This vintage postcard of a Vultee Vanguard P-48 is a real photo post card. It is signed by the photographer "©1941 W. J. Gray. LA" the LA standing for Los Angeles. I'm not finding any information about W. J. Gray other than some cards for sale of movie stars, planes, planes, and General MacArthur. If anyone has links to information I'd appreciate them.

Vultee Vanguard P.48_tatteredandlost

As to the Vultee Vanguard P-48, here's a brief bit of information from Wikipedia:
The Vultee P-66 Vanguard was an accidental addition to the USAAF's inventory of fighter aircraft. It was initially ordered by Sweden, but by the time the aircraft were ready for delivery in 1941, the United States would not allow them to be exported, designating them as P-66s and retaining them for defensive and training purposes. Eventually, a large number were sent to China where they were pressed into service as combat aircraft with indifferent results.

The Vultee Vanguard was the product of an idea conceived in the late 1930s by the Vultee Aircraft Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation of developing four aircraft designed for different roles from a set of common wings and aft fuselage and tail assemblies. The company assigned four model designations: V-48 to a single seat fighter, BC-51 to a basic combat trainer, B-54 to an advanced trainer, and BC-54D as a basic trainer. Eventually the BC-51 would become the Army Air Corps BC-3 and the BC-54D, the BT-13.

In 1938, Richard W. Palmer started the detailed design of the V-48 fighter member of the quartet. The aircraft featured a metal covered, semi-monocoque fuselage and fully retractable landing gear powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial air-cooled engine. During construction of the first prototype, a decision was made to lengthen the propeller shaft and install a tight cowling to provide a pointed nose to reduce drag. The first aircraft flew in September 1939, and was assigned registration number NX21755. The fighter was named the Vanguard.

Flight tests revealed the aircraft was suffering from inadequate cooling. Measures to modify the cooling ducting were of little avail. After re-evaluating the design, and noting that the insignificant drag decrease was not worth the added weight and ducting problems, the second prototype, which was assigned the model number V-48X and registration NX19999, was modified with a conventional cowl and the first aircraft were similarly modified. The second aircraft first flew on 11 February 1940. As a result of flight tests, a number of changes were made to the design including substantially increasing the areas of the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
I see that this same post card is for sale on ebay from around $6 to $15.


  1. Very interesting. This is the second Vultee postcard I've seen. I posted one of a Consolidated Vultee Convair 240 (1946) back in April - not nearly as nice as this one though.

  2. At first glance it looks like a Cutlass.

  3. Anonymous6/23/2011

    Thank you I just didn't quite understand how these blogs work. This is one of many post cards my grandpa took of war planes,race horses (Santa Anita mostly), and movie stars I had a large collection of them but they were stolen from me some 20+ years ago.He wasn't famous but did this work for a living that is why you had trouble finding information on him.I can tell you more if you like...cllnruggles@yahoo.com

  4. This is my father's photo one of many we made and shipped to Woolworth's and many other stores for GI's to buy for 5 cents to send to their familes - thanks for rediscovering this for me.

    1. You're welcome. It's a wonderful shot.

      If you look above your comment you'll see one I received years ago that I have held onto, only posting it now. Because there is an email address in it I won't be leaving it up. Is this comment from a son or daughter of yours?