(first posted 11/25/2016. Updated and expanded 11/24/2022) It’s been almost two years since I discovered a trove of old pictures from the home country. I used a number of them to document the changes to Maria Theresien Strasse from 1840 to 2015. But there were a number of other streetside shots from the 50s and 60s that I saved for a rainy day. And it has been rainy here, so here’s a look at what I would have seen as a kid up to 1960, as well as when I came back to visit later.
The Mustang was not just a big deal in America; it became the most desired American car across the pond too. This ’66 is sporting Tirol plates, so it’s not a tourist’s car. Finding American cars on the streets was always a big deal.
Innsbruck’s Glodenes Dachl (Golden Roof), dating back to 1500, overlooks the original town square and is the most historically significant structure. It’s been a tourist draw for some 200 years and in recent years has become completely overrun by tourism. But when I was very young, it was still just the old city center, although in the summer things changed pretty drastically already then. This shot is from the early-mid 50s, and shows a fine Mercedes amidst a number of little obscure cars.
This shot is from about 1960, and reflects the time I remember just before we left. And this tourist family is clearly not a local one; my sister wouldn’t have dared to wear shorts like that. VWs, Fiats, and an Austin A40 are readily identifiable. Someone can go for the others.
This one is from the mid-later 60s, and includes a Steyr-Puch wagon, a Peugeot 404, an Opel Rekord coupe and a Fiat 600 Multipla, among others.
From about the same date. Two Opel Rekords.
The famous Hebling Haus across the plaza. A Fiat 1500 along with the obvious.
Another shot of the Altstadt (Old City). It’s got two points of interest: the Studebaker Starliner coupe and the VW bus with aftermarket trim on its nose and very unusual plexiglass roof panels over the front seats. One could only speculate what that would be worth today.
In the same vicinity, a Fiat 1100 wagon and more of the obvious.
One more from there. Cars have long been banned from the Altsdadt.
This is the street that connects to the Hofsburg (Imperial palace) in the back. Opel and Ford.
The Hofsburg was one of the Habsburg’s main palaces outside of Vienna, and one that was used as the primary palace for the empire on occasions. I see a Fiat 1400/1900.
This is a better shot of the Hofsburg, but the cars are harder to see. A DKW/Auto Union is obvious.
One more from the Hofsburg, with the Hofskirche (“Schwartzmander Kirche” – Black Men Church), which houses the tomb of Emperor Maximillian, attended by scores of larger-than-life bronze statues of his court and other important royalty of his time. A very impressive place to visit. The second car there is a Lloyd, just like my godfather drove.
A Mercedes minibus waiting to take tourists on a city tour.
This one is from the 70s, and a Mini is prominent.
This is the campground just outside Innsbruck. Campgrounds in much of Europe are not nature retreats like in the US, but an alternative place to overnight.
This shot is probably from one of the villages just outside Innsbruck, and of course it’s notable because of that big Packard hardtop. It’s hard to know if these American cars are local, from another country like Switzerland, where American cars were more common, or possibly belonging to an American who was in Europe long enough to bring his car along.
This poignent picture is of an old farm woman saying goodbye to her heirloom furniture that has just been bought by an antiques dealer, driving an Opel. This has been going on for a very long time.
The Triumphpforte (Arch of Triumph) is in the background of this shot, also from about 1958-1960.
Same location, with a ’49 Ford at the curb.
The train station. The tram in front is the Haller Bahn, which connected Innsbruck to nearby Hall until 1974, when it was replaced by buses after the highway was widened. It used steam engines from 1891-1909 to pull these cars, and then an electric tram engine.
Here they are behind the steam engine.
Another shot. That could be me there on the open platform at the back, where I always insisted on riding.
Another tram, the #1 line.
It was a big deal when the modern Lohner trams replaced the ancient ones, line by line.
Across the plaza from the train station, and this shot looks to be from the 80s, as that looks like a Mazda 323 near the front of the line. We’ll leave it at that for now.
Update: here’s a few more.
Here’s an old one of fine “taxis” (quite likely Austro-Daimlers) waiting to take the guest at the Hotel Kreid sightseeing or?
We used to go swimming at Lanser See in the summer, but we took the tram, as cars like this Opel were expensive and not yet common for regular folks.
Late ’70s or early ’80s, I presume.
A few cars parked by the galleries in Old Town.
Another from the early-mid ’70s.
A Sunbeam Alpine fastback.
And one more from the Golden Roof, including a cut BMW 700 Coupe in front of a 1953-up Opel Kapitan (looks a lot like a ’61 Olds Super 88).