Replica LARy Car at Griffith Park, August 1973
Here’s an oddball shot – a replica Los Angeles Railway open streetcar running at Travel Town in Griffith Park in August of 1973. Taken by Ed Sikora, this image has it all – classic 1970s fashions, what passes for decent air quality (note the mountains actually visible on an August day!), and classic 35mm Kodachrome color.
From transit historian Ralph Cantos comes this additional bit of information:
The car was “home built” and featured a Chevrolet Corvair air-cooled gasoline motor.
Know anything more about this car, its builder, or its present-day whereabouts? Let us know in the comments!
Ed Sikora Photo, Steve Crise Collection
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This may be the car that went to Poway Midland RR in northern San Diego County. I was there many years ago and was told that the streetcar was out of service awaiting transmission repairs. The railroad was built to 42″ gauge to carry an industrial switcher saddletank steam locomotive, so the LARy car was literally a “good fit”. It was originally modified to be gasoline powered by the movie studio filming “Gaily, Gaily” back in 1969.
Bob, would this be that same car? Scroll to 2:09…
The old LARy car in Poway, numbered 57, has the same odd style roof, but it has a closed section. Poway still has their car, which is also powered by a Corvair engine like the one in Travel Town, indicating that it was probably in the movie Gaily Gaily..
Travel Town still has their car with the same odd style roof, which I believe is the same car as pictured at the top of this blog. See:
Travel Town’s website calls it as a horsecar, but I believe it was the same Corvair-powered car from the movie and in the photo above. Today, the Travel Town car is in extremely dilapidated condition, having completely collapsed and the remnant of the roof sitting on what looks like a 4 wheel flat car now. I believe that these two cars acquired their Corvair engines so they would operate in the movie.
The one in the picture was used as a ride at Travel Town for several years, after Oahu Rwy No. 85 stopped running, until it too disintegrated. Today, the Travel Town route is handled by the “Melody Ranch Special”, which was acquired from Gene Autrey.
Thank you, Gary, this is incredible information.
In looking further into this, the car that fell apart may actually be a horsecar, but there is another open bench trolley at Travel Town which could be the one that once ran, and might be the one in the picture. However, this second larger car has been so completely rebuilt that I cannot be sure. If you visit Travel Town, the disintegrated horse car is at the west end of park, and the rebuilt open bench trolley is in the center near the snack stand.