In journalism, it is taught when compiling a story, to always get the “Five W’s” — who, what, when, where and why. By doing so, you are guaranteed to get all the crucial information within your article, thus leaving your readers fully engrossed and satisfied. Let’s try it here.
First, the “who.” Based on the writing on the back of this photo, our subject’s name is Gene Brown. In full, the writing reads: “July 1956 Gene Brown.” Simple, with one inscription, we now have two “W”s (the when and the who).
To round out the five W’s, we’ll still need the “what” the “where” and the “why.” Let’s start with the “what.” It’s a 1954 Chevrolet — easy I.D. because I had one, so I know it well. Now for the “where” — can’t help ya. Let’s say, some city, somewhere (can’t be wrong with that).
Now for the “Why.” Why would Mr. Brown stand there, hands in pockets, and his foot on the bumper? Only Gene can explain the hands in the pockets, but the foot on the bumper? That’s easy, I’ve seen it a zillion times. The photographer, having originally cropped out both of Gene’s feet, insisted on still showing Gene’s handsome, freshly-polished wingtips. At first, he had Gene stand on the bumper but that didn’t work well (his head got cropped off), and since standing on the bumper with both feet showing, then squatting down, just didn’t look at all right. This pose was the only real acceptable solution. I suppose Mr. Photographer-man could have just backed up a little, or just tipped his camera down a smidge, but he obviously wasn’t thinking clearly.
I put posting this off for a while because to identify the car, I thought, would take me weeks. But I studied it for only a few minutes and my first guess was a 1950 Plymouth (I knew it was not a GM product).
Then became the task to PROVE it’s a 1950 Plymouth and, with the help of the internet, quickly discovered it not to be. Turns out we’re looking at a 1951 Dodge Coronet — not far from my original guess I’m proud to say. Precious little to go on, but there was still enough and I was close!
The B-pillar was distinctive, as was the corner of the dash. Then there was the stainless fender molding (front fender) and its relative position on the fender and of course you must consider the rectangular side-view mirror (see accompanying photos and click on color images to enlarge). Yes! It is precisely a 1951 Dodge Coronet.
Now, let’s I.D. the driver. His suit tells me salesman. His shoes tell me Sears. His hairline tells me 40-ish and his expression tells me he can’t bend his knees. Add it all up, and his name is Raleigh Latouche.