SBecause I've become obsessed with finding at least one semi-focused shot of the pair of Fiat 128s my parents bought in the early 1970s (when the 128 was the cheapest new four-door sold in America), I've been spending a lot of time digging through boxes of hopelessly jumbled family photos. No Fiat photos yet, but I did find this DOTSBE Vintage Edition shot, nominally of my grandmother- sporting some really cool cateye glasses- posing in front of some cable cars in San Francisco, but the real subject of this image is a new BMW 2002… and is that a Fiat dealership in the background? What other wonders may be seen here? Make the jump to find out!
Yes indeed, that's a big FIAT sign down Hyde Street. Who knows, maybe that's the very dealership at which the legendary Martin family 128s (which lasted about three years apiece) were purchased! The photograph is dated October 1973 and was shot on Hyde Street, facing south past the intersection at Beach Street (the intersection looks much the same today, as we can see on Google Street View). The Fiat dealership is now a Blazing Saddles bicycle-rental shop, but the Buena Vista Cafe, visible in the foreground, is still in operation 35 years later.
This detail of the photograph shows a pair of men who look like bad guys out of a Dirty Harry movie. The downward spiral of society, the collapse of law and order! First they take vagrancy laws off the books, then that damn Miranda versus Arizona decision gives all the power to skag-mainlining, parole-violating, second-story-man scumbags… like these salty-looking dudes. Or maybe it's just a pair of gentle hippies, come to San Francisco to wear flowers in their hair- hard to tell from this grainy Instamatic shot.
But here's the part we're all going to enjoy. Once you've established the year for that blue BMW, you can try to identify the other six cars visible in this part of the photo. Most of them are pretty easy, but I can see at least one real head-scratcher. Show us what you got, car experts!