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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Camp Chevy: 1959

Camp Chevy: 1959

35mm Kodachrome from circa 1959 sent in by a contributor who found it in a thrift shop, and scanned by me. The wagon is a 1957 Chevrolet. View full size.

 

57 Chevys

Our family had a 57 210 standard shift. Another way to tell that a 57 is not a Bel-air is to look at the hub caps. Both the 150 and 210 have the small ones. The Bel air has the full size caps.

First responder

See "very becoming and appropriate" post below.
Thanks for the backup, 'Gazzie'.

I'm sure 'lou' just got up on the wrong side of the bed. I guess we all have days like that.

1957 Chevy wagon out camping.

This Coral and white wagon is a 210. It has a white panel within the trim sweep. Belairs had trim as you see on the Seafoam and white Nomad below. 150s had a horizontal stainless steel spear down the side from the rear into the front fenders with an angled paint divider up to the window.

I am Nomad!

Is that Chevy a Nomad?

[No. The Nomad was a 2-door model with a distinctive slanting pillar and hardtop-style side windows, i.e., frameless. - tterrace]

Thank you! What a gorgeous car!

Someone must respond

... and may I be the first.

Dear loujudson,

I see that you've been a member for over a year and this is the first pic that you've seen that might be a little out of focus.

I noticed from your profile that you're a sound engineer. Maybe if you put your ear up real close to the screen, you might hear the sounds of these people having fun camping.

Rosebud

Who does not have a photo like this tucked away in a shoe box or album? A keepsake, blurred, not well defined, imperfect, and yet very dear as a reminder of Mom, and Dad, and that summer when we were young; now all gone, except for this hastily taken photo.

Very becoming and appropriate!

I love this very detailed picture of camping in 1959, along with that cool looking '57 Chevy wagon! There are so many fascinating things available to see, without even looking closely!

I like old car pictures, and Shorpy is kind enough to post this classic! Didn't even have to go to an old car site!
Thank you, Dave, for posting this image of camping life in the '50s! It's a great shot!

You won't print this one.

It's your site, and I am merely a daily visitor, but this substandard photo and scan is unbecoming and inappropriate. I guess it is popular among the 50s car crowd, but since i had to squint to see the details and found them boring, you can spend that much time reading my comment... don't publish lousy pictures such as this!

This is not a 100 year old picture worthy of Shorpy! There are plenty of old car sites for the chevy folx.

Lou

[Seeing as how this is currently the most popular post on the entire site, it would seem that most people think otherwise. - Dave]

Pastel Cars

Dodge briefly played with the idea of cars styled just for Women, the Dodge La Femme was available as an option for a couple years but was dropped in 57.

There were few built and far fewer still around.

Wiki has an article on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_La_Femme

Pretty in pink

As one who reveled in the unique, sleek, chrome-embellished, streamlined and definitive car models of the 50's and 60's, I wonder why they no longer offer the color range from the mid 20th century, like this soothing pink, the entire range of aqua,the two-tone combos and the vibrant feel-good interiors to match the exterior. Easter egg colors were desirable for females and some males and the only colors in interiors today seem to be tan or gray, pretty darn dull if you ask me.

P.S. Update: Thanks and appreciation to Vintagetvs for the website on pastel and feminine cars, very informative. Now I can prove to my kids that I did not dream these up, but that they really were available.

1957 Handyman

It's a model 150, not One-Ten I believe

Roughin' it?

Not roughin' it that much. While I'm sure he doesn't have a t.v. my guess is that he's using a cot to keep him above ground judging by the left side of the tent.

Shifty Guy

My family camped in Chevy wagons (we had several). We had it down to a science and could set up and tear down in no time at all.
I too learned how to drive in the first one. A 55 V8 stick. I could easily spin the wheels perhaps because it was a wagon and had low rear end gears.
Speaking of 3 on the tree, does anyone remember reaching through the steering wheel and shifting with your left hand because your right one was around your date :-)

I guess a '57 Chevy saved my life

Everybody can’t have a ’57 Chevy story but I do and here it is: One night in 1958 my friends Roger B., Gordon C. and I were hurtling down Wopsy Road near Altoona, Pa., on our way home from the Highland Fling Tavern up on Wopsononock Mountain. Roger was driving the red fuel injected ’57 Chevy Bel Air that his mom had bought him, one of the 220-hp cars doled out to dealers early on, and this one had been driven on the sands at Daytona Beach by a car salesman, running 133 mph. For a passenger car in 1957, that was something.

Well, Fireball Roger exited what he thought was the last serious curve on the road, nailed the throttle and as I looked over and saw the speedo a tick above 100 mph (shouting "Yee haw!"), the actual last serious curve presented itself. What a surprise. Roger lost control and the car ran up an embankment on the right, flipped onto its roof and slid backwards for (according to official state police measure) 156 feet before going off into the woods on the left. I can still see the sparks shooting off the roof into the night as we slid. This was getting exciting. The car was stopped by a bunch of small trees and one big one, but the Angel of No Fires kept the gas tank intact. Plus, teenagers live forever.

In the photo you can see that my window (passenger side) was seriously reduced in height, but I managed to squeeze through it, crawling in total darkness around to the other side, and I reached in, turned the engine off (fuel injected engines can run upside down, but you don't want to make it a habit) and helped Roger and Gordon get out. When the windshield made its way in hundreds of pieces past us into the back seat, it cut our arms and faces in dozens of places (no other injuries) and two days later my left arm was swollen twice its size. I had crawled through poison ivy. Considering the what-ifs, I was real happy, or at least happier than Roger, because his mom forgot to add his car to her insurance policy.

re: No longer exist

You left out the one thing I miss the most - vent wing windows. I wish they would bring them back, but they are not aerodynamically correct for fuel economy purposes, so I guess they're gone for good.

This is the car I learned to drive a manual transmission in back in the 60s. I had gone through driver ed on our school's automatic, but my best friend had one of these wagons with the straight six and a 3-on-the-tree that he let me drive a lot. It was an ugly monotone Battleship Gray, although I'm sure GM had a catchier name for the color.

The summer of my junior year in high school seven of us went camping in the Adirondacks and I was the only alternate driver he would let drive on the trip. We spent our time in these, as seen previously on Shorpy.

Same car

I drive a 57 Chevy wagon, same color as this one. I've had mine more than 20 years.

Things on that Chevy that no longer exist

Hubcaps
Giant luggage rack the size of a radio astronomy antenna
Drip rails (that the luggage rack attaches to)
Station wagons!
Straight-six under the hood
... and most probably a two-speed Powerglide automatic

[One of BMW's most popular engines is a straight-six. -Dave]

Dave, Correct. I was thinking of 'Merican iron. I think there are still a number of straight-6 Diesels out there as well.

That tent!

I still have one just like that. Bought it from J.C. Penney about 30 years ago and we used it last summer! Hard to set up but we like the headroom ! Yes, I would like to have that 57 Chevy as well!

The Handyman

1957 Two-Ten Handyman, i.e., the 2-door model as opposed to the 4-door Townsman. The One-Ten models did not have the color wedge down the side, just a solitary chrome bar.

 
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