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Parking Lot Series: Three Lots in Detroit Packed with 1950s Cars

Exactly were in the City of Detroit, Michigan, the three parking lots in this photo are located is unknown, but it might be safe to say that all were close to downtown. After a quick look at the lead photo, you might think that there are only two lots, but the large and tall light-colored building in the background on the left is a parking garage that also has a small open area for cars on the roof.

In the first photo below just in front of the parking garage is the another parking lot. The second and third images below show enlargements of the left and right-hand sides of the third facility across the street from the other two. The last shot shows an additional section of the third lot separated by an alleyway between the two.

Note the top on the light-colored Buick convertible on the right-hand side of the third lot. Tell us what you find of interest in the early-1950s photographs courtesy of the Wayne State University Libraries.


26 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Three Lots in Detroit Packed with 1950s Cars

  1. The Studebaker coupe looks like it came from outer space.I had not realized how radical a car it is ,but seeing it amongst the clouds of mainstream cars …..

  2. In the lead photograph, in the lower foreground left, is a 1950 BUICK Super station-wagon; in the same picture, in the lower right corner, there is a dark 1951 KAISER next to a light colored four-door 1950 PACKARD [non-Custom].

  3. In the center of the lead photograph, parked two cars beyond the parking lot attendant’s booth, is a light colored 1953 DeSOTO.

  4. You certainly don’t want to be parked against the building if you have any sort of schedule to keep. I can imagine that you could be boxed in for a good long time. Winter in Detroit would also eliminate a fair number of spots due to the snow piling up.

  5. The VW “Beetle” parked in the front-most spot on the rooftop must have been an exceedingly rare sight in the Detroit of that era.

  6. Apparently from 1953 as those are the newest cars I can spot. If so, there are almost no cars older than 5 years. So much for old cars lasting longer than new cars made today.

  7. The photos appear to be taken from atop the Detroit News building. That is the Fort Shelby Hotel on the right, and across the street (Lafayette), the parking garage is now attached to the WDIV channel 4 building (built in the early 80’s), and used for WDIV employee parking.

    The parking garage itself was built in the early 20’s and was originally parking for the Fort Shelby.

  8. A smattering of station wagons, no convertibles that I can find and only one ‘furrin’ car. Those were the days! Stalwart, staid, rational world of real men…..LOL!

  9. Two Buicks of interest in the middle lot are a ’51-;52 Super station wagon (next to the Studebaker Starlight coupe) and the ’51-’52 Roadmaster convertible with the plaid top, a man walking near it. Color and plaid convertible tops were available at the time. A ’52-’53 Lincoln sedan parked at the curb on the street. Surprising the number of convertibles given the northern locale.

    • 58L8134,

      Sharp eye !!

      The Super BUICK wagon looks like it’s a 1950 as the ventiports are in the hood rather than fender as were on the ’51 and ’52. Enlarged the picture 5X to see the ventiports.

      The Roadmaster BUICK convertible looks like it’s a ’51, as the side molding is slightly above the front wheel opening and it doesn’t appear to have the rear chrome fender extensions. Saw the car earlier, but thought the roof was having a “pixel” problem ! Enlarging the picture, you’re absolutely correct, the top is plaid. Never knew ,or thought, such tops were made, but a very clever idea.

      In the row of cars behind the ’51 BUICK Roadmaster convertible, two cars to the right [between a dark CHRYSLER and a light PONTIAC] is what looks like a two-door 1953 or ’54 WILLYS Aero Lark [with single-piece windshield].


  10. The roof top parking is of interest to me. In the thirties my father was a reporter for the Providence Journal Bulletin. During the 1938 hurricane that flooded Providence 6 feet or more he had his car parked on the building roof. Needless to say he did not make it home that day.

  11. I was in the parking lot in front of the Best Buy at the Southland Mall and was complaining to myself as to how closely parked the cars were.

    Doesn’t seem so bad now that I look at how little space there was/is between the cars in these photos.

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