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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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College of Cars

College of Cars

Back in October 1956, my brother shot this Ektachrome slide to show the construction of the new Engineering Building at Cal Poly, and a student parking lot just happened to be in the foreground. Today it looks like a vintage car rally. For extra points: spot the Corvette. View full size.

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Holy Frank Burns!

I also noticed the BG hills look exactly as I remember from nearly every M*A*S*H episode. The cars in the lot are making me salivate; I was born 20 years too late (1964).


Good job, Tterrace! I wouldn't ever have caught that Kaiser, even with the same basic model sitting in my driveway for a decade or so! You are right, it's the windows that prove you right. And I will take this moment to mention that although I have been addicted to this site for a couple years now, it was your photos that really made me feel personal emotions, since we are from the same era. It is just great to see all the stuff from my childhood so well. Keep jumping the shark! P.S. I bet that purple car was someone's beloved hotrod!

Kaiser spotting

First find the Corvette to the right of the yellow pickup; next to that is an old (hah!) blue two-door coupe; right above that is the distinctive roofline and window configuration of a dark green post-1950 Kaiser.

I saw the purple car, too. That's a color you really didn't see factory-supplied those days, so it's got to be on someone's customized job.

Other car-spotting

Yeah, the Corvette is interesting. Had to be a Rich Kid.

Equally interesting is the brand-new '56 Chevy (white, in the back near the center). Somebody had connections!

Spot The Kaiser?

Great photo! I just love to see this kind of picture, and always look for my '55 Olds, or my old '51 Kaiser Dragon. Is there really a Kaiser in this photo? I couldn't spot it! I did find a very purple car that I wish I could see more of! It is above the far Buick, in the outbuilding area. There is a dark red car there with its trunk open, too. It would be fun to see inside. Wish that dark panel truck was mine! Fabulous photo, with so many of the cars I still admire, all in one place and taken for granted! Kathleen

Air Quality

Of as much interest as the cars, to me, is the clarity of the air. That's how it used to be.

1984 Borgward Isabella

1984 Borgward Isabella - Cal Poly had already invented a time machine

[Last year for the Isabella was 1962. Have a nice trip! - Dave]


Mash was filmed in southern California not Korea. Read the caption.

[On the Totally Not Getting It scale of 1 to 10, you get an eleven! - Dave]


I also never knew that Korea had that many American cars back then. But this is definitely Korea - those rolling brownish-green hills, the cloudless blue sky.

Please keep in mind everything that I know about Korea I learned from watching M*A*S*H.

Two Buicks

I also see at least two Buicks.
What's the model that's sixth from the left in the line of vehicles in which we're looking directly at their back bumpers? It has a vague boat-tail effect and a split rear window. Surely not a Tucker? Another Stude?

[1947ish Studebaker. - Dave]

ID this one...

Can anyone ID the red car with the black soft top a few rows above the yellow pickup?

Can you find a very nice yellow 54 Chevy Coupe?

Hint - on the right side of the parking lot parallel parked.

Spot the...

Looks like I should have made it "Spot the Kaiser" instead.

Santa Maria

I was fifth grader living in Santa Maria in 1956 (about 30 so miles south of SLO). The Vette looks so out of place in that assortment of vehicles. Had to be a prof's car, or a rich kid. Anyway, what really stood out for me was how many car windows are rolled down, and obviously unlocked. Bet you don't see that much these days in the Cal-Poly lots. What a wonderful era to be a kid. Safe, good economy, room to roam.

Also, there seems to be a tree growing out that huge dirt pile beyond the construction. Either that pile had been there way too long, or they just kind of piled up the dirt around it. I'm in construction, and odd stuff like that just jumps out at me. Just joking.

Cars & Trucks

The pickup next to the Corvette looks like a K series International. The Stude is '48 or '49, the grey coupe above it looks Chrysler-ish to me, but there is a '42 or '46 Studebaker Champion across the road and there is a white sedan parked on the far side of the construction that might well be a '56. There's a sweet little Nash in the bottom left corner, you had to watch out for those you know!


Notice how many of the driver's door windows are rolled down while the owners are away for the day?

Which Way Is It Going?

Found it! Do I get an extra point for finding the Studebaker? (There's a light grey coupe above which is possibly another Stude.)

Steve Miller
Someplace near the crossroads of America

Spotted the Corvette

In the second row visible between the yellow pickup truck and black two door coupe.

SHORPY OLD 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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