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Ken Thompson Motor Co. Studebaker Sales and Service

The Ken Thompson Motor Co., according to the sign on the side of the building had been selling and servicing Studebaker cars and trucks since the 1920s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This circa early-1950s press photo and the enlargeable image of it below shows a display of used cars and trucks offered for sale at the dealership located on Centre Avenue in Shadyside, a neighborhood of the City, located about three miles from downtown on the east side.

The front row of the used car lot contains a pair of mid-to-late 1940s Studebaker four-door sedans and a Starlight coupe on the plinth to the right. Cars by other automakers begin with a pre-war Plymouth coupe on the left, a Chrysler Products sedan in the middle and a Pontiac sedan on the far-right. Behind the fence are other Studebaker cars and a truck for sale along with those produced by other automakers.

The building, now modernized and with an addition on the back appears to have survived?

Tell us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library.

20 responses to “Ken Thompson Motor Co. Studebaker Sales and Service

  1. In the center of the front row of cars in the lot, flanked by a lot of 1948 or ’49 STUDEBAKER cars, is a 1946 to ’48 DeSOTO with a dented front bumper.

  2. In the front row, I like the `49 Land Cruiser sedan with the whitewalls! Given the `50 sedan I see parked behind this row, I’m thinking this picture was taken maybe about 1951? I like the pre-WWII Stude at the curb; is that a `41?

  3. The coupe to the left of the Studebaker is a 1940 Dodge Series D-17. The DeSoto is an S-11 Deluxe, 46- 1st series 49.

  4. At the curb (foreground) in front of the ’49 Plymouth , it’s got to be a prewar Willys… too small to be a juunior Studebaker series, it’s neither a ’41 or’42. .

    I always thought the Land Cruisers were larger, longer being postwar Studebaker’s top o’ line, not so as the Mopars. postwar DeSoto and prewar Dodge dwarf them. There’s another postwar Chrysler sedan way back behind the second line Think there’s a ’50 bullet nose Studebaker Land Cruiser behind the Commander Starlight on the on the “Star Pad”.

    Aren’t there 2 prewar 3/2 passenger coupes … a GM at he keft at the curb and the Dodge front left on the lot .Depending on their use didn’t they have a panel behind the front seat between the trunk and the passengers or a space behind the front seat passengers for a jump seat?

    Oh, forgot the ’50 Pontiac sedan, far right. Think it’s an straight 8, full wheel covers, deluxe outside bumper protectors, wonder if it had a illuminated amber chief on the hood ornament? Well fitted!

    • Graham,

      Was also thinking the car parked forward of the ’49 PLYMOUTH was a WILLYS Americar, but looking closer, the car has a split windshield and rear suicide door, which the pre-WWII WILLYS cars didn’t have. The vehicle may be an import.


    • The Landcruisers of this era were longer but not bigger than the Commanders they were based on. They have a 4″ longer wheelbase and can be identified by the vent window in the rear door. Commanders (and Champions) don’t have this.

      The car in the foreground is a Champion, probably ’39.

      • It looks to me like a 39 or 40 Studebaker Champion. They had a fairly short wheelbase, 110”. The Champion had an all new light weight chassis with 170 cu. inch engine and Overdrive, got very good gas economy, attractive styling by Raymond Loewy, and sold very well. The Champion model put Studebaker solidly back in the black after a tough time getting thru the Depression years.

  5. No clue what that car in the foreground is, but it’s not a Willys. ’36 through ’40 Willys did not have the center opening doors.

  6. The car parked in front of the Plymouth wagon looks more like a European GM product like an Opel than a Studebaker ?

  7. I’m with Robbie, the 4-door sedan in the lower right
    is an early Studebaker Champion. Probably a ’39 or ’40.
    Think ’39 was the first year for the Champion. Won’t
    even attempt to try and ID the slinky coupe across
    the street.

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