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Cash for Your Car: 1942

April 1942. "Hollywood, California. Used car lot." All clues point to the street address being 1541. But what's the street? Photo by Russell Lee. View full size.

April 1942. "Hollywood, California. Used car lot." All clues point to the street address being 1541. But what's the street? Photo by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Below is the same view from November of 2016.

Second LaSalle

The car closest to the building is a 1938 LaSalle. The lower headlights help to differentiate it from the 1937 models, but it is the unique trim in 1938 that helps to conclude that it is not a Cadillac. A comparison photo is below.

Sales of LaSalles dropped dramatically because or the 1938 recession. In 1937 LaSalle had its best year selling 32,005, but in 1938 only 15,575 were sold.

Best Guess

Left to right: 1940 LaSalle, 1940 Ford, 1941 Ford, 1939 Cadillac, 1941 Olds, and a 1937 Cadillac.

[I'm leaning toward 1938 for the far Caddy. -tterrace]

Still There

It appears that the dealership building is still there on the SW corner of North Cahuenga and Selma Avenue. The brickwork still visible matches the original as does the three-windowed front of the building. Also, at far right in the original image, the stacked-block (lacking a better term) corner of the building across Selma still exists on the building there today.

Heavy On GM Product

Besides the LaSalle, we have two Cadillacs ('38 at rear, '40 toward the middle) and, penultimately, a '41 Oldsmobile.

GM 4, Ford 2.

I'll just take the front row (At those prices)

Nice stuff sitting there and brings back memories of when I used to visit these places and drool but didn't have the $150 to buy one.

Almost a Cadillac

That first car on the left appears to be a LaSalle. That GM Brand was discontinued in 1940. Alfred P Sloan, the GM leader, believed he was missing a price point between, I'm guessing, the Oldsmobile and the Cadillac. It was first produced in 1927. It was not too long ago that GM also ditched Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Hummer and Saturn in order to stay afloat from the deluge created by the U.S. Market's acceptance of foreign automotive brands. The weakened economy didn't help either.

It was all about the tires

Soon after Pearl Harbor, one of Britain's correspondents in the States, a young Alistair Cooke, embarked on a nationwide voyage to see how the war, its shortages, and mobilization affected ordinary Americans. In Los Angeles, he needed a new car, to replace one sold earlier in the trip. "The salesman who finally sold me was in the state of high excitement for forty-eight hours after hearing that a visitor wanted to buy a car for no other reason than to drive around the country. Throughout the subsequent negotiations, he regarded me a an amiable madman. His storeroom was a funeral parlor, the cars lined up there like so many coffins. He admitted stoically that he saw no future for himself unless he went into the Army. About once a month somebody would come in on the pretense of wanting to buy a car and then sneak around prodding the tires and not even bother to look at the engine. These were pestiferous middlemen looking for cars with good rubber and making heavy profits on the immediate resale." (Cooke, "The American Home Front: 1941-1942," p. 152 (published, finally, in 2006).)

Strings of clear light bulbs

I remember as a kid in the 1950s-60s car dealers in my town had strings of seemingly hundreds of those clear light bulbs hanging from wires spanning over their car lots. It must of been a big expense and a lot of maintenance keeping all those bulbs lit but boy at night they sure looked pretty reflecting off the shiny paint of the new cars beneath. And back then cars came in much more vivid colors than the monotonous pastel colors of today.

Cars from the stars and czars

According to the 1942 LA city directory, Monty Kingsbury's was at 1541 Cahuenga Blvd., not far from Hollywood and Vine.

Maps today read "N. Cahuenga Blvd." There is no South Cahuenga; Cahuenga East and Cahuenga West do exist.

From the City Directory

1541 Cahuenga Boulevard

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