SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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Classical Gas: 1942

Classical Gas: 1942

July 1942. Washington, D.C. "Cars and trucks on Independence Avenue S.W." Photo by John Ferrell for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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Shorpy Vehicle Identification Imperative

No one has yet identified the humble 2dr sedan in front of that adorable Shell gas truck. It is a 1939 Hudson. My dad had a 1937 Terraplane version of the sedan in the photo. He enjoyed calling the Hudson a "Late Model Essex." Which, I guess, it was.

Car IDs

The car closest to the sailor is a '39 Plymouth. The car on the right with radio antenna and Greyhound hood ornament is a '35 Ford. Car radios were expensive in the 1930s, $80 for a Packard radio. The low-priced 3 had MSRPs of about $700, so a radio sale made the dealers happy. Does anyone know what a heater cost in 1935 - 1940?

No where to go

There are no pockets in a Navy dress uniform, difficult to know what to do with your hands. Same with football uniforms.

Sentimental moment

My Dad worked for Shell for nearly 50 years. He kept a 1/32(?) scale model version of this tanker truck on his office credenza for as long as I can remember. Nice to see a photo of the real thing.


The '30s and early '40s saw the gradual application of Deco and streamlined design themes to a wide assortment of machines, in this case the Shell tanker depicted.

What's the difference between a gasoline tanker and a Sunbeam toaster? In this instance, not a whole lot, aesthetically speaking.

Healthy trees

Today's view shows scraggly, anemic looking trees. So much so it's not hard at all to see the Washington Monument.

[In the December 2016 view below, it's almost as if the trees are missing their leaves. Bizarre! - Dave]

It's more than just the leaves, Dave.

[Yes. They're a sickly green color. - Dave]


The arms on the sailor, way on the left.

SHORPY OLD 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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