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Springfield Illinois 1950s: Metropolitan Chevrolet – Sinclair Service Station

Today’s lead image was taken on May 21, 1951 of Metropolitan Chevrolet’s newly opened used car sale lot located at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue in Springfield, Illinois. It went into operation a year after the post–World War II economic expansion began in 1950 in response to the record new car sales of five-hundred units a month at the main Dealership located at 413 South 4th St. in the City. Learn more about the story and see another version of the photo at the State Union-Register.

The Sinclair filling station in photo (below) in Springfield operated by Jim Culver also opened at about the same time as Metropolitan Chevrolet. The State Union-Register image was taken during the grand opening celebration of the facility.

Along with the record cars sales of the period and the flight to the suburbs, a number of new service stations opened up in the period to fuel and care for all of these extra vehicles.

17 responses to “Springfield Illinois 1950s: Metropolitan Chevrolet – Sinclair Service Station

  1. In Item 1 of 2, starting on the right, I see a ’48 Chevy Sedan Delivery, a ’46-48 Olds 66, 76 or 78 sedan, a ’50 Chevy, not sure on the white one, then a dark green ’51 Chevy Fleetline 2-door fastback and a ’50 Buick Special (split windshield vs a Super)

    In Item 2 of 2, I see a ’49 Olds 98 (“Futuramic” emblem ahead of the rocker panel vs lesser models), a ’41 Olds Special or Dynamic Cruiser (Series 60 or 70) 4-door sedan, possibly a ’42 Olds Dynamic Cruiser Club Sedan Series 76 or 78 (chrome strip aft of the rear wheel vs postwar models) and the front of a likely ’47 Pontiac.

    • Regarding the possible ’42 Olds: On those cars the chrome strip on the rear fender began at the wheel opening and the front edge angled forward to match the curvature of the opening. Also, the front fender chrome strip was the same width as the rear fender strip, which is not the case with this car. I think what we see is not part of the car but a shelf or other projection from the rear of the wheeled cart. It appears that a small sliver of the car’s rear fender stone guard is visible and it is chrome, not rubber, which would mark it as a ’48. Also, the rear hub cap looks like it matches the front hub cap of the ’49 Olds which suggests the 2-door is also from the late forties.

  2. In the color image of the used-car lot, on the far right of the front row appears to be a `47-`48 Chevy sedan delivery–looks like a dressed-up model too, with whitewalls & two-tone paint. As usual with new-car dealers, it looks like they picked up some late-model GM cars of other divisions at the dealer auction; I see a `50 Buick Super, and various `49-`50 Chevys in the mix.

  3. Looks like GM day at the Sinclair. From left to right are a ’41 Olds Dynamic Cruiser 4-door, a ’49 Olds 88 4-door, a ’48 Olds 70 series 2-door and a ’47 Pontiac.

  4. 1st pic, I wonder if new cars were sold there too. It appears, way in the back, a new AD Chevy truck, just cab and chassis, the way they were shipped new. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what’s “in the back”? 2nd pic, when getting gas, 3 out of 4 men usually got out to make to sure the attendant was honest. 🙂

  5. The first photo reveals brick streets in Springfield, and that appears to be the state capitol building at the right rear.

  6. I wonder why a lot of places have paved over their brick and cobblestone streets.I think maybe because rubber tires don’t fully come in contact with brick the way asphalt does.I know that cobblestones don’t.Ive seen a lot of car accidents caused by cobblestones which were fine for a horse’s hoof to get a bite when he started moving but not so much cars.

    • The joints between the cobblestone provided a path for the horses urine to flow to the edge of the street which made for less slipping and falling of the horses. Obviously, cars didn’t need that benefit of cobblestone streets.

      • Columbus Ave. in Boston was purportedly paved in wood blocks. It was quieter than cobblestones and therefore an attractive place to enjoy a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Every road that I’ve ever seen dug up in Boston has a layer of cobbles beneath the asphalt. It makes for a very stable base, I imagine.

  7. I always look for the stories in the pictures — occupational hazard of being a book editor, maybe. But what caught my eye was the condition of the brick wall between the lot and the side street in the lead image. Either that wall was there before the “newly-opened” lot opened, or somebody was having trouble backing the cars into place.

  8. In Philadelphia PA.. a belgium block laid street(road) near where I worked was partially dug up one night and stolen. The blocks are very very heavy and worth some money. A lot of Phila. streets especially near the Delaware River were laid in block . That is a lot of man hours and hard labor. Those streets were always sinking (land filled area) and created a very uneven bumpy ride.

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