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College Modern II: 1965

College Modern II: 1965

August 1965. Cal Poly's San Luis Obispo campus underwent a building boom in the early 1960s, still prime time for Mid-Century Modern architecture (earlier I posted another example). Here we have the college's Administration Building a year after it opened, the landscaping so new it looks like an architect's rendering. My Kodachrome slide also captured these cars: first, something of a rarity, a sporty French Facel Vega; next, a 1965 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe; finally, part of a 1964 Dodge, the part that shows that Chrysler Corporation's "Forward Look" was now a thing of the past. I took this shot at my brother's alma mater on either the way to or the way back from a visit to my sister and her family in Diamond Bar which, incidentally, is near Cal Poly's Pomona campus. View full size.

The roadside post

Roadside mailboxes are not dead yet: I drive by two on the way to my office, and I see people stopping at them to drop stuff in a couple times a week.


Another now rare sight in this scene: the red and blue mailbox. We have an all-blue one outside our post office - but on a street corner?

Two things

1. Love it or hate it, that building is still there.
2. Isn't that Lt. Columbo's car?

This is where my campus tour with my grandmother started, maybe summer of '93. I was already hooked on the place, and by the time the acceptance letter came, it was no secret where I was going. Once I got an on-campus job, I hit this building up for paychecks (in addition to lab fees and academic advising) on a monthly basis.

"All New"

The term "All New" is one of the most over-worked adjectives in the automotive industry, but in this instance it applies perfectly to the 1965 Oldsmobile, of which the blue Starfire is probably the most impressive example.

The 370 HP 425 CID Rocket, NEW! The Starfire the recipient of the most powerful version! It replaced the previous V-8, designed back in 1949 and enlarged to 394.

The Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmission, NEW! Replacing the four-year run of the Roto-Hydramatic, commonly called the "slim-GM" because of its small case. Incorporated into it was a switch-pitch stator in the torque converter which gave the already potent 425 even more thrust when the accelerator was partially depressed.

The stream-lined body, NEW!

Hard to believe that such a "dynamic" brand, a word applied to one of its models, could be allowed to die a death of a thousands cuts over the next 30 years!

Model for a toy building set

"Curtain wall"??? Hmmm:

The toy comes from the 50s, it says. which came first?

Bad trade

I had a friend in the Air Force in Germany in 1968 who had an incredible 1963 Porsche 356C that he traded for a Facel Vega. I thought he was nuts. Still do.

Cars, shmars

Who did the building? It has pretty much everything that was awful/wonderful about what we now call Mid-Century Modern. The roof has some Edward Durell Stone about it, but I can't remember him using anything like that wall treatment. Who knows the answer? (Besides, I can't figure out the difference between a Facel III and a Facellia.)

Re: Facel Vega

here's an interesting link to what I think is the car in question:


A friend called this kind of architecture, with its rows of narrow windows, "punch card" buildings.

Chrysler Turbine at Cal Poly

It was right there that I saw a Chrysler Turbine Car in the fall of '64. It was parked at the curb and we all rushed to take a look. About a month later and a mile away, I saw my first Mustang fastback 2+2, in front of Lusitania Travel service in downtown SLO. What an amazing time that was.

1960-1963 Facel Vega Facellia

A 1960-1963 Facel Vega Facellia to be specific -- one of 1,100 cars made.

Not Quite

That's probably a Facel III, the late two passenger sports version of the early Facel Vega HK500. The earlier Facel Vega name was last used in 1959 or so. Some Facel III cars had the Volvo P1800 engine [B18]. In fact, when this picture was taken, all production had ceased.

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