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Plymosaurus Rex: 1964

"1960 Plymouth Belvedere hardtop on Boston street, 1964." Along with a gull-winged 1959 Chevrolet wagon, latest specimens in the Shorpy Bestiary of Baroque Barouches. 35mm negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

"1960 Plymouth Belvedere hardtop on Boston street, 1964." Along with a gull-winged 1959 Chevrolet wagon, latest specimens in the Shorpy Bestiary of Baroque Barouches. 35mm negative, photographer unknown. View full size.


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What a land yacht.

A 1960 Plymouth was my first car. It was a former Nebraska highway patrol car which had been ridden hard and put away wet. It had a large v8 with 4 barrel that would really set you back in your seat when the back two barrels opened up. It felt like a rocket taking off and it looked like one too with the huge cloud of blue oil smoke it would leave in its wake.
It was all black with very little chrome and small hubcaps. I used to park it at the end of the measured quarter mile kids used for a drag strip in the 60s. Two cars would come screaming down the isolated country road at break neck speeds only to slam on the breaks when they got site of my car. I'd then pull out after them and tail them for awhile.

Prudential Center

The cars are on Belvidere Street, near the intersection of Huntington Ave - roughly the location of the red circle in the photo.

The view has changed a lot since the photo was taken - the entrances to the shopping center at the sides of the picture were remodeled when the semi- open air shops were converted into an enclosed mall in the early 1990's. A decade later two more buildings were added to the Prudential Center - 111 Huntington (aka the R2D2 Building) and the luxury condos at 100 Belvidere. The only thing recognizable today would be the Prudential Tower.

Grandfather had a '60 Plymouth

His slant six black sedan was a Savoy. They all rusted across the fenders above the headlights eventually.

The Forward Look!

Chrysler's over-the-top styling peaked just about when this car was new. By 1963, compared to the trim, understated offerings from GM, these cars looked, well, ridiculous. It would take Chrysler another 4 model years to completely shake off Exner's excesses. Yet, in retrospect, the 55-64 Chrysler family cars are perfect illustrations of the era - ground-hugging rocketships to the future!

Early 007

One of the rewarding things of very early James Bond films is remembering what American suspensions were like then.


I always thought that the 1961 successor to this car was the ugliest automobile ever produced in America. The 1962 was not quite as ugly, but was just plain weird looking. It was not until Pontiac came up with the Aztek that something equally bad came out of Detroit.

Tinworm Food

At four years old, this car is already showing some wet spots on the bottom of the door. Cars of this vintage were notoriously prone to rust, one of the reasons there aren't many of them left these days.

RE: "Suddenly It's 1960!"

Actually, seeing the 1960 Plymouths, some people made fun of their garish style, reversing the bold 1957 advertising theme : "Suddenly, it's 1957 again!".

"Suddenly It's 1960!"

That was the advertising theme for the 1957 Plymouth. When 1960 actually came, the styling of the Plymouth was unbelievable. The worst was yet to come in 1961. It is hard to imagine that the same person styled all these cars.

Aberthaw Construction

Still around, they were already 70 years old when this was taken.

The Forward Look

I was never a big fan of the later Virgil Exner designs for Chrysler. I thought of them as weird looking, with many clashing themes and drizzled in goopy chrome. Over the years, they have grown on me. They really represent Space Age excess much as the 1959 Cadillac or the 1958 "Chromesmobile" Olds did. One thing is for certain -- we will never see cars like that again.


You're dirty. Go home and take a bath.

Prudential Center

These lovely cars are either in front of, or behind the Prudential Center, which would have been nearing completion as it was opened in 1965.

A new car from time to time

Actually, it wasn't uncommon for average income workers to trade for a new car every year back then.

Prudential Center

This is likely the Prudential Center, front or back, I'm not certain. This was one of the flagship elements of what was then called the New Boston, which was basically the destruction, oops, urban renewal, of vast sections of the old city - by one count, a third of it. The Prudential Center is now a vibrant, oft-visited section of Boston, with its wide range of shopping and dining options.

Late-model cars on a scuzzy street

Here we have three late model vehicles covered with splashed schmutz on a potholed street that looks like it hasn't been swept in a year.

I'm going to guess that these are the personal vehicles of construction workers on the site in the background.

In those days, a union construction worker had an income which would allow the purchase of a new car from time to time. This guess would also explain why these then-valuable late model cars were parked in such a scuzzy place; the workers had nowhere else to park.

Anyone recognize the building in the background?

[The van is moving, not parked. - Dave]


They referred to those as "functional tailfins"!

[Chrysler Corp. called them "directional stabilizers." - Dave]

Coupe de Vile

This must qualify as one of the worst designs Detroit ever threw at the American public, and the streets are not all that great either.

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