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Malfunction Junction in Front of the Mastin-Parris Motor Co.

Today’s expandable feature image shot on November 1, 1940, in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of several taken in the City at the time to document dysfunctional intersections.

At the corner where West 7th and Henderson Streets meet in Fort Worth is the Mastin-Parris Motor Company, a dealership and distributor of De Sota and Plymouth automobiles. In front of the free-standing Company sign complete with a clock is one of the new 1941 De Sotos equipped with “Fluid Drive” on display. The building has not survived and at corner today is a park like vacant lot.

This new semi-automatic drive system using a fluid coupling instead of a flywheel was first introduced with the 1940 Chrysler. Behind the coupling was a conventional manual three-speed transmission. A partial video produced for the Chrysler Corp. at the bottom of the post demonstrates how the system operates in a 1941 Plymouth.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph courtesy of the University of Texas at Arlington.

23 responses to “Malfunction Junction in Front of the Mastin-Parris Motor Co.

  1. Nice-looking ’40 Lincoln-Zephyr club coupe passing by. Note on top of the Desoto-Plymouth neon sign on the building there is an “Airflow” addition.

    • The car just to the right of the Lincoln (who’s drver is in suit and tie) is a 1940 Ford Fordor Sedan (Standard). Intersection needs at least a traffic signal or traffic cop! But…..drivers were a little more courteous out of necessity back then.

  2. Ah, the days before the left-turn signal made our lives so much easier. I recall Omaha’s main drag–Dodge street at 90th when it was only 4 lanes. You took your life into your own hands making a left! This intersection’s confusion looks VERY familiar!

  3. Thomas Mastin Jr was the first De Soto dealer in Texas, starting in 1928 (and forming Mastin-Parris in 1932). His father had been President of the First National Bank in Grandview (TX), and his maternal grandfather was former governor and US Senator William Bate of Tennessee. The dealership closed in 1962 and the building was demolished in February 2007. Prior to Mastin taking occupancy in 1929, the building was run by Smith-Swinney, selling Essex and Hudson automobiles.

  4. In the dealer’s lot, a little beyond the “Mastin-Parris Motor Company” sign, and under the “n” in Mastin, looks like a 1938 or ’39 GRAHAM shark-nose.

      • Robbie,

        Thanks, you’re correct, the car certainly looks like a 1939 PLYMOUTH. Must have been wishful thinking on my part, that the car was a “shark-nose” GRAHAM.


  5. The panel truck is a 1934 model BB Ford on the 131 1/2 inch chassis. The large rear hubs are March 1934 and newer when Ford introduced the full floating rear end. Underneath the Ford emblem on the hood side would be a V8 or a 4. Can’t see. The V8 also would be on the grille. Not a common truck these days .

  6. Nice try, but there’s only one “malfunction junction”, and that be “The Loop” in downtown Chicago. Where’s all the trucks?

  7. At the intersection, next to the Ford panel van is a 1939 Cadillac. In the yard for sale, under the word COMPANY on the sign, is a Chrysler Airflow (1936?) and beside it a 1938 Buick coupe.

    The vintage coupe in the street is a 1930 Chevrolet.

    Question – what is the big coupe facing away from us in the street, next to the 1940 Ford with the accessory bar on the bumper?

  8. The coupe in the middle of the intersection is a 1937 Lafayette, I restored one
    25 years ago and it is now sitting in my sons pole barn, a very reliable car, and
    I still think it has one of the best rear ends ever made

  9. The car in the video is a 1941 Dodge. An image search will corroborate this. It says “Dodge” on the steering wheel, and Plymouth never got Fluid Drive.

    • It also has a very under-inflated right rear tire. I guess, pulling away from a stop in 3rd gear, it was hard for the driver to tell from the car’s performance that the tires were flat!

  10. The1937 Ford Business Coupe appears to have: Had its cable operated mechanical brakes adjusted properly, and maybe also had “floating anchors” added, a popular “better stopping” accessory. These brakes were on Ford cars for 2 years : (’37 & ’38) Looks like: High Pucker Factor for the Lincoln driver, who is giving the ’37 a “wide berth “! The 1934 Ford Panel Delivery appears to not have a V-8 emblem — but the accessory Bumper overinder is “stove–in” so the emblem might be missing, because I see the V-8 hood panel emblem on the L.H.S. . also, this truck is sporting new accessory 6 Volt Sealed Beams which the Fairmont , W.V. , -Westing- house Company began making , in 1940. Also note the stuff on the front of the roof the soft top, and a Cowl vent open , (hot day), and it appears that the Car agency has a freight elevator & a 2nd Story Repair Garage with vent fans and open windows . There is also a water-flow operated Fire alarm on the front wall, (combined with a: Fire – emergency sprinkler system)

  11. Re: ’37 Ford “Biz – Coupe in the fore-ground : I was given a ’37 Ford Coupe by My Uncle Jimmy: I received a call from “Unk”. Edwin, do you want my old Ford” ? It’s been in the garage since 1946 and I’m giving you the option: Take it away , it ain’t runnin’ and either you take it, or the junkyard will!!! At my age 16 , My older brother had just destroyed my ’34 Chevy, and I jumped at the Coupe ! I needed his help , so he and his friend took me to the car in his friend’s ’48 Ford Coupe, to get the ’37. and there it was, on flat tires ! On the way over, they began making Jokes about ’37’s . (I told them thank-you , & to go back home!) it was not a ’32 or a ’40 or a ’48 Ford, The popular “IN” cars at our school so, to them ,it was a “nothing ” car! I countered with: ’37 & ’38 Ford Coupes held most of the Stock-Car racing records, – for over 10 years, (Pre- and Post : WW-2 !) They laughed & left! They only cared about what was popular, at school! I cared about its heritage, with Unk Jimmy and Racing , and made it (Only 8,000 Miles on a fresh engine!) my “fast hot-rod car” and painted it with a vacuum cleaner powered spray gun! The Coupe didn’t disappoint ! I took tools, tire pump, spare tubes, gas, & (rebuilt by me, ( from the junkyard): carb, fuel pump , Pump Push-rod, distributor & “refurbished” 6 Volt group 2 battery; in less than 2 hours I Pumped up its 4 tires & its spare & had the ’37 running! & I drove it the ten miles home, without any: “F.OR.D”! troubles , at all! I wondered just what happened to my brother’s friend’s car, a ’48 Ford Coupe: I later found out that all of the parts that I took with me , to “be prepared” were exactly the same kind of parts that all failed on the ’48 , no spare, and a lot of walkling , all day long, as one thing after another crapped out and not all at once ! “Karma”? Yesiree-Bob! (Brother Bob) . Inch by inch , they finally arrived home, after dinner-time ! A Nice day, after the story “came out” and Dad couldn’t stop laughing! Me ? I remained very, very quiet ! The car served me well, as I had recently discovered Girls!

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