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Here Come the Cars: 1940

Here Come the Cars: 1940

February 1940. "Auto transport passing through Eufaula, Oklahoma." Now playing at the Chief: "Hunchback of Notre Dame." 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Dad's hangout

My father was about 8 years old and living in Tulsa when this photo was taken. His Aunt Bea (and other relatives) where of Creek heritage and lived in Eufaula at the time. From time to time, he would get to go to Eufaula and visit her for a weekend, or maybe spend a couple of weeks during the summer down there with her. He always spoke fondly of these trips and had a special place in his heart for his aunt. Many of our Creek relatives are buried at the cemetery there near the main highway.

One more

I believe there is one more new car inside the trailer underneath the top rear car. It has a cover over it to protect it from debris kicked up by the tires of the truck.

Probable loading sequence

The car over the truck cab was loaded first, using the ramps to bridge the gap between the top of the rear ramp and the truck cab. The middle car was loaded next and the car in the back was loaded last. It took a lot of shifting of the ramps around. I wonder how many cars were damaged during loading and unloading in those days

How'd they do it?

How'd they get the car over the transport cab up there?

[I'm guessing a ramp. - tterrace]

The Eufaula band

Russell Lee's photographs from that day did include shots of a short parade, in which a marching band was followed by a few gentlemen giving rides to others in wheelbarrows. The notes from the photos in the Library of Congress archives gave no clues of the occasion, but the local newspaper did. According to the Feb. 15, 1940 Indian Journal (the official publication of the City of Eufaula, Oklahoma), the local Jaycees were planning a "Street Comedy Act," including a marching band, as the culmination of competition between two teams to increase the chapter's membership. The "comedy act" would involve having the losing team's members giving wheelbarrow rides to the winning team's members.

Classic vehicles

Definitely a 1939 GMC hauling the load of cars. In 1940 American auto makers went to sealed beam headlights in place of the old bulb style and GMC had to put the parking lights which had been mounted inside the headlight buckets out on the tops of the fenders.The sedan delivery immediately to the right of the rig looks like it could be a 1933 or 34 Ford and the panel coming out of the side street (with the name TEEL) is a mid 30s Dodge humpback. I love the fender skirts on the 7-Up truck body. Some classic vehicles.

More cars

Behind the '38 Ford is a '38 Oldsmobile, and beside it is a '39 Chevy.

Surprised no one has commented on the remnants of a marching band in uniform in the background of a shot (note the Sousaphone!) Wonder what the occasion was.

You like it, it likes you

And I like the 7-Up delivery truck heading down the street.


Not a quad cab pickup truck visible on an Oklahoma town's main street? How delightful. Town's folk drove what was practical back then.

Product Placement

Amid the traffic, the Coca-Cola sign and the Pontiacs there magically appears a 7-Up delivery truck.


As best as I can tell: That's a load of 1940 Pontiacs being hauled by a circa 1939 GMC. They're passing a parked 1938 Ford Standard. Immediately behind them is a 1940 Dodge. The car behind the Dodge is a 1938 Ford Deluxe or a 1939 Ford Standard (hard to tell at this resolution).

Can any other Shorpyite identify the other vehicles in this picture? If my dad were still alive (WWII Navy vet--happy Veterans Day, Dad!), I'm sure he could.

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