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Lukens Lake: 1956

"Bath house at Lukens Lake near Peru, Indiana. July 1956." 35mm Kodachrome transparency. View full size.

"Bath house at Lukens Lake near Peru, Indiana. July 1956." 35mm Kodachrome transparency. View full size.


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The Pontiac is a 1955. The 1956s had the name in script rather than in block letters. We had a 1956 sedan. My great-aunt had a Henry J just like this one, except that it was an ugly dark brown.

Henry J

Sears Roebuck also sold the Henry J and called it the Allstate. The retail price was $999.

Kaiser-Frazer was an attempt at creating another brand in the automobile business after WWII, when cars were scarce. The biggest dealer was in California, a franchise owned by the promoter Earl "Madman" Muntz. His radio jingle was "The Kaiser-Frazer, yours at once, today at Madman Muntz."

After Kaiser-Frazer sank, Muntz just reached up on his shelf for his next idea. It was a low-price line of TVs, under $100, hawked on radio stations across the country. You called and got a visit from a salesman who carried the step-up model into your house and began his sales pitch. At his peak Muntz may have been the largest seller of TVs in the country.

Peru, Indiana

Birthplace of one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived: Cole Porter!

re 1955

Here is a web adress, You will see A 1955 pontiac chieftain wagon for sale. They have A pic of the rear and it looks the same as this one.

[The 1956 wagon would look the same in back. - Dave]

Re: 1955 GM

It could also be a 1956 Pontiac. The wagon rear ends were the same for 1955 and 1956.

1955 GM

The Pontiac is a 1955, GM used the same basic design on Pontiacs and Chevys.

[Or it could be a '56. - Dave]

'51 Henry J

The Henry J is a '51. In 1952 the taillights went on to the fins.

[The other way you can tell it's a '51 is that there's no trunk lid. - Dave]

Pontiac Wagon

I vote for the Pontiac being a '55. I've got a print of my twin brother and I up on top of the family's '55 Pontiac wagon washing it (we were 8 years old, and not heavy enough to dent '50's sheet metal). What I can see of the back end in the photo, the taillights, rear trunk hinges, and bumper look identical. The photo though is mostly a side view so not all details are available. Our car had a two tone dark green, light green paint job.

Andrew Russell
San Diego

Car condition

Look how quickly these autos lost their finish, all except the Pontiac wagon look much too rough for their six or seven years of use.

The cars

Editing my own reply. I meant to say the first Ford is a 1950 model since it has the turned-down trunk lock piece above the license plate.

[You are correct. Thanks for the info. Now, who can tell if the station wagon is a 1955 or 56 Pontiac? The red-and-white color scheme is shown in the 1956 sales brochure. - Dave]

The cars

I'm pretty sure that the first Ford is a '49. We had one when I was a kid, and the trunk lock mechanism piece above the license plate was straight and did not turn down at each end like the one in the picture. The '50 Fords had the "turned down" piece.

The Cars

Good job everyone. From left to right are: 1950 Ford, 1950 Buick Roadmaster, 1951 Ford, Kaiser-Frazer "Henry J" (1951 model, most of which had no trunk lids), 1955 or 1956 Pontiac wagon (which both used the same rear fenders as the 1955 Chevrolet wagon, with different taillights).

Car ID

I see a Henry J! (and a couple of '50/51 Fords, a Buick and a Pontiac)

49 Ford

The car I learned to drive on was my dad's old blue 49 Ford with a column shift 3 speed. The body was absolutely cherry. My dad sold it for 50 bucks decades ago.

A near-forgotten model from American automobile history.

The car with fuel stain by the gas cap (next to the Pontiac) is '51 (or so) Kaiser-Frazier Henry J. You can almost make out the script above the license plate.

Car ID

The fourth car from the left seems to be a Kaiser or a Henry J, probably the latter which was also sold by Sears--think they called it the Allstate. The one on the right looks like a '56 Chevy wagon.

I'll Take a Shot At ID

L to R: 49/50 Ford; 49/50-51 Buick, 49/50 Ford, don't know, a Muntz Jet maybe?, Pontiac Wagon, early 50s (used Chevy tail lights with chrome insert)

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