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In the Garage: Damaged Model “A” Ford Sport Coupe

Today’s feature image taken in 1933 contains a 1930 Model “A” Sport Coupe in the Granada Garage, located at 452 South Western Avenue in Wilshire Center just west of Los Angeles. Photos like this were, and still are today taken by insurance companies to document the damage sustained in an accident.

It appears the Garage was a full-service facility with specialties that included engine rebuilding and body and paintwork. Portable electric welding jobs were done with the Shop’s 1928-’29 Model “A” Ford pickup truck visible in the expandable photos below. The welder was powered by a generator visible behind the front bumper, which was driven off of the crankshaft by a power take off unit that could be engaged and disengaged by a hand lever behind it.

Tell us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the USC Libraries.


22 responses to “In the Garage: Damaged Model “A” Ford Sport Coupe

  1. The external metal s-bar support for the top is interesting, since it’s very similar to what was used on horse-drawn carriages.

    Also, I see a Wilshire Gasoline badge on the I-beam above and behind the car, next to the word Work. They’ve been mentioned here before.

    • Also, the only non-California tag I see looks like an Oklahoma tag on the car with white wheels under the Free Grease Job sign.

    • On the sport coupes, the s-bars were decorative and non-functional. The top was made to look like a convertible but it did not fold down.

    • Those were called Landau Irons or bars. From Google: Landau bars are a strange old coachbuilders’ affectation that came around in the early part of the century as a way to make cars appear to be convertibles when they weren’t. See, the original source for the “long-S” looking bit of frippery was actual hinged bars used on convertible tops in horse-drawn carriages.

      • Thank you for that. I’ve seen them quite a bit on horse-drawn buggies and coaches and knew they were an external hinge for a retractable cover, but wasn’t familiar with the “landau iron” term for them. They were considered “classy” enough that Sayers and Scovill started using them on hearses in the late 30s, and now it’s a tradition for hearses to have landau irons.

  2. The bottom photo provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of the Ford and Whippet roadsters against the back wall. Until Willys-Overland debuted the Whippet for 1927, Ford had been the smallest car on the American market. It was developed to fit a niche that the automotive press called the “Pony Four” class — smaller than a Ford with an emphasis on acceleration and braking. The 32-HP Cavalier was the first car produced to fit the Pony Four niche, but it failed to get beyond the prototype stage. Whippet was the second Pony Four, and Willys sold more than 110,000 the first year.

      • In 1925, Fabio Sergardi and the research department at General Motors developed experimental, 750-pound cars that they claimed were lighter and less expensive than the average small European car, including the Austin Seven. Examples included the 13-horsepower, four-cylinder Mosquito. However, GM dropped the Mosquito project when it launched an unsuccessful attempt to absorb Austin Motors of England. Afterwards, the American automotive press began to speculate that other manufacturers would also attempt to build cars to fill that niche. The car would be larger than a cyclecar (e.g. Spacke or Vixen) but smaller than a light car (e.g. Ford). There was no category for a car in that niche, so the term “Pony Four” was bandied about; the word “Four” referred to the number of cylinders. Like the Austin Seven, the Pony Four would be designed to perform errand duties, run to the golf club and serve as the extra car to save the larger, finer automobiles for social service and longer trips. But it would be built large enough to appeal to American tastes. The Cavalier was the first attempt to fill the niche, and its wheelbase was only 2 inches less than the Ford. But it was to be delivered to dealers unassembled, and too few dealers were willing to take on that much labor. Willys-Overland’s Pony Four entry was the successful Whippet, which equaled the Ford’s wheelbase but was lower and lighter. When Ford discontinued the Model T in 1927, Austin recognized an opportunity to introduce its Seven to the States, and the American Austin Car Company was established in 1929. After Austin introduced the adjective “bantam” to describe its size (“the bantam Austin”), the press quickly dropped the Pony Four phrase and began using the term “bantam” to describe the category of car. Bantam cars that were introduced during the 1930s included American Austin, American Bantam, Crosley, Littlemac, Martin and Victory. After World War II, the term “bantam” began to fade as more journalists chose the word “midget”. Today’s writers are more likely to use the term “subcompact”.

  3. The car at the left in the first photo is a Graham-Paige circa 1930. The 3 window coupe with the covered trunk is a Chevrolet. The Model A pickup truck is a 1930. The Jan-June Ford trucks look like the 1929s. This has 1930 headlights which were gradually fitted to trucks as the old ones were used up from stock. The gas cap looks like a 1/4 twist which was a running change on trucks in early 1930.

      • The carry over A models were the station wagon, open and closed pickups, panel truck and sedan delivery , taxi and town car, the last in low numbers if at all. I’m not sure on the wheels, but I suspect Ford used up the 21 inch wheels on early 1930’s . In the serial Burn-em up Barnes (on You tube) circa 1931 are several Model A taxis of the 1929 style all with 19 inch wheels. Sorry I don’t have a definitive answer. Ed

  4. Straighten frame $10
    New door $25
    New fender rear $15
    New running board $15
    New fender front $15
    New apron $10
    Labor $37.50

    I am only guessing but the same damage on a new Tesla would cost about $40,000.

  5. I live Los Angeles and that area now is known as Korea Town. I put the address in Google maps and from what I can tell the building does have period correct architecture it seams reasonable the building is still there!! Though the building doesn’t have an ounce of automobile stuff going on today it does have old the brick exterior and the old exterior fire escape! Pretty cool…

    • My father bought an early 1928 Business Mans Coupe new. It had no porthole window. He flipped it over a ditch and it did not do as much damage as this Sports Coupe got. I don’t think he ever had it repaired before traiding it in for a new 31 Chevy coupe

  6. The painted advertisement for “Sheldrake Apartments” on the beam inside the garage is curious. Does that door lead to the apartments? Or does the garage rent them out?

  7. I am glad the address is provided as I have been looking for a place to get a First Class Grease Job. In rear view pic the mobile welding truck has a bracket on the right side to carry what appears to be an I beam of some sort altho what the use would be is unclear. The right front fender of the truck does not seem to have benefitted from the shop’s Expert Body Work which is not a very good advertisement.

  8. I see that the “tilt- transoms” are open — for: Shop “air -conditioning”! The “A” “Sport Coupe has fake “landau-Irons”, and is More : “Coupe-like —” in disguise”, meant to: “look like” the “A” Cabriolet, —for less money. The Sport coupe uses single piece doors with roll-up windows, and you will note that: The spare tire is rear mounted, only . The Cabriolet, on the other hand — is an open car with chrome window surrounds and articulated Pillars that fold down with the Fold- down top, and its Laundau Irons are functional and do articulate with the top! The top also has a chrome surround glass rear window , a rumble seat with steps, typically 2wheel well spare mounts on the front fenders , and rear spare, 7 tires on board ! ON the even less expensive “A” Roadster: No glass windows, minimum protection top, fold- down front window , rear spare only, rumble seat optional. ( The Sport Coupe probably side-swiped parked cars!) Edwin W.

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