The Truth About Cars » 1930s The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:22:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1930s Do Today’s Cars All Look Alike? Wed, 10 Apr 2013 14:57:50 +0000

You will find distinct improvements in the 1939 cars. The new cars are generally more functionally streamlined than ever before. Many wind-resisting gadgets have either been completely eliminated or made integral parts of the bodies. Headlights, in most models, have been set in the front fenders both to give wider light range and to reduce wind resistance. Trunk bulges have tended to disappear, but without loss of luggage space. Windshields are generally wider and higher, and corner posts are smaller to improve vision. Interiors are wider and seats designed for greater comfort. Upholstery is more luxurious. Door and window handles are improved to avoid catching clothes. Motors are generally more powerful without any sacrifice in economy. Hydraulic brakes have been improved, and frames and bodies strengthened for safety.

- Collier’s Magazine November 19, 1938

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Junkyard Find: Old Truck Door Signs of Colorado Fri, 07 Dec 2012 14:00:22 +0000 I found a nice assortment of truck door signs of the 1930s through 1960s at this old-school wrecking yard north of Denver last year, and I just had to shoot a few more at this yard south of Denver last week, while picking up my ’41 Plymouth project. The Colorado sun is hard on paint, but I was able to find some legible old signs.
I wonder what the Men In White did. House painting? Moving? Surgery? The seven-digit alphanumeric telephone number suggests that we’re looking at a truck that was retired no later than the mid-1960s.
It appears that this is the door from a Ritz Cab Company taxi, though it’s tough to read the first word. 1947 Chevrolet? 1946 DeSoto?
I can’t find much trace of the Pacific Fruit and Produce Company, though this truck shot in Seattle looks like the same outfit as the one that owned this truck door.
Seeing a reference to an ICC number reminds me of the old Dave Dudley classic.

09 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 -Old Truck Signs Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 7
You Tell ‘em— I Can’t: 82 Years of Ward’s “Ever-Ready” Motor Record Book Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:00:11 +0000 While nosing around in yesterday’s ’64 Valiant wagon Junkyard Find, I spotted this little brown book on the floor beneath the rifled-by-tow-truck-driver glovebox. It looked ancient, far older than even the 48-year-old car in which I found it… but it turns out that you can still buy the Ward’s “Ever-Ready” Motor Record Book.
Actually, we may be dealing with a stash of NOS copies at, but it appears that this car-recordkeeping aid was printed in relatively unchanged form— including the Model A-esque talking car and disturbing cop/book mashup cartoon characters— until at least the early 21st century (the one I found in the Valiant had a 1959 copyright date). Your tire was no bargain! Your battery is dry!
The idea was that you’d have one of these books for each year of your car’s life, and you can take notes for every day; this made more sense when spark plugs and tires didn’t last for years. As you can see, the owner of the Valiant made exactly one notation, in 1990. You don’t need to maintain an A-body, anyway.
It’s probably better to stick with 1930 artwork than to update the cartoon every 25 years or so; were the Ward’s Motor Record Book to have an ’87 Tempo begging the cop/book to enforce order, it would seem depressingly dated rather than entertainingly timeless.

4 - Ward's Motor Record Book - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'CREEP Operative' Greden 1 - Ward's Motor Record Book - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'CREEP Operative' Greden 2 - Ward's Motor Record Book - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'CREEP Operative' Greden 3 - Ward's Motor Record Book - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'CREEP Operative' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 19
Down On The Junkyard: Time Stops At Ancient Colorado Yard Fri, 10 Jun 2011 13:00:23 +0000
Most of my junkyard-prowling experience has taken place at the modern-day self-service yards, where the inventory turns over fast, prices are standardized, and 90% of the cars on the yard tend to be 15 to 20 years old. Now that I’m in a constant search for parts for a 45-year-old Dodge van, I’ve been venturing out to the more traditional wrecking yards, where you haggle for every part and the inventory sits for decades while each and every salable part gets picked. A couple weeks back, I went on a quest for A100 parts at a breathtakingly vintage junkyard located about halfway between Denver and Cheyenne.

This is the first REO I’ve ever seen in a junkyard. Sadly, it’s not an REO Speed Wagon; I believe this is an late-30s REO 19AS.

You know the inventory has been sitting for a while when the junked work trucks have four- and five-digit phone numbers painted on the doors.

The searing high-altitude sun in Colorado has a way of stripping paint down to bare metal over the decades. In the case of this truck, the sun has exposed layers of old business names.

This much-bleached “Goddess of the Rockies” emblem is painted on the door of a 1940s dairy truck.

I was tempted to buy the Goddess of the Rockies truck door, to hang on my garage wall… but then I saw this. Flames, a Viking ship, and a berserker. I may have to steal this design for my van’s paint job.

There’s something sad about an abandoned flathead V8 sitting in the dirt for 50 years.

Looking for parts for your 1955 Nash Statesman project? This one seems just about totally complete.

Just like the MGB-GT and Ferrari 308, the Statesman featured Pininfarina design.

And a “Double Strength” unit body.

Not to mention Weather Eye climate control.

Let’s jump forward a decade to a later AMC product.

Shift Command!

IHC Scouts galore here, including this one that was victimized by a shotgun.

I’ve always loved the old Plymouth sailing-ship hood ornaments, ever since I fell in love with this semi-rat-rodded ’47.

No A100s here, but I know where to go if I ever get a Corvair Greenbrier.

I could spend all day just photographing patina-with-emblem-ghosts.

In fact, I believe I’ll return and do just that. These shots are just scratching the surface.

Even though I left empty-handed (other than these photographs), my friends scored some parts for their 40s Ford pickup projects, off a ’43 military Ford truck with all sorts of cool war-wagon-only goodies, inlcuding a super-rare flip-up windshield.

COJunkyard-77 COJunkyard-01 COJunkyard-02 COJunkyard-03 COJunkyard-05 COJunkyard-06 COJunkyard-07 COJunkyard-10 COJunkyard-12 COJunkyard-13 COJunkyard-14 COJunkyard-17 COJunkyard-18 COJunkyard-19 COJunkyard-21 COJunkyard-22 COJunkyard-23 COJunkyard-24 COJunkyard-25 COJunkyard-26 COJunkyard-27 COJunkyard-28 COJunkyard-29 COJunkyard-30 COJunkyard-31 COJunkyard-32 COJunkyard-33 COJunkyard-34 COJunkyard-35 COJunkyard-36 COJunkyard-37 COJunkyard-41 COJunkyard-42 COJunkyard-43 COJunkyard-44 COJunkyard-45 COJunkyard-46 COJunkyard-47 COJunkyard-48 COJunkyard-49 COJunkyard-50 COJunkyard-51 COJunkyard-52 COJunkyard-53 COJunkyard-54 COJunkyard-56 COJunkyard-57 COJunkyard-58 COJunkyard-59 COJunkyard-60 COJunkyard-61 COJunkyard-62 COJunkyard-63 COJunkyard-64 COJunkyard-65 COJunkyard-66 COJunkyard-69 COJunkyard-71 COJunkyard-74 COJunkyard-75 COJunkyard-76 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 19
Fresno, 1938: Irrigation-Ditch-Jumpin’ Hupmobiles Compete In Old Hack Race Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:00:20 +0000
Imagine California’s Central Valley with no personal-injury attorneys and a glut of sub-50-buck Model Ts, Essexes, and Oaklands. Those are the conditions that led to the incredible Old Hack Race. Hollywood celebrities, drunken college students, rampant gambling, and seatbelt-less clunkers combined to make this event a huge draw during the 1930s. Sadly, the madness got out of hand, even by the lax standards of the era, and the Old Hack Race was canceled after 1939. According to the Fresno State president at the time: “The event, started as a spontaneous expression of college fun, became such a big and complicated affair as to be dangerous both to participants and spectators. It always had its share of thrills, and at first the competition and conditions made these fairly free from any great personal danger. Now, with so many risks involved and no way of providing adequate protection, the hazards have become so great as to make its continuance unwise.”

Or, as the Beastie Boys say:
Got busy in Frisco, fooled around in Fresno
Got over on your girlie cause you know she never says no

Fresno Bee, thanks to Team BMW Douchebag Factory Drivers for the tip!

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Merchants of Speed: The Men Who Built America’s Performance Industry, by Paul D. Smith Fri, 24 Dec 2010 23:00:38 +0000
I’ve got this intimidating stack-o-car books to review— it’s been five months since the last one— and so I figured I’d skim them all and pick out a few winners. I cracked this one open, got hooked right away, and read the whole thing while ignoring the rest of the pile.

This 1938 shot of Ed Iskendarian and his Model T (note the valve covers— cast in Iskendarian’s high-school shop class— on the Ford’s Maxi F-heads) pretty much sums up the book; it’s a collection of short, well-illustrated biographies of 26 men who created the aftermarket performance industry during the immediate postwar era.

I’m already obsessed with Southern California memoirs and biographies (Richard Nixon, James Ellroy, Sister Aimee, Mickey Cohen, and Art Pepper, to name a handful; this one just dragged my head back to SoCal), so even without the rat-rodders-wish-they-looked-this-cool vintage car porn I’d be digging this book in a big way. With the notable exception of Harvey Crane (Crane Cams), just about every one of the 26 “merchants of speed” set up shop in the Los Angeles area, epicenter of the post-World-War-II racing and hot-rodding boom.

The stories of Hilborn, Edelbrock, Offenhauser, Weiand, and plenty of other familiar names may be found in this book’s pages. We also get the stories of big-in-their-time outfits such as Chevy six-cylinder kings Wayne Manufacturing. The ups, the downs, the ripoffs (according to Lou Senter of Ansen Automotive, the design of the Ansen Posi-Shift Floor Shifter was lifted by a person “who became quite a famous floorshift manufacturer” due to a legal gray area in a patent description), and the “where are they now” answers will allow the reader to geek out on engineering and hot-rod-golden-age tales to his or her heart’s content.

Speaking of Lou Senter, check out this blown Packard V8-powered monster! Yes, the first car to break 150 MPH in the quarter-mile on gasoline was Packard powered!

I’m giving “>Merchants of Speed a four-rod rating (out of a possible Mercedes-Benz-OM615-inspired five). Murilee says check it out!


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Studebaker Champion or Peugeot 404? Vast Colorado Junkyard’s Inventory Auctioned Off Sun, 12 Dec 2010 03:00:26 +0000
When I heard from a certain Renault 4CV racer that the inventory of the ancient Seven Sons Auto Salvage wrecking yard in Brighton, Colorado, would be up for auction today, I headed up there in full bat-outta-hell mode. I don’t really need another Hell Project to piss off the neighbors, but what harm could there be in looking?

You can tell from the sign that Seven Sons (located about 30 miles northeast of Denver) was a serious old-school yard; the operation got closed down by an eminent-domain ruling and most of the inventory— I heard the total was 10,000 vehicles— got crushed. A few hundred of the more collectible vehicles were spared for the auctioneer’s gavel.

You have to be a seriously hardbitten old car fanatic to be willing to spend all day freezing in a harsh 34-degree wind in order to get a shot at buying a basket-case ’64 Pontiac Executive wagon for $400, and that’s exactly the kind of guy that showed up to this auction.

We also had a few 24 Hours of LeMons veterans, always on the lookout for new projects and/or race cars. Rich, on the right, picked up a fairly solid ’47 Ford pickup for a good price.

This truck will provide much-needed material for a rat-roddish truck project now underway.

I was quite tempted by a bunch of mid-to-late-1960s full-size Ford fastbacks. Unfortunately, all the nicer ones were small-block cars, plus the value of scrap steel these days means that big Detroit hulks are worth at least $400 at The Crusher. If I’m going to outbid The Crusher, I want a 390 or 428!

Then there was this Peugeot 404, which ended up selling for 300 bucks. If only the windows hadn’t been open for 25 years of Colorado weather, the interior might have been in nice enough shape for me to consider bidding. Finding every single interior component for a 50-year-old French car? Non!

You like old Detroit trucks? Quite the selection to be had at this auction!

One of my favorite trucks was this ex-Air Force 1952 IHC Travelall. I didn’t stick around to see what it sold for, but I noticed quite a few guys hovering around it before the bidding started.

This not-too-terrible 390/automatic ’67 Mustang got a lot of attention as well.

A lot of cool old machines that were too rough to be worth restoring ended up selling at what amounted to scrap prices. I hope they spend some time in other yards before they get eaten, so that some of their parts might live on.

In addition to all the vehicles, many tools and weird non-car-related stuff was for sale. Looking for a player piano? A baby coffin? Outdoor-stored LPs?

How about this for a LeMons car? Unfortunately, the bidding reached $550 on the Champion.
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