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Diplomatic Plates: 1942

Diplomatic Plates: 1942

May 1942. Washington, D.C. "Garden party at the New Zealand legation. Chauffeurs and limousines." At right, a V-16 Cadillac. Acetate negative by Marjory Collins. View full size.


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Sweet Sixteen

1938 Cadillac Series 38-90 Seven-Passenger Imperial Limousine, coachwork by Fleetwood.

431 cubic-inch L-head V-16 engine
Dual downdraft carburetor
185 bhp at 3,800 rpm

*One of 95 built in 1938


On the left a spotless 1941 Buick Super 8 Series 50. To the far left is what appears to be a 1941 Lincoln.

[That spotless car is a Series 90 Buick Limited. - Dave]

Across the Circle

New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who took office in 1940, believed they should not depend on Britain to entirely control its foreign policy and international trade. Adoption of the Lend Lease Act required frequent dealings with the U.S. government. So in 1941 he announced a plan to establish a legation in Washington. The building chosen, still standing today, is a Federalist-style mansion at 47 Observatory Circle NW - across from the Naval Observatory (now the official residence of the sitting vice president). Then, as now, there was a security fence and one row of parking spaces across the road, although today's fence is more attractive.

Here's what the Census says

The 1940 Census for Washington, D.C. shows a total of 1,892 chauffeurs. Of that, 54.8 percent were negro males and 43.6 percent were white males. Twenty-four chauffeurs were females. The subtotals don't exactly reconcile to the total, but they are not off by much.

Click to embiggen

Looks like a Buick man

Jaunty cap angle, non-conformist socks, sitting on the bumper next to the senior man. That's where you pick up the extra things you might need to know.

Buick Limited

And at left a 1941 Buick Series 90 Limited. I wonder what the meaning was of the "EIGHT" at the front?

[All Buicks of the era have "Buick Eight" on the front, because they're powered by an eight-cylinder engine. - Dave]

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