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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNAVAL EN LA HABANA, 1941

Needle's Eye: 1943

Needle's Eye: 1943

March 1943. Needles, California. "General view of street leading to depot of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad." Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

Updated ID

The 1939 Ford is definitely a Tudor and not a De Luxe Tudor. The De Luxe models are easy to spot because the headlights are in the fenders, not between the fender and hood as shown here.

The 1941 Pontiac is a De Luxe "Torpedo" Four Door Sedan and not a Streamliner. In addition to there being a definite break between the roof line and the trunk, the side trim on the De Luxe ends in a straight line, parallel to the ground, before the trunk begins. The Streamliner, which is a true fastback, has side trim which extends far beyond the trunk top, dips down towards the rear bumper, and follows the fender line.

Also of note, the fender skirt shown on the Pontiac is a standard accessory that was shown in the Pontiac catalog. Photos of everything below.

Cooling towers

The structures atop both hotels resembling inverse pagodas are cooling towers, as no decent hotel in a place like Needles could have done any business without some kind of comfort cooling. They may be water-cooled condensers for refrigerated systems, or they may be just plain old "swamp coolers"; it's impossible to tell from this evidence alone. From what I've seen and been told, the louvers on the sides were usually made of wood, probably cedar or cypress. The man straddling the foreground tower attests to the intensive maintenance that these systems required, while the tower in the background may have emanated the warm smell of colitas.

The Joads, of course, drove past this place at night, after spending the searing hot desert afternoon immersed in the Colorado River, the poor man's air conditioning.

ID for Cars

We often hear it said that today's cars are not distinctive enough to ID. That was also true in the 30's, especially from the rear!

To the right of the fellas on their way to the USO Club is a nice new 1941 Pontiac Streamliner "Torpedo" Four-Door Sedan. With a nice pair of non-factory fender skirts as well.

To their left is a 1939 Ford Tudor. Can't tell if it is a Deluxe as we cannot see the right tail light - or lack thereof.

Less ornate today.

I am certain this is the location, with all the charm thoroughly removed:


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