(first posted 3/1/2017) Let’s go back to Dave Gelina’s collection of vintage slides for some more great shots. This one might be titled “small, medium, and big”, and pretty much covers the size spectrum of cars sold at that time (a Metro, ’56 Ford and Packard).
The gent with this ’51 Buick has a touch of attitude.
4th of July parade with a curved dash Oldsmobile, driven by two women.
Jaguar XK-120 in Toledo, OH.
A great shot of a couple driving off after their wedding in a ’54 Chevy Bel Air.
Three friends and a ’58 DeSoto.
A ’68 Skylark convertible negotiating a creek near Sedona, AZ. This was before the SUV boom.
1941 Cadillac with sledders.
1946(?) Plymouth on Easter Sunday, 1962. It was an old-timer by then.
1949 Kaiser at the Badlands?
1950 Cadillac hearse shot in 1967.
A deal being closed in front of Al Fink Oldsmobile. Check out the very vintage sign.
A 1948 Buick convertible with its driver.
Young dad and Jr. with their 1949 Buick convertible.
Early 50s street scene; before folks all moved into the suburbs.
1949 Ford Country Squire. The streets haven’t been paved yet.
1950 Cadillac in Virginia.
Pretty lady with ’54 Ford Sunliner.
And her handsome husband.
Three friends enjoying the spring blossoms
1962 Imperial at the Wawona tree in Yosemite. A great final shot. Stay tuned for Part 3.
In the Three friends enjoying the spring blossoms picture the guy striped button up shirt holding the tree branch looks like the same guy with the 50’s Buick with DC plates that was in Italy in the last set of pics.
and also posing with his lady in the “The happy couple on an outing in their ’56 Ford Sunliner.” pic
Wow—-good eye (and good memory), Leon!
And is it possible that the lady is the same one who is standing in front of the Sunliner in the first pic?
It looks like it is the same woman. The pics taken with the 56 Ford were taken later then the pic of the guy with the Buick in Italy. The tag on the Metropolitan is a Washington DC license plate that was issued in 1957, 1959 and 1961 (the 58 and 60 were yellow) were blue with yellow borders and numbers and went from the XX-XX-XX number scheme of the 55 and 56 plates to a XX-XXX OR XX-XXXX number scheme.
(This probably influenced the later 1982- 2002 Pennsylvania license plates)
The neighborhood looks like one in DC (perhaps Dupont Circle?).
I suspect the picture was taken in the early winter of 1959-1960 (most likely the end of Feb 1960. There is snow on the ground but not much (under 4 inches) this leaves out Winter of 1957 to 1958 as that was one of the snowiest winters on record for DC/MD and VA and DC got whacked with close to 18 inches of snow during the blizzards of that winter. The winter of 1958 to 1959 would have seen cars with DC plates that were yellow with blue lettering. The winter of 59/60 was reasonably quiet on the snow front with only a little bit of snow having fallen until Feb 13/14 1960 when 6 inches fell. In Early March 1960 DC was smacked with a huge snow storm.
I figure this pic was taken a few days after the snow of Feb 13/14 1960 when the snow had begun to melt.
Yes, there’s a whole slew of slides with this couple and their blue Sunliner in the collection. They were avid photographers of themselves and their car.
Again, great pictures from another era. Were all ’56 Fords like the one in the first shot blue? Our station wagon was that color. My dad was so proud of its “Thunderbird V-8.” But by the early sixties, it had serious rust problems. And we lived in the south.
I’ll add one of my Uncle Chip Young (Jerry Stembridge), when his studio session/sound engineering music career was taking off… I remember visiting his farm/studio outside Nashville in the 1980s and he had a pair of Mercedes 300 SLs parked in the yard, both inop. No idea whatever happened to them – I think he was planning to combine the two to make one runner.
Damn that shot has swagger. You ever played a 45 of Jolene at 33?
I will take that ’55 Packard in the first photo, please! (Can’t tell if it’s a 400 or a Caribbean, but with the tri-tone paint job I tend toward the latter.)
It’s a ’56 400, with two-tone (not tri-tone) paint with an chrome/aluminum strip separating the colors that doesn’t wrap around the cathedral taillights as the third color does on the Caribbean.
That picture of the Skylark in the creek is an interesting testament to the crap we used to do to those old body-on-frame American sleds – of course it was the primary tool in the box back then, and we did what had to be done. It is not exactly a mystery why SUVs and pick-ups replaced these cars when the great FWD downsizing came along.
In western Nebraska, ranchers were known to take their Cadillacs and other assorted land yachts out on the land – to get the advantage of air conditioning on some of the blistering 100 degree summer days, back when AC was rare in a pick-up. Needless to say, the long rear overhangs frequently meant sod was hanging from inside the rear bumper.
When we were in Arizona in 2011, we had just heard a story in the news about people drowning in a river bed in Italy whilst crossing by car, as it suddenly flooded.
My first thought was how people could be so unconsidered.
We wanted to go up route 89 to Prescott, but prior to that follow the signs for Castle Hot Springs.
Before we know of it we found ourselves driving in a dry river bed – in a Chrysler Sebring Convertible – The only thing missing now was the water to come rushing down.
For the first time I had to admit that a 4WD car would have been appropriate.
Yep, not hard to find yourself in over your head in Nevada and Arizona. With family in Vegas, we’ve launched many adventures from there in various rental vehicles. I recall one time really enjoying the Auto Stick in a Chrysler Pacifica in the mountains. At some point, I can’t recall what we were trying to accomplish, we were off any main highways and heading into the desert on a road that seemed to be vanishing. My very intelligent wife became quite insistent that we turn around before I managed to get us in trouble.
What’s the over/under on that Buick being a rental?
Can’t imagine that “Buick” fared well fording a creek!
Back in the 1980s I had a relative who would drive her Cadillac out into the fields during “calving season.” She would load newborn calves into the back seat and haul them to the barn where it was warm.
The second picture down, captioned “The gent with this ’51 Buick has a touch of attitude.” is cool.
Is as though he is saying, “As a matter of fact yes, I really would rather have a Buick”.
He resembles Robert Mitchum.
I’d be smiling too if I were taking home that Oldsmobile, even if a real Fink sold it to me. 🙂
It has air conditioning according to those vents on the haunches. Probably one of the first AC equipped cars in town. It had to be a revelation the first time driving home from work in a wool suit on a hot day. I imagine that waiving to your sweaty neighbors from behind a closed window on a hot day produced at least a few smug moments.
I think that was the first year for factory A/C for GM. A video of a 53 Olds 98 with A/C:
Great video! I’ve long been aware of the plastic tubes coming up from the package shelf, but I had no idea they were connected to a vent system running along the outboard reaches of the ceiling. I always thought they just blew out from the top of the rear window.
No wonder they had to quickly redesign this system to an in-dash layout. That system is a bit crude looking and would have been incompatible with the longer and lower cars that were soon to come. That, and early AC was terribly expensive, and simplifying the vent system probably explains why the cost came down considerably with the in-dash system.
It’s funny, I remember how a snapshot of an owner in front of their everyday car was a thing, (1950’s, 60’s) sort of. There was a sense of pride in ownership. How many people now a days would take photos of themselves in front of their Camry? Not many.
It’s still done, I think… My lovely wife took this picture of me the night I picked up my new daily driver from the dealer last August. I was waiting by it for them to get around to installing my tags. She’s not the best photographer out there, as she chopped off the front of my new Civic. As you can see, I insisted on a brochure when I picked up the car. We Curbivores must keep our brochure collections up to date, right? I’m pretty sure I have a brochure from the year and model of every car I’ve ever owned (or at least the ones I bought new, anyway).
Oh yes indeed, I love old brochures. I always try to get the brochure from my various cars I’ve had (mostly ’90’s). There’s a great place here in Vancouver Canada, eautomobilia.com
What’s funny is, the dealer is reluctant anymore to give you a brochure… “Everything you need to know is online!”, they say.
I explained that I am a car enthusiast and wanted the brochure for my collection. He said that’s cool and went and got me one. He was just about to staple his business card to it when I said, “NNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”.
Dude thought I was nuts. ;o)
I am also a fan of brochures . I always try to get ones every time I get a new car and keep them long after the vehicle is gone. I got real lucky with my ’79 Malibu. One of my friends worked at the local Chevy dealership a few years ago. One day he went up in the dealership attic and found the salesman’s book in a 3 ring binder that had all the info on that year’s Malibu including paint and upholstery samples. He then gave it to me.
Our small town Ford dealer takes a picture and posts it on the wall of the dealership showroom of every new owner and their vehicle.
And 6 years later I don’t think Honda offers brochures anymore. At the dealer where we bought our Pilot there are signs on the brochure shelves directing you to the website and no brochures are available.
That “old” 1946 Plymouth was four years newer when its picture was taken than the Taurus I was sitting in when I read this post!
The “1950 Cadillac in Virginia” was shot in front of the Carillon in Richmond, Virginia’s World War I memorial. A lot of the photos in my family album were taken in that same spot. It hasn’t changed. It’s still one of my favorite spots.
True. We’re it not for the Chevy in the background, I may have mistaken it for a brochure photo.
Wonderful angle from which to shoot that 62 Imperial – beautiful!
An indept look at “Early 50s steet scene…” tells a whole story.
Amazing how close these houses were built – how close people lived in detached houses.
We thought we lived close to our neightbours in the early sixties,
driving a 1955 Vauxhall, which our neighbours thought was ultra antiquated.
That’s a 1920s street built with the idea of people driving cars to work in mind.
Funny thing is that when the “everyone” of the caption moved to the suburbs they usually sold their houses to new buyers. Who still lived in those self-same houses. Until they were demolished in 1960s ‘Urban Renewal’ programs, the effect of which was to demolish perfectly fine neighborhoods of occupied older homes because ‘nobody’ lived in them anymore and they therefore needed to be removed.
Those houses that survived the ‘nobody’ phase are now frequently sought after, high-end expensive houses.
Those are typical of US neighborhoods of the late 19th century and early 20th century, when neighborhoods were built base don proximity to downtown or other centers of work, and the use of trolleys to get to work, and not based on the automobile primarily.
Don’t forget, back then very few ordinary Europeans who live din cities could afford new single family homes, like Americans could.
And by the 60s, new suburbs were very much spread out.
Lack of trim makes it look like the 4 cylinder Wyvern, we had a 54 Velox when I was a kid.
I got quite a kick out of the ratty-looking gray Cadillac sedan, a 1950 I think, in the background of the 4th of July shot. That one really seems to be on its last owner. Its yellow license plate is a 1958 or 1962 New York, I’m pretty sure.
That tomato-soup red Ford convertible’s a 1953, not a 1954. And, I think the 1956 Packard 2-door hardtop is a 400. The wide side trim is some sort of anodized aluminum, I think, and not a third paint color. It’s still a rare car (from day one), but just ordinary-rare, not ungodly-rare like a Caribbean.
Just as telling as what you see in these two posts is what you DON’T see, and that’s pickup trucks. I grew up in suburbia in the 60s and 70s and rarely saw a pickup truck, and certainly never as personal transportation.
It wasn’t until the mid-to-late 70s that *I* ever saw a pickup used as personal transport, and those were mostly import and captive import compact trucks, which gained favor as cheap personal transportation for young men.
When we lived in the suburbs of the twin cities (Minnesota) in the late ’60’s there were very few pickups for private use although pickup campers were just getting started. I seem to recall labeling the GVWR on the front lower fenders of the box just behind the cab was a state law back then as pickups were generally considered for commercial use. Truck owners would buy those stick on house address labels (also used for boat licenses). A typical label was GVWR xxxx LBS.
The curved-dash Olds was about the same age at the time of the picture as a 1967 car would be today. Eeek!
I’d love to have that black ‘49 Buick with the red leather seats.
(Tom Cruise) “Hey, who is this guy?”
(Valeria Golino) “He just jumped in the car.”
(Tom Cruise) “Yeah well he can jump out. Come on.”
(Dustin Hoffman) “I’m an excellent driver.”
(Tom Cruise) “That’s good. Come on. Susanna, why’d you let him get in this car? It’s not a toy.”
(Valeria Golino) “He says he drives this car.”
(Dustin Hoffman) “Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway every Saturday. ‘Course the seats were originally brown leather now they’re a pitiful red.”
(Tom Cruise) “Hey, these seats were brown leather. You know this car?”
(Dustin Hoffman) “I know this car.”
(Tom Cruise) “How do you know this car?”
(Dustin Hoffman) “It’s a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. Straight 8. Fireball 8. Only 8,985 production models. Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway. But not on Monday, definitely not on Monday.
Such an excellent film…for so many reasons (IMO).
“4 minutes to Wapner…”
(“I’m an excellent driver.” from the movie, is one of those catchphrases that is used in my universe for so many purposes.)
These are particularly beautiful pictures. Thanks, Paul for posting these, and for re-posting since I missed this the first time around.
Even though I am a vocal fan of Kodachrome, I believe that these pics may have been edited to enhance the sharpness and vibrancy. Maybe I’m wrong, but they’re really pretty amazing no matter what.
And just a shout-out to Dave Gelinas if he stumbles across these and the comments. There is some discussion over on Flickr about how come Gelinas removed his library from Flickr and what at least some people say relates to his anger at having his pictures (although it seems unlikely that he took these pictures himself) re-posted – even with ample acknowledgement such as what has been done here on CC. These are truly wonderful images and Mr. Gelinas should be accorded full credit for his work…as has absolutely been done here.
That skylark in the creek…I have no words.
Great pictures all. My favorite is that Jag, the angle looking up at it really sets it off. It was already swoopy, but at that angle it’s over the top.
These images are outstanding. I miss Kodachrome, etc.
This series reminds me of the first car at age 4 that started my life long interest in all things automotive.
I was waiting in front of our house to be picked up for my ride to summer day camp. Up pulled a brand new one color bright red 56 Ford Country Squire, with full hubcaps and whitewalls. An absolute stunner. I can visualize it to this day. Thanks for reposting. I missed this series.
Great photos of Americana. Love them!