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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Vettes Galore: 1969

Vettes Galore: 1969

A shot of serendipity at the parking lot, base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram, March 1969. Has the view of the desert below changed much today? Love the spunk of the guy with the older Corvette, half of the rear fiberglass clip missing. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Corvette Club?

If the 63s to 67s were auctioned off today, they'd all have those factory aluminum wheels.

but in the day, those were rare.

Two of the cars have 6 taillights. Frowned upon by the NCRS but popular then.

And there's a white 2 seater T-Bird.

That white (yellow?) car

If I'm not mistaken, appears to be a '68 or '69 Ford LTD (we had the '68 two-door in the same blue as the other Ford two cars to the right -- a more "current" Galaxie/Galaxie 500?) Across the row, next to the Imperial, appears to be a '68 Impala (we had the Caprice, which I never saw without a vinyl roof).

Mark of Excellence?

I count 5 Fords, possibly 6- Can anyone ID the white car top row extreme left? No question there'd be a lot of GM products when half the pic is a 'vette run. Hardly a representative sampling of the "inland empire". BTW I'd take the white Chevelle wagon.

The Fastback Ford ? Not a Torino, no hood scoop, and clearly badged "Galaxie 500". Need to throw down a few more bucks to get the Torino.

1963 Chev Biscayne

I realize now that the Biscayne in this shot is almost identical to my Dad's car that he bought in fall of '61, a '62 Canadian Pontiac Strato Chief 4-door sedan in the same "Autumn Gold" paint. The Canadian Pontiac was built on a Chevy chassis, with a Pontiac dash and sheetmetal. I learned to drive in that car, with a 262 c.i. 6 cylinder GMC truck engine and 3-speed column-shift manual transmission. Boy was that linkage sloppy! With manual steering and brakes, it was an introduction to how to handle a vehicle. At least Dad ordered a radio.

The Fastback Ford

1968 or 69 Ford Torino. The brand didn't really come into its own until the Gran Torino a few years later.

Like the wheels, don't like the flares

The silver mid-year in the foreground: American Racing Torq-Thrusts, my favorite wheels; had'em on a couple Mustangs and on a Vette, too. Flares are a little too much, but the rubber looks huge, so he probably needed the offset/clearance.

Another Imperial fan

Brings back memories of riding in my uncle's Imperial as a kid. Fun times cruising along the Hudson river.


I also would take the Imperial. If you notice, it may be older, but it appears to be spotless and impeccably maintained. Corvettes of this vintage, while cool, are way more common than the rarely seen Imperial.

1963 Chevy Biscayne

I am partial to the 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne 2-door post towards the right on the front row. My dad's car was exactly like this one. I think he paid about $1600 or $1700 for it brand new. This is the car I learned to drive in. He kept it until 1980!

Meanwhile, on the other coast

Just about when this photo was taken, in aptly-named Mechanicsburg, Pa., I was having a Corvette race car built, a 1968 with 427 cubic inches of organized mayhem under its hood. Anytime prodigious horsepower is bolted into a car stripped of all unnecessary pieces (only 2,800 pounds), much fun will arrive.

Here I am at a hill climb in Reading, Pa., getting ready to party.

The Cars of My Youth!

As a teenager, I could have named the make and model of every one of those cars in the photo - the 66 Chevy Impala has got to be my favorite: I learned to drive in (and later owned) a 66 Biscayne sedan, complete with 2-speed "Power(less)glide" transmission.

Corvette Club

Clearly a Corvette club run (as stated by Solo). Note the six tail lights on the silver coupe in the front--popularized in the Jan and Dean song "Dead Man's Curve." Stock (as built by Chevrolet) had only four tail lights.


That big beautiful black thing with the opera window and stand alone head lamps is an Imperial LeBaron. Not a "Chrysler Imperial" (Those weren't made until the 1980s).

These are great pics of the car if you don't mind drooling. I always do...

Ad 1

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Dibs on the Mustang

Looks like a then-brand-new '69 toward the rear left of the lot.

For those who know

The cars definitely steal the show but those from California should look between the mountains into the valley. That view is solid with houses these days.

Black Ford Galaxie

I'll take that big black 65 Ford Galaxie in the upper right corner. That was my first car. I learned how to flush & fill the radiator, change a tire, and keep those whitewalls clean, thanks to my dad, from whom I bought it.

Chevy Man To The End

My first car was a 66 Impala, so that copper 66 would do me just fine, or the tan 63 Belair or Biscayne if the 66 is aready taken


A vast sea of "black plates" that are themselves very collectible today.

True blue for me

I'm kinda partial to that 1956 Corvette C1 blue convertible with the black roll bar (in the middle of the front row of vettes); either that, or one of the two 1960 silver C2's. There's one perpendicular and behind the others, and the other is in the front row of vettes, further to the right. If I can't have one of the vettes, I'll take the Ford Mustang in the top row.

The view

I was there in January of '11, and the valley is much the same, with the addition of many wind turbines and solar collectors. The parking lot is now filled with rental cars and tour buses. As for my choice of vehicle, any of them in rust free condition.

Why I love Shorpy

I don't know any other website where a photo of an unpaved parking lot with two unrecognizable people and a blurry background would generate so many interested comments.


That fastback Ford, just to the left of the truncated 'Vette, looks interesting. Didn't Ford make a street version of a fastback Ford Stock Car that was a response to the Mopar winged chariots?


Spunk indeed! Looks like a 1958. At least one taillight still works.


I''l take the white Chevy two door station wagon.

[It's not a Nomad, but a 1964 or 1965 Chevelle 300 two-door wagon. - tterrace]

The '61 Imperial for me

In the toy car collection of my youth, I had one of those. I forget the brand (not Corgi or Matchbox), but is was really nice.

Club Run?

That is indeed a '61 Imperial, probably replete with rotating seats, ovoid steering wheel, and other requisites for luxury motoring. The number of Corvettes suggests that a car club was having a rally or tour and had stopped to take in the sights.

Mark Of Excellence

Wow. Only one Datsun, one VW, three Ford products three Chrysler products, and the rest, all GM products. No question about what brand the inland empire favored at the time.

I'll take the black finned one

Looks to be a 1961 Chrysler Imperial, the owner probably hated driving such an "old car" in 1969. The Vettes are nice but common by comparison.

Where are the Beetles?

How odd to see a parking lot in 1969 without a single VW Beetle, but with a passel of 'vettes.

Choose Your Wheels!

Boy howdy; this is an amazing group of cars! Okay, Shorpyites-- choose the car you want the most. My choice is the dark one with the fins on the far side of the nearest row.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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