Big Yellow Taxi

Aug 1949
Aug 1949

This Oldsmobile isn’t a taxi, but it sho nuff is taxi cab yellow. Look how sleek! How rich people on horses wave to rich people in cars! How swag that dog is! No seatbelts!

Why, even simple Delores can operate heavy machinery because there’s no confusing clutch. All she has to do is simply coordinate her headband, jacket, and skirt, don some white gloves, curl her hair, and slip into the bench seat to drive to Vegas and bet on the ponies like the old man used to do. Gas it, Delores!


Liberal Heathen Sons And God-Fearing Conservative Dads Agree

1969 Chevelle
1969 Chevelle

Introduced in the fall of 1963, the swanky Chevelle had a brief shining moment in the sun until its demise in 1977. From the death of JFK to the death of Elvis, this muscle car made a statement. Just look at that hood. You and four of your friends could stargaze on that width. Why, you could host a family picnic on it!

I think I prefer this earlier model. What do you think?

Yes, We Have Huge Bananas

Banana Burt and Lil pose in snazzy white trousers (who knows? maybe they were yellow…) at the Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Dairy Queen in 1950. Forget the dilly bar; I’d rather drink a banana. 16 oz for a quarter? Sign me up!

Sad that you can’t spend the day with a huge banana these days? Well, check out this car made in Michigan.

Now you don’t need a BMW or Mercedes to get attention that you lacked in childhood; roll up in this tube of yellow and make others green with envy! And it never goes rotten.

17th Marquis De Portago

LIFE 4-9-56
LIFE 4-9-56

God only knows what Alfonso de Portago was doing while his wife (at left) looked on, and racecar driver Eugenio Castellotti looked down. Perhaps it should have been prayer.

Also known as Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, the 17th Marquis of Portago took up racecar driving as a hobby in his mid-20s. Considered by other drivers as “a flashy upstart and a self-centered phenomenon,” he was nonetheless signed by Ferrari for its racing division in the winter of ’56.

Portago, who had crashed a plane on a cow for a $500 bet, commented, “I won’t die in an accident. I’ll die of old age or be executed in some gross miscarriage of justice.”

Um, nope. That’s not what happened.

All I had to do was flip to this pic in the LIFE article and predict this guy with a habit of “brushing close to death” wouldn’t last long.


Do you see what I mean? Cocky.

Driver Castelloti (shown in the first image) was killed in a race the following March, only months after the picture was taken. But the Marquis? Well, he and co-driver Edmund Nelson blew a tire on Portago’s Ferrari 335 S, causing it to spin into the crowd lining the highway during the 1957 Mille Miglia. Nine spectators were killed, among them five children. Nelson and Portago’s bodies were badly disfigured beneath the flipped Ferrari.  Both were killed instantly.

Sounds like the James Dean quote that was wrongly attributed to him. “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse!” was actually said by actor John Derek in the 1949 film Knock On Any Door. Perhaps living fast is not a good motto.

En Route To Inspiration Point

Pontiac Bonneville Convertible LIFE 1959
Pontiac Bonneville Convertible LIFE 1959

Such pretty blues. I really like the artwork on this one. I also enjoy how the ad boasts (with exclamation points) of its “perfect proportion,” “supple suspension,” and “swayless stability.” Somebody likes alliteration…

You Dropped Your Lip Gloss

credit: Chris Johns
credit: Chris Johns

The most vexing part of this picture to me is not the dangerous Footloose scene that comes to mind; it is the fact that it is midnight. Yes, this was the “midnight sun” in Anchorage, Alaska during the summer months of 1988. Broad daylight be damned, denimed young people were still making bad decisions, not the least of which was jacking up their trucks, as well as inviting passengers to sit in lawn furniture with the tailgate down. Courting disaster.

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