Category: Motor vehicles

Manhattan Beach Pier


Image: from

Manhattan Beach Boulevard at Ocean Drive looking west toward the pier.


Carl’s Drive In


Image: “Dick” Whittington Collection/USC Digital Library photo via .

Location may be Flower Street at Figueroa in Los Angeles.

“I see that one car owner still has his 1938 plate (3C 17 70), perhaps dating the photo in early 1939. And there’s a 39 Arizona plate on the coupe three cars to the right of the carhop.

“It’s hard for me to ID the cars here too, but I see two 36 Ford sedans, one right by the building and one between the drive-in sign and the carhop; a 36 Ford coupe by the building, a light-colored 38 or 39 Ford coupe at the left by the building, a light-colored 39 Pontiac at lower left, a 37 or 38 Ford slantback 2-door in front of it, a 37 or 38 Chevy coupe two cars to the right, and a 39 Ford convertible with whitewalls clear to the right. Those are the only ID’s I have any confidence in.”

Excerpt: Comment from reader Pete Madsen on the Hemming’s post of this photo at the image link above.

Arvin Co-Op Store


Image: Dorothea Lange photo for U.S. Department of Agriculture via,_Kern_County,_California._Co-op_store_and_gas_station_established_December_1939_in_the_Arvin_F_._._._-_NARA_-_521769.jpg .

Arvin, Kern County, California. Co-op store and gas station established December 1939 in the Arvin Farm Labor Camp (F.S.A.) by sixty camp members each of whom contributed $1 to start the enterprise.

Arvin is 15 miles southeast of Bakersfield, California.

Crocker motorcycles


Image: Photograph of Jack Lilly’s Crocker number 39-61-103 in 1939. This is how this Crocker was originally painted from the factory. The colors were navy blue with red and white pinstripes. It also had a chromed rear brake backing plate, rear chain guard, seat springs and upper shackle. The photograph from the ‘Crocker Motorcycle Co’ collection.

“Al Crocker invented machines that were well ahead of their time in design and function. His bikes were visually pleasing, as Crocker seemed to have a perfect eye for form and balance, for color and simplicity. They were such great examples of fluidity of design that they seemed to be moving, even in still photos. The innovative styling was equally matched by record-breaking performance.”

Image and excerpt from . Click on the link to learn more.

Crocker motorcycles were made at 1346 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles.




Image: one page of 1939 brochure from .

“Breene-Taylor Engineering, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of airplane parts, announced the availability of the Whizzer Model “D” Bicycle Motor. This kit sold for $54.95 and included an air-cooled, four-cycle engine that was capable of producing 1.375 horsepower as well as a 2/3 gallon fuel tank. Approximately 1000 Model “D” motors were made and sold.”

At the beginning, the Whizzer was only a motor to be added to the customer’s bicycle.

Excerpt from .

Custom cars


“One of my personal all time favorite Custom Cars is this chopped ’36 Ford 5-window Coupe restyled in the late 1930’s. Not much is known about the car, most likely the owner was from Santa Monica, and some say the narrowed and reshaped ’36 Ford grille and custom side grilles might have been the work of George DuVall. Possibly the ribbed running board cover, the rock shield on the rear fenders and the single bar flipper hubcaps were all parts created by George DuVall and offered from the SoCal Plating Company.”  –Rik Hoving

“The Custom Car movement as we know it really started in the early 1930’s but at least a decade before that the movement was set in motion. In the late 1910’s the rich and famous demanded more elusive cars than the cars available from Detroit. They found their way to several of the Los Angles local Custom Coachwork companies. Who could create more streamlined and luxurious bodies that would set them apart from everything else on the roads. It would help give them even more status than they already had.

“The US was slowly recovering from the recession and people started to spend some more money on cars. Second had cars were relatively cheap and where perfect to be used in restyling. Hourly rates were still very low, making it possible for a car owner to have the local show spend a lot of hours on the cars. Where the first Custom Restyled cars were mostly based on convertibles and roadsters, which were much easier to chop, builder now started to experiment with chopping the top of coupes and even sedan’s. It resulted in a wide range of uniquely restyled cars, perhaps not always the most graceful, but incredibly inspiring and unique for sure. These early years of Custom Restyling are to me the most interesting years of the history of the Custom Cars. Especially because a lot of the cars were so fresh in incorporating the Custom Style.”

Image and excerpts from . Click on the link for a detailed article with many photos about the early years of automobile customizing, much of which took place in southern California.