Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

How a 1955 car can be in a 1954 photo


I collect old photos of Phoenix, and with the help of my PhDs (Phoenix History Detectives) I try to identify the locations and dates as precisely as possible. In the photo at the top of this post I recognize the mill on Mill Avenue in Tempe, and of course the 1955 Chevrolet Belair pulling the float.

The filename that I have for the picture is 1954 Homecoming Parade, Arizona State College (ASU didn't become a University until 1958, by the way). I've had this image for many years and I really don't remember how the date came to be identified so precisely. I must have gotten some help, as I would probably have just labelled it 1950s. But it very well could be 1954, in spite of the fact that there's a 1955 car there.

1955 Chevrolet Belair driving south on Mill Avenue in Tempe.

It just has to do with how new cars have been dated by manufacturers. The new cars always are called by the next year. So the 1955 Chevrolet Belair was available in 1954. When I was a kid, the next-year car thing puzzled me, but I liked it a lot. My dad worked for the Ford Motor Company, and he always brought us kids the next-year car models (not the actual cars, of course, but little models - wish I still had those!).

I just checked when the ASU homecoming game is played nowadays, and it's in November. So if there was going to be a parade with a brand-new car to show off (which would just make sense), it would be the next year's model.

So while of course this photo couldn't be 1953, it could certainly be 1954, and probably was. Of course it could be 1955, or even today, if someone Photoshopped the background a bit. I see 1955 Chevys driving around Phoenix all of the time. And yeah, sorry, I'll admit I prefer the '57, like most people do. Not putting down the '55, but it's just a preference for me.

So there you go, I hope this helps, if this puzzled you. And if you're a PhD with an even sharper eye, and can do more identification (like who's that on the float?), please let me know - especially if it was you!

Go Devils!

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider becoming a patron of History Adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!

History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

No comments:

Post a Comment