JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Final Destination: 1957

Final Destination: 1957

Oakland, California, circa 1957. "Late Final." 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive, wrapping up Motor Mayhem Monday. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Another Wreck Tune

"Crawling From the Wreckage," Dave Edmunds, 1979. First verse and chorus:

Got out really early from the factory
Drivin' like a nut in the rain
Don't think I was actin' so hysterically
But I didn't see a thing until it came
Met the dumb suburbs in the takeaway
Beating up the Chinese at the counter
I put a few inside me at the end of the day
I took out my revenge on the revolution counter

Crawlin' from the wreckage, crawlin' from the wreckage
You'd think by now at least that half my brain would get the message
Crawlin' from the wreckage, crawlin' from the wreckage
Into a brand new car

A New Measure of Safety

The "V-type windshield" worked out well as a safety feature. Or maybe they didn't keep a close-enough eye on that speedometer red zone:

Black Denim Trousers

Great list Gooberpea, but you missed one of my favorites: "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" by the Cheers, 1955. Hate to admit I remember it from when it was released.

The last two verses:

Then he took off like the Devil and there was fire in his eyes
He said "I'll go a thousand miles before the sun can rise"
But he hit a screamin' diesel that was California-bound
And when they cleared the wreckage, all they found

Was his black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
But they couldn't find the 'cycle that took off like a gun
And they never found the terror of Highway 101

A Normal Car Accident

How can any list of car crash songs leave out "Warm Leatherette" by the Normal? (Released on Mute Records in England, 1978)

See the breaking glass
In the underpass...
See the breaking glass
Feel the steering wheel...
Warm leatherette
Melts on your burning flesh
You can see your reflection
In the luminescent dash...
A tear of petrol
Is in your eye
The hand brake
Penetrates your thigh
Quick - Let's make love
Before you die
On warm leatherette
Warm leatherette...
Join the car crash set

Missing some details

Interesting. The skidmarks look intact behind the car. Presumably the occupant hit something, possibly another vehicle (or a lamp post) in a right front collision, folded the wheel to the right, jerking the steering wheel and he/she flew 'forward' into the rearview mirror, which broke the glass. The impact creased the roof. Could that torsion move the rearview enough by itself?

The crease along the grillwork is probably from the upper part of the front bumper, which doesn't appear to be present. Was the engine shoved out the bottom below the firewall?

I don't see any blood though.

Car Crash Summer

Country music never being averse to a good tragedy, Stonewall Jackson had a hit -- also in 1964 -- concerning "B.J. the D.J." B.J. is a young morning jock who drives himself and his beat-up old car too hard, until one sad night "he signed off down by the Georgia line." It's actually a pretty good record, with a haunting final image.

Another Favorite "Wreck Tune"

Gooberpea's list is great, but one of my favorites growing up was "Transfusion" (1956) by Nervous Norvus (Jimmy Drake.) He keeps claiming he's "never, never, never gonna speed again" but he always does. It's a hoot! Ironically, he lived a lot of his life in Oakland, CA. Perhaps some of these photos were part of his inspiration!

Another Bad Thing

The car really didn't get good mileage.

"Whiskey and blood together"

This summer's "Motor Mayhem" series grew on me. At first, I was all "crash, meh," but as the images keep joining me for morning coffee and inbox triage I find myself humming the old "wreck on the highway" songs I am known to sing loudly and in dubious tune from the pilot’s seat of the ol' Family Truckster while barreling down some West Texas highway.

Some of my favorite road wreck tunes, born from Detroit steel, Texas crude, and 50,000-watt Mexican radio stations (later iPods) are:

"Wreck on the Highway," Roy Acuff (1942). ("Didn't hear nobody pray." My favorite version is the Louvin Brothers – though kinda judgy.)

"Last Kiss" (1964), J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers [“She’s gone to heaven so I got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world”]

"Teen Angel" (1959), Mark Dining (lots of "wooo wooo woos")

"Leader of the Pack" (1964), Shangri Las ("vroom")

"Dead Man's Curve" (1964), Jan & Dean ("We popped the clutch when the light turned green; You should have heard the whine from my screamin' machine")

And my all-time favorite for road-singing, though I’m not sure any wreck is mentioned, is --

"Hot Rod Lincoln" (1955) Charlie Ryan – though my favorite version is Commander Cody’s ("Son, you're going to drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop driving that Hot Rod Lincoln")

I didn't realize it until I was researching the publication dates for this post what a big year 1964 was for car crash tunes. Maybe Dave and the team can find some early '60s photos to set to music.

What say you in the Shorpishpere? Your favorite cartunes?

Ouch! That Won't Buff Out

Whole Car Crumple Zone

May Once Have Been a 1939 Mopar Product

But now a splendid heuristic to illustrate the term "crumple zone."

Crumple Zones

Fatality written all over this wreck. So much for the myth that old cars were built like tanks. Photos like this make me thankful I own a plastic Mitsubishi built to disintegrate after the airbags are deployed.

MoPar or No Car

1939 Chrysler Royal looking a bit less than regal.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2023 Shorpy Inc.