early 1960s probably wouldn’t stand out as special today. Factory wheel upgrades showed up occasionally. The primary special orders I saw involved colors not normally used on the model in question — maybe a Cadillac color on a lower end Chevy or Pontiac or leather interior fabrics and finishes, wood trims, etc., from Cadillac on Buicks or Oldsmobiles, especially lower end Buicks or Oldsmobiles. Such changes obviously involved a fair amount of cutting and fitting, but I guess if you paid for it you got it. Most of these cars had four doors and more than likely ended up being handed down to a teenager. They probably got beat up because Junior did not understand the changes that had been made and they ended up in junk yards or demolition derbies. Being most four door cars, they just didn’t survive.

        I still can’t explain the color combination on this car, but I hope it survived and is still out there. I was never a fan of the 55 – 57 Chevys, but I loved the 58s. I’d take this in a heartbeat if it still looked this good.

        • I worked for both Chevrolet and Pontiac dealers from ’59 into ’65. Nothing could be ordered by the customer that was not on the order sheet. The only exception at Chevrolet was special colors by contractors or government vehicles ordered in quantity. Those had be ordered through GM Central Office.

  24. In the last picture the newest car I see is a 1967 Chevy Impala Fastback so I think the picture is from late 1966 any thoughts on this?

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