I love period photographs of parking lots. Is there a better record of the automotive landscape of a particular era? Here we have an aerial photograph of W. S. Shamban & Co. of Fort Wayne, Indiana that was taken no later than the summer of 1969. How do I know this? Because that was when my father replaced the white 1966 Country Squire that is shown parked next to the sidewalk leading to the front entrance of the building. I was amazed to find this picture while noodling around the internet. How often do you find a photo of a parking lot from years ago and recognize one of the cars parked there?
Shamban was a manufacturer of industrial seals that still exists as a unit of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. The company still makes and sells Turcon (R), which was developed at Shamban as a proprietary PTFE-based seal material in the early 1960s. My father started there as a sales engineer in 1958 and was the general manager of the Fort Wayne plant in the late 1960s.
This picture solves a mystery for me: I see that the Squire lacks a fender callout for one of the big FE engines, which means that Dad made do with the basic 289. The car had no air conditioning either, which meant that I spent quite a bit of time frying my young legs on those sizzling-hot black vinyl seats. Other than the Squire, I may have ridden a time or two in that light blue early Valiant, which looks like the one owned by one of the engineers who was a family friend. He was one of the few people I knew at that young age who bought Mopars.
Here is a better view. Most of the American cars are easily recognizable, but can anyone help with the gray import next to the Valiant? Looks like a VW Type 3 to me, in a very uncommon body style.