It is strange to think that we’re over a century into the automobile properly. The changes that have happened in the sea of vehicles that make up the typical photograph of what was around in the day have changed dramatically not only recently, but in my lifetime and certainly yours as well. I’ve gone from 1970s barges to 1980s squares, to the used soap cars of the 1990s and the monolithic SUVs of the 2000s and finally into the dawn of alternative-fueled machines and the acceptance of electric vehicles. Which, if you listen to somebody who was around decades prior, will be a much different story. My grandfather told me stories of LaSalles, DeSotos and fat-fendered Buicks that came around after the end of World War II and how precious few Tin Lizzies were still puttering around unmolested. The age of the big whitewall and the steel wheel, he remembered it well, before fins and the long/low/wide movement came about.
It’s estimated that this footage comes from somewhere between 1949 and 1952 in Los Angeles, judging where two particular buildings, the General Petroleum building (now, Pegasus Apartments) and the Standard Oil building (now, Standard Hotel) were in terms of completion. It is also believed to be some old stock footage or footage meant to be used in a movie. What it is, really, is the closest method yet for traveling back in time. It might be silent, but if you know what a flathead six sounds like, you’ve probably got the gist of the car noise. You might be missing out on the other hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, but until the DeLorean is finished, this is as good as it gets.