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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Valet Parking: 1958

Valet Parking: 1958

Oakland circa 1958. "Collision at Martinique restaurant." Two, smoking? Right this way. 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Rebuttal but but

I've heard that 25mph x 2= 50mph collision my whole life, and I know I was told that in school.

So what would the brick-wall equivalent be if two 25mph cars hit head-on?

Next thing I know you guys will be telling me that the old car falling off a three-story building one is hooey!

[As noted below, regarding damage to the car(s) or injuries to the passengers, two cars hitting head-on at 25mph is the same as driving into a brick wall at 25mph. In each case, you decelerate from 25 mph to 0 mph instantly. - Dave]

tterrace rebuttal

"[If these two cars were each going 25mph, the collision would have the force of an impact with a stationary object at 50 mph. -tterrace]"

I believe this was proven wrong on a Discovery Channel program.

[You are indeed correct. I'll check to see if my local JC has a remedial physics class. -tterrace]

Once A Main Road

Prior to the construction of Interstate 580 in the 1960s, MacArthur Blvd was a main four-lane thoroughfare that I drove many times in that period of time. Speeds of 40+ MPH were the norm, and the speed limit may have been as high as that.

Speed Limit? What Speed Limit?

Given the amount of damage we've seen in these photos, either cars back then were rather crunchable or people in Oakland drove like lunatics.

[If these two cars were each going 25mph, the collision would have the force of an impact with a stationary object at 50 mph. Wrong. See above. -tterrace]

From Martinique to China

3012 MacArthur Blvd. Currently the home of the Wing Wah Chinese Restaurant but largely still intact:

Corner to Corner

Looks like the Ford and the Caddy met pretty much left corner to left corner going in opposite directions. The Caddy pretty much stayed where it was. The Ford spun around and faced the opposite direction.

Regardless of how it happened, with the head sized hole in the front windshield it looks like the front passenger in the Caddy didn't fare to well.

Cross the Center Line?

This certainly looks like an "offset" crash, with one or both cars crossing over the center line. Car-crash movies from the 50's and 60's (like the infamous "Signal-30") seem to indicate that centerlines painted on roads, stop signs, right-of-way, etc. were merely 'suggestions' in those days. There was a HUGE push in the 60's for driving safety, not in the cars but in the way they were driven.

Damage comparison

Both cars seem to have the same amount of damage even though there is a big size difference between them. The Ford convertible is a 1952 model with a flathead V8. The Cadillac is a 1955 Coupe de Ville.

Where Do You Start?

We've all seen so many crash test videos of newer cars over the years that when you see newer cars that have been in accidents you pretty much know what happened. The damage on these is so extensive and random (?) it's tough to tell. Look at the drivers side vent window of the Ford, what damaged that?

Be sure to tip the valet well

Or else.

1955 Cadillac

Outstanding wreck picture. 55 Cadillac vs a Ford (also 55?). The poor souls in these cars were hurting for sure. Shorpy, how did you come by all of these Oakland car wreck pictures? They are really great. Thank you for posting them and please keep it up!

[These come from the photo files of a newspaper, possibly the Oakland Tribune. 1955 Fords had a wraparound windshield with a vertical pillar; the windshield here was used on 1952-54 models. - Dave]

So that is how it turned out

Chuck Berry's Maybellene

As I was motivatin' over the hill
I saw Maybellene in a coup de ville.
A Cadillac a-rollin' on the open road,
Nothin' will outrun my V8 Ford.
The Cadillac doin' 'bout ninety-five,
She's bumper to bumper rollin' side by side.

'52 Ford and '55(?) Cadillac


Looks like he finally caught her.

It does appear to be a Y block, V-8 Ford, based on the location of the oil filler tube.

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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