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A Crowded Field: 1943

A Crowded Field: 1943

May 1943. "Pimlico racetrack near Baltimore, Maryland. Parked cars in spite of gas ration." Photo by Arthur Siegel, Office of War Information. View full size.


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Something is not what it appears to be

How can this photo be from 1943 when I see mid/late 40's cars in it??? Might also be the reason why there aren't very many older cars in it. Booming economy after the war equals many newer autos.

[None of these are post-war cars. The reason some resemble them is because most of the earliest 1946-1948 cars were retooled versions their last pre-war models, some of which are seen in this photo. -tterrace]

There Goes a Herd of Horses

About ten years after this photo was taken my friend Bob and I jumped on our bikes and went off on an adventure.

We would load up our war surplus canteens with plain old tap water, our Moms would pack a sandwich and a Tastycake and off we would go playing our own game "Let's Get Lost" which consisted of heading off to nowhere in particular just to see if we could get lost.

The only admonition from Mom was to be sure to get home before dark. We went out Belair Road took a left on Northern Parkway and a few hours later a couple of Northeast Baltimore kids were in the wilds of Northwest Baltimore.

We saw off to our left a herd of horses rounding a track and heard a roar coming from the Old Pimlico's grandstands and to our right where these huge Victorian mansions.

Since in our neighborhood the only horses we ever saw were the Araber's produce wagons and housing to us was brick row houses we both called it... We Are Lost!.

Fortunately we had own own internal GPS and were able to make it home before dark.

What's left?

Looking toward West Belvedere Avenue, I think. Not much remains of those big old houses, but some bits are still recognizable.


Back in the day when health insurance didn't exist It used to be said that doctors preferred to drive Buicks. It showed that they made enough money to demonstrate that they didn't have too many patients die on them; yet they didn't make enough so that folks would say they were over charging

Extra lights

That Lincoln seems to have extra lights between the headlights and the grill. Police car maybe?

What car is this

not sure how to search the internet for 1940's front ends, but what is this oddball?

[1942 Lincoln. -tterrace]

Embarrassment of riches

Imagine that sight if you were a restorer of old autos.

Where's MY car?

Wow! And I thought today's cars all look alike!

Going in Style

Looks like everyone was dressed to the nines to go to the races... almost everyone, men and women, were wearing hats. Suits or jackets and ties for the men (or I spot a few military uniforms), and many of the women are wearing suits- must not have been a very warm day in May either. I love how everyone dressed up in style for a day at the races.


Not only upper middle class cars. I see many Chevys and Plymouths, along with the Fords and also a Pontiac! I also note that there seems to be a big number of '42 Buicks in the group. Many of these patrons were able to get a hold of one of these beauties before they stopped civilian auto production around February of 1942.


How did they manage to get all those cars parked without any space lines marked out in the grass? And yes that is a sarcastic comment on the inability of so many of todays' drivers to park correctly.

I don't know what it is with those car designers

I don't know what it is with those car designers and with those car makers. All those cars look more and more alike. If it wasn't for the ornaments there would be no telling one type of car from the other.

Buick Rally!

Awful lot of '41 and '42 Buicks in that bunch.

An artificial shortage

The US had sufficient petroleum production capacity to supply home front as well as military demand. There was no inherent need to ration fuel.

The critical material we really lacked was rubber. Although the crop originated in the Amazon basin, the majority of the world's supply during the war was in regions controlled by Japan. Large-scale production of synthetic rubber did not take off until later in the war, and even then was not nearly sufficient for demand. The production of tires for civilian use was halted very early, but it was feared that lack of availability would not deter people from wearing out their tires.

Gasoline rationing and a nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour were effective ways of forcing people to conserve their tires for the duration of the war.

Where are the old cars?

I'm surprised at how (relatively) recent all those cars were in 1943. I see one mid-30's car but most are relatively 'modern'. Where are all the 10-15 year old cars that were still so common during WWII? I can only guess this was a much more upscale crowd than usual. Not one Model A, let alone a Model T, among them.

Quite a few

Upper middle class cars - Packard, Lincoln, etc. There is a non-conformist Ford owner in the crowd, who doesn't know parallel parking from perpendicular parking. He's probably the only one at the track who's not wearing a tie.

The 1943 Preakness

Won by eight lengths by Kentucky Derby winner Count Fleet, ridden by future hall of fame jockey Johnny Longden. Two weeks later Count Fleet earned the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes.

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