Curbside Cinema: Hot Cars, 1956

SOCAL used car lot in 1956


When I ran across Hot Cars on Netflix I fully expected to see a bunch of ’32 Ford roadsters being driven by greasers with duck tails accompanied by gum-snapping girlfriends sporting pony tails and bobby socks. Much to my surprise this short film (61 min) turned out to be a story of a conflicted used car salesman (John Bromfield) who finds himself working for a crooked used car dealer that supplement his inventory with stolen cars. Much better than hot rods—the real stars of this movie were a cast of thousands all composed of late model (1953-56) cars.

1956 Mercedes 190 SL


The movie begins with Bromfield attempting to sell a very hot Joi Lansing a Mercedes 190 SL.


Jack’s At The Beach, Venice, CA


Part of his sales technique was to take Lansing to a bar named Jacks At The Beach and filling her full of booze. You southern Californians can correct me, but I think this establishment actually existed in Venice Beach. The same bar also made a cameo in an episode of The Rockford Files.

1956 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible


Why Lansing would want a 190 SL when she was driving this stunning ’56 Chrysler New Yorker convertible? Spoiler alert—she didn’t buy the 190, in fact she was a spy for the crooked car dealer.


1954 Olds 98 Fiesta


But screw the story line. Let’s meander about some of the used cars lots and see what’s up for sale. I’ll take this black ’54 Olds 98. Probably has a red interior. In front of it is a ’54 Lincoln. I’ll take that one too.


1955 Jag XK 140


What do we have here? A Jag 140, an MG TD, a Buick (?) convertible, a late ‘40s Hudson, and some other stuff across the street. Yum.


1956 Chrysler 4-Dr Hardtop


Prefer a 4-dr hardtop ’56 Chrysler? Take it, it’s yours. Maybe a ’55 Buick Convertible? A ’55 Dodge station wagon? They’re all shiny and got them donut whites.


1955 Buick Special

1953 Pontiac


About the only buzzkill in the movie was this doggy Pontiac 4-dr sedan that John Bromfield drove. Maybe that’s why he was depressed. There are a lot more shots chock full of yummy mid-‘50s cars. No rust, no paint fade. Just great stuff.

Anyhow, the flic is available on Netflix or at Amazon Prime Instant Video (a freebie) via the IMDB Hot Cars page at: