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View Hundreds of Thirties-Fifties Cars at Rockingham Park

Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire is located 35-miles north of Boston. The track first opened in 1906 with a three-week long horse racing extravaganza attended by patrons and racers arriving by steam trains from throughout the Northeast.

Four years later in 1911 when the airplane craze was sweeping the land a very successful aviation meet was held at the track. Since 1912 the facility has hosted thoroughbred racing, automobile and motorcycle racing on a separate dirt oval and a specially constructed board track between the years of 1925 and 1929.

The recent post containing a Boston, MA, parking lot photographed by Leslie Jones was very popular so today the first of a number of images taken by him of the Rockingham Park parking facilities will be featured. The photos begin in the postwar years and date back to the late-1920s and more will be featured soon.

The expandable photograph below is 15-inches wide and gives you an excellent view of many of the automobiles which we hope you will tell us all about. The image is courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

Parking lot at the Rockingham Park circa 1950


17 responses to “View Hundreds of Thirties-Fifties Cars at Rockingham Park

  1. What is so striking is the lack of any import cars and that the oldest car I can see is the 33-34? Chev sedan delivery in the front row. The oldest car in sight is not even 20 years old! American auto manufacturing was at the top of the heap then.

  2. Front row, second from left, looks like a 1950 Oldsmobile 98 but with three Buick portholes on the hood. What’s with that?

    • That actually is just a Buick, you can see that by the toothy grill. 1950 was the only year Buick had this grill design where the toothy grill was hanging over the bumper. Maybe the grill design makes you think that this is an Oldsmobile?

  3. Front row, second from left looks like a 1950 Buick which would explain the portholes. Third row, sixth from right, 1949 or ’50 Mercury.

  4. Even more than the Boston photo, the pre-war cars really stand out. Who drove them? Thrifty New Englanders refusing to buy new as long as the old car still ran? High school kids who might have paid $50 for one? The local eccentric? Did the guy really care what anyone thought as he parked his sedan with side mounts next to a shiny new Olds or a step down Hudson? Standouts for me are the pair of what look like Lincoln Zephyrs backed against the fence, the late-40s Buick or Cadillac convertible a few cars down, a ’41 Cadillac, fourth car in the row facing and a Studebaker next to the 1950 Ford, same row. Also against the fence is a huge Packard limo and on the far left, it looks like a Nash station wagon which is among the newest cars shown.

    • My Dad for one. His pre-war car was actually built combining pieces of two $25 automobiles. By 1953, he was able to buy a used 1948 Oldsmobile 88.

  5. I notice no new luxury cars, one 1941 Cadillac in the third row, some older Packards, no Lincolns, very few Mercurys but no Fords!!!, only the 1938 Ford Delivery in the third row.
    Very few convertibles, the 1950 Buick in the second row stands out, very few station wagons, some vans but I couldn’t find a single pick up.
    Most cars are not black, one of the black? cars is a 1937 Graham sedan, middle left , out of line and it’s the rarest car I spotted.

    • OK two Fords so far, the 1949/50 sedan in the third row and a 1941 second from left in the same row and I hadn’t noticed the two Lincoln Zephyrs backed against the fence.

      • Don’t think they’re Zephers…. after the ’30s coupe-1st is a pre/postwar Plymouth sedan, next a ‘46,7,8 Dodge sedan, then a GM torpedo back sedan , another Dodge sedan and finally a ’49 Buick convertible, wish I had any of them.

  6. Well, I would surmise that since most post war cars were actually the latest pre war cars gussied up a bit, most folks did not have the inclination to rush out and buy something new. This is more particularly true since most of the pre war cars saw marked reductions in use during the rationing of WWII. That Ford stands out as it was really a fairly radical departure from the pre war years in terms of design.

  7. Some nice orphan makes here in the front row:
    The Hudson Coupe – two tone looks so fine, and another newer Hudson several cars to the left.
    Cars to it’s right: a nice looking Oldsmobile coupe, a big old bathtub Nash and a Pontiac Streamliner Coupe (back view).
    Also, a Studebaker in the third row with the man standing behind it, and a good looking Mercury to the right.

    • I think both the Oldsmobiles in the front row are sedans. I had a ’50 Olds coupe and will never forget its silhouette.

  8. Anyone else find the ’46-7 Kaiser? What’s the GM woody , 4th or 5th row, and think there’s a’49 Cadillac extreme left coming at you. Luv the Nash Airflyte bath tubs and the 2 step down Hudsons… don’t think it’s a Graham “Sharkie” ’cause the head lamps aren’t in the fenders. Didn’t see anything beyond 1950… great foto , David

    • I noticed that bathtub Nash right off. Can’t mistake that for anything else. Too bad the photographer didn’t use Kodachrome.

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