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Cab Noir: 1942

Cab Noir: 1942

        The "Sky-View" taxi was a long-wheelbase DeSoto sedan with a plexiglas sunroof.

1942. "New York. Negro taxi driver. Story dealing with the life of Negroes in New York, their professions, occupations, and recreational activities." Photo by Albert Fenn for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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1941 in 1942

The De Soto pictured is actually a 1941. The 1942 Sky-Views had a totally different central roof light than the 1941 Sky-Views. This new lighting system was only used in 1942.

The smaller rooftop lights shown on the Shorpy cab were red, and the cabbie turned them on to indicate the cab was occupied. The 1940 and earlier De Soto Sky-View cabs had door handles below the belt line, so this must be a 1941.

Photos of both 1941 and 1942 Sky-Views are below.

Dreamy look

He is probably listening to Make Believe Ballroom on WNEW.


Such a dreamy, faraway look in this man’s eyes. As a former cabby myself, I expect to see in a taxi driver’s face a look of short-term intensity, rabid hunger, a scrutiny of the up close and loadable. Certainly not this misty gaze. There’s hope yet.

Cab Fab

If NYC's taxis looked this good today, and had these rates, I would NEVER walk.

De Soto Sky View

De Sotos of that year featured disappearing (actually, covered) headlamps, a styling innovation unique among mass-produced cars of the time and perhaps the first attempt to disguise those necessary features on a popularly-priced car. (The nearly hand-built Cord 810s and 812s were the first, but their price and the small number built made them a decidedly luxury ride).

Unfortunately, in February 1942 almost all production of civilian vehicles was halted to clear the lines for defense work. When Detroit revamped its '42 models for the '46 model year, De Soto's unique headlamp treatment was abandoned.

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