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“Rush Hour Traffic” on the Schuylkill Expressway

In an earlier post we reported about the Philadelphia area roadway: “The Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) was constructed between 1949 to ’59 and pre-dated the Interstate Highway System, it follows the Schuylkill River for most of its run. It begins at the King of Prussia exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike located northwest of Philadelphia and continues on to the south side of the City and crosses over the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey.”

Today’s “Philadelphia Evening Bulletin” image was taken by Sonnee Gottlieb on August 15, 1961, at an unidentified section of the Expressway, and the article it highlighted was captioned “Rush Hour Traffic.” View an earlier post here “Noontime Traffic Jam on the Schuylkill Expressway” containing  a similar photo.

Please share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Temple University Libraries.

19 responses to ““Rush Hour Traffic” on the Schuylkill Expressway

  1. A great photo, David…thanks for posting it!

    The parade of cars entering the expressway is lead by a ’55 Plymouth Savoy sedan, a ’56 Pontiac Star Chief 4-door Catalina, a ’60 Imperial LeBaron Sedan, a ’58 Plymouth 2-door De Luxe Suburban, a ’59 T-bird, a ‘56 Chevy, maybe a Two-Ten and bringing up the rear looks an awful lot like a ’59 Ford Skyliner with the odd shortness of its roof fairly conspicuous.

    In the expressway, seen to the right of the IH COE, a ’56 Dodge Royal or Custom Royal beside a ’59 Chevy Biscayne 4-dr sedan with a ’54 Chevy Two-Ten and a ’59 Mercury 4-door Commuter with apparently just 3 side accents on the taillight spear vs a Voyager’s 4.
    Behind the trailer, a ’61-’63 Corvair Lakewood battling with a ’51 Plymouth Cranbrook or Cambridge 4-door sedan (angular shield in the hood emblem vs a ‘52’s round disc).
    Behind the garbage truck a ’56 Plymouth Belvedere that appears to be a 4-door hardtop sport sedan, a ’59 Ford Fairlane 500 that appears to be a Club Victoria vs a Galaxie. I’m not sure about the black car behind it…maybe a ’61 Olds? Then a ’57 Ford wagon, a ’59 Chevy, again, not sure of the next car, and possibly a ’54 Ford.

    In the center lane a ’60 Cadillac following a Ford Fairlane that appears to be a ’56 with the new slimmer hardtop. Switching lanes behind the Cadillac is a large ’60 Ford truck, maybe an F-600 acing out an IH Metro Van with a ’55 or ’56 Dodge beside the Ford and possibly a Corvair 95 van or Greenbrier ahead of the Dodge. Going the other way, just about the same distance away, seems to be a white ’60 Cadillac 4-window hardtop (flattop).

    • The tractor trailer toward the center of the screen with a squared off grill is a White. Either a 6000 or 7000 series. They were called “Mustangs” in some configurations and could be either gas or diesel powered.

    • While the Imperial has been identified here as LeBaron and Crown, it looks to lack “LeBaron” solo script and “Crown” sub-script (below the “Imperial” signature) on its fender, so could it more likely be a Custom — the most-sold car?

  2. Where are all the foreign cars? The most interesting things I see are a early 60’s Corvair Station wagon behind the International tractor trailer and a Chrysler Imperial to the right of it.

  3. The shiny black 1960 Imperial on the on-ramp stands out among all the other Mopars, ’52, ’55 and ’58 Plymouths, a ’56 Dodge. A ’56 Pontiac Star Chief four door hardtop, ’54 and ’59 Chevys mix in, a ’59 Mercury Commuter station wagon races the other way.

  4. The IH front and center, is a pre-1960 VCO 190 or 200. 1960 had 4 headlights. The garbage truck is a late 50’s R190, and the freight hauler in the next lane looks like a White. A ’58-’60 Ford F500 changing lanes, maybe another White next to it. Quick note on the IH, I remember those non-turbo diesels, would smoke you out and cover the trailer. It’s why cars could be ordered with big V8’s and 2, 4 barrels, to pass these trucks. Either this has a 180 Cummins or a Detroit 4 or 6 cylinder. Pulling a “ribside” trailer, hard to pull to begin with, this truck never left the city.

    • Wait! I know trucks aren’t everyones forte, but it makes me smile. Before another sharp truck nut calls me out, the IH is a DCO, not VCO. They came, I read, CO190-6 cylinder gas, VCO190-V8 gas, or the DCO 190 or 200, which was the diesel. Thanks for the truck shots.

      • Hi Howard, those trucks make me smile too. You did good id ing them. My brothers run a sawmill and they had one of those Internationals. I think it was a 1965 CO gas job. It was so slow they nick named it The ANT. It kind of looked like an ant too. They decided they could make deliveries quicker with a wheel barrel. The power unit on the sawmill is a Detroit, 671. I ‘m sure I don’t have to tell you how sweet they sound. There is nothing better than the bark of a Detroit. I grew up around all the equipment and the trucks, I guess that’s why I like them so much. Stay Healthy.

        • Hi Joann, well, that Deeetroit sound is relative. Having spent a good portion of my life either sitting next to or on top of one, after 20 hours, it gets mighty old. You had to drive them like you were mad at them, or slam you finger in the door to get in the right frame of mind. Alls well in the Rocky Mountains, so far. Thanks, hope you are well too.

    • Not only did the IH truck never leave the city but it also looks like the tractor and trailer were permanent mates, with the shadow of sooty diesel exhaust spray producing a two-tone effect along the side of the trailer.

  5. Two weeks after this photo was shot, I was on that stretch of road, driving from Harrisburg to Philadelphia to start my college education. Having sold my ’46 Mercury to help pay for college, we were probably in my dad’s ’56 Dodge four-door sedan.

  6. The Schuylkill Expressway ends at the Walt Whitman Bridge which goes over the Delaware River and takes you to Gloucester, NJ actually (just below Camden).

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