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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 226

Today’s lead image highlights the post-WWII flight to the suburbs where this couple apparently was having a house built. The sporty pale yellow convertible may have been their escape vehicle from the city. The man in the image looks familiar, could he have been a celebrity at the time? The style of the homes here suggest that this photo may have been taken near San Francisco.

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.

  • Sunshine, water, palm trees, the distinctive portico, and the pools and cascading water might be the key to identifying this location? 

  • A variety of  1950s cars at a summertime get together.

  • If you repair tractors, a well outfitted heavy-duty service truck like this can make the job easier.

58 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 226

  1. Hi David,

    LOVE Kodachrome Fridays!

    My thoughts;

    1)The couple in the first photo is living large. A new home under construction and a shiny new Studebaker convertible. Looks like CA
    2) The portico is at the Fontainebleu in Miami Beach
    3) Being a PA boy originally I’d love to know the location of the cars around the lake / stream. There are PA tags on the Mercury and a heavy concentration of FoMoCo products. BTW, the two tone blue 52 Ford looks like one our family owned, blackwalls and all.

    Again, thanks for Kodachrome Fridays!

  2. The Mazscak Tractor repair truck photo is a remarkable find. I shared it with my friend Jenn who is a descendant of these men.

  3. Opening shot, new car, new house, new life , prosperity. Second photo 1956 Chevrolet taxi with white walls,. Third picture 1954 Mercury Hardtop, and a 1951 Ford Vitoria with it’s nose in the bushes.

  4. In Item 1 of 3, out in the street I see a 56 Mercury hardtop and a ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 Sunliner. Up front in the drive, a ’56 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, a ’55 Olds 88 or Super 88 Holiday Coupe, a ’57 Olds Starfire 98 convertible and a Super 88 Holiday Coupe, a ’57 Lincoln 4-door and a white over black 55 or ’56 Buick Century 4-door Riviera (4 portholes but forward-sloping A-pillar of a B-body Buick).
    In the extreme upper right a ’56 or ’57 Continental Mark II

    In Item 2 of 3, I see a black ’53 Pontiac Chieftain sedan (split Silver Streaks vs a ‘54 next to a ’51 Ford Victoria. From the left, a ’52 Ford Customline Forder, a ’54 Ford Crestline Victoria, a ’51 Mercury Sport Coupe and a ’52 Studebaker sedan.
    Up front a ’54 Mercury Monterey Coupe and a ’54 Dodge sedan…it might be a Royal with the slightly broader bezel, tunneled headlight rings..

  5. Well, 1st pic, the guy does look like Walt himself, but probably part of the aerospace industry in California, and the convertible, and “pressboard estate” housing would confirm. Dressed like that, she’s in show biz to some capacity, as well. 2nd pic must be Florida, and I’ve seen black and yellow taxi’s for Disney attractions. One thing clear, this was no place for cheapskates, like my old man. It looks a lot like the show “Surfside 6” which was filmed in Miami Beach. 3rd pic, someone was mighty proud of their new Mercury, in what looks like Ford family gathering. I think the plate is 1956 PA. Last, looks like Majszak was doing pretty well. It looks like a ’58-’60 GMC with NAPCO 4 wheel drive a very rare ( and expensive) option back then..

  6. I sent a copy of the last photo in this set to Jennifer Majszak this morning and here’s her delightful response: “Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVE this photo. It hangs in my parents garage to this day!!!! Thank you”

    • Russell, I believe the Cadillac this side of the Continental Mark II would be a ’54 or ’55, the Buick a ’53 Special Riviera and the Ford Sunliner a ’52-54.

  7. The man in the lead image may be familiar because he looks a lot like Walt Disney. I don’t see why Disney would be posing with a modest car in a modest suburban neighborhood, though. Unless this was new housing built in Anaheim in connection with the construction of Disneyland in 1955.

    • Mine too! It’s disappointing that the best quality photos seldom show the back ends of cars, even though they are just as distinctive and interesting as the front ends (IMHO).

    • Joel, you make a good point. It seems it wasn’t until the mid-’50s that the rear of cars started having annual revisions at least as distinctive as the front revisions…yet the vast majority of advertising photos continued to show only the front views for at least another decade.

    • Not if it’s cold…especially in the days before heated seats.
      At highway speeds, I always drive my convertible with the windows up. Below 40, not so much.

  8. In the first picture, that is not Walt Disney but he looks like several other actors I’ve seen in 50’s and 60’s movies.
    Jim, I like the mercury taillights even better on the previous year car. They were pretty unique. Like on Lucy and Ricky’s car.
    Also it looks as if the ’57 Olds is the car of choice at the riverside resort. I see three of them.

  9. That red and black ’54 Mercury Monterrey hardtop is such a beautifully designed car. One of my all time favs. It’s just simply gorgeous all the way around. And the yellow ’51 Studebaker convertible is also quite a stunner. It’s always a great pleasure when Old Motor features on Friday such nice color photos of some really great classic cars.

      • I agree with your asessement of the design.
        Foot note: In ’54 Mercury had Siren Red (mfgr. paint code 70409). But, this Merc has Bittersweet (mfgr code 60135). It was one of their most popular colors and was featured predominantly in their sales brochures.

  10. That indeed is Walt Disney, and his wife Lillian. That is not their home (which had a lot of land for his garden railroad), but perhaps a home under construction for a family member.

    • Walt Disney always had great taste in cars. In the late 1920’s he own a second hand Moon roadster, which he had to sell in order to help fund his first Mickey Mouse cartoon. Then a few years later he bought a brand new Packard for his wife and liked it so much that he bought a series of new Packard convertibles with the last one being a 1942 model. But after the war he switched to a 1948 Oldsmobile 98 convertible, which much like the Rocket 88, was a hot car to have with its powerful new V-8 engine. The last car that he owned was a mid 1960’s two seater Mercedes sports car that would later appear in a couple of his movies. Like I said he had great taste in cars, and may also have owned that beautiful yellow Studebaker pictured as he had a special passion for convertibles.

        • Thanks for pointing that out. There is a nice looking picture of that car on the Internet and it is indeed a 1948 model that he owned, making it a straight eight engine with Futuramic styling. Still, that was a much smarter selection than buying a new 1948 Packard. The design of that bulky car was chasing away customers in droves and reliable Packard buyer Walt Disney was one of those who soon chose another brand.

    • That is NOT Walt and Lillian Disney. Do a Google search of “Walt and Lillian Disney open Disneyland” or “Walt and Lillian Disney Ribbon Cuttings”.

  11. I spot 4 Cadillacs- the 56 Sedan Deville, 57 series 62 convertible, a 54 or 55 with the roof rack, and another 57 just past the valet booth. The whole selection of high end Olds, Lincoln, Buick— great Florida shot

  12. I am not sure why my comment on Walt and his wife Lillian Disney was dropped. That is who those two people are. Call up photos of Lillian Disney at that age, and the likeness is exact. Right down to her hair texture, where her hair is parted, and the kink in her hair as it crosses her forehead. Her facial features as well. No doubt about it.

  13. In the first picture, I was puzzled by the herringbone blocking pattern in the stud walls of the house under construction. (Sorry, I love the cars and pop into OldMotor every Saturday for this feature. But this time, it was the studs that caught my attention.) In the North East US, the blocks between studs are horizontal. Here, they’re at various angles (look like two angles) and they are not horizontal. Methinks this is for greater crush strength (protection from vertical movement forces) in an earth quake but that’s really speculation on my part. Anyone know for sure?

    • It would make sense. Others have confirmed that the man and woman are, indeed, Walt and Lillian Disney. If the new construction is connected to the building of Disneyland (which opened in 1955), it might make sense if Uncle Walt showed up to check up on it. If the subdivision is in Anaheim, then they might have been building with earthquakes in mind.

    • Hi Tom, that herringbone you asked about is in fact chicken wire. The black paper was a moisture barrier stapled to the studs then the chicken wire was nailed over it to hold the wet cement that ultimately became stucco that most houses in California were clad in. Still in use today and very durable.

    • Tom,

      Good observation with the herringbone blocking pattern. It may be to stop warping of the wall studs [in a similar way that floor joists are stabilized] and just a different approach from North East to do the same job. Also, not all of the wall studs shown [corners] would have allowed horizontal blocks after the studs had been set in place.

      AML

    • The reason for the herring bone blocks is that the house was built before plywood was commonly used as a sandwich material between the framing studs and the exterior horizontal siding.
      Shear strength was obtained by using diagonal wood sheathing. More nailing was possible with the fire blocks placed at an angle.
      The practice went away once diagonal wood sheathing was replaced with plywood.

  14. Looks like he had a TV show about he-man outdoors/adventure series but that type didn’t exactly live in the ‘burbs.
    Most likely a successful building contractor in his working khakis with one of his “units” under construction.

    • Hi Jack, I agree, I don’t think that’s “The Disneys”. Back then, it was popular to dress like celebrities, and Disney was about as big as you could get.

    • Maybe, maybe, maybe…. you could make the case that is Lilian Disney, but the guy ? Walt? Not even close. At. All. Looks more like Ernest Hemingway than Walt Disney, but that’s not Hemingway either.

  15. interesting that the Continental Mark II in the Miami photo is backed up to the valet’s hut, wonder if it belonged to famous owner?

  16. That is not Walt Disney. The housing is typical of the “Sunstream” development company which built much of San Francisco’s Sunset district. I lived in the Sunset many years ago and all of the houses on my block looked that.

  17. Stucco-over-braced-frame construction and size-and-style fenestration look like CA, but does couple posing with their new Stude look like those posing at a plane in a 1951 photo?

    tessa.lapl.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/photos/id/14137/rec/1

    If that non-link doesn’t work [as such searches often don’t], go to LAPL’s “Photos and Digital Collections” porttal, search for “Walt Disney stands next to plane stairway” — and decide.

  18. Sorry, not Walt and not Anaheim IMHO. Not sure about the woman, but I grew up watching Walt every week on TV and this ain’t him. Also, Lillian was born in 1899 and would have been much older than this woman at that time. Also, Walt moved to Holmby Hills at this time, a very, very upper class area with housing much different than in the photo.

  19. One other thing, Walt sold his Packard and bought a 1948 Olds 98 convertible, not the car in the photo, and there is a pic of him and his two daughters in front of his much more gorgeous Holmby Hills residence as well. I will go with the Aerospace engineer buying into better housing in California somewhere.

  20. There was definitely a very distinct style for men back in the ’50’s. The clothes, the hair, the moustaches, all very much based on the very suave look of Clark Gable or Erroll Flynn. I’ve got pics of both my grandfathers looking very much like the man in the first pic. As for the cars, pics from everyday life in the US always look so glamorous with all those tail fins and chrome abundant, compared with South Africa at the time where American cars were usually outnumbered by slightly more restrained British and European cars.

  21. Interestingly, if one looks at the other homes in the photo, they all have very established lawns, shrubs and bushes. The reflection in the front hubcap suggests the homes behind the camera are completed, as well.
    I think this fellow and his wife got the last lot and set about having their dream home built.
    I also internet searched for photos of Walt in 1953…and this photo does not at all look like Walt Disney. I too, doubt he would drive a Studebaker. In 1939, Walt reluctantly allowed himself to pitch for Desoto. The story goes that he was to be given a free 1939 Desoto but absolutely did want to drive it so his family urged him to accept it anyway and give it to one of them, which he did. Based on that incident and the caliber of cars he was driving at the time, the Studebaker does not add up. If he would not drive a Desoto, he would not drive a Studebaker.

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