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1939 Portland Oregon Automobile Inspection Station filled with old cars

The Portland, Oregon Automobile Inspection Station – A Portland Street Scene – The Scoopmobile – A McKeen Railcar

This interesting circa 1939 photo shows us a wide range of vehicles dating all the way from the late-twenties on up to the then current models. There is an entertaining mix of automobiles to study in the five different lanes including a Franklin Club Sedan and a pair of identical streamlined sedans, one behind the other in line number two.

Check out the enlargeable photo below and tell us of anything notable you see or find interesting. We are hopeful that our readers can tell us how often vehicles needed to be inspected in Oregon at the time. The photo was posted on the H.A.M.B. by Gary Reynolds. See more Portland area photos below.

1939 Portland Oregon Automobile Inspection Station filled with old cars

The Portland Publics Works Department photo below was taken on New Years Eve 1940 and shows the intersection at South West 4th Avenue and Morrison Street. In this photo, we again see a wide range of vehicles dating from the early 1930s on up to the late-model Ford convertible on the corner on the right. The photo is courtesy of the City of Portland.

1940 Portland Oregon street scene with old and antique cars

Below in Portland we see workers from the Public Works Department using heavy equipment for storm clean up on February 2, 1950. The location was South West 12th Avenue between Main and Jefferson. Note the unusual five-wheeled Scoopmobile ready to put a load of snow in a waiting dump truck.

The Scoopmobile was manufactured by Mixermobile Manufacturers Inc. of Portland starting in the late thirties. The Company has been reported to have built the first four-wheel-drive articulated wheel loader in America during 1953. The photo is courtesy of the City of Portland.

A Scoopmobile loader and a 1940 Ford

And as a final photo from Portland today we have an early postcard courtesy of Portland History showing Union Pacific Motor Car 7 in front of one of the Railroads buildings in Portland. The unit was made by the McKeen Motor Car Company that was part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

The cars were built between the years of 1905 and 1917 using both gasoline and diesel power, including one that was produced powered by a steam engine. Look for an article soon covering these interesting railcars with some great photos and patent drawings.

Union Pacific Motor Car 7 made by the McKeen Motor Car Company

8 responses to “The Portland, Oregon Automobile Inspection Station – A Portland Street Scene – The Scoopmobile – A McKeen Railcar

  1. Not having much luck with the inspection stain pic on my laptop, but that Ford convertible in the 2nd pic looks like a ’37, definitely not a ’39 or ’40.

    In the 3rd pic that’s a ’40 Ford De Luxe Tudor with an interestingly low license plate number.

  2. There is a restored McKeen railcar in the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, NV, which originally was operated on the Virginia and Truckee Railway.

  3. It is unfortunate that I can’t magnify the top photo enough to read the message on the tyre cover on the car at the back of the left row at the inspection station.

  4. “The Portland Street Scene”. It’s not the “early ’30’s” despite the cars; it was not taken before September 22, 1939. The movie marquee is showing “Espionage Agent” with Joel McCrea. Wikipedia says it’s an early anti-German spy film released just before the start of WWII in Europe. These photo’s are great, but when I try to guess a date, sometimes it’s more accurate if there’s a movie theater visible. At least, if it’s in it’s first run, it gives a starting year. Also, depends on the “side of town” the photo is from. The cars would run newer in more affluent areas, less so in less affluent areas.

  5. In the top photo, at the head of Lane 2 appear to be a pair of Lincoln Zephyrs. And just turning in to Lane 3, next to the attendant, is a circa 1937-38 Hudson 2-door sedan.

  6. Also in the first photo, the last car in Lane 2 looks like a 1936-37 Hupmobile sedan. David, it’s really hard to identify the back ends of 1930s cars; we’re used to seeing the grilles!

  7. Little did the drivers of those old crates know that their chance of getting a new car was about to come to a screeching halt in less than a year. I wonder how many would have hustled down to a car dealer and gotten and new one if they knew what was ahead?

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