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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 241

Someone must have been feeling mighty proud when they took a photo of this luxurious convertible. It appears to be a extra special model as it has more side trim and a different script on the front fender than what is seen on the top of the line model produced during this particular year. Tell us all there is to know about this machine.

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.

  • Springtime in Washington D.C.?

  • A Restaurant located in Point Pleasant on the New Jersey shore.

  • We chose this photo because we haven’t had a sighting of one of the little four-door imports 0n these pages in a while.

61 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 241

  1. In the 2nd photograph [1st expandable picture], on the far left is the front-end of a 1956 BUICK; forward of which is a tan 1948 or early ’49 PACKARD, non-Custom model.

    • Ah, that explains the unusual architecture in the photo where the first floor is elevated and the basement partially exposed. That wasn’t popular in the US at the time of the photo.

      • I am in Southwest Ontario and I haven’t seen this architecture anywhere either. I am not sure where the pic was taken.

        • We have the same type of architecture here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in much of the old part of the city. When I went to college in Ohio they had the same deal that you had to clime a flight of steps to enter the first floor. Can’t be that rare!

          • In Milwaukee, this type was very popular, most were built between the Wars, but became very popular post-WWII. Milwaukee had a very significant German/Polish population throughout most of it’s history. The local name for them is Polish Flats, and very frequently held many generations of the same family, usually on 3 floors. GrandMa and GranPa on the main floor, Aunts and Uncles in the basement, and the kids in the (usually unheated) attic. (Been there, done that, I lived through it!)
            These show an exposed basement, but a Polish Flat actually had an entrance off the street directly into the basement, probably so that Uncle Erv could sneak in after being at the local gin mill ’til closing without waking the old folks and GrandPa would cuss him out in German. (see comment at the end of 1st paragraph).
            There are still many in existence here, and have now become quite popular with the Spanish contingent in the neighborhoods where they are available, using the same formula.
            Brought back many memories (those unheated attics were FREAKING COLD in the winter!)

    • Hi, Murray. just curious as I’m not a major car buff, but love the photos here — what are the key indicators to it being a Canadian model Monarch?

      • 1956 Mercury Monarch Richelieu, pictures available on the web under that title. Note the different side chrome and grill chrome in particular.

      • Much easier to tell from the front of the vehicle, but the Richelieu script on the front fender and the Crown logo on the rear fender gives away its identity. There is actually a gold crown in the round red emblem on the fender chrome.

  2. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen a photo of a Dauphine with a sunroof before. Or even one in real life, altho they did exist. Appears to be finished in Pompadour Gray like mine.

    In the first pic, the houses mimic the auto. First you got yer concrete foundation, then yer fake stone above that, and then you got yer brick to top it off. Add some MCM doors and finally some distinctly not MCM but hugely popular at the time wrought iron railings. A real smorgasbord for the “discerning palate.”

  3. Top picture: a very rare Canadian-built Monarch Richelieu convertible (rebadged Mercury only sold in Canada), model year 1955. Viewed from aside, almost indistinguishable from 1956, the only clue is the overriders on the front bumper, which are mounted close to the corners here, whereas for 1956 they were placed more towards the center, and would be less (or not) visible from this angle.
    Next picture: left row from front to back: a 1956 Ford Cumstomline, 1955 Oldsmobile top-line model 98 (model 88 had different side trim; color break behind the doors instead of below vent windows), 1955 Mercury, 1954 Cadillac and 1948-1949 Packard
    Third photo shows a nice 1956 Plymouth convertible in front of a 1960 Cadillac, outer left a 1964 era GM car, not sure a Buick or Olds
    Last but not least a 1959 Buick Wagon, a couple of Beetles and a Renault Dauphine.

  4. The 3rd pic features a 1956 Plymouth Belvedere convertible up front with a 1964 Olds Cutlass and a 1960 Cadillac convertible in the background. The signage on the restaurant was apparently supplied by the Coca-Cola company and that style was widely used throughout North America. It was somewhat comforting and familiar to me as a child to see that signage when we were visiting far-flung places when on vacation (even though it was no guarantee of the quality or type of food).

  5. Black and white convertible in the first photo is a ’55 Monarch Lucerne (Canadian Mercury) with all factory trim. Here down South in Dixie most of us never had the pleasure of seeing in person many, if even one of FoMoCo’s Canada versions of cars of the “fabulous fifties”. Really nice profile on this one. Too bad the owner didn’t add on curb feelers to prevent all that scuffing of the wide whitewalls.

    • That Canadian Mercury is not a Lucerne, although there was a model with that name. If you look closely at the script on the front fender you can see it is clearly not a “L” but a “R” that starts the name. It is, as mentioned in several other earlier comments, a Monarch Richelieu.
      Look that up on Google images and you will see.

  6. In the Lead Photo, a ’56 Monarch Richelieu convertible.

    In Item 1 of 3, a ’56 ford Customline Fordor Sedan, an 88 or Super 88 Holiday Coupe, a ’56 Mercury 2-door HT, a ’54 Cadillac sedan, probably a ’48 Packard Super or Deluxe Eight Touring Sedan and a ’55 Buick sedan. Passing in the street a green ’55 Dodge sedan.

    In Item 2 of 3, a 56 Plymouth Belvedere convertible, a ’64 Olds F-85 Cutlass Holiday Coupe, a ’60 Cadillac Series 62 convertible and a ’59 or ’60 GM Vista-roofed hardtop…I’ll go with a ’60 Buick.

    In Item 3 of 3, a ’59 Buick LeSabre wagon, a Renault Dauphine and two VWs

    • My error, of course the ’55 Olds Holiday is a Ninety –Eight, as AML identified it. The side trim begins at the A-pillar on the 2-door models.

      • Also, the 88 and Super 88 two-door hardtops lacked the “Holiday” badge on the front fender that is present on the 98. Oddly, the 88 and Super 88 four-door hardtops had the “Holiday” front fender badge but lacked the “88” front fender badge worn by all the other 88 and Super 88 models.

      • Pat, I believe that the Mercury in the second picture is a ’55 model and not a ’56 as it lacks the visible Big ‘M’ emblem printed on the front. The low roofline identifies it as a Montclair but it does appear to be a hardtop. According to Luk Martens, the Canadian Monarch is also a ’55 model but I’m no expert on Canadian Mercury’s only American ones having been a long time owner of a ’55 Monterey coupe.

  7. The first car is impressive, a lot of chrome there…
    Surprisingly, from the comments above, it’s a Canadian market car.
    I’ll keep that in mind the next time I read in a UK car magazine decrying U.S. styling and chrome excesses of the ’50s.

  8. 1st pic, what do they need convertibles in Canada for, eh? On my morning bicycle ride, weather permitting, an old guy usually sits on his porch and waves. One day, his garage door was open, and he was dusting off his ’55 Mercury, I recognized the tail lights. Never know what’s in those garages. 2nd pic, Chevy took quite a smack in the rear. No biggie, still runs good. I think the 1st bus is a GM, red ones Flxible? I believe the restaurant is called Peter Skokos Drive in, and this picture was taken in 1965. Plymouth looking ok for 10 years old. The boat, not so much. Last, the Renault Dauphine. It was the THE foreign car to have in the 50’s if one wouldn’t buy a VW. My old man had one. It was actually a nicer car than the beetle. 4 doors, a real heater, and a 2 way horn( city/country) They were fairly popular, as there’s always one in a parking lot.

  9. In the lead photograph is a 1955 Monarch Richelieu convertible, the Canadian equivalent of the top of the line Mercury, and in the second photograph third car down is its American equivalent, a white 1955 Mercury Montclair and very likely a hardtop as they did not make many sedans compared with the hardtop coupe.

  10. Third picture is a 1956 Plymouth Belvedere convertible. My brother had a ’56 Fury with the factory air in the trunk!

    The little 4 door is a Renault Dauphine. It appears to have a sunroof.

  11. Second expandable picture is a 56 Plymouth Belvedere convertible, V8 powered (“V” in the center of the grille). That would be the first true Plymouth V8 (55’s had Dodge V8 engines, as did base model 56’s), a 277 poly with 187 (2 barrel) or 200 (4 barrel) hp. That 277 grew into a 318 by the next year, which, first in polyspherical form and later with wedge heads, evolved into the mainstay base V8 for all of Chrysler Corporation. In fact the latest generation Hemi block is derived from the same basic architecture as the original 277 poly.

    The Belvedere was almost ten years old when the picture was taken (64 Olds Cutlass behind it), and it is a bit worse for the wear (center grille pointing down), but appears to be still pretty much rust free. Less modern than the 57s, style-wise and mechanically (56’s still had kingpins, and three-speed Torqueflite automatics were not yet available), but better built.

  12. The 4th photo looks like Observatory Drive overlooking Lake Mendota on the University of Wisconsin, Madison. That would be Picnic Point extending out into the lake from the left. The Observatory would be behind the photographer and Elizabeth Waters girls (at that time) dormatory would be to the right. Although its hard to see given the angle of the photographers perspective, the hill breaks sharply down toward the Lake with a sidewalk near the bottom followed by trees and then a lakeshore path leading to Memorial Student Union. We used to “borrow” cafeteria trays and “tray” down the hill in the winter. Not for the faint at heart! That looks like a Renault top left in front of the bug. Nice little 4 cylinder inline water cooled mounted in the rear like the VW beetle. I built a mansized gocart with one of those engine/trans back in the late 60’s. Way before the honda oddesy

    • Is that where that photo was taken from? If sure sounds like you nailed it, nice work! With all of the Canada talk and thinking that I had seen that photo before, I was thinking it may be Mount Royal in Montreal, but I think you may be right, Junk Yard Dog.

  13. I can’t quite read the sign behind the Renault Dauphine (welcome back) with the rare sunroof; it may say Lake Iroquois, of which there are at least two.
    The Merc soft top startled me too. The clarity of that pic is remarkable.
    It has been over 50 years since my one trip to D.C., so I ask forgiveness if I express my doubt that the springtime pic is there. Guessing a state capitol, with the badly dinged Chevy(?).

    • An interesting observation about D.C. I was last there in the spring of ’64 aged 5 and it does look like the nation’s capital to me as I seem to recognize that long rectangular lake, and the three buses shown are likely there to transport tourists. On the other hand I don’t see any cherry trees around anywhere. So perhaps some other reader can give a definitive answer as to whether that photo shows the nation’s capital in the background or just one of the many state capitals somewhere else. And yes, that’s a Chevy alright. Looks to be about a ’49 or’50 Fleetline model.

      • MP,

        You’re correct, the 2nd photograph [1st expandable picture] is of Washington, D. C.

        The picture appears to be taken from near the Washington Monument looking the length of the National Mall toward the U. S. Capital Building. On the right is the red brick Smithsonian Institution with its towers.

        The White House would be to the left of the photographer.


  14. Springtime in D.C., There is a ’49 Fleetline that was rear ended . In Point Pleasant , there is a pretty clean 1956 Plymouth conv., along with a nice Cutlass, and ’60 Caddy convertible.

  15. How come Im seeing all these foreign cars in this country going way back then but if you go overeseas you very rarely see American cars except maybe as limos,or near American military bases.

      • Other problems with big American cars in Europe were their lack of maneuverability in tight city environments, plus great difficulty finding a space large enough to park.

  16. One observation about DC nowadays: you don’t want to actually drive your car into the city and think you can park as these cars are parked. IF you can find a place to park… Well, take the train from somewhere else!

  17. Well I guess folks agree that the second pic is D.C.
    What then is the huge dome peeking through the trees on the left?
    And the tall buildings on the right?

  18. 4th PHOTO: Renault Dauphine
    In April of 1968, my mother, brother, and I flew out to visit an aunt and her family in Los Angeles. Uncle Bob (Naval Intelligence) picked us up in an early 60s Renault Dauphine, medium blue which thrilled the budding car lover I was from toddler-hood to the tweener I was then. Uncle Bob said a sailor was leaving for a new assignment and held a raffle to sell his car which my uncle won for $5. It was a hoot and at a bargain price.

  19. Note that the Monarch convertible is wearing a pair of aftermarket tri bar Yankee brand rear view mirrors on the front fenders. Those round Yankee mirrors were very popular on cars from that period.

  20. Wow, I’ve never seen a car like that Mercury in the first picture. The side trim is awesome. What a great example of the styling of the era. What a beautiful car!

  21. The first picture was taken in Saint Laurent Quebec. At the time of the photograph it was a separate town in Quebec, Canada, Today it is incorporated into the City of Montreal. Dead give – aways on the location are the agricultural corridor behind the houses. The juxtaposition of single family detached houses to small apartment buildings on the other side of the Ag corridor. (Probably 8, 12 and 16 plexes) The wrought iron and pre cast stairs are very much a product of Quebec
    Finally the Monarch Richelieu just screams French Canadian! If you grew up their you would know.

  22. Born and raised in DC, I can’t tell you how many times my parents took us all down to spend time on the National Mall. Back in the early ’60s, my dad could still drive us right up to The Capitol Building and drop us off to visit, or drop us at any of the museums and let us wander the Mall all day. The Smithsonian “Castle” was open for touring back then with a lot of exhibits, and there was an outdoor collection of early rockets and missiles in one of the courtyards off to the side before the Air and Space Museum opened in ’76. When we moved away to Boston for a couple of years in the mid-’70s, I was shocked at the $8.00 entrance fee to their Museum of Science, and how proud they were of it’s much smaller collection of displays. We were spoiled by growing up with all the free Smithsonian museums. For my dad, the hunt was always afoot for parking, and that’s why he dropped us off somewhere, then met us at an appointed hour back at “The Castle.” The only thing missing in the picture is the walls of buses I came to expect every time we went down there. From an early age I always liked checking out the destination plates and placards to see all the far away places people were coming from. The other thing you’ll never get from a picture of a tranquil spring day in DC is the sights and sounds of the CONSTANT air traffic coming in and out of National Airport. I loved the high-pitched whine of the turbo-prop Viscounts and Fairchilds, but when the 727 tri-jets showed up, you literally had to suspend conversation for a minute to let them roar by! They were incredibly loud before “Hush Kits” were mandated; I still see the “Sun-Faced” tails of Eastern Airlines 727s whenever I’m down there with my kids and grandkids!

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