A few months back we had a Hooniverse Asks in which I queried you as to when you thought cars became ‘modern.’ Most of you felt that cars built from about the mid-’70s onward could be considered modern due to their driving capabilities and build materials. Sure there were exceptions to the rule, but for the most part anything with a fat bumper and a catalytic convertor was, to the majority of you, a modern car.
Today’s question concerns cars that today could not under any circumstances be considered modern, especially not in regards to braking, handling or safety. The automotive industry, especially in the U.S., came into being in the last decade of the nineteenth century, however it wasn’t until the teens that cars like the Model T brought automobile ownership to the masses. That era, the Model T age so to speak, saw an incredible explosion in auto makers and the number of models offered. Even the great depression couldn’t totally quell the desire for new iron, although most of the new makes that arose in the previous two decades did die along with the stock market and Middle America’s dreams.
But the auto industry still chugged along – popping out both new models and new technologies – V8 engines, electric start, the car radio to name a few – and it seemed that noting could stop this 20th Century juggernaut. Then arrived Pearl Harbor, an evil little Guy with an even littler mustache, and a defining moment in the history of the World. Dubbya-Dubbya Two put such strains on the American industry that auto production had to give way to the likes of B29 production, aircraft carrier production, and M4 Sherman production. So complete was the halt in civilian auto making that this event serves as a delimiter of eras – those being pre-war and post-war.
Most of us fall into that post-war period, and hence naturally gravitate to the cars and trucks that likewise were produced after the global conflict. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate those that came before. For me, it’s the ’33 Fordor V8 that really floats my boat. I don’t know if it’s the rakish look – exemplified best in the edition with four suicide doors – or maybe it’s that it seems to be the prototype for the Citroen Traction Avant, yet another of my favorites. What about you, is there a car or truck from the era of flapper dresses and speakeasies that flaps your dress or speaks easily to you? What pre-war car would you most like to have?
Image source: [eaglefreeenterprises.com]
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