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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Junior Driver: 1949

Junior Driver: 1949

A Schwinn bike and its garage-mates circa 1949, from a set of 35mm Kodachromes I acquired in northern New Jersey. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Great Caesar's Ghost!

He's even wearing Jimmy Olsen's bow tie!

Gotta hurry

Mr. White's gonna kill me if I miss another deadline at the Daily Planet!

1950 Chevrolet and 1951 Pontiac

1950 Chevy with Powerglide on the left, and a 1951 Pontiac Catalina.

Perfect Proportions

I, too, had that model Schwinn, minus light and training wheels. I've always thought it was a particularly attractive machine, with proportions much closer to those of a motorcycle than the bigger bikes possessed. When I outgrew it, I inherited my mother's Schwinn, complete with tank horn, sprung fork, and Pierce-Arrow-style headlamp. Having a silly given name and riding a girl's bike guarantees that one will grow up to be a decent boxer ... if one grows up at all.

Possible Reason for the Suit and Tie

One possible reason for our young man to be riding his bike in a suitcoat and tie - it is Easter morning. I have a number of these same kind of pictures that seem to have the exact same feel to them. A bright, sunny Spring day and me dressed up in new Easter clothes waiting for the rest of the family to finish getting ready and go to church. (Look at his clothes and especially his shoes - way too new for a young boy to keep taht clean) I would be bored silly as I was the youngest and usually the first to be gotten ready so I would go off to find something to do while I waited. "Don't get into anything" would be the command from my mother. Most of the time I didn't...

I wasn't alone?

I thought that I was the only kid dressed that way! I had the same bike too but with a blue/cream coloration.


I grew up in the 1950s, and any special event required all the boys and girls to "dress up." My dresser drawer had a selection of clip-on bow ties, and I don't recall learning to tie a Windsor knot until I was about 10. Was this boy's tie a clip on? It sure looks like one. When I was dressed up, my mother wouldn't let me near my bicycle.

Good Job Zcarstvnz!

Great ID on the model years Zcarstvnz. My initial guess was '50 on the Pontiac and '49 on the Chevy, but I could not find any good rear photos for confirmation.

Nice informative post.

Sunday Morning

Looks like Sunday morning before getting into the car for church...

Quite impressive

Taking into consideration everything; the well dressed kid, the bike, and the cars, this was a very well to do family in 1951!

Trunk Trim

The trim on the Pontiac, the car on the right, indicates that it is a 1951 model. The 1949, 1950, and 1952 trims were all different so it is easy to tell the year by looking at the trunk.

Similarly, the Chevrolet parked next to it is a 1950 model. The 1949 model had different trunk trim and the 1951 and later models had the tail lights on the outermost part of the fenders instead of on the slope between the fender and trunk.

The photos below show the differences between the years.

New Jersey license plates from both 1949 and 1951 were white lettering on a black background.

Clip-on tie

Boys' bow ties of that era were usually clip-on. Know this firsthand. Also the license plate on the Pontiac is a 1951 New Jersey tag.

Tight Squeeze

If the driver of the Pontiac wanted to leave first, how would they get in?

Definitely not carbon fiber composite and Shimano parts.

That bike looks as heavy as a tank too. I think when cars hit these the cars got damaged NOT the bike.

Too old for the trainers

The kid looks a little too old for training wheels. Maybe it's just the suite and tie.

Young Pee Wee Herman

heads off on his first Big Adventure.


License plates? Maybe the owner of the new Pontiac was saving the Chevy for a Barret-Jackson Auction in 2013?

Just like me

I didn't know there was another kid who put on his coat and tie to ride his bike. I didn't use training wheels, though, and I had a regular tie with a windsor knot. Didn't know how to tie a bow tie.

Guaranteed for as long as he owns it

Looks like the lucky lad has himself a 20 inch Model J-46 Schwinn.

The circular badge just forward of the left tail light on the Pontiac identifies it as either a 1951 or 1952.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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