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Los Angeles Street Scene: The Texas Club and El Toreo Cafe

This image of the Texas Club, the El Tored Cafe, and an “Auto Park” dated to 1949 by the source was taken when structures were photo documented in the area before demolition to make way for the Hollywood Freeway.

The two-story building housing the Texas Club and El Toreo Cafe was constructed in 1882 and was located on on North Los Angeles St. between Aliso St. and Ferguson Alley. The newest automobile in this scene is the postwar Studebaker coupe parked at the curb, and the oldest is a 1934 or ’35 Chevrolet parked behind the Packard next to the Auto Park sign on the far left.

Please share with us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the UCLA Library.

23 responses to “Los Angeles Street Scene: The Texas Club and El Toreo Cafe

  1. The white coupe appears to be a ’41 Olds Series 76 or 78 Dynamic Cruiser De Luxe Club Sedan…with a spotlight, a popular accessory of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Behind and slightly to the left appears to be a ‘40 Mercury Sedan Coupe (sealed beam headlight bezel vs a ’39), while to the right of the Mercury is a ’40 Chevy…probably a Master Deluxe with un-chromed hood vents but a chrome side spear.

    Over to the left a ’47-49 Studebaker base model Commander 2-door sedan with its rubber rear quarter mud guard. Seen in the background is a ’47-50 Frazer or Kaiser sedan, though more likely a Kaiser with its un-chromed drip rail.

    David, it’s a pleasure to not have to count characters and spaces before posting a message…many thanks. These days I think we all have quite enough limitations and restrictions in our lives without devising pointless new ones. Please stay safe as you can be.

    Wow! This is over 900 characters with spaces…it’s a delight to type with such reckless carefree abandon!

    • Interesting observation regarding the white coupe. I thought that it was a Pontiac Torpedo based on its upper chrome side strip, but you could be right. Definitely a stylish GM make from ‘41. I think the ice cream vendor might be admiring it as well!

    • MP, I’ve always found the Olds in that era fairly easy to spot due to the distinctive horizontal crease above the front wheel that wraps around to the front. Olds was unusual in that time for styling that wrapped around the fenders, both front and rear. The ’41 Ford had something sort of similar on its front fenders.

      • Thanks for your feedback. It seems to me, as best as I can make out, that the ’41 Pontiac also had a very similar horizontal crease above the front wheel that wrapped around the front as well as the back. The two makes were very similar to one another that year and probably most distinguishable by their front grill. But you could be right, however if it is an Olds it would have to be either the 96 or 98 series as they were the only coupes in the series that featured the lower chrome side trim that is visible in the photo, which is why I myself tend to favor the Pontiac.

  2. The O in Toreo looks like a “d”just like the D in the Square D Electric Co.’s trademark looks like an O.
    Toreo means bullfighting in Spanish.

  3. The white car parked out front of the café makes quite an impression. I would guess that it is a 1941 Pontiac Torpedo coupe. The name of the café it appears is actually El Toreo, of which the latter word is Spanish for “bullfighting.”

  4. I’ll pick the low-hanging fruit and ID the 47-ish Studebaker two door sedan. Not a lot about f chrome on it, so I’ll call it a Champion.

  5. It’s a shame that Texas Club building was lost to a freeway in the ‘60s….the elaborate cornice of it shows an amazing exuberance in its detail that may match that of many of the people in Los Angeles in the 1880s. Though predating it by 40 years, it rivals some of the Art Moderne style of the 1920s.

  6. One interesting car is the black(?) roadster parked just to the right of the main entrance, with top erected but no side-curtains. It’s much lower than the sedans, and the short passenger compartment means it’s probably a two-seater. The angle of the top reminds me of something like an Auburn Speedster.

  7. The ice cream man seems to be looking at what looks like a 1948 Jaguar XK120, judging by the convertible top roof line.

    • Tim, I wouldn’t have thought the rear part of that model Jaguar’s top would be so vertical, as I tend to picture the top’s greater slope on later ‘50’s and ‘60s Jaguars, but in searching for pics of a ’48 Roadster, I see the top’s shape and side opening profile are a real match for the car in this photo. That also accounts for the car’s low overall height relative to the others nearby. Good eye!!

    • FYI, you can still find this type of ice cream vendor in parts of LA with high Latino populations. Many of them have to pay protection money to the gangs in the area. There are also a number of large ice cream vending trucks, a bit different from the spiffy Good Humor trucks of the past. They roamed our streets along with the greatly awaited arrival of the Helms Vans, great little machines with bakery goods and great donut delights for us kids. David, you should try to post some info on that series of Old Motors.

  8. First, Thank you very much for this fantastic website.

    In regards to this picture, that is quite a large sunvisor on the coupe on the right, in the street.
    The next car in also has a large sunvisor and it might be a Cadillac based on the grille.

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