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Early-1950s Cadillac Fundraiser or Giveaway Contest

Today’s feature image contains an early-1950s Cadillac sedan in some type of a giveaway or fundraising contest displayed upon a wooden platform. The location and the details surrounding the event are unknown.

It appears the Cadillac is damaged or maybe a late model used car because in the area where the grille curves around to meet the right-front tire, the grille bars appear to either be deformed or the gap at the top is not uniform.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph or can add to the article. The picture is via contributor Benjamin Ames.


21 responses to “Early-1950s Cadillac Fundraiser or Giveaway Contest

  1. Thanks for the interesting picture of the 1954 Cadillac. Just over its hood is a ’46 Cadillac and over its fin is a (’52?) Packard parked next to what may be a ’54 Buick. Not sure if the curved chrome strips are damaged or just camera perspective. For example the platform appears to be level but is elevated in the rear as indicated by the much taller legs. Also note the carpenter’s cigarette pack and butts lying under the platform. Keep ’em coming.

  2. The 1954 Cadillac 62 series giveaway car is the newest vehicle in the photo, so it was a really attractive prize for whomever won it.

  3. What’s going on with the weird jagged sort of dark outline going around the edge of bumper and headlight at the right side of the car? It stops but then continues from the hood ornamment back up the windshield and over the top. It almost as if the Cadillac has been pasted in, but there’s no other evidence elsewhere around the car. Those portions are simply too good looking to be faked except perhaps at the back of the car where the Caddy seems almost too crisp and sharp compared to the nearby background.

  4. A second look makes me think someone has added an India ink outline on the print to help separate the Cadillac from the background . Note that in places some of the background items (hubcap, grille and light pole) show thru the ink. When produced at a smaller size in a newspaper ad this likely wouldn’t have been particularly noticeable as the very low resolution of n/p halftones of the era hid a multitude of sins.

    Would this platform have been allowed to remain in the city street or was this just set up for the shot to position the Cadillac and the station in one shot and then dismantled of moved onto the station property?

    I realize tire sidewalls were heavily cantilevered at the time but the fact you can’t even see even a bit of the tread of the rear edge of the rear tire sure looks odd.

    • Jay I think there is a street or alley behind the ’54, as evidenced by the raised curb on this side of the sidewalk behind the car. To me, it looks like the ’54 is setting on a sloping paved lot that is bordered by curbing, and across the street from the other lot. It looks like the power lines and poles are on the other side of the street. More noticeable if you look to the left side of the photo where the house is and the cars are angle parked nose in.

      • I think you are correct as the dark Cadillac appears to have a driver behind the wheel as does the car to its right. So they are just traffic passing in the street and the gas station really has nothing to do with the giveaway.

  5. David, I may have to disagree on the Cadillac being damaged. It’s in excellent condition, considering how quickly cars deteriorated in that time. But, I’m thinking about my own 76 Volare Premier where the front bumper is slightly lopsided, and was from new. I’m thinking of what was tolerated in terms of body panel fit and finish in those days. My dad was a small-town Ford dealer, and I spent 1978-1996 as a sales rep in a Chrysler-Plymouth store. My bet is the Cadillac is brand-new.

    • You maybe be correct, but a ’76 Volare is one thing and quality standards like that were common on lower-priced cars at the time.

      My line of thinking is that inspectors at Caddilac, which was referred to as ” The Standard of the World” would never let a car out the factory door looking like that in the early-1950s.

  6. By the way, David, don’t know if the picture at the very top of the page remains the same on this page, but that art deco-styled light blue car I’m seeing at the top of the page is gorgeous. Any more information on it?

  7. The car does look new, and the lower edge of the chrome molding, that wraps from the grill around through the front door, looks to either have been inked at its lower edge, or perhaps is reflecting a shadow, giving the trim below it an odd angle. You can see that perhaps the edge of the trim that heads up to the hood trim is lower than the horizontal edge we can’t see. A Cadillac would not be let out the door, as mentioned, with poor fit.
    Funny, a 76 Volare was mentioned- we had one brand new, and it was a source of continual problems. My father traded it on a used Coupe deVille and was happy to be rid of it. The Caddy lasted a decade before being traded on a new Fleetwood.

  8. We can not see all of the sign. We can see the Free part of it but there is something else after free. It could just be an exclamation point or a question mark. Perhaps there is some sort of figure or symbol there. I wouldn’t be too certain the car is free.

  9. Googling 1954 Cadillac images returns numerous photos that “reflect” the same sort of front corner trim distortion. Apparently the shadows from the underside of the wrap around body side molding pick up the black corner trim area giving the appearance of distortion.

  10. The fellow in the well-kept ’47 Cadillac Series 61 six-window fastback sedan on the street is about to turn into the lot, dashing in to enter the drawing for a sweet new ’54 Series 62 sedan. Given how popular and desirable a new Cadillac was regarded then, the fund-raiser must have been a major success.

  11. I worked at Cadillac Rush St. main branch. All of the 1954’s looked the same at these two lower corners. These were damage prone locations. Thanks for all these good photos.

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