Somebody could spend a year just cataloging the cars. I spotted a split-window bug, an MGTF and an Austin-Healey 100.
Cool to see a few VW’s amongst all the American iron…..
Even without salted roads, cars were junked after a few years. It appears to be 1958 and pre ’52’s are a rarity. Also, can you imagine that most of those drivers were rowing three-on-the-tree transmissions in that traffic. Flashback to riding in dad’s ’55 Pontiac.
I guess this proves that California was way ahead of the curve on the adoption of imported cars. Also, I’ll bet creeping along in that traffic with all those un-catalyzed engines was pretty awful.
I can almost taste the half burnt hydrocarbons!
You mean because of all the cars imported from Detroit?
I mean because of all the cars without emissions equipment in this video, be they American, British, or German.
Not to mention the tetraethyl leaded gasoline
Also demonstrates the importance–then as now–of being able to do 0 to 60 in 5 seconds.
I grew up in that era (LA area) and remember eye watering smog. Deep breath sore lungs too. But now I can smell just one old car on the fwy if its fairly close up ahead.
Enjoyed the video.
I’m noticing a great deal more etiquette and a smoother flow compared to today’s highways.
Great footage. A car spotter’s delight!! Can anybody identify the car behind the Packard in the same lane as the TF?? I thought it might be an earlier Borgward Isabella, or Peugeot 503. After backing it up, replaying it and pausing several times, it seems to be an early 50’s Nash Rambler (wagon?). Whaddya think?
Check out some of the other old footage. Fun stuff. I grew up in late 50’s and 60’s LA and remember my dad rowing through those gears in our 51 Ford Customline sedan (w/spats!!) gripping that big ol’ black shifter knob.
Borgward for sure.
Cooool. Thanks. I knew if anyone got it, it’d be you. Didn’t see any Deeks, though. 😉
I see some very cool cars even an A Ford near the end. The easy availability of new cars is obvious something that didnt happen here late 50s road shots of NZ show plenty of prewar cars still in use this film is another reminder we were once the Cuba of the south Pacific.
Wonderful to see some how the ratio of rarer bodystyles were more frequently seen in Southern California; for example, I doubt you’d have seen as many convertibles if you looked elsewhere. Funny thing is, I don’t see one with the top down, but that could be due to time of day – if this is morning rush hour, it could be too cool for top down weather.
Did anyone else catch the 1930s car among the traffic?
Yup. Couldn’t tell what it was though. How about that cool Stude hardtop! Nice.
Amazing how many tri-5 Chevrolets there were in this film. Even quite a few 1958 Impalas. And yes, the exhaust stink must have been horrendous.
It’s interesting how the foreshortening in the first and third shots make things look very odd. The cars making lane changes closest to the camera seem to be moving almost perpendicular to traffic.
It’s kind of horrifying to remember that we breathed in all that pollution. I was a kid living in Los Angeles at that time and I’m sure I sucked in my fair share. The skies were yellow/brown/gray, and if there was an inversion layer, it all just hung there and didn’t move. Even with the A/C off, the recirculate switch in modern cars really does seal off the interior if you get behind a polluter, but in those days I don’t think it would have done much good to push in the vents. But nobody noticed it anyway.
In 1958 there weren’t many imports. It was mostly Volkswagen. The British had barely gotten their short-lived toehold and it was a few more years until the Japanese invaded. To see an imported car was kind of a novelty.
I was thinking the same thing with the lane changing and merging – it appears so abrupt and yet flows along so smoothly. I can also remember choking while walking to school along a 4 lane highway bumper to bumper in Atlanta in the 70s when most cars were pre-catalytic converter and many were experiencing partial misfire with their breaker point ignition.
Cool! I think my favorite is the gray ’57 Olds Fiesta hardtop wagon.
The 58 blue Olds convertible with black top (around 1:30) is surprisingly attractive. Never liked that year but growing up in the midwest never saw it in a convertible model.
Air in LA was pretty hideous when I moved here in 72 and got much better after catalytic converters were introduced.
No SUVs, no trucks, no vans of any kind. Except the few sports cars almost all cars are of the same height and similar size. They are even almost all of them notchbacks, few fastbacks and wagons. Fins everywhere.
Not sure if it’s because of the uniformity but the general impression is one of discipline and order.
What mileage would a typical ’58 car get in this kind of traffic?
Is the driver of the car changing lane right at the start of the film signalling with his hand as if someone riding a bike would?
What is that black hatchback during the last three seconds of the video? What a beauty!
It’s a GM C-body, as used by Cadillac and the top-line Buicks and Olds. I referred to it and had pictures of a similar black one in my 1948 Buick Special CC a couple of days ago.
When I sit in traffic now, I get frustrated. When I follow along behind a classic car that still has a carburetor and hasn’t been modified with a catalytic converter, the stench is horrible. Multiply that by thousands, and I don’t miss the traffic of the past at all. Not only the stench, but in the St. Louis summers, add the stench of anti-freeze of over-heated cars stopped along I-70 through town. Not pleasant.
Sometimes even looking back through rose-colored glasses, the past isn’t that pleasant…
I was just about to post exactly the same thing, Zackman!
Hey, the cars are actually moving! Looks like they are going 20-25 mph? Not endless brake lights or stop and go etc.
But still, cough cough, the “good old days” were dirtier. I remember going to LA in 1986, and still smelled like a garage.
I’m wondering what highway or highways was in the video clip? Guessing the Harbor Freeway or Pasadena Freeway (current I-110) north of downtown LA.
Yes, Adobe Street is along the Pasedena (now I-110), just north of the Hollywood (US 101). Since 1958 pre-dates Dodger Stadium, things look quite a bit different there now.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
About Arras WordPress Theme
Copyright 2011 - 2016 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.