Home movie film screenshots, early ’70s

My wife found a roll of 8mm movie film in a closet a few weeks ago. Her stepfather was an avid photographer who also liked to shoot movies. The handwriting on the metal film canister dated the shoots as spanning the years 1971-1973.

I had it transferred to a digital format so we could watch it. It was mostly typical family home movie stuff, but it was the cars that caught my attention. Forty years ago, these were the sedans and station wagons that everyone drove (no SUVs in sight, and pickups were primarily driven by farmers). Today, a collector car enthusiast would find every one of these vehicles to be of some interest.

The screenshots are all blurry. The slow 8mm film speed combined with the digitizing made it impossible to freeze the view and end up with a crystal-clear image. (We are also all quite spoiled by the sharpness of our modern digital image-making tools.) However, the cars are still identifiable!

The biggest surprise of the film is that my wife’s stepdad filmed an antique car show. Given the early ‘70s time period, I fully expected to see only pre-war (before World War 2) vehicles at the show. As you’ll see below, that was not the case.

There are many more film canisters in the closet. We’ll get around to transferring the others someday.


The Murray family’s 1967 Dodge Polara station wagon: Note the Pentastar on the front fender, full wheel covers, whitewall tires, right outside mirror, long rear quarter glass, and lack of a roof rack. From what the family has told me, this was a 9-passenger vehicle.


Taken in or near Bird-in-Hand, PA, this appears to be a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle 2-door. Can’t see if it’s a post car or not, as the Amish fellow is in the way.


A motel parking lot, again in PA. From left to right: A Lincoln Mark III, Plymouth Valiant, and first-gen Ford Mustang.


The same parking lot: a 1971 Pontiac (making it an almost new car) and a Datsun 510 sedan, complete with vinyl roof, I’d guess a dealer add-on.


The antique car show as mentioned above. Note the NJ QQ plates which go back at least 50 years, the non-reflectorized “straw and black” color scheme, and to my utmost surprise, an emblem for the NJ Region of the AACA, using the same logo in existence today.


This long shot from that car show includes two 2-seat “baby Birds”, Thunderbirds which were only made from 1955 to 1957.


Final shot from that show: what appears to be a 1962 Corvette, making this car only 10 years old!


My wife’s uncle, arriving for a visit in his 1969 Plymouth Satellite station wagon. Note the full wheel covers and three-sided roof rack.


More parking lot shots, this time at the Jersey shore. Here is an early ’70s Olds Cutlass hardtop. I think more cars had vinyl roofs than didn’t.


Jersey shore again, two shots of the same lot. From L to R: VW Squareback, Dodge Challenger, Buick full-size 2-door, Volvo 142 (grille makes it 1969 or older) and what appears to be a Mopar wagon.


1967 Plymouth Belvedere approaching, with what looks like a Chevy Nova and Pontiac Tempest/LeMans at curbside in the background.

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.




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