Last weekend I walked downtown and stumbled upon some people wrapping up a film shoot. I'm not sure of the exact year it is supposed to be but I have my suspicions.
This postwar Ford sedan is quite nice with its whitewalls and everything. The distinctive humpback has a lot in common with prewar cars before designs started getting longer and lower.
The newest car there appeared to be this circa 1953 Ford sedan in a lovely shade of blue.
Unusually, this car has the Fordomatic 3 speed automatic transmission that first appeared in 1951. Those early torque converter automatics were remarkably sturdy things even if they weren't very efficient or fast.
Then we come to this characterfully patinaed GMC truck from around 1953 as well. It could be much earlier which would make the rust and terrible paint a little more realistic.
The chunky but gently curving details on this truck still look good all these years later. The heavy duty GMC trucks are not common sights at all due to their limited appeal to people without a lot of crap to move. And just look at that curly 'GMC' script!
GMC engineers had not chill with their different fonts. This one appears to be a 450 cubic inch version.
A vehicle that would have been old at the time is this International KB5 bread van. The KB series only ran from 1947 to 1949 as it relied heavily on pre war technology. An immediately post war commercial vehicle like this is a very uncommon sight anywhere.
However, I absolutely adore this thing! It might be looking a little too fresh for what most looked like in the mid 50s but it's a rare treat to see vintage commercial vehicles this old actually getting used and driven.
It's hard to get more rudimentary in construction than this! I think these were official upfits but the bread van body really feels like a callback to the low volume coachbuilt commercial upfits of the 20s and 30s.
I guess this shot takes place in Illinois
But due to their simplicity, a shocking amount of 40s and 50s commercial vehicles soldiered on long past their expected expiration date. A junk collector in my hometown used to use a thoroughly decrepit 1950s Ford dump truck that made an alarming cacophony of grinding and rattling noises going down the road. That lasted until the late 2010s when I assume it got scrapped.
There isn't much of a market for these old commercial vehicles in the hands of collectors which is a shame. Sure, they take up a lot of space and are probably pretty stressful to drive, but they're something unique. This particular International isn't heavy on the creature comforts.
This photo is now a desktop background of mine The old International logo was really quite cool with the triple diamonds.
Another commercial vehicle was still parked on the street after the shoot wrapped up: this GM "Old Look" bus. These legendarily sturdy things were used all over the place but good restored examples are quite uncommon.
I was informed by someone walking around that this bus belongs to Tyler Perry and is a replica of the bus that Rosa Parks rode. I can't find any evidence of him having owned this bus though.
The slanted windshield recessed into the bread loaf profile makes me think the bus has a Neanderthal forehead. Hehe.
What do you know, another desktop background! I love this photo.
The setting in front of these old early 1900s department stores is just right for the gentle curves of this industrial workhorse. Why can't our buses be this elegant in appearance anymore?
Everything except the fire extinguisher looks about as it did in the 1950s. The meter is even still there. I think I remember the same shade of green being on the inside of the GM Futurliner.
The replica period ads on the inside are a nice touch.
Now this is a rare one! A 1941 or 1942 only Studebaker President! The very last of the prewar cars, this luxurious sedan seems a little out of place for the setting but it's a very cool design.
The rear of the car reminds me a lot of the Lincoln Continental with the humpback and split rear windows. It has the unmistakable exterior running boards common on basically ever prewar car.
The car's owners had a little trouble with running it out of gas but it was fine. Man, what a beautiful car! The front end tapering to a distinctive point makes me think of a ship's prow.
What a wonderful and unlikely collection of vehicles! It would be hard to pick a favorite out of the bunch but I'd probably drive home in the Studebaker. Usually film shoots don't leave so many cool cars just lying about.