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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Demolition Derby: 1960

Demolition Derby: 1960

Oakland circa 1960, and a mix-and-mash agglomeration of late-model General Motors vehicles. 4x5 negative from the News Photo Archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Dog

Thinks this is all too boring for barks.

1958 Biscayne, 1960 Impala

The chrome trim gives it away. The '58 Bel Air side spear doesn't reach all the way to the rear end, while the one on the Biscayne does, as the car in the photo.

[It does on the Delray, also. -tterrace]

The three pairs of chrome rectangles on the front fender of the '60 are a clue as well.

Undamaged Survivor

While you guys debate over the years and models of those dime-a-dozen Chevys, I'll take that undamaged Schwinn Black Phantom, complete with leather saddle, whitewalls, and "springer" front fork.

Chevy Correction Part II

Or it could be a Bel Aire - but it is not an Impala.

[Bel Air, not "Aire." It could also be a Delray. As noted below, the dark Chevy is an Impala. - Dave]

Chevy Correction

The Chevy is a '58 Biscayne, not an Impala. The Impala had three tail lights, the Biscayne had only two.

[Wrong car. The black Chevrolet is an Impala. - Dave]

Close but no cigar

If the '59 Chevy (PDL-248) was pushed into the black car there would be more rear-end damage. It was rear ended by the panel/'burb *after* t-boning the black car.

[No cigar for you, either. PDL-248 is a 1958 Chevrolet. - Dave]

I'm pretty sure that the panel/Suburban is a Chevy. The paint on the back end is too worn to be less than 3 years old, and the rear end of the car doesn't have the tell-tale Dagmar shaped dent that would be left by a '55-'57 GMC.

It's the black car's fault

The black car ran a stop sign. When the Olds hit his brakes to keep from hitting it the Suburban rear ended him. Notice the water under the Suburban, coming from the punctured radiator. This pushed the Olds thru the intersection into the black car which hit the light colored car, pushing up on the curb.


The cross-flags in the grille medallion indicate this top-line Impala hardtop has the 348 V-8, Chevrolet's first generation big block, available for the first time in the '58 models like the one on the right, but although a V-8 is indicated on the trunk, the engine size was not designated that first year.

The reconstruction

Leftmost car travelling towards camera. The car next to it was crossing the intersection, ignoring the red light. The 3rd car was travelling away from the camera. The truck was behind that car.

Car #2 plowed into car #1 as car #3 jammed on the brakes but t-boned #2 anyway. The truck, bringing up the rear, smashed the trunk of #3 due to following too closely.

Smashup Synopsis

The Suburban/delivery truck rear ended the '58 Biscayne, which went into the side of the '60 Impala (which is equipped with a 348) forcing it into the '58 Olds causing it to jump the curb.

Who hit whom?

I'm having trouble figuring out just what happened here. The Olds was rear-ended, but the other two cars don't look like their front ends are very damaged. Did the panel truck hit the Olds, which then T-boned the black car, which then slid into the other one? Or what? Can someone figure this out? I bet the accident reconstruction people had a heck of a time (although since they were in Oakland, they had plenty of experience apparently).

I cannot begin to understand

what happened here but I do recognise the truck tyres. back in the 60`s I had similar tyres on the drive axle of a light truck in the UK. Mine were Firestone "Town and Country". They were very effective in the mud too. I think the owner of the truck in the photo might be a country boy!

This looks like my family driveway

My brother has a '57 Suburban and I have a '58 Chevy wagon, both of which we drive regularly. But that '58 Olds 88 is a bit too flashy for us.

From Left to Right

'58 Oldsmobile, '60 Chevrolet, '58 Chevrolet, maybe a Chevy panel van with a nice new mud & snow tire.

M 30 580

That truck on the right, from San Leandro: what kind of tires are those? We have winter tires where I live (Canada), but that is California, and those boots are pretty hardcore.

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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