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Chopped 1936 Ford Cabriolet: Rush Hour Scene at Hays Cross Roads

Today’s lead image is dated by the source to September of 1951 and contains a view of the “Hays Cross Roads” near Pittsburgh, PA. Perhaps the most interesting automobile in this scene is the 1936 Ford roadster on the far-right hand side of the lead photo and visible in the enlargeable photo (below). From outward appearances, the roadster has had a “hot rod” rake job, and the middle and rear top bows have been lowered by laying them down, and the windshield posts may have been chopped? The rear window in the replacement top is also smaller than the original.

Hays is a neighborhood of Pittsburg located southeast and across the Ohio River from the City. Between the years of 1942 to 1970 the Hays Army Ammunition Plant was active and produced large diameter gun shells. It appears that the Plant building may have survived and if so, it is located south of the intersection of PA Routes 837 and 885 which apparently is the intersection of the “Hays Cross Roads”. If this is the correct location the bridge crossing RT 837 in the second photo (below) is for PA 885. Railroad tracks are also visible in the background which match up with the present day satellite view of the area.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph by William J. Gaughan courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library.

44 responses to “Chopped 1936 Ford Cabriolet: Rush Hour Scene at Hays Cross Roads

  1. The close up ’41 Chevy looks like it just came out of the detail shop. Clean and shiny. Most of the other cars look like typical daily drivers of the period. Kudos to the owner of that ten-year old car!

  2. Leading the parade this way in Photo 1 is a ’50 Olds 88 Club coupe…a later model with the one-piece windshield, followed by a ’49 Mercury. In the background a ’46-’48 Chrysler Club Coupe
    In Photo 2 a ’49 Chevy Styleline De Luxe Sport Coupe followed by a ’39 Ford De Luxe Tudor Sedan and a ’51 Ford Custom V8, probably a Tudor Sedan.
    A ’50 Buick Super 4-door Tourback Sedan is turning. Way back under the bridge appears to be a ‘’49 or ’50 Nash in white.

  3. The Ford looks like a 1935 Rroadster. Has wire wheels, while the 1936 Ford uses rims. The top also looks like regular height, not chopped. Great photo.

  4. It looks as if the Ford has regular rims, and is a 1936, not a 35 as I had written. The cars top is still stuck height. Very lean 1941 Chevy to the left. Nice 1950 Olds coupe too. Thanks. John

  5. That 1950 Olds 88 coupe in the foreground is highly prized today. Oldsmobile put the lightweight Chevrolet body on the Olds chassis, with the new 303 CI Rocket V/8 engine. Many today consider this Americas first muscle car. Also note the one piece windshield, new for 1950.

  6. The Ford is neat all right. But, that Olds coupe passing by on the near side is a real beauty too. Plenty of others in here, but those would make a nice garage setting to me.

  7. The hot rod’s left front fender appears to have had a spare tire well filled in but not yet painted. The engine hood is unlatched, too. What’s the sedan delivery in front of the hot rod–Chevy?

    • The sedan delivery has a single teardrop-shape combination brake and tail light in the center of the tailgate marking it as a Chevrolet, ’41-’48. Can’t tell the exact year from this perspective, would have to see the front end.

  8. The Ford roadster also wears 1936 hubcaps. I can’t think of a 1930s Ford V8 with side mounts, except for the 1932, of which I had one. Great cross-section of today’s collectables all at the same intersection. Great picture. Thanks.

    • Side mounts on Fords ended with the ’34, model. I had one on the passenger side of my ’33 Victoria. They were not very common for those two years.

        • We have Atlas sealed beam headlights in our 1948 Chevy. My husband put them in about 1979. They look good. They have an embossed picture in the center of the glass of a globe with an A in the center of it. I would like to know what the is sticking out of the roof near the first chimney on the long building. Looks like about a 8 or 10 foot 2×4?

    • John; the billboard shows an Esso logo, so that has to be Atlas battery. Atlas was the house brand for TBA for Esso.
      I count only 2 single piece windshields in the picture . Everything else is 2-piece windshields. The times were a-changing.

    • John, I blew up that section of the enlarged photo. All I can make sense of is the ESSO logo, if that helps (i.e Do you know what brands of batteries ESSO sold?)

    • Curiously the Ford V8 roadster has the 1935 pattern bonnet sides which were not interchangeable with the 1936 items because of the change of grille. I wonder if this car is a 1935 model which has later been fitted with a set of 1936 wheels and hub caps? And would that have meant changing the hubs as well?

  9. FIRST PICTURE: What a horrible place to have to live just to have a job. Living in half a company house with two over two rooms. All I see is bare dirt or ash everywhere and one lousy tuft of grass. You would have to leave town and go up into the mountains to find any relief from what must have been a soul-sapping life.

  10. David and Pat W. Thank you for the correction on the wheels and top. I went over photos of roadsters, and you are right a out the top bows. It is chopped. The front of the Ford looked like a 35 grill, but the more I looked the more I realized it was a 36. Thanks . John

  11. By the disused look of the railroad tracks in the foreground, wonder if they might have been left from a trolley line that shut down? Noting no overhead wires, suppose it was just an industrial spur, one of hundreds lacing the area. Surprisingly, there is no railroad company logo or name on the viaduct at the background as was usually their practice.

  12. I know that area very well. As a kid, we used to go through Hays on our way to and from Pittsburgh from my home in McKeesport, PA. It’s actually a weird finger of the CIty of Pittsburgh that juts into the southeastern suburbs.

    The bomb plant is indeed there. It was operated for the Navy by Mesta Machine, the vast steel making machinery company that runs along the Monongahela to the right of this image. I believe the also cast gun mounts for 16in naval guns there during WWII, and possibly barrels as well – a big part of their business was (and still is) machining rolling mill rolls to very high tolerances, so that would make sense. My hometown also had an army, later air force bomb casing plant operated by US Steel at their National Tube Christy Park plant. They developed a way to spin seamless tubes into bomb casings, and later transferred the same technology to making gas cylinders.

    The bridge in the background actually carries the Pennsylvania RR Monongahela branch; the current highway interchange wasn’t built until the early 60s when the Glenwood Bridge was replaced, the old bridge, which carried the Route 55 and 56 streetcars was a bit to the right; the streetcar private right of way is out of sight, and ran alongside the bomb plant. The track is the foreground is a switching spur off the B&O railroad Wheeling branch, which crossed the Mon a bit further upstream, and passed behind the ordinance plant.

    The industrial building you can barely make out in the background housed the open hearth furnaces of the main Mesta complex. This western half of the plant was demolished in the 80s and replaced by the Sandcastle water park.

    • Thanks for the extremely well remembered detail…What a grubby – but necessary – place in its day. I was born in Mt. Lebanon, not too far away in the larger Pitt area.

  13. Those rail tracks in the front of the picture appear to be no longer in operation. Too bad. Because if a streetcar line ran on those rails it could definitely have made the automobile traffic on the road quite a bit less congested.

    • As I mentioned in my note, there was a streetcar line there, out of sight to the right. It connected Pittsburgh and McKeesport and featured extensive private right of way, starting here. Unfortunately, when the bridge it crossed was replaced in 1963, the new bridge had no tracks, part of a push to get the 666 PCC streetcars off the streets.

  14. The Ford is a 35. That is a 35 hood which only fits a 35 radiator shell and fenders. Four trim strips versus the three that the 36 has. I had one for 25 years, sold it to make room for a Minerva. Kinda sorry I did that. Not sorry about the Minerva however.

  15. If we had a sign post remover, we could see the front of door and windshield post, then you could see it is a Cabriolet not a roadster. It does have the correct 36 wheels and hubcaps.
    The cabriolet has a solid windshield frame, not chrome posts with wind wings and a windshield that swivels out from the top like a roadster or phaeton.
    Cabriolet and convertible sedans, have and additional indentation above the belt line, that follows the hinge line in the hood, all around the body, roadsters and phaetons do not have that dent line.
    If it were a roadster you should be able to see the three holes in door for side curtain clips.

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