Home » Parking Lot Challenge: ’50s, ’60s, ’80s, ’90s, and Three 1970s Edition

Parking Lot Challenge: ’50s, ’60s, ’80s, ’90s, and Three 1970s Edition

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It’s Friday afternoon, and you know what we haven’t done on a drizzly Friday afternoon in quite a while? Had a Parking Lot Challenge! Yes, the fantastic way to look like you’re a productive worker, in front of your sophistimicated computator-device, when in reality you’re carefully scrutinizing old-ass pictures of parking lots, trying to decide the one car from each picture that will become the only car you will ever own and drive, forever! Parking Lot Challenge is a high-stakes game, remember! This isn’t for some candy-ass dilettante car-selector! This is for keeps! So, prepare accordingly, and let’s get to it.

This time, we’ll be focusing on the last half of the past century, but with an extra emphasis on the 1970s. So, we’ll have one 1950s lot, one 1960s, three 1970s lots, an ’80s one, and one from the 1990s. And remember the rules: pick one car from each lot, and that will be your sole car in that alternate universe where this sort of thing happens. Maybe we can say it’ll be your sole car for that decade. And, in the 1970s, you can have three cars. How’s that sound?

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Ready? Too bad!


I liked this shot because it’s got a bit more variety than your average 1950s American car lot. Admittedly, this shot is supposedly from 1959, so it’s very late 1950s. This lot is from a racetrack, so the cars tend to be a bit more sporting, too.  There’s some good stuff in there!




We go to Australia for the 1960s one, and it’s more of a street scene at King’s Cross than a parking lot, but who cares, right? There’s some real gems here, too, including that Holden (?) ambulance, a Renault 4, and of course, a ute!


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Okay, here’s our first 1970s shot! It’s jam-packed with great picks, like that Renault 10 next to the Beetle, the MGB GT, another Volvo PV544 (the first was in the 1959 picture). Plus, woody Ford wagons! A Celica! A Mustang II! Go nuts!

1970s 2

I swear I’m not picking these based on the old Volkswagens in them, they were just everywhere, remember. There is a nice Type 3 Squareback here, though, and I love the black bumper-less Beetle on the right side. Plus, look at that butterscotch-colored Ford Maverick (I had this as an AMC Matador at first, sorry)!

1970s 3



This one I included because it has a fascinating location for these cars to exist in: South Korea! I didn’t realize they were driving big American Iron over there in the 1970s! I can’t imagine a late ’70s Caprice in Seoul, but there it is.


This is from, I believe, a Grateful Dead show in the mid 1980s. Another Mustang II, for you failure-fetishists out there!




This last one is from this Reddit group, and was so full of Radwood-type goodness I had to include it. Also, what the hell is Antaeus? Other than the giant son of Poseidon and Gaea?


So, for each parking lot, pick your car, and then tell us what you car you picked for each one in the comments, so we can all read them and judge you. It’ll be fun! I can’t wait to see what everyone is going to drive home in over this half-century!

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1 year ago

For the first lot, I’ll take the Triumph TR2, because I like the little square grille better that the fish-mouth of the TR3. Lot 2, either the Bentley R-Type/Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn in the corner or what appears to be a Datsun A110 behind a Ford coupe parked on the street-corner. Lot 3, either the BMW 2002 behind the Ford Falcon Club Wagon or the red Triumph TR6 behind the red VW Typ 1. Lot 4, the red Datsun 510 that’s just pulling off-camera. Lot 5, the Jeep Comanche with bed topper. Lot 6, the white Nissan Gloria behind the second horizontally-parked car.

Cris Dedmond
Cris Dedmond
1 year ago

This is crazy….I was studying the photos and in the first ’70 parking lot the “yellow” MGB/GT caught my eye. “That looks just like my first car I had in high school!!!”. Looking a little closer, I thought “that looks like the Harrisonburg, Va courthouse in the background…..and that looks like the down town parking deck to the left, and that looks like the back parking lot of Asbury Methodist Church where I use to park when I went downtown….and that’s where I used to park”. Holy crap!!!! That’s my car!!!!

It was a ’68, last year with no head rests on the seats, first year with the “pillow dash”, in bronze over black leather with white piping, wire wheels, side mirrors way up front on the “wings”. I loved that car. Used and abused by a high school moron, but only let me down once on a Sunday morning coming home from a farm party (throttle cable broke, took a brake cable off my bike to replace it). It finally succumbed to tin worms in 1984, but it served me well.

I missed it so much I purchased a supercharged ’66 convertible 3 years ago. My wife (and HS girlfriend) and I are reliving our glory days with it.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

For the 50s, I will be picking that C1 Corvette and immediately scrounging through a junkyard for a Buick Nailhead, Oldsmobile Rocket, or Cadillac V8 to take the inline six’s place. Then I’m going drag racing in it.

For the 60s, I choose the ambulance, because hey why not? Lots of room for doing whatever, I can use it to tow my C1 Corvette drag car and haul lots of spare parts at the same time.

For the 70s I will be choosing the Celica, as while the C1 drag car was great for meeting a nice hippie girl in the 60s, it’s not suitable for daily driving during the fuel crisis and the new wife needs the ambulance for her own commute and any kids we end up having.

For later 70s, I choose VW microbus, because hippie wife wanted it for the kids since the ambulance is showing its age. It’s a fine family transporter, but I yearn for speed as I watch the old C1 ‘Vette slowly decay in the backyard… Someday perhaps it’ll be a father-son project?

Well now it’s the 80s and we have replaced the VW and ambulance with a Chevy Suburban. It’s big enough for all the kid’s things, and all our camping gear on top of that… but the not-so-secret other reason we got it is so maybe it can be a tow vehicle for the C1 ‘Vette I’m working on with my son. Perhaps his first car will be another hot rod like I had?

It is the 90s and my son bought something Japanese I’ve never heard of and I feel betrayed. We still sometimes race the old C1 we restored together, so I can’t complain too much, but why? Why does he not buy American? And why is it faster than the C1??? It doesn’t even have a V8! Kids these days…

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
1 year ago

With my little eye, I spie, for the 50’s I would take the 190 SL over the TR-3’s as I owned a TR in this era I tried several times to trade it for an SL. For the 60’s I want whatever kind of Jag that is located in the lower right. 70’s #1, the MGB-GT and 70’s #2, the TR250 (I think) and for the 80’s I default to the C-20 with the cap as it matches the one in my driveway. For the 90’s? Nada!

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 year ago

50’s: the Volvo Amazon (although the pair of what I think are Bugeye Sprites are tempting). I’ve always been a fan of those. They were the safest cars on the road in the 50’s.

60’s: the Falcon parked on the left-side curb A friend of mine in high school had one of a similar vintage into which he had wedged a built 351-Cleveland. That was the first car I ever rode in where you needed 4-point harnesses (which he luckily had installed).

70’s: the beautiful blue Mustang Mach I (for similar reasons to the above – yeah I mostly lived vicariously through high school friends when it came to hot-rods)

80’s: the cream-colored Suburban. We had a very similar looking 1973 Suburban when I was 13 (1979). It had a lot of “character”. There were huge rust holes in the way-back and my sister and I used to love to drop stuff onto the spinning tires. When you took a sharp left turn, the horn would spontaneously blow. When you took a hard right, the passenger door would fly open. We loved that old beast.

90’s: nothing that I can identify

Jeremy Dale
Jeremy Dale
1 year ago

50’s… Is that a ‘vette in white with the black stripe and top?

60’s… whichever car isn’t about to collide with another

70’s 1… I think I see a light blue 68 or 69 Chevelle on the left

70’s 2… Give me the 68ish Camaro RS in the back.

70’s 3… What is that black car behind the caprice?

80’s… I’ll take the multi blue colored Dodge van, and I’ll hate myself for it later.

90’s… I think I see a dark colored BMW 7 series there, or maybe I’ve stared at it too long.

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