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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 255

Today’s lead image taken with a flash about sixty years ago is a view of a porte-cochère in front of a hotel lobby at an unknown location, although there are enough clues in the image to home in on the area where the photo was shot. Share with us what you find of interest in this photo.

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 images are via This Was Americar.

Editors Note: Due to the Memorial Day Holiday weekend we will return again on Tuesday morning with a new feature article.

  • This image is dated May the 1st in the year that this new car was produced and sold. It was sent in by a reader whose name unfortunately was lost while transferring photo files recently.

  • This prewar sedan appears to have survived the passage of time in very nice condition.

  • Photo without caption.

69 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 255

    • AML, I seriously doubt that `58 Bonneville belonged to that old couple. Nice backdrop, but not their car. Perhaps their son’s but not theirs.
      I’m thinking the red `59 Impala cvt. in the lead image was brand new when the photo was taken. The way the guy is admiring the dash makes me think the `59 is the first one he’d seen at that point. Definitely a staged photo.
      The red-lensed `55 Ford Customline sedan the man is under in the last photo perhaps is a Fire Dept. vehicle for some small community? And if so, why isn’t the car red?

      • The gaze towards the dash is a common “cheat” in a shot like this. Since he’s presumably talking to the driver, were he to look her directly in the eyes, all you’d see is the back of his head, so you have him turn his head a bit to left so at least you get a bit of a profile. Works 99% of the time except of course here where anything and everything is under the microscope. 🙂

      • Actually, the ’58 Bonneville was their car and the first one of theirs that I remember. It’s perhaps the most extravagant purchase my grandparents ever made, at least in my lifetime. They were comfortably well-off, but lived modestly. My grandfather, and his brothers and sons, were “GM men”, with various Chevrolets, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles in family driveways over the years.

      • Will, I take exception to your comment about the Bonneville not likely belonging to that “old couple”…. LOL!
        I am a 73-years old and I drive a 5th generation Chevy Camaro SS convertible with a 400 h.p. 6.2 liter V-8 under the bonnet. I bought it used, so it has an automatic transmission. If I could have afforded a new one, it would have had a 6-speed manual. (My car before the Camaro was a 2002 Mustang GT 5-speed manual convertible with stainless, cat-back exhaust, short throw shift kit, cold air intake and a modified rear axle ratio. I replace the instrument cluster with a white-faced model from Simco.)
        My Camaro is black and came with the nostalgic Camaro “hockey stick” side stripes (red) when I purchased it two years ago. I have added red side vent decals, red “hood spears”, metal Super Sport badges to the hood spears, and aircraft-style American flags (slanted) to the rear fenders.
        I took it to the drag strip last year, but got beat out by my son’s ‘rice burner’… an Infiniti G37X (DAMMIT! That’s okay though- mine is much better looking! )
        This summer I hope to complete the look by painting my calipers red as well as the wheel wells (fender liners), ala 1953 and 54 Buick Skylark convertibles.
        I’ve heard it said that “you’re only as old as you feel” so, please don’t count ALL of us ‘old geezers’ out just yet! I feel like a twenty-something when I’m driving my ‘maro… (until I look in a mirror!)

      • No reason not to believe it’s theirs. They’re not the type to stand in front of someone else’s car. My grandparents bought a new Chevrolet Nomad a few years earlier when they were about this couple’s age.

        • Reminds me of the old saying: “You can sell an old man a young man’s car, but you can’t sell a young man an old man’s car.”

  1. The bottom photo shows us a 55 Ford somewhere in Illinois. The license plate is a 1964 issue.
    Given the red turn signal lenses, the car is likely a former fire or police vehicle.
    I’ll lean to the fire department side, as I don’t see a V8 symbol on the side.

    The top photo is a 58 Pontiac, and I don’t think the photo is in the U.S. , based on the model name in script on the fender.

    • The Pontiac is a Bonneville, which had the model name in script on the fender, as did Star Chiefs. The Super Chief and Chieftain had it in the side trim where the Bonneville’s “rocket motor” is (and the Star Chief had a half-moon solid shape instead of the Bonneville’s rocket).

    • How do you like the widow makers holding the car up. I wonder if the Mrs. Had a secret life insurance policy on the side.

  2. The lead shot would be a Pontiac Bonneville, brand spanking new, judging from the temporary plate in the back window.

    And in the final shot, I note the shade tree mechanic isn’t trusting his life to the bumper jack. There’s what looks like a bottle jack tucked under the axle. And the little blue can is, I believe, gasket shellac. So he’s probably going after an oil leak.

  3. The pickup in photo three advertises a milling and planing company in Ashland, Oregon, and the town in the background looks like Ashland. The two young men are admiring a ’40 Ford; judging by the clothing styles, I would guess that the time is the mid-50s, when the major industry in the area was still lumber. Things change. Today the biggest share of the local economy by far is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival — well, not “today” exactly, because almost the entire season has been canceled.

  4. California or Florida I presume ? Never work under a car without using quality jack stands, no harbor freight junk..okay

    • I just saw on Road and Track’s website that three and six ton “heavy duty” jackstand models sold by Harbor Freight have been recalled because their pawls can disengage and let the car suddenly drop. I checked and fortunately I have none. Best jack stands, of course, would have a pin to lock them in place instead of relying just on pawls.

      The 55 Ford does appear to have a bottle jack under it, so it’s not totally reliant on the bumper jack to keep it up, but I wouldn’t trust that, either. I’m with Jack; must have quality jack stands in place before crawling under a car.

  5. In the Lead Photo, (perhaps in Florida,…but where are any jalousie windows, so popular there in that era?) a ’60 or later Jaguar Mark II and a ’59 Impala convertible. Out in the road, a ’55 Plymouth 2-dr sedan, probably a Savoy or Plaza, and to its left maybe an early ‘50s Cadillac 6-window sedan…just guess.
    In the distance appears to be a two-tone green ’57 Fairlane 500 Town Victoria beside a possible ’58 Biscayne or Delray sedan

    In Item 1 of 3, a ’58 Bonneville Coupe. Parked in the distant lot a white over pink ’58 Buick Riviera…which model would be “seeing” more than is shown. This side of it, a grey ’53 Pontiac Chieftain 2-dr sedan. Parked in the street a ’50-’52 Plymouth sedan, Farther this way a ’54 Ford Customline Tudor , a ’52 Buick Special Riviera (barely discernible kick-up on the rear quarter vs the C-body Super) and a ’53 Studebaker Land Cruiser.

    In Item 2 of 3, a ’40 Ford Deluxe Fordor beside a ’48-’53 Pilothouse Dodge pickup

    In Item 3 of 3, a ’55 Ford Customline Tudor in what appears to be pink…but then the gravel appears to be pink also. If those red turn signal lights aren’t just photo touchups (along with the person’s socks), and that Ford is an emergency vehicle, wouldn’t it likely be a V-8?

    • I’m thinking California for the headliner picture. The front license plate on the Impala doesn’t look like a shade of yellow that Florida used. They had navy-on-lemon plates in ’61 and blue-on-orange in ’64, but nothing with a golden yellow color.

      • Being a motel, I’d wonder if the cars could have been from out of state thus an unreliable indicator of location.

        • I’m thinking Florida, they are still digging those crappy palm trees out of the swamps for landscaping.

  6. Bottom photo: That ‘55 Customline 2 door with the ‘64 Illinois plate seems to be in decent shape from what can be seen save for some nicks around the headlights. Don’t see a V8 fender emblem so a Mileage Maker 6. The red lenses indicate that it was a first response or support vehicle in it’s former life, maybe fire chief or fire captain official transportation. I don’t know if I would have fully trusted the vehicle up on a jack on a granular driveway without a block against the rear tire. None showing on the near side but maybe on the far side.

  7. The lead picture looks like it was taken in a beach area.

    The man talking to the driver of the red 1959 CHEVROLET is wearing a swim suite, along with the two shirtless & tanless teens behind the car, indicate a tourist beach location. Also the lady driving the red JAGUAR is in beach attire.

    • I’m still drooling over the cherry-red Mark II Jaguar in the lead photo. Would not mind seeing much more of her (the car, not the driver!). But, then, the INSPECTOR MORSE Mark II, 248 RPA, has been my dream car for ages.
      Thank you for the wonderful photos!

  8. The Bonneville coupe in the 2nd photo is so newly owned that the dealer tags and temporary license are visible. Given the climate, a fair chance it lasted a fair number of years.

    The two-tone Customline 2 door beyond it is a ‘54. A ‘53 Chieftain coupe past the gentleman’s head. Ahead of it, a ‘58 Buick Super Riviera model.

  9. Nice to see people proudly posing with their American made cars, something you don’t see today. Lead pic, 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible with a 283 motor. Third pic, 1948-1952 Dodge Job-Rated pickup, came with a flat head 6 cylinder, and a choice of 6 1/2, 7 1/2, or 9 food bed.

  10. The 1963 or so red Jag Mk2 3.8 may be RHD, which might indicate a Caribbean locale, but the motel is pretty big for any place I can think of.
    Even a Harbor Freight jackstand would be a good idea on the Ford under repair.

  11. The motel is Mid-Century Modern at tits best, prefect location for a red ’59 Chevrolet Impala convertible. The Jaguar Mark X is in the foreground. Las Vegas, maybe?

    Behind the snazzy 1958 Pontiac Bonneville sport coupe with the owner’s grandparents are a blue ’51-’52 Plymouth sedan, a tan ’58 Buick Roadmaster or Limited hardtop coupe, a blue ’53 Pontiac Chieftain sedan, white with blue top ’54 Ford tudor, a blue with white top ’52 Buick Super Riviera and a tan with maroon top ’53 Studebaker Commander Land Cruiser sedan. Location looks to be southern California by those trees.

    The ’40 Ford Deluxe Fordor looks to have been in great condition for a ten year old plus car at the time.

    The former fire department ’55 Ford Customline six seemed like such a good deal considering how low mileage it was, until he discovered the engine was full of sludge from hours of idling at the scene.

    • I think that’s just a Jaguar Mk 2 sedan – designated with a numeral I guess to distinguish it from the longer, sleeker roman numeralized luxury series that culminated in the “X” which had a flattish grille that tipped back towards the bottom. If the car in the pic had a black vinyl top it might pass for Detective Chief Inspector Morse’s ride.

      • Hi Jay. The Inspector Morse Mark 2 Jaguar is still doing the rounds here in UK but it isn’t red, it’s maroon with a light brown vinyl top. I believe it has been restored a tad because it was in fairly bad condition when it did come onto the market. Keep well everybody.

        • Could’ve sworn it was red. Maybe I need to adjust my TV – or more likely my memory since it’s been 15 or 20 years since the series was last broadcast here. In mitigation I’ll note I did take a look around the web and while it is indeed most often labeled “burgundy,” that’s one of the reddest burgundies I’ve seen. I gather it puts in a reappearance in this season’s “Endeavour,” which has yet to be broadcast over here.

  12. GM had to do its best in ’59 to bounce back after failing to anticipate what the carbuying public wanted for ’58. The major design flop of all of their 1958 models with clunky, boxy designs and overdone chrome and trimwork paved the way for Chrysler’s lineup with sleek nearly fastback rooflines and tailfins ala the “Forward Look” to appearancewise (and in many cases saleswise) blow the doors off the king of the hill of the big three. The all new redesigned ’59 GMs were much more in keeping with the up and coming styling Jet Age!

  13. Lower shelf trivia: In the photo with the shade tree mechanic under the ’55 Ford, Illinois was still issuing single year plates. In that particular era, they were saluting colleges/universities located in the state. In this case, the purple and white of Northwestern University.

    • Illinois was issuing pairs of license plates in 1964. It did so every year from 1911 – 1979 which is when they started to use license plates that were renewable with stickers. To this day Illinois still issues pairs to almost every vehicle type, except motorcycles, trailers, temporary plates, etc.

      The purple and white on the 1964 license plates did not designate Northwestern University. Northwestern was honored with the 1958 Illinois plate with purple characters on a white background. “Jay Busse” in the next comment below has the schools being honored correct. How do I know all of this? Back in 2017 I researched the information regarding these ‘college’ colored plates, and I added all of the references to the Wikipedia article “Vehicle registration plates of Illinois.” These references were also used to update the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) archives which had some of the years and college names mixed up.

      • I got my info from the Secretary of State’s web site which seems to be a reprint of your comprehensive article. Thanks for doing all that research. I think the term “single year plates” was meant to indicate new plates were issued every year rather than multi year plates and stickers as now. Since all plates were issued Jan 1, it was always a real treat having to change then in the middle of winter, often outdoors with a screwdriver and pliers and with fasteners that somehow managed to rust up solid despite only having been on the car one year.

  14. Definitely a run on “old folks with snazzy Bonnevilles” pics this month. That sure looks like Samsonite luggage in the lead photo. The lovely white on purple Illinois plate on the Ford honored both McKendree College and Rockford College, the oldest schools in the state.

  15. Lead photo. The clues (two decker motor court motel with canopy, pastel door colors, bathing suit, shirtless kids, white cars, palm tree) don’t really help in pinpointing any one particular area but the Space Coast of Florida would be a decent bet. Why? Not sure another clue isn’t the dirty tire seen on the Jaguar from driving on the beach at Daytona. Wherever it may be, it is likely a beach community and, just by the way the palm in the background is leaning, the predominant wind blows left to right. The beach and the ocean may be over on the left on the other side of A1A.

    The vehicle behind the two-tone ‘57 Ford in the background right looks like a ‘55 Bel Air 2 door sedan. The delivery truck on the far left may be an International Metro step van.

  16. 2nd photo: The elderly couple could very well be the new owners. My grandmother was well up in her years and wanted a new Buick. (She did not have a driver’s license) Grandad said sure, get your driver’s license and I’ll buy you one. She fooled everybody; got her license & a new Buick. She drove her Buicks right up until her last days.

  17. The plates on the Ford across the street from the Pontiac appear to be yellow CA plates. The flora fits that locale as well.

  18. 1st pic, “See the USA, in your Chevrolet”,,, and throw a Hag-war in the picture for comparison. Probably not an ad photo, the car isn’t clean enough, and they wouldn’t have other makes in the photo. Hollywood, maybe. 2nd pic, I believe is indeed these folks car. Remember my story of the old guy across the street from my folks, this was just like his, only blue and white. Be fun to know what he did for a living. The woman looks just like my friends mom from old country. 3rd pic, the ’40 Ford was a timeless design. The pickup looks like a “pilot-house” Dodge. Last, love it. Let’s see if this qualifies as a “back yard” mechanic. Back yard, check, hammer, check, bricks, check, tire iron, check, piece of well used laying cardboard, check, bumper jack( with bottle jack support), check, yep, he’s all set. Judging by what looks like linkage or a hose on the stones, I’d say he’s doing steering work. With tires on, I’ve used bumper jacks, only to get necessary height, not as a sole lifting device.

  19. Im going to guessing Southern CAL for photo #1. Orange Lic Pl and think thats a palm tree in the corner of the motel.

  20. I think the turn signal on the ’56 Ford are an amber conversion, probably paint. Amber turn signals were new then and maybe it was an attempt to modernize his car. Being a young driver in Illinois then, the police ticketed anything like that. It was illegal to have any red light shining forward except on emergency vehicles.

  21. Powerful cars are not limited to the young. The total of my age and my daily driver’s horsepower is 577.

  22. In the Lead Photo, the paneling on the wall looks like pecky cypress, a tree grown and frequently used in interior and exterior finishing in the Southeast US. The 5 courses of concrete blocks below it also resemble typical construction in that area to keep ground bugs away from the wood. That and the meager windblown palm in the corner of the motel suggest to me this scene is in South Florida.

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