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Hello all -  I know this isn't about Houston architecture, but I have posted other times on this board seeking help about historic Houston and people seem extremely knowledgeable here and helpful.  I am still exploring my parent's history in Houston in the 1960s, and am wondering if you can help me figure out what kind of car they drove, down to the model year.  I have a note from a cousin as to what my mom drove in high school, and suspect what she told me is what I see I the photo.  But I don't want to venture the guess so as not to taint you in your guess.  But I can say my mom graduated high school in 1963 and the photo below was taken in 1968, and I have reason to believe the car in the photo is not a new car (so, it's likely an early 60s model).  Any help would be greatly appreciated! 

 

image.png.b07e08f297602a1ea7619f4054cb693a.png 

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Hmmm... My cousin's note said she thought it was a Valiant.  When I look at detail pictures of Valiant's I don't see the second line just above the wheel well.  Guessing it would have been a 1962 or 1963 model.  

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I'm skeptical that it's a Fairlane due to the apparent absence of chrome side trim and badges. 

 

I don't think it's a 1962 Valiant, but it could definitely be a 1963. The crease directly under the top of the fender is there, the greenhouse profile looks the same, and the top of the rear wheel well is lower than the top of the front wheel well. The second crease above the front wheel well doesn't seem to be in the original photo, but given the quality of the photo it's hard to tell for sure, plus the second crease is not nearly as pronounced or visible as the larger one. 

 

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b197f8cf037b4364b2d455e9d875f8eb.jpg

Edited by mkultra25
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My first guess is Ford product but I thought maybe Merc.  Haven't been able to find a pic but here's a 62 Ford Fairlane - not sure what the comparable Mercury model would have been.  The original pic is a low end model without much chrome.

 

Ford_Fairlane_sedan.jpg

 

I don't see the V-shaped ridge on the Valiant on the original pic above; the panel beneath the ridge on the original pic is indented - on the Coronet it bulges out. 

 

Of course there's always the Edsel or Lincoln to consider.

 

Did the family tend to stick to one brand?

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It's forgotten now, but in 1963 Ford produced a very basic model sedan for the low-end market. The Ford 300 is an automobile which was built for the 1963 model year only. It was the base trim level of the full-size 1963 Ford line below the Galaxie, Galaxie 500 & Galaxie 500XL. It featured almost no chrome trim or luxury equipment and could be compared to the Chevrolet Biscayne in trim level. In the late 50s Ford also produced what it called the "Custom" model, which was basically a stripped down Fairlane. It was popular with families and police departments because they were a lot cheaper than Fairlanes and Galaxies. 

619225.jpg

Edited by FilioScotia
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I'd forgotten about the 300.
In 1962 the Fairlane had established itself as a model separate unto itself (midsize car), as opposed to being just a trim level of the standard full-size Ford. 
My father bought a new 1961 Fairlane, and I cannot imagine that there could have been a trim level below that one. It had the smallest 6 cylinder engine available, manual (3-on-the-tree) transmission, rubberized flooring rather than carpeting, no side moldings (like the '63 shown above), and no radio. It did have a heater and backup (reversing) lights, which many years ago were options; not sure if they came standard on the Fairlane in 1961. My dad even installed the seat belts himself as a cost-saving measure.
I think it had to be special ordered because the dealers usually only sold them as utilitarian fleet vehicles. 

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My vote is for 62 or 63 Fairlane.  The Comet's the same basic car, but since it's further up the food chain its bumper wraps all the way to the wheel well.  Valiant, Dart, Tempest, and Ramblers all had blade bumpers, the Chevy II just doesn't have any way to do that shadow line, and an early compact F-85 or Special... ehhhh, not a chance; likewise, the Lark.

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Man!  Thanks all for comments and suggestions.  I'm not a student of classic cars, so had no idea there were so many close possibilities. 

 

 I discovered the back end of it in another photo.  Guess if I really want to solve this one, I'll need to scour through boxes of pictures again.  From memory though, they simply didn't take pictures with their cars. 

 

image.png.a0774d5d110d86bdb22ed4404520db5c.png

 

It's hard to really say what make and model it is from these.  My cousin mentioned she thought Mom drove a Valiant.  But the problem I see with that is (as someone pointed out) I too don't see the second part of the angled feature on the fender just above the wheel well.  But then if it was a Ford, I don't see molding.  I  hadn't noticed that the rear wheel well was lower than the front.  But then it looks like the Valiant and the Ford guesses both had that.  

 

Someone asked... No, my parents weren't dedicated to any one brand, so I can't assume that early-60s car was an earlier model of a later one I knew as a kid.  Good thought, but parents had Cadillacs, Cutlass, mini-vans, etc.  

 

I'll be sure to post whether I figure this out somehow!  Or get a clearer picture.  

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On 5/12/2020 at 5:45 PM, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

Edit... it has that same trim marker and read wheel opening shape as that 63 Ford 300 posted above

 

Yes, but that was pretty much all over Ford's design language at the time - for that matter, just about everyone had wheel wells that weren't symmetrical. 

 

On further inspection, I think it's a 63 Fairlane.  The shadow line on the rear shot is consistent with the tail fins that weren't on the 64, and the 62 had more grille trim wrapping around the corner.

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  • 6 months later...

The car with the boat and trailer is definitely a different car. My guess it it a 1967 Buick Electra. If it was possible to focus on the badge near the bottom of the rear fender it would confirm. I know it is not a 1968 Buick because there would be a side marker light near where the name badge is on this car.

 

Buicks must have been great cars for towing. A neighbor had a 1969 Buick Electra which was optioned for that purpose (heavy duty radiator, transmission fluid cooler, etc.) which he used to tow a 26 foot Airstream trailer. They went all over the western states including the Rockies with that car pulling the trailer and he said it was a breeze.

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5 hours ago, Specwriter said:

The car with the boat and trailer is definitely a different car. My guess it it a 1967 Buick Electra. If it was possible to focus on the badge near the bottom of the rear fender it would confirm. I know it is not a 1968 Buick because there would be a side marker light near where the name badge is on this car.

 

Buick Electra was my first thought as well. That back end sure looks like a '67 four-door in almost every detail:

 

1967_buick_electra-pic-48067965053962832

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20 hours ago, zaphod said:

Back then it seems like sedans were almost like squat SUV's whereas now that segment doesn't try to do those things. This was all way before my time of course(I was born in the late 80s)

"Back then" sedans were body-on-frame, mostly rear wheel drive vehicles with big V8 engines. In that regard they weren't too different from a pickup truck except they held more passengers and were better appointed. SUVs and the popularity of crew cab pickup trucks meant for families instead of oil field workers has pretty much made large sedans superfluous.

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  • 2 months later...
2 hours ago, C2Ag93 said:

Actually, found it.  Congrats to whoever guessed a Mercury above.  It is clearly a 1963 Mercury Monterey 4 door.  Thanks all! 

The angle on the rear window meant it could be lowered, even in the rain. My Grandmother drove one of those, and would lower the rear window to let out the hot air when she first got in.

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