Sunday, August 6, 2017

Machines and roadsters and cars…..Oh my!

While looking through the hundreds of photos I have, I started to notice a theme – CARS!  It seems like my family had a fascination with cars, which I would never have thought much about if it weren’t for these photos.

As I’ve transcribed the letters between my grandparents, I’ve learned that my grandmother referred to this form of transportation as a machine.  I guess when you’re a high school student/young adult in the early 1900’s, it sure must have seemed like a machine.  If only she could see where we’ve come today.

I don’t know the date of this photo but I’m guessing it to be about the “machine” days that Loraine referred to.  If you look closely, I think that might be my grandfather, Sig Levy, in the middle seat on the right side.

Unknown maybe Sig middle right

I have no idea if any of these folks are family members as the only notation on the back says Tire Troubles, by Ben Epstein, 1910.  I found some references to a Ben Epstein in Fresno about that time but without further research, I don’t know how, or even if, he is in some way related to my family.  Even in 1910, someone had a camera ready!

Tire Trouble 1910 by Ben Epstein

This photo is of Loraine’s father, Abraham Gunzendorfer, posing in front of a car.  I think the little guy on his knee is my dad’s brother, Rob.  If I’m right, since Rob was born in November, 1920 this photo must be from about 1921.

Abe_Gunzendorfer Robert_Levy abt 1921

Here’s a handsome car, and one that someone was apparently pretty proud of.  It looks like this could be in front of Abe’s house.

Gunzendorfer Car possible date unknown

What do you think – same house?  I think it is!

Loraine in front of house

I think this looks like the same car in front of a different house.  While my grandmother didn’t tell me the identities of the people in most of these photos, she did tell me the dates.  This is from March 22, 1922.


I think it’s fun to see the people peeking out from inside so, of course, I had to enlarge it to see if I could make out who they were.  Sure enough, that’s Loraine in the passenger seat!  I wish I knew who was in the back – the baby doesn’t look old enough to be Rob as he would have been 17 months at that time. 

Mar_16_1922 cropped

By June 28, 1926, there was a new car to take a photo of.  Nothing here looks familiar – wish I had more details.


Another photo of Abe, this time with his wife, Birdie Schwartz, in front of a car.  Was this another new one?  Unfortunately grandma forgot to date this one for me.

Bertha_Schwartz Abe_Gunzendorfer

By April 5, 1936, Grandma was taking photos in front of a car.  Was this a new car?  And who is the woman with her?  Maybe a cousin or sister-in-law?  I can tell it’s in the back of the house in Fresno my dad grew up in but that’s about it.

Unknown_Loraine 4_5_1936

Christmas Day, 1937 shows Loraine in front of a car – is it the same one as above?  Or, could it have been a Christmas present from Sig?

Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy 12_25_1937

Based on other photos I have with Birdie dressed like this, I think this photo might have been from 1942.  Love that she had her white gloves in her hand!

Bertha Schwartz possibly 1942

This is probably from the same ‘event’ – that’s Abe Gunzendorfer (Loraine’s dad), Gordon Levy (my dad), and Sig Levy (his dad).  This could have been in any number of cities.

Abe_Gunzendorfer Gordon_Levy Sig_Levy 1942

Now who are these lovely ladies?  I do know that’s Loraine on the right and the date was March 12, 1943 but nothing else looks familiar.  But there they are having a laugh in front of a car!

Mar_12_1943 Loraine on right

How about this car?  That’s Loraine driving and since she didn’t go far, this would have to be in Fresno.  I remember having a car like that when I was very little – it makes me wonder if at some point the car was passed down to my parents.


Loraine posing again in the back of their house in Fresno – the photo is dated October 9, 1955.  She looks pretty proud.

Loraine behind Fresno house 10_9_1955

I know nothing about this photo other than that it’s my dad, Gordon Levy.  I don’t know where he is but I’m guessing he’s on vacation somewhere.  And it looks to be the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  I wish I could see the front of that bag he’s holding but it looks just like the Pan Am bag that was filled with “stuff” that we pulled out of a closet at their home a few years ago. 

Gordon Levy

I’m sure I’ll find more photos with cars and other modes of transportation.  Between that and houses, it seemed like a good back drop for a photo!


  1. Wow, that is a LOT of car photos. For the earlier ones, I can understand the fascination---cars were new, and having one was a big deal. But as time went on, it seems more like your family just really loved cars! I bet I can count on one hand the number of photos of my family with a car somewhere in it. Maybe not even all five fingers would be necessary! And yes, I do think those are the same house. Fun post!

    1. What's funny is that I never remember any of them loving cars or paying much attention to them. Maybe they got it all out of their system early on? I'm sure I'll have many more to add - this was pretty much just from one box. Plus I have more with other forms of transportation - planes and horse/buggy to name a few. It's never ending.

  2. You are lucky to have so many photos. Until I got a camera as a kid, there were not many photographs (and mine were horrible). My uncle took home movies, but they are not easily watched. So whatever they took photographs of---be glad you have them!

  3. I am catching up on my blog reading and, with a brother, a husband, and two sons who love cars (current, not antique), I just had to share that I love this post! A great collection of car photos. Although I have lots of family photos, I have only a handful of photos with cars in them.

    1. I'm hoping to find more. But I also think I'll come up with some other 'themes' like houses, planes, etc.