June 9, 2015

Dry lake Greetings

More articles by »
Written by: Rik Hoving
Tags: , ,



Some time ago I came across this really neat snapshot on ebay. Two cars with a plane parked on the Salt Flats in 1949.

When I was browsing ebay for some old photos, like I do from time to time, I came across this really nice looking snapshot. Two cars and a plane sitting on a dry lake. I noticed that the two cars were mildly customized, or perhaps a better term in this case would be dressed up. It was a nice photo… giving a very nice feel of the late 1940’s. I saved the ad and went on browsing. Then I came across a photo of this girl standing next to a 1941 Chevy with single bar flipper hubcaps. I immediately recognized it from the snapshot with the 1946-48 Mercury and the plane.  So I looked at the seller and what else he had to offer.


CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-01This is the one photo I bought from the collection. I just love everything about this one, it is such a nice photo. A couple of mild custom and plane parked on the salt and the owners getting ready to watch the the cars at full speed.


There were 21 photos that looked to be taken at the same time, by the same people, coming from the same collection. I saved the ebay photos and did not really think about it for a couple of days. Until I was looking for something on my computer and came across the photo with the two cars and the plane again. I just could not stop looking at it. I had seen some photos in the Wally Welch Photo Album where Wally was flying an small airplane similar to the one in this photo. Wally Welch was very much into Custom Cars, but also in Hot Rods, and I knew he could fly, so With this photo I could imagine how people like Wally Welch, with a passion for cars and the ability to fly a plane would go out, rent a plane and fly it out to Bonneville to watch the cars race the salt lake. This photo, and the others offered on ebay have nothing to do with Wally Welch, at least not as far as I know, but it just inspired me enough to make an offer on the one photo. I was the only one who bid on it, and ten days later I received it in my mailbox. Its a really nice snapshot.
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-02Cropped section of the photo shows the dressed up 1946-48 Mercury coupe with Californian plates and the 1941 Chevy that has been dropped in the back a bit with single bar flipper hubcaps. Nothing really special, just every day drivers from some car loving guys.


I then started to look a little better at the other photo I had downloaded to my computer, the once I did not bid on. I have no idea if they sold, or not. All I have from them are the digital photos that were used for the ebay ads. There was no information about the photos when they were listed on ebay… but to me it looks like perhaps two guys and a girl friend made a trip out to Bonneville to see the Hot Rod’s race at the lakes. I cannot make out from which state the 1941 Chevy come. There is no state indication on the license plate. One other photo in the series shows a 1949 License plate, so most likely this trip was made in 1949. And possibly the guys and girl had been dreaming about this trip for some time, hence all the snapshots that were taken during the trip.

CCC-Member Jimmy Barter corrected me on this writing. He let me know that there where a lot more than 21 photos in this collection. And that the trip was not made to Bonneville alone. He was able to buy 60 photos from this collection and he was able to recognize a few other locations as well. The airplane photo and the Woman next to the ’40 Chev plus the coupe speed runs and the 2 roadsters (sepia coloured) are from El Mirage. The photo of the trophy presentation is from Saugus drag strip. Thank you Jimmy for the extra info.
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-03Another photo shows the girl friend with the 1941 Chevy. If somebody recognizes the license plate, please let me know. Typical snapshot with the horizon on an angle, vertical photos when a horizontal would have been a better choice… but still I love the idea of the photo taken to show the friends at home the Chevy and the girl made it out to Bonneville.


CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-04Slight speedboat stance with single bar flipper hubcaps… and a tough looking girl…


The one photo I was able to buy started this story. To me it gives a very good image of how it was back in the 1940’s. The rest of the photos from the ebay auctions made up the rest of the story in my head. It made me wonder how it must have been to make a special trip like that back then. These snapshots might have been part of a personal collection for many decades. Inside a photo-album, the one from the 1949 Bonneville trip. An album that perhaps was taken out from time to time, to re-live that wonderful trip again. Perhaps the album was found in an estate sale in recent years and each photo sold off individually… greeting new stories with the new owners.
CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-05The road to the lakes… a whole lot of “nothing”.



CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-09Another proof to show back home that they made it to the Salt Flats.



CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-10Possibly the owner of the 1941 Chevy and his girlfriend close the the Salt Flats.



CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-11The two guys brushing their teeth… 



CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-06Distant speeding Hot Rod on the salt.


CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-07’36 Ford at full speed… a little closer to the track.



CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-08Full speed Hot Rod…


CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-12They also hung out in the pits, looking at the cars, taking some snapshots and watching the award ceremony.


CCC-49-bonneville-greetings-13A few more snapshots from the pits era with the Pierson Bros cars in one of the photos.




(this article is sponsored by)






 6,116 total views,  1 views today

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

One Comment

  1. This is incredible, great pictures.


You must be logged in to post a comment.