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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bus Stop: 1958

Bus Stop: 1958

Oakland, Calif., circa 1958. "Transit accident." Latest posting at the employment agency: "Immediate opening, one bus driver." The car: a 1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Holiday Coupe. 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Is It Pronounced

According to Bogie, it's KooPAY

Car Doors vs. Buses

In my 41 year career as a Vancouver trolley bus driver, I only connected with a car door once, although there were numerous close calls. In my situation, the owner of the car was standing in the street beside the driver's door, where he was illegally parked in the bus zone I had to stop at. He had just stopped there briefly to run into the corner store to buy a newspaper. When I was approaching he certainly saw me. Since I had to stop in the street to let passengers alight, I kept clear of the car as much as possible, and just before I stopped he opened his door into my right rear wheel well. As the bus stopped his left index ringer was wedged between the side of bus and the edge of his door. Passersby were able to free him, and I filed my incident report. The damage to the bus was zero and his door was totalled. He recovered enough to sue the transit system for damages. A traffic court case took place, and my witness was a tall, gorgeous Swedish blond who caused heads to turn when she went up to testify. She was standing in the rear stepwell of the bus waiting to get off, and saw the whole thing unfold. So he was found guilty of opening a car door into traffic, which is what appears to have happened in Oakland that day.


I shall refrain from mentioning that, once again, Oldsmobiles and Oakland seem at cross purposes.

Exhaust Tips.

The most common car with the exhaust through the bumper was the '56 Ford Fairlane if it had duel exhausts. within a couple years the chrome bumpers were ruined by the exhaust. Some model Olds, Buick, Cadillac, Packard and I'm sure others also had this styling feature.

To the Moon Alice!

Ralph is going to be in a foul mood tonight.


Oh, ouch. This is by far the nicest car we have seen bent up in the Oakland Cavalcade of Car Crashes and Collisions. Just a beautiful car, and with Tri-Power, a smokin' performer.

Exhaust Ports: Part 2

I have a (GM) 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood. It has similarly appearing rear exhausts THROUGH the bumpers BUT they are FAKE and the exhaust really exits under the car. My gut feeling is the Olds is similar. I've always thought that this was because if the exhaust actually exited through the bumper it would damage both the chrome and surrounding paint. Any '57 Olds owners out there?

[Your Cadillac has a modification to protect just that kind of damage. Not unusual to see in restorations. -tterrace]

Thanks tterrace- My Caddy is all original personal family car as it came from factory. I checked further and if you Google 1957 Oldsmobile Starfire and click on images you will see the rear ends of several Olds on which if you look closely it clearly shows the rear exhaust exits through pipes under the car.
(BTW as noted by the original "exhaust 1" poster I play the same gas station game, as my Caddy fuel tank opening is reached by flipping up the driver side tail light on the fin.)

Bus #1808

The bus in today's fender-bender is a General Motors TDH-4507, built in 1947 or 1948 for privately-owned Key System Transit Lines. In 1960 Key System's operations were taken over by a newly-created public agency, AC Transit.


The glimpse of the oval speedometer intrigued me enough to seek out a view of the full dashboard.

I saw this happen once.

On the way to work on Lombard Street in San Francisco about 20 years ago. Person just opened their door right in front of the bus and BAM, took the door clean off. The bus just kept on going like nothing happened. The look on the drivers face was priceless. Good thing they still had an arm.


I'm going to suggest that both Ben and kcars88 were correct in that the driver opened his door as the bus was arriving. Unfortunately the opened door caught in the bus side door cavity and the bus pulled the car along and pinned it against the kerb. I'm also going to suggest that it won't 'buff out' this time.

Exhaust Ports

The trim bits at the end of the back bumper seem to hint that the exhaust came through the bumper; was there an Olds model that had such a feature at the time?

[Yes -- this one. - Dave]

Interesting, I phrased it because the 'ports' were so clean they looked like blanks. Thanks. Forgot how new the car still was.

Open driver's door

I think the driver of the Olds was at fault if he did open his door into traffic. Not much the bus driver could do if it opened immediately in front of the bus.

[Even if the door had been closed, the bus has still smashed into the front of the car and pinned it against the curb. Hello? - Dave]

Solid glass

The driver's door window seems to have survived. I doubt today's tempered windows would fare as well.

[1957 General Motors cars all used tempered safety glass. - Dave]

A long history

A few years ago when I worked in Oakland, most of us had a good understanding of the driving habits of that City's bus drivers. Consequently we learned very quickly that not being extra vigilant can very quickly escalate into disastrous results. By the looks of this photo, that may not be a new phenomenon. Then again, by looking at this series of photographs, it might appear driving in Oakland in the 1950s was a dangerous endeavor regardless of who was on the road with you.

Body Work

I don't think they'll be able to pound that out.

Employer's Agency

290 12th Street. Brought to you by the Oakland Retroactive Locator Service.

Loved my 57 Olds

I had a 57 88 back in the 70's. The gas filler was hidden under the chrome trim below the left tail lamp. Was fun to get gas and watch the attendant look all over the rear of the car then have to ask where the gas cap was.

180 degrees of travel

Looks like the driver did not check traffic before opening his car door. Bus was probably pulling into bus stop.

[Evidence would seem to indicate the bus driver was the inattentive one. -Dave]

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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