Thursday, June 23, 2011

On The Streets of Queens, NY, 1963-1964

Sorry it's been so long between posts. Here's a sampling of some of the '55 & '56 Chevys running around on the streets of Queens during 1963 & 1964- all belonging to friends of mine (or friends of friends).
Accuracy in the spelling of names is not guaranteed but if someone knows the current whereabouts of anyone mentioned in my posts, please let me know... thanks!
(Click on any image to enlarge)

This beautiful, nearly stock-bodied '55 belonged to Billy Squires of Glendale. The hood & deck were partially shaved and it was painted emerald green.

The suspension was beefed up with heavy duty springs and shocks.

From the side, you can see the "plumbers' pipes" behind the front wheels (removing the caps allowed the exhaust to exit before the mufflers, when you went to the drag strip). Also quite obvious are the traction bars before the rear wheels, designed to keep the rear end from twisting during hard acceleration.

The engine in Billy's car was a 348 cu. in. Chevy, with three carbs, running through a 4-speed transmission. (Note the two electric fuel pumps that supplied the engine's needs on the far-side fender well in photo.)

Al Banome, of Richmond Hill, owned many hot cars during the late '50s and '60s. This teal blue '55 was parked in front of my parents' house when I shot the only photo I have of it in August, 1964. The body was extensively modified but still being worked on at this time. Note the dechroming, extended rear fenders with new tail lights, split rear bumper, and radiused rear wheel openings. Under the hood was a late model Buick engine.

A lot of guys hung out at the home of Frank Gesualdo, of Ozone Park, (otherwise known as "Alley Oop" to his friends). This '55, shot in Sept., 1963, was owned by one of his buddies (name unknown) and was called, "All Business." The body was partially dechromed and the rear wheel openings enlarged with a cutting torch (!) to make changing the rear slicks easier at the track.

The engine in "All Business" was a late model Chevy 409, featuring a Racer Brown flat tappet cam and a big four-barrel carb.

Another of Alley Oop's friends, Joey Cosanza, owned this '55 which was, again, partially dechromed and a "work-in-progress."


The engine in Joey's car was a late model Olds, featuring a Giovani high-lift cam (note the bulges on the valve covers to allow the rocker arms more room to travel) and a Bendix electric fuel pump supplying three carbs. Transmission was an Olds "hydro-stick"; car reportedly turned 105 mph in the quarter-mile.

Norm Schlosser, of Richmond Hill, owned this really clean, stock-bodied '55 painted red and white. Wheel covers were from a late-model Plymouth, a popular choice for many cars in the '60s, due to their simple and elegant style.

Under the hood was a '59 Chevy 283 engine and an Olds Hydro-stick transmission.

I met Chuck (from Flushing) at the White Castle on Atlantic Avenue, in Highland Park, Brooklyn, when I had my Mint Julep I. He liked the black scallops I had painted on my mint green Merc and discovered I also did pin-striping. As a result, he asked me to pin-stripe his fire-engine red '56 convertible in white. His car was nosed & decked, and featured a louvered hood, straight-bar grille, and spun aluminum wheel covers.

From the rear, custom tail lights and long chrome Lakes Pipes can be seen.




3 comments:

Karl-Erik said...

Great photos Ken! I always enjoy your posts about the cars you knew back then!

Carol said...

Hey Kenny- I was showing my husband Steve the pic and since it was from Glendale and that's where he's from- if he's the same Billy Squires- Steve said he bought Billy's last Harley from him around '71. Do you know Mickey and Tommy Dillworth?

Ken B said...

I might have known Mickey & Tommy by their first names but the last name doesn't ring a bell. Billy lived on 87th Street, off Cooper, I think.