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Parking Lot Series: Pre-War Cars Fill Downtown Boston Facility

Today’s feature image taken in the early post-war days of a downtown Boston, Massachusetts commercial parking lot contains for the most part pre-war automobiles and a small number of new post-war cars. The oldest vehicle in this view appears to be a 1928 or ’29 Model “A” Ford and while there are a handful of 1936 and older cars visible, the great majority of the automobiles in this scene date from the 1937 to ’42 period.

The small Mobil Oil Company filling station made it convenient for patrons of the facility to purchase gasoline and have their vehicle’s lubrication services attended to while it was left in the lot.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph courtesy of the Digital Commonwealth archives.

20 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Pre-War Cars Fill Downtown Boston Facility

  1. Would you say “pointy hoods” were a major styling feature? The truck on the street looks like a short lived ’34-’37 C30 series. The truck in front of it, with door stripe could be a Diamond T. Other than that, not one pickup. They, unlike today, were back home in the shed where they belonged.

  2. Nice mix of cars. A pre-war Packard and a coupla’ Caddy’s, too. I’d be willing to bet that all of their keys were left in ’em. Ah, the good ol’ days.

  3. In Item 1 of 4, below the Mobil shed could be a ’38 Packard Eight with its single side mount and adjacent to a ’41 Buick convertible, possibly a Special. Two cars to the left of it, a ’42 Plymouth with its distinctive raised bumpers. Three widely-spaced cars behind the Buick appears to be a ’42 Hudson convertible. Of interest in the lower right, a ’41 Willys Americar sedan with a ’42 Buick to the left.

    In Item 3 of 4, along the left side, just below the 3 men and a woman, the distinctive one-year-only look of a ’41 Ford. Two behind it a ’42 Mercury and possibly a ’36 Lincoln KA V-12.

    In Item 4 of 4, lower left a ’41 Ford Woodie with a ’41 Olds Dynamic Cruiser 76 or 78 sedan to the right…and another ’41 Olds in the upper right.
    Toward the upper left a ’40 Ford Woodie with a ’41 Dodge sedan behind it and above and to the left, a ’41 Cadillac Coupe, likely a Series 61

  4. Really great pictures !!

    Count at least 6 1942 OLDSMOBILE cars; in the lead photograph, on the far right, one blocking in another, with a third just beyond these two; in the 3rd photograph [2nd expandable picture], starting from the lower left corner & 5 cars back, are three blocked !!

  5. SUPER rare 1938 DeSoto convertible sedan between the ’40 Ford and the ’42 Olds in the top two photos is one of only 88 built that year.

  6. The 1938 Cadillac convertible sedan in the third photo, lower left would likely be the most valuable of the cars today.

    I marvel at the resolution and clarity of these old photos. Keep them coming.

    • These were probably shot by pros using a 4×5-inch Speed Graphic, the standard press camera of the era, probably with a Kodak Ektar lens. Cameras have become more sophisticated and easier to use–but the results are not always better, or even as good!

  7. TOP PIC: I’d sure like to have that Packard (second up, second from left) at the bottom left corner of the picture

  8. The 4-door Cadillac convertible, the Lincoln sedan with twin side-mounts and leather-covered roof and the woody wagons would vie for value now, but what about what looks like an early ’30s cabriolet (with side-mounts), chrome bullet headlamps, chromed hood vents, and a rather “racy” mascot? Fifth car from the building in the same photo.

    Mine eyes are old and hazy and lazy, but what do YOU see?

  9. Two days at TOM? In a row? Who knows? Time flies when having fun!

    If anyone cares, what is the car in the Cadillac row in the #3-of-4 photo?

    A ’33 Lincoln convertible roadster (like Bonhams sold at Quail in 2010)?

    Look at Lot 664 (don’t look at length added by the trunk!) and compare.

    ’32 Auburn 8-100A, ’33 Auburn 8-105 (not a ’34 1250 Salon) cabriolet?

    Look at all (and the Jobst car RM sold for $440k in 2013!) and compare.

    Look at one housed in the ACD Museum in Auburn, look at one sold by RK in Charlotte (or look up “Jimmy Cagney Auburn”) and look at one in RM Sotheby’s Guyton sale one week from tomorrow. Look at Lot 371.

    Or a ’32 Packard coupe roadster like Mecum sold at Indy in May 2018?

    Look at Lot T205 (and at the “goddess of Speed” mascot) and compare.

    Have fun looking. Whatever it is, it just may be worth something today.

    Unless no one looks at these posts again after the first day they popped.

    After all of the old car guys have had their bagels and have dozed off. 😉

  10. The most Rag Tops ive seen in a Parking Lot shot. I spot 5.

    And my question still remains: Why did people take photos of Parking Lots?

    • Someone once suggested it was done by local governments for tax purposes. Perhaps if there was a per-car parking tax the authorities would use the pics to determine if the lots’ monthly or quarterly payments were within reasonably accurate?

  11. I’m pretty sure that this photograph was taken sometime during World War 11, or if not in its direct aftermath, as I don’t see any cars that can be positively identified as being post war models and neither does anyone else apparently. 1942 is the latest model year that I see and there are quite a few to be seen from that aborted year. What I do see however, in photo 2 of 4 around 18 cars down in the first long row is a 1938 Hudson Country Club Sedan. And that is not a car that is seen very often due to the recession that occurred that year.

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