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Congress Avenue and Sixth Street Street Scene Austin Texas

For the duration of World War II, no new automobiles other than for military use were manufactured and the public had to make do with Pre-War cars until the hostilities ended. This scene photographed in Austin, Texas in 1945 contains vehicles, some of which are about fifteen years old and date back to the early-1930s which were kept running for the duration of the war years.

The people assembled on the sidewalk in this picture give it the appearance of possibly having been taken on either VE Day or VJ Day.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the Austin History Center.

25 responses to “Congress Avenue and Sixth Street Street Scene Austin Texas

  1. I think you’re right about this being on VJ day or VE day. The first things that struck me were the huge grins on the guy in the Buick convertible and the passenger in the paper-clip Ford. They are far too happy to be simply stuck in traffic.

  2. Everyone’s looking to the right with big smiles and laughing, so it’s some sort of happy occasion. VE or VJ Day is as good a guess as any. At that point, after the years of war and then losing FDR in April of ’45, people needed something to be happy about. And seeing all those great cars in the pictures is sure making me happy! What a great photo!

  3. I can barely make out a few gas ration stickers on some of the windshields. So a VJ or VE day ‘parade’ makes sense.
    I think 1941 was the last year for that Buick phaeton.

  4. Just beyond the ’37 Ford seen in the lower left corner of Item 2 of 2, would be a ’42 Buick, either Series 50 Super or Series 70 Roadmaster. It has the unique-to-’42 wraparound chrome trim trailing aft of the front turn signal. To the right of the two of them is a ’39 Ford Standard that largely uses ’38 Ford DeLuxe sheetmetal and trim, except that the 39 Standard had a prominent horizontal band across its grille that didn’t wrap around as much at the top, not present on the ’38. Also the ‘38’s vents on the side of the hood were deleted in ’39 and a new “shepherd’s hook” bit of trim was added, as we see in the photo.

    There’s another ’39 Standard see two rows to the right and one car back…between them is a ’40 Buick Convertible Phaeton, likely either the shorter-w/b Special or Super but it appears to have the slightly lower-mounted side trim of the Super.

  5. I had initially thought that the two toned sedan situated right behind the ‘40 Buick convertible was a ‘42 Hudson of which not many were made due to the war, but a closer look reveals that it is not that brand of automobile. I shall await therefore for someone with more expertise than myself to correctly identify what make it is.

    • Addendum: On closer observation I notice a chrome strip on the hood of that car which can only mean that it is a Pontiac Silver Streak, and the year of the make is 1941.

    • I think it is not a ’38 as it lacks the bright metal molding that goes above the windshield. A one-year only feature. Probably a ’39 120 or Six.

  6. I see a soldier hanging out of the open driver’s door of an olive drab military 1941 Ford Tudor sedan near the top center of the photo.

  7. Great shot indeed!!!
    Even though its far on the other side of the intersection, there is no mistaking the tombstone grill of a big Pakard sedan. ‘Love it.

  8. I think the bus is gassing everybody out, and still with the smiles. I don’t really see any evidence of any celebration, just a busy day at high noon in Austin. It certainly looks hot out,, and the guy in what looks like a uniform, getting out of the car, or back in, and the only people smiling are the chaps in the convertible looking at the girls in the Ford.

  9. A very interesting picture to be sure.
    I see three 1930-ish cars close enough to get an approximate year. Parked, angled into the curb, about halfway back, is a 1928/’29 model A Ford tudor sedan. In the nearest traffic lane, basically behind the model A tudor is a likely ’30/’31 coupe. Looks to me like maybe a Chevrolet, but there are a couple other GM cars it could be, as well as a few other makes. In the next line over, and about one car farther back, is what appears to be a mid to late ’20s sedan. Either the hood is painted a darker color than the rest of the car, or the hood may be missing. Hard to tell. But it appears to be the oldest car in the picture.

    A wonderful photo! Thank you David G !

  10. In all three pictures, two cars behind the 1939 FORD Standard Coupé in the foreground, is a 1934 PLYMOUTH DeLuxe two-door sedan.

    • Also in all three pictures, driving to the left, on the far side of the street in front of the F. W. WOOLWORTH store, is a two-tone 1941 STUDEBAKER President Land Cruiser [but may be a Commander].

  11. The rear sheet metal on a 39 Standard and deluxe were the same and it is different than a 38 either standard or deluxe and there fore the rear fenders are not interchangeable.

  12. Upper left , ‘34 Plymouth PE 2door sedan
    Sans trumpet bellows ,w/s cranked open,
    Just look @ the length of that cool mounted

  13. A thought:

    It is more likely to be VJ day as opposed to VE day.
    Gas rationing ended in VJ day, so people would have been more likely to take to their cars to celebrate.
    On VE day, rationing was still in effect, so people would have been a bit more cautious about using fuel.I

    Just my guess (and common sense).

  14. In back of the 39 Ford standard coupe is a 1936 Oldsmobile 3 window coupe followed by a 1934 Plymouth and a 1931 Chevrolet with later wheels.

  15. What is the deal with the plaid upholstery in the three cars in the lower left? Were these seat covers or factory upholstery? If they were seat covers, no wonder that the Fingerhut clear seat covers became so popular in the 1950s!

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