CC In Scale: Part 3 – Childhood Memories, A Gallery

’59 Chev.


I thought for today I might look at some cars I remember from my early days. Less talk, more photos.

Now if I was American or Canadian this would be easy. There are plenty of models of Fords and Chevys, the occasional Plymouth, a scattering of Hudsons and Studebakers, throw in a Jeep or two. Done! The hard part would be choosing which ones to show. Postwar Australia was very different.

I won’t rehash what I’ve said before over the years. Suffice it to say that while US cars were well-regarded for toughness, they were too expensive for most folks here to buy and run. Plus, I’ve read there was some economic hiccup in the early fifties, a dollar shortage, or some such. Before the war British cars filled the void, but after the war European makers as well were trying to rebuild, hoping for export sales too, and sending more products down under. GM lobbed a bombshell into this market with the Holden.

So, while one neighbour had one of these…

’51 Chev.


For many, the reality was something smaller. Maybe not as small as this, though I did see a few around;

Renault 4CV.


Others drove this…



But certainly, none were as spacious as one of these;

’50 Ford.


Occasional prewar cars were still around during my childhood. I passed one of these on the way to school every day, a black sedan;

’37 Chev.


And occasionally I saw a ’39 Plymouth – the closest I have it this ’41;

’41 Plymouth.


The early Fords were either in the hands of the hot-rodders already, or in a junkyard. With two exceptions; an A roadster I saw weekly:



I also recall a panel van from the mid-thirties, though I don’t recall if it was sign written;

’37 Van.


Occasionally you would see an old wreck on its last legs. Something in this condition was quite legal in my state;

BF41 Chev 6.


Occasionally you would see someone working on their car parked out in the street. Next step was usually to dump it near the school or by the canal. This gave us some great things to play in on the way home.

Our landlord had the end garage extended to fit his Hudson, a long black sedan;

’53 Hudson.


I remember our landlord’s sons blatting around in open sports cars. One had a Sprite, which made quite an impact on me – a car my size!

AH Sprite.


And at another time, someone came to visit us in an early TR;



The commonest large cars I saw were fifties Fords, collectively known as Customlines. Four-door sedans only. The Mainline was ute-only, and we didn’t get the dressed-up Crestlines or Fairlanes;

’53 Ford.


My high-school principal had a ’56 Chevy. Like all of them assembled here in Australia, it was a 210 four-door manual six, but his was a dark red and white;

’56 Chevy.


Our nearest shops were in South St. Kilda, which was a strongly Continental area. Mostly Southern and Eastern Europeans, who, when they made it good, often displayed their wealth in what they drove. In the late fifties, American cars stood out not only for their sheer size but also for the amount of chrome they had, often regarded as being in bad taste – Aussies were a conservative lot. Somebody who might have started out with something like this…

Peugeot 403.


…might upgrade to a locally-assembled Chevrolet, but it would be a Biscayne four-door, and it would still come with the six and manual. That’s the way Holden made them;

’58 Chev.


Or, less commonly, they might spring for an imported Plymouth;

’58 Plymouth.


Next time, join me to look at sixties cars.

’66 Falcon.