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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 • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

Holiday: 1956

Holiday: 1956

Somewhere in Southern California circa 1956. The car is a 1954 Oldsmobile. Another Kodachrome slide from my recent eBay find. View full size.

Cars

Cars in large photo above:
The car in the middle of the two GM products looks like the top of a 1952-54 Nash. The dull window frames are a clue, Nash from 52-54 used a dull brushed aluminum on the window frames hence the lack of sun light twinkling from them.

Cars in KLN 961 comment:
The primary car is a 1954 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. The car behind is a 1955 Mercury. The next car is a 1946-48 Plymouth (very subtle changes through those years) the one way back is a 1949 or 1950 Ford.

My how things change

Can't help but notice how big the cars are and how small the houses in the background seem to be. Now the cars are much more compact (and efficient), but you could put two of those houses into the average new build today. But the families who lived in those small houses seem to manage.

Oldsmobile!

My family had the Olds dealership in Richmond California for many years. I have a few of the old dealer books, with fabric samples, loads of photos, accessory info, etc. But the best thing about the books is that at the back there are clear acetate (or plastic) images of all the models for the year, with matching cutout color swatches. You would go to the dealership and put together the colors you wanted - and where you wanted them. You would also select the upholstery you wanted. Then you placed your order and the factory would make YOUR car!

I really miss our '55 88, two-tone greens! Here it is, with our tandem bike. This is at the very end of this car's tenure with our family, as it was being replaced my Dad's $3 1961 Ambassador wagon (he bought it after it was totalled in a wreck and spent his spare time putting it back to perfect condition!).

Mystery Car

VictrolaJazz was correct about the '55 Chevy and '55 Pontiac in the background of the photo. The real tricky one to ID is the car in between them. It's pretty rough to figure out the make or model from just the "greenhouse" area showing ... I can't!

The Side View

The lack of mirrors reminded me of my dad. Car racing brought so many innovations and safety improvements like rear view mirrors, side view mirrors, seat belts, and various safety glass and on, and on. He raced Midgets in his younger years, and all of our cars had side view mirrors because he installed them, or had them installed from the factory. And he installed seat belts too, well before they were standard equipment.

But then he also installed dual mirrors on my mom’s ’58 Chevy Impala convertible, the one with the 348 Police Cruiser engine, and she was often pulled over due to her lead foot for speeding. A very pretty Australian lady, and with that killer accent she was never given a ticket as I remember. Dad would always just laugh.

Really hoping for an "Aunt Liz" moment

Maybe someone will recognize this family.

KLN 961

Another (blurry) view of the car. Click to enlarge. Bonus points to anyone who can Street View this.

Beautiful Car

I had a 1957 Olds Super 88 in my high school days in the early '70s. This picture brought back many memories.

One additional "trim" comment

The 1954 98 Holiday (hardtop, as posted) and 98 Starfire (convertible) did have the same "slashing" side trim. But the 98 sedan shared the trim arrangement of the 88s. I was always partial to the trim scheme of the 98 sedan, as it appears (to me) to complement the graceful lines of the entire car better, thus giving the overall design a more coherent look.

I miss Kodachrome.

The colors hold up remarkably well for a nearly 50 year old slide. The magnificence of the late, lamented Kodachrome can not be understated.

[Or overstated. - Dave]

Facepalm!

Excellent

Fantastic era. Love the Kodachrome and the car. Makes you wonder who they are, and did that have a good life.

Two toning

The car is an Olds 98. The 88 and Super 88 had a different pattern of two-toning. My all time favorite of this period..

Wedding bells

In my opinion, this is the same lovely young lady who "loves olives" in a previous photo from the same lot of Kodachrome slides. It appears there is a wedding about to take place (men in tuxes in the background)and she is invited. Wonder if the groom is one of the guys at the previous party. Does anyone else feel like they are spying on people who don't know they are being watched?

Wedding?

Two guys in what appear to be tuxes... I wonder if the previous image was related to this event? The photographer appears to be proficient at fill flash.

Such a contrast!

To the black/white/five shades of grey we see on today's depressing cars!

It's either a Super 88 or 98 because I can see stainless steel "top bows" in the roof. The turquoise and white car is a '55 Pontiac with first year V-8 and I believe the one on the left is a '55 Chevrolet. This was when GM ruled the road and every parking lot, like this one, held a majority of that brand. Their biggest problem in those years was to not get over 50% of the market otherwise they'd be charged with unfair trade practices! Today it's 17.5%, the lowest since 1922!

Panoramic windshield

1954 was the first year Olds had the wrap around windshield. They put them on the Chevy the next year.

Optional accessories

This is back when side-view mirrors, even on the driver's side, were extra-cost equipment.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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