“The Smiling Irishman” used car sales lot is pictured here, circa 1952 at West Pico Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, the owners name was Walter Wellman. While the “$50 Cars” seem to have sold for a low price when compared to today, with inflation factored in the sum equals four hundred and fifty dollars, a figure that appears to be quite cheap, but back then new cars also sold a much lower price.
Wellman began in the business in the 1930s according to a lawsuit heard by the New York Supreme Court in which he was the plaintiff in a case filed in 1939 against another used car dealer who used his registered trade name “The Smiling Irishman.”
He later on apparently set up the Los Angeles operation during the war years and must have been well-known in the area, possibly because of radio advertisements, because Jack Benny mentioned him on one of his shows in the 1945-’46 season. How long this Wellman ran this lot in LA is not known.
The photo is courtesy of ElectroSpark.