Category: Motor vehicles

Street scene

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Image: source not given; may be UCLA digital collection at http://digital2.library.ucla.edu/viewItem.do?ark=21198/zz00000bv3 .

Downtown Los Angeles facing north on South Broadway between West Second Street and West Third Street, 1939.

Sometimes it is nice to see a plain ol’ street scene showing how a particular place used to look. Notice how the then-late-model automobile at the lower right looks so futuristic when compared with the boxy styling of the other cars in the photo.

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Graham “Sharknose”

18apr13grahamAd

Image: 1939 newspaper ad from unidentified publication

Graham introduced a dramatically-styled line of cars in 1938 that continued for a few years. The ad above shows quite a few dealers in southern California.

A blogger speculates whether the “Sharknose” car inspired the Batmobile in period comics at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/was-the-first-batmobile-a-coffin-nosed-cord-or-a-graham-sharknose-part-two/ . Be sure to click on the link to see photos that show the car from a variety of angles. The linked story includes the fascinating history of the company.

Carl’s Drive In

18jan3carlsDriveIn

Image: “Dick” Whittington Collection/USC Digital Library photo via https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2013/03/15/los-angeles-1939/#comments-block .

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.