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Parking Lot Series: Philadelphia Facility Early 1950s

Today’s parking lot view is of a small-sized lot located in an unknown location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although this commercial space it is not filled with hundreds of cars, its smaller size is made up by the clarity of the image.

The lead image and the expandable view of it below show the interior back corner of the lot. The second photo contains the section of it out near the street and includes the small office building at the entrance. In the third picture are the remaining half a dozen parked cars in the space.

The scene only contains a couple of pre-war vehicles, and the balance is made up of late-1940s and early-1950s automobiles. Tell us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of PhillyHistory.

28 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Philadelphia Facility Early 1950s

  1. In the lead photograph, parked on the left, is a two-door 1949 BUICK Super Sedanet; against the wall on the right is a 1950 BUICK Sedanet; parked on the right, behind the two-tone 1951 PACKARD 200 Deluxe Club Sedan, is a four-door 1951 BUICK Super.

  2. The only Packard, it seems, smack dab in the middle, has to be a ’51. The last year for the upsept wings on the cormorant hood ornament.

  3. In the lead photograph, in the upper corner of the lot, is a light colored, four-door, 1948 STUDEBAKER and on the far right is a dark two-door 1950 STUDEBAKER [non-Starlight].

  4. I’d say we’re looking at late ’52 or early ’53. The newest car I notice is what looks like a ’53 New Yorker at the upper right of the bottom picture. There are a couple of ’52 models, including a Chevy and a Ford (and probably a couple of others).

    My favorites are the Chevy Fleetline in the bottom picture and the ’49 Buick Super fastback, Dynaflow-equipped, in the top picture. I can never decide if the ’49 or my ’53 Special Riviera is my favorite old Buick.

  5. The car closest to the shack is from Camden County, New Jersey (stacked CT on the left side of the plate). It’s no help for pinning down the year, though, because New Jersey used very similar plates from 1951 through 1958, and the county codes were the same from 1939 through 1958.

  6. I used to marvel at my Dad’s ability to look at anything 1920-1950 and identify it correctly. Now I can do it for all from 1950-2000 and my Son thinks it’s alchemy. It is hard to believe that we have 2.5 humans for each one in 1950. This would have been a big lot in those days. They would have looked at the humongous airport sized we have now and wondered how could we fill them? The more things change…….

  7. It appears that this is a period of similar styling and is mostly plain sedans. Today we complain of the “bar of soap” styling of many of the new cars. It wasn’t much different in this era. The cars are interesting only because they are older. Very few “special” models and certainly no foreign cars are represented. That said, all the cars are shiny clean and appear well taken care of.

    • Until I recognized the New Jersey plates, I was wondering if it was a used car lot because of how shiny everything was.

  8. Yay ! I’ve spotted a Hudson at last !
    A ’42 – ’47 sedan by the shack in the second of the smaller pictures.

  9. The Packard dealer did well selling options on that ’51 200 Deluxe club sedan seen in the first picture: Cormorant hood ornament, Ultramatic, two-tone paint, gas door guard, whitewall tires, radio, perhaps trim rings too.
    The ’51 Nash Statesman two door sedan parked adjacent to the Packard had to have the longest quarter window of any contemporary car then.

    The ’41 Ford ‘tudor in the upper first image’, a ’39 Desoto behind the ’52 Mercury hardtop and possibly the Hudson parked next to the attendants shack if its a ’42 are the pre-war cars visible.

    • “The ’51 Nash Statesman two door sedan parked adjacent to the Packard had to have the longest quarter window of any contemporary car then.”

      I checked my glass parts catalog. About 45″ long! (Hudson had one about 37″)

  10. I have never seen so many photos of parking lots like I have on this site.
    I guess taking pictures of parking lots must have once been a popular pastime in this country.

    • At this early date I’m not so sure, John. The first imports I remember seeing were Dauphines and VWs in the very late ’50s.

  11. Over the years ive loved the PARKING LOT SERIES. My fun is to count the rag tops , if there r any. BUT something hit me this morn –
    And why save them ?

  12. Chris and Barry above raise a good question. Much as we enjoy perusing them, why oh why did people photograph parking lots, of all things?
    The ’51 Packard would be a terrific road car if it had stick and overdrive instead of Ultramatic. Those “contour” styled ’51-54 Packards might’ve been me-too product from a fading company more interested in their less hassle, more lucrative jet engine contracts, but no car of the early ’50s had better ergonomics. Hudson Hornets had good build quality and were nearly impossible to flip, but downright claustrophobic behind the wheel.

  13. Of course. Makes perfect sense. Thanks. Older and wiser now. I suppose many of us revert to autoholicism first, before logic and “civilian” overview take over. And thanks again, Monsignor Greenlees, for this wonderful, unique, oft illuminating site, a treasure trove of automobilia. Many of us share it with non-gearheads, who also thoroughly enjoy it.

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