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Automobile Warehouses Inc. Services New Plymouth, Nash, Studebaker, and Kaiser Cars in NYC

Automobile Warehouses Inc. was located in the Marble Hill section of the Bronx borough of New York City on the borderline with Manhatten. The Company’s business was final preparation of automobiles before delivery to new car dealers and individuals in the greater NYC region. The operation is reported to have handled up to four-thousand automobiles a month.

Located at Kingsbridge Avenue and West 230th Street in a six-story brick warehouse building that has survived, the parking lot is filled with circa 1946 to ’48 Plymouth, Nash, Studebaker, and Kaiser-Frazier vehicles. With the exception of Dodge, the Company apparently provided final prep and distribution services to post-war independent automakers.

Share with us what you find of interest in this image, or any other information known about Automobile Warehouses Inc. The photograph by Joseph F. Callo, Inc. is courtesy of the Bronx  Chamber of Commerce.

21 responses to “Automobile Warehouses Inc. Services New Plymouth, Nash, Studebaker, and Kaiser Cars in NYC

  1. The cars that at first glance look like Plymouths are actually Dodges, identifiable by the rectangular shape of the center brake lights. There are also a few DeSotos seen a little to the left of the Freight Station sign, distinguishable by their vertically-elongated tail lights.

  2. I guess what I find interesting is the fact that dealers themselves didn’t ‘prep’ these cars. I’m curious why an outside business would handle that. Mind you it wasn’t in the late 40s, but I did new-car prep for 6-8 years in various dealerships. Perhaps back then since service depts. may have been smaller, it was easier to farm it out?

    • Will,

      Could it be that these cars were rationed because the manufacturers were making war goods, and preping them at the warehouse was an easy way to control distribution to dealers? If so, this would be fraught with opportunities for corruption.

      Black market auto sales were well known during WW II.

      • I hadn’t thought about that aspect, Richard. You’re probably right! I forgot how shady dealers could be in those years, since it was a seller’s market. I can imagine the ‘money under the table’ opportunities in those years!

        • I understand my parents were guilty of buying a “new” Buick on the black market during the war. I don’t know the circumstances as I wasn’t around (yet), but I remember the tale being told to me on my mother’s knee.

  3. Note the Plymouths all have a 3d, center mounted brake light in the center of the trunk lid. All post war Chrysler products had them — then designed them out about 1950 to get like Ford and GM. At the time there was some talk about the significance of that light. So Bell Labs conducted a very large scale test using their service vehicle fleet which demonstrated conclusively that a center-mounted brake light reduces rear-end collisions. Detroit then fought adding them back to cars until required by law on all 1986 cars.

  4. I wonder why the Kaisers (Fraziers?) parked in the elevated area at the right of the image are wearing blacked out “bright work”? Were they perhaps destined for military or government use? Export?

    • There were post war material shortages that affected the auto industry. I believe the independents and newcomers like Kaiser were impacted to a greater degree than the big three. So, a chromium shortage for Kaiser may have led to the bumpers and some trim being painted.

  5. And also conveniently close to the Tri-Burro Bridge connecting Manhattan, Da’ Bronx & Quoins (Queens if you’re not from N.Y.)

  6. In the bottom pic, I see an “A&P” food store trailer up agin the dock, and the truck tractor by the building, looks like a shiny new post war White. The Frazers don’t have chrome yet.

  7. The Studebakers are 1947 models at the earliest and the first Kaiser/Frazers were 1947 models, I believe. So this photo dates well after the war. Kaiser and Frazer autos were not produced prior to WWII so there would not have been any leftover black-out parts. I don’t know why the Kaisers have black-out trim. Possibly they were intended for the military as Henri suggested.

    The 1941 Chevrolet in the foreground looks quite haggard for a 6-yrear old car. Is the bumper already rusty or was it painted black during the war? The headlight rims also look to be black. Did people paint the trim on earlier cars black during the war?

    And no whitewalls to be seen at all.

    • The `47 Studebakers were launched in June of `46; well ahead of the traditional new-car announcement dates.
      (“First by far with a post-war car!”)

  8. Back in the mid 1980’s I lived across the street from this building. I used to hear stories from older neighbors about the storage of new cars in the warehouse right after the war. There was a Dodge/ Plymouth dealer in the area, now Riverdale Chrysler,. Closer to the Manhattan boarder was a Kaiser/ Frazer dealer, along with a small Ford dealer on Broadway. Great photos. Thanks. John

  9. In the first photo in the foreground facing to the left is a 46 or 47 Nash Ambassador Brougham 2 door sedan model 63. I also see quite a few other Nashes, both 600 & Ambassador, and in particular in photo 2 facing the building just below the signage is a row displaying most of the body styles offered those years. On my ’47 Ambassador the somewhat dim single center stop light made me nervous but that was remedied when I added turn signals since the taillights were then converted to function as brake/turn lights like both earlier and later models. So now we have 3 brake lights coming on! Who knows maybe today’s distracted drivers will notice me better that way!

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