Saturday, June 27, 2015

Frank H. Afton Co., Inglewood 1958

Let's head back to 1958, shall we? Destination: Inglewood, California (a city in southwestern Los Angeles). For some reason, somebody took a series of photos at Frank H. Afton's dealership - a place well-known to fans of lovable Studebaker, Packard, and Mercedes automobiles. I love these humble slices of life from nearly 60 years ago!

The gentleman with the hat (a mechanic?) is enjoying a break, with an ice-cold Coke and possibly a candy bar in his other hand. A perfect meal! The two guys to the left are jealous of his hat. 

It's another day (wardrobe change!) and we see our mechanic and one of the laughing dudes chatting about monster movies. Is the black automobile just behind them one of the Studebaker "Hawk" vehicles? Those are real beauties! I want one.

"This baby's a real creampuff. All the boys at the plant are going to be jealous when you drive up in this green machine! And the ladies... they're gonna swoon". Shut up and take my money! 

This has been like some sort of epic poem; our heroes have returned for one last hurrah, while the magnificent landscape of Inglewood is spread out behind them!

I hope you have enjoyed your trip to Frank H. Afton Co.!


Nanook said...


Vision produced this car of vision-!. That was an ad slogan for Studebaker back around the time the grey/green baby was turning heads - sometime around 1950 - with the introduction of that "fabulous" Bullet-Nose front end styling. The grey/green model appears to be a 1951.

And the black beauty is probably a 1955. The Hawk didn't make an appearance until 1956, when it replaced the Starlight and Starliner coupes. This could be a 'Champion', 'Commander' or 'Speedster'.

Needless to say, all of 'em were designed by the infamous Raymond Loewy - who would later return to Studebaker to design the 1961 Avanti.

Nanook said...


The light green car in the "last hurrah" is a 1954 Plymouth, I guess a Belvedere.

Thanks, Major.

Jackie K said...

Love it! Car lots may be a bit fancier now but otherwise I suspect they haven't changed much.

Chuck said...

Nanook, every time I see old cars on GDB, I wonder what became of them. I'm going to pretend that '51 was later cast as Fozzie's uncle's car in 1979's "The Muppet Movie" and is currently on display at the Studebaker National Museum.

Major, thanks for such an interesting set this morning. The 1950's setting is perfect inspiration for today's project - rewiring a 1950 Vornado B30-CF box fan that belonged to my grandfather. Have a fantastic day!

K. Martinez said...

It's early Tomorrowland with its glorious Flags-on-a-Rope d├ęcor and the Frank Afton CirCARama!

@Major - The guy might've been a mechanic, but was probably a car porter. I don't remember many mechanics hanging outside in the lot and with that clean a uniform. Back in my younger days when I was a warranty claims processor at several auto dealerships, I remember there was always a car porter who would move the cars around the lot to showcase certain stock, keep the cars presentable by washing them and making sure tires were properly inflated and batteries charged. In other words when the car salesman is ready to show a car, The car porter ensured that everything was good to go.

I don't know much about cars, but I do know my icons. In the last image I see the three red circles (Life/Auto/Fire) on the State Farm Insurance sign. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

The term 'porter' has always been a source of amusement to me. It's sort of an "upscale-sounding" title for positions often only slightly above that of manual labor. In addition to its use to describe 'one who carries baggage' and 'one who does routine cleaning', I see there's yet another vocation to which the word can be appended.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I have always had a fondness for Studebakers. Maybe because they haven’t been around for so long. I didn’t know about the Champion, Speedster, or Commander models… they look great. And that Avanti is a strange one! I’ve seen them before, and they are lovably odd.

Jackie K, they haven’t change much, but the cars aren’t nearly as fun.

Chuck, probably most of them went to the crusher at some point, don’t you think? Did Fozzie bear really drive a Studebaker? That is some arcane knowledge. A 1950 Vornado? I didn’t know that Vornados had been around that long.

K. Martinez, you are probably right; in fact, I thought that his white coveralls looked awfully clean (though they are a *little* dirty). “Car Porter”, that’s a new one on me. I am guessing that (unfortunately) car porter was probably the kind of job that would be given to a person of color back then. That is definitely the State Farm logo; notice that the billboard is different in the first photo.

Nanook, see my comment to Ken; my mom still remembers taking the train to various places with her mom and dad, and that the porters were always African American men in spotless white coats. It was a different world….

K. Martinez said...

@Major, When I took the Amtrak train from Oakland to New York in 2001 the porters and dining car waiters were still all African American as far as I could tell, however there were women as well as men doing those job.

Chuck said...

Major, I'm sure most of those cars are rebar now, but I can dream, can't I?

That particular car has stood out to me since we saw the movie in the theater and my dad started chuckling "heh, heh, heh - it's a Studebaker."'s_Studebaker

A.O. Sutton Corporation began manufacturing Vornado fans in 1945, and my grandparents bought two Vornados in 1950 that are still running today. One, a 30W1 window unit, lived in the window of my dad's childhood bedroom and the other, the B30CF I'm working on now, in the living room window until they added central air conditioning in about 1978. They were two of my favorite features of a summer visit to their house (we had boring, skinny box fans with plastic blades at our house).

The motors, blades, and boxes are fine, but the insulation on all of the gray-colored wiring is starting to crumble, including the power cord. I'd been using electrical tape to repair the cord, and my wife was concerned that there seemed to be almost equal parts taped and untaped cord. When the cord start sparking, scorched the linoleum, and fried an electrical outlet, I realized I should probably do something about that.