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Prewar Cars Jam Ralphs Supermarket on Opening Day in Los Angeles

Today’s feature image taken on April 25, 1942, captured the scene at the grand opening of a new Ralphs Supermarket in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angles, California, located southwest of the City at Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road. The crowded parking lot contains a mix of interesting 1930s to early-1940s automobiles representing a cross-section of vehicles on the streets of the LA at the time.

The original Ralphs grocery store was first opened in 1873 in Los Angeles by George Albert Ralphs. Today twenty of the stores are located in the greater LA area and are a part of the giant Kroger Co. that owns over 2800 supermarkets across the US.

Tell us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the USC Libraries.

21 responses to “Prewar Cars Jam Ralphs Supermarket on Opening Day in Los Angeles

      • Andy,

        Good catch with the convertible under the Ralphs sign. Looks like another convertible parked on the far right with a light colored top [at the far corner of the building].

  1. Center left of the photograph, parked near the Ralphs side door, is a two-tone 1940 PONTIAC and parked on the left, with white-wall tires, is a 1941 STUDEBAKER Commander.

  2. I like the `41 Studebaker sedan on the left in the foreground; even has whitewalls. On the right, and old lady steps out of a `37 Chrysler Royal coupe. Looks like a good turn out at Ralph’s for opening day!

  3. Newest I see is ’41-42 Ford, but how about the parking right in front of us…I seem to remember this…and jumping over the fender as a kid

  4. It won’t be too long before gas rationing which I believe will see a decrease in the number o f cars at scenes like this. By December rationing had become the real deal. I also love the ’41 Studebaker one of my favorites.

  5. While the cars pre-date me ( they all look the same) , I can add a comment about Ralph’s. On a trip to L.A. to visit my kids, my daughter lived a few blocks from the Ralph’s on Ventura Blvd. With Publix of Florida a close 2nd, Ralph’s has THE best food, produce to die for, and the prices weren’t off the scale, like most California items. It’s also the choice for celebrities, but you have to look close, they usually wear baggy clothes and sunglasses. My SIL saw J Lo. in that Ralph’s once.

  6. A 1939 Ford Fordor sedan and 1941 Ford Fordor sedan in the front. Perhaps a 1935-1936 Ford coupe parked to the left of the ’39. Notice the coupe has a trunk not a rumble seat.

  7. Sorta interresting ’bout the 2 soft tops… the nearest seems to be roadster type while the farthest would seem to be a true convertible, full canvas rear- only Mopars (’41) had actual working rear quarter windows before the second war ( GM-’42).

  8. Striking again that even in LA, where rust is not a problem, you don’t see many cars more than ten years old. Today a ten-year-old car is hardly broken in. Sure, in those days you could work on your car yourself, but those of us who bought old cars that someone else had worked on discovered that that was a mixed blessing.

  9. I bought a ’41 Studebaker , like the one in the above photograph but mine did not have white wall tires. It was a little more than 20 years-old when I bought it from the guys who operated one of the Atlantic service stations in Wilmington, Delaware. I don’t remember what I paid for that car but it was a very small amount of money, even for that time (early 1960’s). The body was solid but the headliner, although intact, was partially detached from the steel body . When I arrived at the University of Delaware for my morning classes I noticed that my hair was permeated with tiny particles of something or other; this was very annoying. Within a few days I discovered that the inside of the steel roof had rusted and fine particles of rust were filtering through the cloth headliner and had gotten into my hair. The old car was painted day-glow orange so between the strange color and the rust my Studebaker was soon down the road and on to its next adventure.

  10. “Jam-packed cars ” in the foreground — are rarely something that the Public will Ever do! So: Why?: The photo is taken from the Periphery of the parking lot, to show: How successful their “Enterprize” is: The cars are Fords, the Fordor Sedan is either; ’39 or ’38, (The Shift Forman) . The ’36 belongs to a Cashier. The ’32 belongs to someone whom the Public rarely sees, as he is handling “heavy stuff” on the Un- Loading Dock. (These are guesses, of course). (there will be more Employees in the same area, they just aren’t on camera!!! )They are “jam- packed” because they have arrived early at the same time to prepare the market for the opening of their shift, so they park “Out at the edge of the lot with minimum space to reduce “Lot Loading” to accommodate more Customers who park wherever & however they please— and on any “opening day scenario” the lot is a Mad – House of looney – bin bargain hunters!!! SO: when the evening time clock is punched, one car on one end is moved first! — and the others “follow in sequence” to allow each Driver to enter his car. safely, with room to climb in! This same “Jam packed ” System is used in Tucson, Arizona, — to move ALL cars & trucks Anywhere, Inside!!! (In Sequence!) to prevent: ‘Mud -Storm Contamination to anything outside!!! This all happens in 20 minutes!, the Thunder-Storm comes out of the mountains — a 200-500 foot Fast wall of brown desert dust is ahead of it, —- heavy Rain, Hail & Lightning happen , it blows over and a thick, crusty 1/4 to 1/2 ” layer of MUD settles & dries on everything!!!! Cleanup time ! That’s Round Three!!!

  11. “Convertibles” were not “popular” during WW-2 !!! Most were “Mothballed ” in Home or Commercial Garages “For the DURATION” — and Not Used during Wartime — for a list of reasons, some of which were very wrong!!! The earlier days of “open Touring Cars” were very much different that the later days of “Convertibles ” although those two “types” are very closely related . The early Touring Cars had practical rugged purposes for rugged dirt road applications . As a Luxury Touring Class evolved and as the Public that had money demanded “openness with elegance ” the large convertible evolved . It wasn’t considered as being patriotic or doing your part for the War effort, so: Anything other than the smaller Roadsters were Gas Hogs and many were mothballed or scrapped ! When Gas Rationing went away after V-J Day & V-E day, — the “Convertibles” and other open cars — gradually returned to the streets.

  12. My favorite is the dark GM, maybe Pontiac or Olds at the corner of the building. Whitewalls, Fender Skirts, Chrome Stone Guards and maybe lowering blocks in the rear. Cool. The Stude is nice too.

  13. Hi Doug, going out on a limb here (it’s a pretty big limb), and say
    that the classy ride by the door is a 1940 Buick, likely a Super.
    That would be the one on the right side, not the 2-tone. Those
    chrome stone guards may be an option or maybe a Roadmaster.

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