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Pastel-Colored 1950s Cars at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino

Mobster “Bugsy” Siegel constructed the Flamingo Hotel and Casino “The West’s Greatest Resort Hotel” on the Las Vegas Strip and opened it for business on December 26, 1946. Today we fast forward about ten years to this view that was taken in the mid-to-late 1950s of the complex and it includes the famous “Champagne Tower” on the far right complete with bubbles and neon lights.

The front row in the parking lot makes “Sin City” look like a GM town. Other than the 1956 DeSoto  convertible third from the left of the photo, all for the other vehicles in this line are manufactured by General Motors. Note the pink or salmon-colored Cadillac convertible on the far right with what appears to be a “Carson Top.” View this mid-1960s Flamingo Hotel image posted here earlier.

Please share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the UNLV Libraries.

36 responses to “Pastel-Colored 1950s Cars at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino

  1. Parked in the foreground, 3rd car from the left, is a 1956 DeSOTO Fireflite convertible, with mismatched side trim between the door and fender.

  2. Parked to right of this ’52 BUICK are a two-tone 1955 BUICK, either a Special or Century [with water-bag] and a two-tone 1954 BUICK, either a Roadmaster or Super.

  3. In the Lead Photo and Item 2 of 2, I see a ’53 Cadillac (first year for Cadillac’s barely-hooded headlights, if only just on the chrome bezel), a ’56 Chevy, either a Two-Tem or One-Fifty V-8 4-door sedan, a ’56 DeSoto Fireflite convertible (non-chromed headlight bezel, accent chrome windsplit on the fender top and of course ”Fireflite” script on the fender vs a Firedome), a ’54 Pontiac Star Chief 4-door DeluxeSedan(barely discernable 3 stars on its rear quarter panel seen through the DeSoto’s plastic rear window and an unchromed C-pillar vs a Chieftain).

    That’s followed by a ’52 (fewer grille bars and bumper guards that overrode the bumper vs a ’51) Buick Roadmaster (with 4th porthole closer to the wheel vs a Super), that appears to be a stretched Riviera Sedan model 72R), a ’55 Buick Special or Century Riviera 2-door HT, a ’54 Roadmaster or Super Riviera 2-door HT, a ’55 Cadillac Series 62 convertible (higher-mounted bumper bullet and turn signal in the wraparound chrome below it vs a ’54) and a pale green ’56 Pontiac, maybe a coupe (blunt bumper guards vs a ‘55’s two clean wraparound bumpers)
    In the distance, two ’53 or ’54 Plymouth taxis. Closer and to the left appears to be a ’52 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe with a just visible gold 50th Anniversary “V” on the hood, beside a ’56 Cadillac Sedan deVille.

  4. In Item 1 of 2 a ’64 Ford Galaxie 500, possibly just a bit of a ’61-’63 T-bird seen over its trunk lid, a ’62 Rambler Classic with a possible ’64 Chrysler wagon seen beyond. Then a ’64 Grand Prix, a ’59 Plymouth wagon, possibly a Sport Suburban, a ’59 Cadillac Series 62 or Sedan deVille 4-window hardtop and a ’60 Cadillac Coupe with a white over red ’56 Lincoln seen behind it.
    Seen above the Grand Prix a possible ’58 Mercury Phaeton 4-door HT of indeterminate model, followed by a possible ’64 Buick LeSabre wagon

      • There is a different photo, but it’s only visible if you expand the visible photo and then click on the left arrow. Jimmy Dean and Dorothy Loudon are opening on July 9th.

      • David, I know I am…but since the above expandable photo was labeled “Item 2 of 2,” I clicked on the arrow in it to find “Item 1 of 2.“

        • Someone mentioned that below, and I stand corrected. I really should read all the comments before responding.

  5. I see quite a few upscale cars in this picture including several Cadillacs of different years. The two-toned one that is passing by the resort appears to be a 1951 Coupe De Ville that was featured earlier this month in The Old Motor newsletter.

    • Four Cadillac plus all others medium-priced cars and only one ’56 Chevy and a pair of ’53-’54 Plymouth taxis, the Flamingo courted an upscale and would-be upscale crowd.

  6. Back in an era when drivers weren’t afraid to leave their vehicles parked unattended with windows lowered. Of course, the heat of Las Vegas was a significant motivator to do so.

    • I would imagine the owner of the Flamingo would not welcome petty crime on his patch.whatever else may be said of Siegel he had a real sense of style in the Flamingo.

  7. Some of these `56 models here are rentals; a big business even then in Vegas. The silver/white `56 Bel Air sedan is most certainly a rental; same for a green `56 Pontiac Star Chief HT seen further down the row. HERTZ had the Lion’s share of car rental business there in those years.
    If this photo were shot today, a bar-code sticker on lower windshields would give away the rentals from the privately-owned cars.

    • Will, that ’56 Chevy is either a Two-Ten or a One-Fifty…a Bel Air would have two strips of chrome trim that join just behind the headlight. Also I don’t see anything on the ’56 Pontiac to limit to a Star Chief and since the C-pillar appears to be wider than a Coupe’s and is white like the rest of the roof, it’s probably a four-door Catalina hardtop, either Star Chief, an 860 or an 870 (the Chieftain name having been discarded).

  8. I count four Cadillacs, three Buicks, two Pontiacs, one Chevrolet and one DeSoto. Plus one more GM car of some kind (based on the shape of the wrap-around windshield) on the other side of the 55-56 Pontiac, plus a black 49-52 Mopar sedan of some kind behind that. Plus two Plymouth taxis on the far side of the parking lot. No Fords or Mercurys. So: GM eleven, Mopar four, Fomoco zero.

  9. It’s interesting looking at the raised wooden white tire guard in the foreground. After a long drive and arriving at the hotel, one may want to check the fluids under the hood and then wam !! tripped by the 2X4s.

  10. A water bag at that late date?
    Can’t say I’ve seen that…but it might make sense of they were driving across a desert to get there. Still, a bit odd.

    Also, about the Cadillac with the “Carson Top”. To me it looks like a stock convertible, a reflection makes the quarter windows look filled-in…almost like some ’30s coupes.

    • I had wondered whether that was a water bag on the grill of the Olds between the Buicks.

      If you had to drive in across the desert, a water bag might make sense, even in an era of Coleman coolers.

    • Also a clue as to it not being a Carson Top is if u look through the Dad to the drivers side rear window area u can see through where a CT would b blocking it out.

  11. IMHO..In the front row, the Desoto is the best looking car there. Followed by the ’56 Chevy.
    The Cadillacs and Buicks just look foolish with those overdone chrome grilled and bumpers.

  12. Notice how you could leave your windows down back then. Another sign of the good old days- Break the law, go to jail.

  13. Looking more carefully, I need to correct the year and model of the white over black Cadillac coupe passing by in Item 2 of 2. It’s a ’51 and not a Series 62, but the least expensive model in the lineup, and the last year of the Series 61. The lack of chrome trim aft of the rear wheel is the only hint.

  14. From the comments it appears most have overlooked Item 1 of 2, reachable only via the arrow on the photo edge of Item 2 of 2 when expanded. You’ve missed a great comparison shot of a ’59 vs a ’60 Cadillac’s fins, among a number of interesting cars including at least two FoMoCo models.

  15. My parents had a ’55 Cadillac Conv. in that same ‘coral’ color. In ’57 we moved to NJ and they found a brand new ‘spec’ split level that they liked but it was pink! My mom insisted that the builder had to repaint the house before they bought it – which he did! She said no way was she going to park her ‘orange’ car in front of a pink house!

    • Michigan casinos are currently closed. You may, however, find lots of rust beaters at some of the Wisconsin casinos that remain open.

  16. Were there casinos in Michigan (or New York, New Jersey, Washington, or along the Gulf coast and Mississippi, etc.) byack then?

    • Hi John, nope, I read, the 1st Tribally owned casino in the US was/is located in Brimley, Mich. ( lower) and opened in 1984.

      • Howard, that’s what I expected. My query was in response to your statement, I didn’t know if you were referring to modern casinos (which I agree are not usually the place to see great cars) or whether there were alternatives to Vegas back them.

    • Mississippi gambling was in decline around the time this photo was taken, but it still existed. The Broadwater Beach Hotel (later President Casino Broadwater Resort) opened in 1939 to serve out-of-state gamblers coming to Mississippi. Gambling was technically illegal, but the laws weren’t enforced (and even then it was sporadic) until the Kefauver Committee in the ’50s. There was still backroom gambling in clubs, but nothing like the Vegas casinos. Hurricane Camille destroyed a lot of the clubs in ’69.

      NJ’s first casino was the Resorts Casino Hotel in 1978.

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