Old Cars, Photography

It’s all in the details

When I was a kid, it was fun to guess the make, model, and year of the cars I saw on the roads. In those days, automobile manufacturers freshened their basic designs every year between major redesigns. Those freshenings often involved some pretty obvious sheetmetal changes – new taillights, revised fenders, that sort of thing. Today, manufacturers make few changes between major restylings, which makes it very hard to accurately date a car. It’s not fun anymore!

Today we’re going to play “Guess the Classic Car” by looking at just those details from cars I photographed at the Mecum auction. Click each photo for the answer.

Let’s start with the easiest first. I include it mostly because I dig how this car’s black paint reflected me as I photographed its badge. The manufacturer made a car with this name for only two years. Which car and what years?

These headlights came from a mid-sized grocery getter into which a large V8 could be stuffed. Which car and what year?

This tail light seems to float in its housing. Make, model, and year?

The photo gives you this car’s name; can you tell me what year it was made? It’s tricker than it looks. Extra credit for naming the cars reflected in the El Cam’s paint.

Dodge used this badge on one of its cars for two model years. Can you name it? Extra credit: What is the triangular shape at this badge’s center called?

This tail light is from a big station wagon. Which one, and which year?

These start getting a lot harder now. What car wore this hood scoop? It would help you to know that the car has a twin-loop front bumper.

This wheel well comes from a muscle car about which songs were written. It’s pretty hard to guess a car’s make, model, and year from just a wheel well, but that’s what I’m asking of you. Extra credit for naming the make and year of the car reflected in the dog dish.

I think this is the hardest one. This hood ornament is from this make’s first serious muscle car and appeared, I’m pretty sure, only on the first-year examples, and only when a particular engine was under the hood.

Last updated on 25 January 2020 by Jim Grey

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8 thoughts on “It’s all in the details

  1. Lone Primate says:

    Man, they sure built them back then, didn’t they? Mind you, gas was about seven cents a ton in those days… :D

  2. Lone Primate says:

    Oh yeah, BTW, here’s a question — do the three digit numbers have a significance, like, the size of the engine in cm²?

  3. Lone Primate says:

    Whoops, that should be cm³, I think — well, cubic centimetres, in any case. That’s what I get for trying to be concise. :D

  4. My educated guesses. The ones I didn’t answer, well, I have nary a clue:
    #2: 196……9 Chevrolet Chevelle
    #3: 1967 Chevrolet…Impala/Caprice
    #4: 196…..5? Chevrolet El Camino
    #6: 1968 Chevrolet Caprice/Impala/Bel Air/Biscayne wagon. My folks bought a brand new ’68 Bel Air wagon from the old Bill Kuhn Chevy dealer in Broad Ripple just within a couple of months after I was born. Dad kept that thing…after umpteen engine rebuilds….for about 20 years. It was one of the cars where he taught me how to drive.
    #7: Total stab: 1969 Road Runner

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