The streets of L.A., circa 1936
Not sure why I get so obsessed with these old films shot while driving on California city streets? Maybe because it’s an honest glance at how the cars really looked back then. Maybe it’s clues to the puzzle of how custom car culture as we know it developed in the post war years. Earlier this year I shared some Los Angeles driving footage from the late 1940s, but today I want to take you to the time ‘between the Wars’, so you can compare. As you watch, keep in mind that this was shot well into the depths of the Depression, so many people kept their older cars on the road much longer. Buying a new set of whitewalls would have been considered wasteful, and customizing a car would seem downright frivolous to most working folks in this era. Think of how many of these cars, especially the larger 30s luxury makes, got destroyed for the big scrap drives just 5 or 6 years later. Being that this was shot in sunny Southern California, it’s also cool to see how many people were driving Roadsters, Phaetons and Cabriolets. Another observation- Not many road marking to designate lanes!