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New and Used Fords and Auto Parts Deep in the Heart of Texas

Today’s post-World War II automobile and truck photographs start out at the Swearingen-Armstrong Ford Car and Truck Agency located in Austin, Texas at 202 West 1st Street. The lead image and an expandable version of it below show used 1946 to ’48 Ford cars, and a Mercury convertible displayed under a canopy off to the side of the main sales and service building.

At the time there was a very strong demand for both new and used cars and trucks to replace the worn out and used up pre-war vehicles that had survived the War years. It was also a good time to be in the new cars sales business if a dealership was able to get a large enough supply of automobiles to meet the market’s need.

The photograph below dated 1951 gives a view of a facelift given to the building’s facade and signage done in the late-1940s or early-1950s. The image shoes a glimpse of three new Ford cars in the showroom and a line-up of heavy duty trucks in front of it. On the far-left is a 1951 model coming out of the service department and to its left what appears to be a new Ford pickup truck.

And finally below is a view of the Cross-Allen Company auto parts supply building dated February 14, 1946. The facility was also in the City of Austin at 209 to 211 East 5th street according to the City’s Historic Landmark Commission.

The parts business was purchased by John D. Grubbs and his wife Elsie B. Grupps in 1937, and they owned it up through the fifties when the pair also purchased and operated a Texaco filling station in 1951 and Conoco station later in 1963.

The photograph shows a variety of pre-war cars out front, the oldest being either a 1928 to ’29 Model “A” Ford convertible coupe that is next to a 1929 or ’30 Chevrolet coupe on the far-left next to an Airflow.

Tell us what you find of interest in these images taken by photographer Neil Douglass that are courtesy of The Portal to Texas History.


17 responses to “New and Used Fords and Auto Parts Deep in the Heart of Texas

  1. It looks like the Model A owner preferred the lower profile wheels and tires used on later Fords. He kept the stock Model A wheel and tire for his spare.

    Cars came a long way in short time during this period. There is quite a difference between an early and mid 30’s car..

    • 2nd foto…Might be entrance to the service facility, and the front of customer’s new Ford after it’s 1st oil change.

  2. In the nit-pick dept. , it’s “Swearingen” not “Swearington”. Looks like someone is getting 4 new ’51 Ford F6 (?) dump trucks. ( one on the far end could be a F5)

  3. The model A is a business coupe; does not convert. Note the full doors. It can’t be a sport coupe that lost its landau irons as it is a trunk model (note handle)and the sport coupe came with a rumble seat. The tail light looks like body mounted , so I suggest it is a 1928. The spare wheel is 19″ from a 1930-1931 Ford. Great car, however.

    • Sure looks like a sport coupe to me. They had full door frames and a folding top I believe. Yes, the landaus are missing but everything else suggests sport coupe.

  4. Top photo left to right, ’46 Ford coupe, ’47 Ford 3 passenger coupe, ’46 Mercury convertible, ’47 Ford coupe, ’46 convertible and 46 Fordor sedan, I think!

    Second photo, a row of good looking 1951-53 Ford dual wheel trucks, F-3 or bigger?

  5. I don’t know about Texas but when I moved to North Dakota / Minnesota from New Jersey in the 1970s I was surprised to see plates on the cars on used car lots. Turned out that the cars were issued the plates and not the owners. Unless the new buyer changed the plates the old plates stayed with the car.

  6. RE: License plates on the Used Car lot shaded area Fords and Mercs

    I believe most states were still in metal conservation mode after the war and one thing done was not to replace plates just with change of ownership in the same state. Vehicle license plates were kept with only yearly renewal “tags“ or “tabs“added to a corner of the existing plate until entire state got new plates to the new physical size standard for example. Other exceptions such as stolen or damaged plates. This would only apply if a used vehicle stayed within the state. Of course, many states had to issue new plates by 1947 front and rear to pre-war and 1946 vehicles because most were getting in bad shape even though the cars were still good enough to drive.

    In 1948 there was a considerable steel shortage to meet the demands of the returning veterans wanting to have homes and get them equipped with new appliances (everyone, not just vets). A 10% reduction in steel usage was enforced on auto manufacturers in `48 to help out. Steel supplies were at an all time low after intense shiip building and massive battle tanks and war vehicles.

    FoMoCo did a brilliant thing, they reduced their vehicle steel needs by 10% by substituting aluminum since it was in huge recycled (scrapped aircraft) supply for new use. They saved weight and steel by nearly 50 lbs. each with nearly all new 1948 model of Ford and Mercury. Aluminum was used for the long running boards and huge front floor board, plus several minor panels and covers throughout that were not structural. This gave them an excellent advantage. Estimates indicate that they not only complied on steel conservation, but also shed the weight, and the reccyled aluminum cost a bit less. But most importantly, they were able to produce about 10,000 more vehicles at no additional expense in this way. These aluminum parts are key to proper restortion of 1948 year models today. See Early Ford V8 Club “V8 Album“ for detailed reference on the subject.

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