Rushville Republican

Columns

November 5, 2013

Fond memories of past automobiles

(Continued)

Uncle Ross had a Model T that you had to actually crank to get started. The starter button on the floor was next to the light button to dim or undim the head lights. In some early models there was no turn signal the driver had to use hand signals for turns, straight out for left turns, upright for right turns, down at an angle for slowing down. Automatic windows and air conditioning of autos were unknown. You cranked the windows up and down and had small air vents in the windows up front to allow outside air to circulate around the interior during hot days. The back seat had a shelf like thing behind the back seat where I would take a nap when we had a long trip. Some cars had doors that opened the way they do today others had back doors that opened opposite from that and were called suicide doors because they opened backward.

Chevrolet had nothing but a 6 cylinder engine available until 1955 then they came out with a small V8 and boy did it have zip. Ford had a V8 and made much of it before other cars went to a V8 rather than a straight 8. Cars had metal hoods over the front windows to shade the inside during sunny weather, and to help keep the rain off the windshield. Vinyl was a popular interior fabric as was the lay out of the seats. The single person seats of today were bench seats and could easily accommodate 3 across. And in my mind at least the cars were wider and roomier for the occupants. A four door car could easily accommodate 6 people comfortably. In later times the roof of the car also was available with a vinyl cover for some stupid reason.

Each car came with a tool kit made up of a hammer, screwdriver and pair of pliers. I never did actually figure out why they did this but every car had them. The spare tire was a tire not what is called a donut in many today. And they were readily available not like many of the new cars of today. The jack was stored with the tire and was one that fit on the bumper, which all the cars had in those days, and not difficult to use. Car dealers were very mindful of the customer and knew in a few years they would be looking for a new car so they did all they could to make you happy. There were few accessories available that were electric or automatic. In reality compared to today there were few outside items one could get on their car. Dad always liked to have as many extras as he could because they were and I would guess still are money makers for the dealers.

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