Vintage autos and their owners from times gone by


This was a challenge

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.


South Carolina, 1952


Not sure exactly why but when people were told to pose for pictures with their cars, they almost always put one foot on a bumper. Where it started, and why, is anybody’s guess, but this foot-on-bumper thing was practiced all the way up until cars had no bumpers.

Probably had a lot to do with an instinctual behavior of man over beast. That’s my guess.

So, this is a photo of Wallace Knibbs while on a South Carolina safari in 1952. Wallace bagged a much-desired 1948 Chrysler rhino that day. “I was sitting at a bus stop reading the Daily Planet, when this angry thing emerged from a parking garage and charged toward me with all the power and reckless determination of a runaway locomotive . I had only one shot”.



girl and dog

The date printed on the border of this photo reads Feb. ’61. What people of this generation may not know is that those dates were printed at the time the roll of film was sent in for processing and had little or nothing to do with date referencing the content of the shot. If this person was like me, some rolls stayed in  your camera for a long, long time. Then you’d likely store the exposed roll in a drawer until you had time to go to the store. It was fun sometimes to see that on one roll of film you could have photos from TWO Christmas holidays!

But because of the condition of this car, I believe the shot was taken close to the 1961 date because the 1951 PLYMOUTH looks every bit the decade old beast that it was. The young lady here had no problem posing, with a smile, by the never-washed car but her little cat perhaps mistook “say cheese” with “turn around and show the world your hind end.”

Two out of three ain’t bad

DSCN5589 ray and alice

Because someone had the foresight to write the names of these two, fine americans on the back of this photo, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the woman pictured here is Alice and standing next to Alice is Ray.

Why they look pissed off is anyone’s guess but I’ll take a stab at it. Alice and Ray just robbed the general store. Alice is holding the bag of loot behind her back. The store’s owner is tied up and gagged in the trunk. Just then, the neighbor with the new camera shows up.

Three subjects pictured and I only know two — Alice and Ray. Their car (subject #3) is hidden too much for me to positively identify it. I’ll guess it to be a mid 30’s Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth product but that’s the best I can do since Bonnie and Clyde, here, insisted on blocking it out. 

If you know the particulars on this car, leave me a comment. Thanks!

Haven’t the faintest

I dunno

Sometimes it will happen. I won’t see it coming and it will sneak up from behind and slap me square in the back of the head. An old car photo with a car featured that I cannot identify. Here, though, is the best I can do: I believe I’ve narrowed it to a ’49 – ’52 Chrysler product (Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, Imperial, DeSoto) and I base this guess on the vehicle’s B-pillar. That strip of metal between the front and rear doors extends from the roof line all the way down separating those two doors. Other car companies had that strip there but quickly closed it by the time it met their front and back doors. But I still can’t really nail down the manufacturer with so little to go on and “a Chrysler product” is only a guess.

If you know the make of this car, drop me a line (comment) — I lose sleep over these sorts of details! And if you know who the people are that would help too!

Be sure to come back next week when my mind is operational again (we hope).

UPDATE! Thanks go out to Jerry Hammarlund and Mike Brady for setting me straight on this 1948 Kaiser. Now I can get some sleep!