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New Arrivals: 1920

New Arrivals: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. "Grant Six touring cars after unloading." Latest tenants in the Shorpy Garage of Ill-Fated Phaetons. 5x7 glass negative. View full size.


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Standard boxcar roofs were to soon become a bit higher than this, and autoboxes eventually could hold three cars; there were two internal racks that held a car each on a slant, and then the third car was fitted through the side door and stashed between them. This was horribly inefficient to load and unload, in the 1950s the flatcars used by circuses grew a permanent second deck to turn into the autoracks we know today. It's hard to tell since we can't see the other end but given typical 1920s car length they probably fitted two Grants in a boxcar.

Autoboxes are still around, though, because the extended side opening is useful in moving car components from factory to factory.


Also noticeable about the auto box car on the left is that the box car floor is level with the ground. This suggests slightly sunken tracks, or slightly raised ground around the tracks for roll on / roll off loading/unloading.

Auto boxcars

The pair of boxcars on the left have end doors to load and unload automobiles easily. They retained the side doors, and could also be used as conventional equipment. The others in this view are likely the same. And interesting thing about the far left car is it's early steel construction- must be the latest development. The corrugations in the metal doors are to stiffen them up. Neat look at an opened door on one of these.

More cars for your dollar.

In 1920 these cars sold for $1,595.00. I count 10 radiator caps for a total value of about $15,950.00. About the cost of modern inexpensive import.

All 10 cars probably filled two specialized automobile hauling railcars.

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