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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 240

Today’s lead image is reported to have been taken on March 1, 1970, on 4th St. in  Philadelphia, PA. The first thing that catches your attention is the streetcar, although just to the left of it is a tired-looking Corvette that appears to have had its front end patched up after a collision. Hopefully, our eagle-eyed readers with be able to pinpoint the location where the photo was taken.

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.

  • This through-the-windshield view contains a Chevrolet parked on a used car lot equipped with a bizarre-looking roof that appears to be removable. Who can identify the maker of the roof, and the car the picture was taken from and the figures on the dashboard.   

  • An odd mix of vehicles apparently parked in the pits at an unknown drag strip. 

  • And finally, parked cars at some type of a summer get together.

49 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 240

  1. What an odd aftermarket roof for the `61 Impala! A horrible design that adds nothing to the lines of the car. I’ll take the `60 Sedan DeVille parked behind it on the right. In the second photo, a nice `57 Squire sits next to `32 (?) Ford pickup custom.

    • That white Peugeot grabs my attention, one of the best cars I ever owned. Available as petrol with a 1600cc engine, around 100 cu in, or in diesel.

      Three rows of seats, huge carrying and towing capacity, built in roof rack points, and quite capable of 100mph ( ask me how I know ).

      In some parts of French colonial Africa the 504, 404, and even 304s are still going strong, as only rust ever killed them.

    • I’m with you Phil! That car is a lesson on how to take a beautiful ’61 Chevy Impala convertible, and make it look absolutely hideous!

  2. The 1st pic, the trolley looks like a Mack bus. Did Mack make trollies? The garbage truck is an early 60’s IH VCO 200 cabover. The Vette got a whole lot of bondo on it. 2nd pic, I read, the hardtop was made by a company called Esquire. Not much other info, except it was fiberglass and weighed 80 lbs. Not sure on the knomes. That’s a lot of light bulbs to change. It was a great job for a young man, lot boy. 3rd, run what you brung. “Dad, can I use grandpa’s jalopy Sunday?” ( on left) The ’57 Country Squire looks quite new. Hope they aren’t going to race it. Last, the plates look like NJ. I had a friend with a ’63 Nova SS like up front. What ever it is, Milburn Drysdale showed up in his Imperial.

    • The trolley was built by St. Louis Car Company, who made all of PTC’s PCC cars. Mack did make trolleybuses (trackless trolleys), but despite making locomotives as well, I don’t know of them producing any tracked trolleys.

      • I remember riding Philadelphia’s route 50 car line: it went north on 5th Street, passing Independence Hall.

        Now: Steve K. is entirely correct in what he says about Philadelphia’s PCC cars. He is also correct about Mack building trolley coaches. Finally, he is correct about Mack never building streetcars. By the time the PCC car was introduced, only Pullman-Standard, St. Louis Car Company, and Brill were still building streetcars. The first two produced genuine PCC cars; Brill produced a knockoff called the Brilliner that, apart from a small fleet for Atlantic City and another with high speed suburban trucks for the Red Arrow system (suburban Philadelphia), never took off (Baltimore and Cincinnati had one each; Philadelphia had three, and that was it).

        • The two “large” fleets of Brilliners were 10 for Red Arrow and 25 for Atlantic City (one sample and 24 production). The Brilliners had less taper at the corners than PCC cars, which meant they were route-limited in Philadelphia because of clearance issues. Brill didn’t want to pay the royalties on patents used in the PCC cars, which in hindsight was a bad decision.

          The Atlantic City fleet was all scrapped in 1955. Two of the Philadelphia units were scrapped in 1951 and the last in 1957. I don’t know what happened to the Baltimore or Cincinnati units, though Atlantic City tried to buy them while their own fleet was still in use. One Red Arrow was destroyed in an accident in 1963, but the other nine ran until 1981(!) and a number of them have been preserved – originally four, but one of them was badly deteriorated and cannibalized for parts to fix another survivor.

      • San Francisco’s MUNI transit system runs these same trolleys in regular service from Fishermen’s Wharf to the Castro District via tracks on The Embarcadero and Market Street, and in occasional service from Fishermen’s Wharf to Oracle Park (SF Giants) along The Embarcadero. They’ve all been fully restored and are painted in the liveries of various US cities’ transit lines (I especially like the cream and black one from Kansas City. It also runs a number of wooden-bodied “rattletraps” rescued from Italy, Milan, I think. Fun rides, if one isn’t in a hurry. Can be jammed, especially during tourist and conventions seasons.

        • Route 15 in Philadelphia was using rebuilt PCC cars (PCC shells with new interiors, controls, A/C, and a wheelchair lift), but they’re going in for refurbishment again because of mechanical problems while roadwork would have temporarily closed the line anyway.

          In Massachusetts, the Ashmont-Mattapan section of the MBTA’s Red Line uses 4 PCCs (built between 1943 and 1946) for a ~2.5 mile route because the bridges on the line aren’t rated for heavier trolleys.

          The wooden cars in San Francisco are from Milan, ATM Class 1500 (also known as Type 1928). They’re a design that Peter Witt patented in the US in 1915 and was first used in Cleveland. The last I saw, some of those Peter Witts are still operating in Milan.

    • Agree with NJ plates on the cars with their backs to us. The cars facing the photographer have no front plates, so probably PA. Somewhere in the Poconos, perhaps?

  3. Apparently the rat rod concept is not as new as we tend to think of it.

    The Plymouth Plainsman called and wants its roof back.

  4. In the lead image: To the right of the Philadelphia Transits PCC trolley car is a ’62 Mercury Meteor, the short-lived intermediate Mercury version of the new Fairlane.

    The car on the left in the third image with the man leaning on the fender is a ’38-’40 Cadillac 75 formal sedan, probably used as a tow car. The ’57 Ford Country Squire looks relative new.

    In the fourth image: two Mopars stand out, nearest is a ’67-’68 Imperial sedan with the full-door construction made available along with the B-pillarless four door hardtop for 1967-’69 model years. The other is a dark-color ’40’s Plymouth or Dodge sedan to the right side next to a white Chevy station wagon. Two gold Cadillacs a ’64 and ’69 are in the far row. Above the white VW beetle is either a ’67 AMC Marlin or ’68 Ambassador. A white Peugout station wagon is to the right of the Imperial sedan.

    • Take another look at the Caady sedan in the third photo and you’ll
      See the class number chalked on the rear window. Old Caddy’s and especially Buick’s from the late’s 30’s were competitive in E and F classes, running against 265 Chevy’s. The big cars had a head start due to their weight. By the time the Chevy got off the line, the Buick’s and Caddy’s were winding it out in second gear. More often than not, the Chey’s couldn’t catch ‘em.

    • The AMC is neither a 1967 Marlin nor a 1968 Amassador DPL. It’s a 1968 Ambassador SST. The lack of a “taper” in its rear window is hard to see (and its body-color headlight bezels are harder to see…), but the wider horizontal grille molding than in ’67 identifies it unequivocally.

      Also identifiable among the auction barn/flea market vehicles (the Econoline van looks to be either bringing or taking or doing some of each) is a car that no one noted: a white Datsun 510!

  5. In the Lead Photo on the left, a ’66 Buick Special sedan, a ’58-’60 Corvette and probably a ’64 Ford. On the right a ’62 Mercury Meteor and maybe a ’69 or ’70 Buick Electra 225 with a ’59 Chevy down the street.

    In Item 1 of 3, I believe was taken from the driver’s seat of a two-tone ’56 Ford Fairlane. In the front of the lot a ’61 Impala convertible with that bizarre roof, a ’60 Pontiac convertible, a ’60 Chevy wagon, a two-tone ’58 Fairlane 500 Sunliner, maybe a ’61 Mercury and a ’59 Ford.
    Seen behind the front row, probably a ’60 Cadillac, a ’56 Country Squire, a ’61 Impala sedan and possibly a ’55 or ’56 Mopar wagon.

    In Item 2 of 3, could be a ’39 Cadillac Series 61 Touring Sedan with among the last years of sidemounts, a ’57 Country Squire and at least what looks like the front clip of a ’32 Ford.

    In Item 3 of 3, of interest, a possible Triumph TR5 or 250 in the center of the photo between a white ’67 Fury and a ’64-ish T-bird. To the left of them a black ’67 or ’68 Ambassador or ’67 Marlin.
    In the front row, a ’67 or ’68 Imperial beside a ’68 or ’69 Peugeot 404 wagon. Seen over its roof is a grey Saab 95 or 96 wagon. Way up on the hill to the far right is a black pre/postwar Mopar sedan next to a ’69-ish fuselage Plymouth or Dodge wagon.

  6. The 61 Chevy is what you get when the body shop guys on their 3 rd six-pack (3rd per man).
    The roof looks to me like it came off a boat.

    • Looks like a bad imitation of a ’58-60 T-Bird roof, which was very influential in the day….becoming the prototype for the new top on Brooks Stevens restyled of the Studebaker two door Hawk coupe/hardtop which became the ’62-64 “GT Hawk”.

  7. The fellow in the Family reunion photo, center, far right by the guy with the crutch looks like a State Trooper. Maybe hired to keep the parking sorted out?

  8. I’m pretty sure the red Ford pickup with the Moon discs is a 33 or 34. They have grilles similar to the 32, but the shell is thicker, and, unlike 32 grilles, 33-34 grilles slant slightly forward at the bottom – albeit not as much as the 33-34 car grilles.

    The 39 Cadillac sedan on the far left of the same picture has “E/G” written on the rear side window with shoe polish. Was the owner running it in E Gas? Even modified, one wouldn’t think it an ideal drag car, and the rear tires don’t look suited for drag racing, but I do recall that back in the fifties someone ran a small-block Chevy powered bathtub Packard in the lower gas classes with some success. Google “Flintstone Flyer” for a look see.

  9. The “tired-looking” Corvette in the lead picture I believe is a 58. The hood appears to have the phony louvers (more like a washboard than real louvers) that only 58’s had. Wonder if the car is still around today. . . .

  10. Looks as if the Corvette may have suffered an engine compartment fire that was extinguished before the car was destroyed completely.

  11. I have to disagree with the purpose of the last picture. I see no signs that these are drag racing fans. The barn-type building and the worn-down lanes between the cars suggest that you are looking at a country auction house, probably for farm equipment, estate, or livestock sales.

    • The E/G in white shoe polish on the big GM sedan on the far-left appears to signify E/Gas which was one of the classes used for gasoline-powered vehicles in NHRA drag racing. Today that class is appears to be Super Gas, and another similar class is call Super Street. The early-1930s Ford V-8 Four pickup on the far-right is customized and modified and it was likely that it ran at the same event.

  12. Second Photo: That top design looks like a homebuilt version of the hardtop on ’58-60 Thunderbirds which was very influential at the time.
    Amongst other designs, It served as the inspiration for Brook Stevens’ updating of the Studebaker Hawk series, the ’62-64 “GT Hawk”.

    The bottom photo has some nice, non-sporty stuff…The ’69 Caprice (or is it an Impala?) in the foreground, and two rows ahead of it, the blue full size Chevy wagon. I’m guessing it’s the base model with just two tailights.
    In the furthest row, looks like a ’66 or ’67 Country Squire.
    Also, to the right in front of the Imperial, a nice’68 Mustang coupe in that metallic turquoise that a lot of them came in.

  13. Pat, the windshield shot looks more like a ’55 Lincoln because of the chrome strip on the fenders, and the headlight trim ring is wider than a Ford.

  14. The de-roofed Chevy appears to me to be a four-door ‘converted’ with a home made Carson top. Those kind of things aren’t uncommon here in Florida. There’s a ’55 Chevy running around our area that’s de-roofed and looks like a factory job.

    • I don’t think it’s a 4 door as the front door is too long. The 4 door models had shorter front doors and the rear edge of the rear door went only a couple inches past the front of the wheel well. That vertical mark over the center of the wheel well is misleading, I don’t know what it is, but blowing up the picture 400% shows it’s not a door seam.

  15. Photo 2 with the gnomes brings to mind that hillbilly song about a dash board Virgin Mary statue that scrambled the car’s radio signal I guess from the magnet in the base of it, so he tells her she has to go.Was that George Jones who did that?

  16. The roof on the ’61 Impala convertible is an aftermarket item sold to ’61 to ’64 Chevrolet, Pontiac , Oldsmobile owners who wanted a sealed passenger compartment in the winter. I’m a 1961 high school graduate who had two friends with near identical ’62 Pontiac convertibles with that fiberglass roof. And agreed it did nothing to enhance the looks of the otherwise beautiful cars. Sorry but I don’t recall any info on the manufacturer, details, cost, etc. of this roof.

  17. The homely hardtop roof on the ’61 Chevy convertible was marketed as “Riviera Detachable Hardtop” for GM convertibles.

    • Hi 58, I read, it was called the Esquire, made by Riviera Inc. Cedar Rapids Iowa. A company in San Diego made one called LeMans. A novel idea, I think, I had a MGB with a hardtop. Made all the difference. I never saw one for a full size car, however, convertibles were a tough sell in Wisconsin to begin with.

  18. Good morning car guys, on the 61 Chevy Convertible removable Hard Top. In 1961 to 1964 GM dealers had an option to buy a Hrad Top for full size Convertible. Same top fit Buick, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, but not Cadillac it actually has its own. I was lucky enough to find a 1964 Chevy Impala SS Convertible and the owner still had the Fiberglass Hardtop.

  19. Indeed the Corvette is a 1958 model readily identifiable by the fake louvers on the hood and if you could see the back side it had twin chrome strakes down the trunk lid, the only year for these two identifying features.

  20. My guess for the Philadelphia picture is that it’s late winter / early spring. All the cars have the sludge of road salt, but as the winter may not be over yet no one has washed their car.

  21. A period post card advertising the Esquire Detachable Convertible Hardtop says this: “With an Esquire detachable hardtop, you can combine convertible fun with hardtop all-weather comfort. Utilizing standard convertible clamps, it attaches in seconds. The softtop remains in its normal retracted position. Weighs only 80 pounds, yet is strong and durable. three distinctive models — The Esquire 100, 200 or 300 series — fits any standard size ’61, ’62 or ’63 GM convertible. Black, white, gold or silver. Prices from $295 — fully guaranteed. RIVIERA, INC. 600 First Street, S.E., Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Phone 366-1895.

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