Curbside Comparison: Two Mopars, 10 Years Apart

I was driving along Washington St. (Route 202) in Boonton NJ with a trunk load of groceries, when I came across this colorful pair:  a 1946-48 Chrysler and a 1956 De Soto–and I had to stop and take a few cell phone shots!

A couple of observations come to mind when looking at this scene.  The first thing I noticed as I passed by was the vivid pastel colors . . . then the chrome, the faux-streamlined styling, and the crisp whitewalls.  It’s so different from what we see today.  The ’50s roadscape must have been a very colorful place, although we tend not to think about it that way now, because many of the images of the ’50s that we see are black & white. The Olds Cutlass bringing up the rear (an ’80s product) seems so minimalist and dull compared to these exuberant creations.

Seeing these cars parallel parked at the curb stirred an ancient youthful memory.  It’s not like seeing such cars on display in a show field.  I was a toddler in the late ’60s and early ’70s when such giants still roamed the earth.   A ’40s Chrysler and a ’50s De Soto parallel parked on an older commercial street–it seemed as if a wrinkle in time had occurred.

Another question is, “Which one is bigger?”  I had a little trouble finding specs, but I believe they’re both about the same length.  However, the green ’40s job somehow looks bigger and more massive.  The later De Soto is definitely lower.

The older Chrysler seems to dwarf the newer De Soto in this view. Blue NJ inspection sticker is from 1974.


Walking between parked cars in the ’50s–don’t trip on those bumper guards!


Each day in America about 46,000 new cars hit the streets, and about 32,000 are junked and off the road forever.    The gradual change from the old giving way to the new is so imperceptible that we don’t even notice it in our daily travels.  But go back decades, and the difference is stark and dramatic.  As a matter of fact, I think that the biggest outdoor visual change between an adult’s early life and life today is the cars typically seen on the street.  And for some reason when people see old, now seldom seen cars that they remember from years ago–it makes them happy!   Even people who are not “car people”.


P.S.:  Here’s another kind of “Curbside Classic”:  I photographed this praying mantis on the hood of my car the other day.  I’m trying to think of a meme caption for it, but I’m not coming up with anything.