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Newly Constructed Rotary Filled with Postwar Cars Circa 1950

Today’s feature image takes us to Philadelphia, PA, for a circa 1950 overhead view of automobiles on a traffic circle surrounding a park. The photo was taken shortly after this new roadway was opened, as there are virtually no oil stains to be seen on the center of the three lanes and the white stripes are bright and clean.

Sections of the city are relatively prosperous, and this rotary appears to be in one of these well-to-do areas as the vast majority of the cars in the image are new or only a few years old. Street cars were still in use in this area, and the separate inner lane would accommodate them as soon as all of the overhead wiring was in place.

Tell us what you find of interest in this image courtesy of PhillyHistory.


27 responses to “Newly Constructed Rotary Filled with Postwar Cars Circa 1950

  1. there is a late 20s, early 30s coupe in the top of the photo. I thought it was a Model A, but it looks to have a chrome center line on the grill. Solid lines, stay in your lane, not so much.

  2. On the far right is the tail-end of a 1948 to ’51 HUDSON.

    Driving on the trolley car tracks are a 1949 STUDEBAKER Commander Regal DeLuxe Land Cruiser and a 1947 or ’48 STUDEBAKER Champion Starlight [next to a 2-door1950 STUDEBAKER Champion].

    • The Champion Starlight on the tracks is a ’47 by the badge above the grille. Notice the badge on the ’48 Champion (4dr sedan?) at far left. It is a ’48 because the bumper doesn’t wrap around at the ends like a ’49.

  3. Watch out! The pack is 4 wide several places going into Turn One and there are only three grooves! There is traffic below the racing line and NASCAR hasn’t even been invented yet!

    All we have to do is take this down south and sell beer at the track and we will make some money!


  4. My feeling is that this picture is of the road in front of The Philadelphia Art Museum. Officially known as Eakins Oval, an artist who lived in the second half of the 1800’s til early 1900’s. The banners or flags mounted on poles at the walkway, reinforce this feeling. I love the street lamp globes, I once had a train set that included those.

    Anyway, car wise I can’t seem to find any with a one piece windscreen. I do see a taxicab by Ford, rather than Checker, and two relatively pristine Willys. The Studebaker on the trolley track has that backward facing look due to the line on the trunk and the shape of the roof. Where as the Studebaker next to it has a more conventional roof. Thanks for this scene.

    • this could be the circle in front of the art museum, but i think it is Logan circle (formerly Logan Square) at the other end of the Benjamin Franklin parkway in front of the Philadelphia free library. then this would be the beginning of 5:00 rush hour heading from the NW corner of William Penn’s planned downtown grid onto the brand new modern six lane limited-access parkway toward said art museum and the river drive beyond

      • Actually, Tom … all postwar Studebakers had one piece windscreens, part of their “Car of Tomorrow” marketing… 1st all new postwar styling. etc!

        • Not true. You can see the ’48 Champion sedan on the far left with a two-piece flat windshield. All models gained the one-piece curved windshield in 1951. Prior to that (47-50)all business coupes, 5-passenger (Starlight) coupes, convertibles and the Commander Land Cruiser (lwb) had the one-piece windshield. But the two door sedans, and four door sedans (except Land Cruiser) had the two piece windshield.

  5. Lots of good stuff in this photo, most of which are recognizable, but a few which require a bit of guess work.

    Starting from the right-hand lane, or Lane 1: Rear end of a 51 Hudson; 47 Studebaker; 48 Studebaker; and 46 Plymouth.

    Lane 2: 49 Ford; 49 Chevy; 50 Studebaker; 46 Plymouth; 50 Willys; 47 Chevy; 49 Chevy beside a 37 Ford; 47 Chevy beside a 49 Ford taxi; 49 Chevy; 40 Ford; 40 Pontiac; 41 Cadillac; 49 Buick; 41 Hudson; 30 Pontiac; and 46 Pontiac.

    Lane 3: 46 De Soto; 46 Plymouth; 49 Buick; 47 Nash; 50 Willys; 46 Ford; 48 Kaiser; 36 Plymouth; 47 Chevy; 47 Ford; 46 Oldsmobile beside a 47 Chevy; 39 Oldsmobile beside a 48 Chrysler; 41 Hudson; 42 Ford beside a 47 Buick; and 50 Dodge.

    Lane 4: 46 Pontiac; 49 Ford; 49 Chevy; 47 Studebaker; 47 Ford; 47 Chevy; 49 Pontiac; 46 Buick; 46 Plymouth; and 51 Dodge.

    Curbside: 38 Chevy; 49 Ford; 42 Pontiac; 47 Pontiac; 50 Pontiac; 46 Ford; 41 Chevy; and 46 Plymouth.

  6. I believe the Willys Jeepster is a ’48 or’49 and the wagon a ’46-’49, as in ’50 both got a restyled grill with five horizontal chrome bars.

  7. I see a vintage version of the modern day “bottle neck”. Seems in most cases, it’s the Chevy drivers that refused to give. ( what’s the deal with that?) I agree, it’s odd, only one “jalopy”. I wonder how many times those drivers had to “go around” to get in.

  8. Anybody know what the at the end of the line is, at the left, partially hidden by the white sedan? Seems to be a large coupe with chrome A pillars.

    • That’s a difficult one to identify. I guessed it to be a Dodge product. Judging by the thickness of the chrome A pillars, we may be seeing a car fitted with a set of Breezee air deflectors. Just a guess.

  9. That guy with the huge Chrysler convertible must have felt like King Kong among all those little Studies and Chevys. There are so many Studebakers that I assumed the photo was taken in Indiana!

  10. Don’t think anyone commented that the only wagon in the foto was the ’49 Ford as well as the only convertibles were the Chrysler , the Jeepster , and the ’49 Ford on the far left right behind the Buick. Lotta tailgating goin’ on there. Looks like the 5 o’clock “500”!

  11. I was hopeing someone might have any photos showing city freight delivery trucks with canvas covered bed from 40’s and 50’s

  12. What makes all the “newer” Fords 1949 and not 1950? I learned to drive in a 1950 Ford “woodie” like the one near the front of the pack. Dad bought it used in 1953 for a low price because some woman had had the wood painted pink and the top black. The scene is Logan Circle and the sidewalk angled off behind the parked cars goes to the cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. At the time of the photo (and for quite a number of years after) center city Philadelphia was criss-crossed with trolley tracks so workers could get to and from homes in the neighborhoods. There’s a good chance that the tracks shown in the photo are still there — buried beneath layers of concrete and/or asphalt. This was cheaper and less intrusive to utility lines than digging up the tracks and ties.

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