Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cars of Yesterday

Has anyone else noticed how boring the cars look today? It used to be that I could identify the make and model of every one that came down the road. Today's have stinko style. I don't even try to name the maker anymore and it was a fun thing to do when I was younger. 

My past car memories mostly come from old family photos. I do, however, remember being left in an old car on the brown plush (picky) seat when the other passengers left and walked up a grassy hill. I believe it was to attend the burial of a relative. The shades in the car were pulled halfway down so the sunshine wouldn't make me too hot and the tassels were fun to play with as I handled them. There was some sort of tilted foot rest on the floor below my seat that could be moved forward and backward. The ceiling was of soft material to the touch of my little hands, and I had to stand up to feel it. 

I learned to drive in a 1935 Ford with a floor stick and clutch. The first one of my own I bought from a boyfriend when he went into the Marines for $50.00. It was a 1940 Ford. We were always a Ford family, and my mother wrote a lengthy story about each car she could remember them having.     See 1989 story below..... 

Here are a couple of photos that show OLD cars of my family. 
Picnic Anyone? Great Uncle John 'seated'
 Goin' on a honeymoon in 1934
 My Dad is the top circle photo and the left side picture of the 1934 ad
My Mother's Written Story
The Evolution of a “Ford Family”

“There’s a Ford in your Future” was true for me long before the slogan of the Ford Motor Car Company became seen in ads and on billboards.

It probably all began back in 1916 when my dad was given a ride in a friend’s new Ford touring car on one bright Sunday afternoon. So enthused was he that very soon he decided that he and my mother would just have to have one. They purchased the “latest model” and planned a trip from New Jersey to Florida. This rash decision, to drive this great distance, horrified his neighbors, particularly since they were taking me along with them, as I was a child of only two. With the aid of the trusty old “Blue Book,” courage, and perseverance they conquered the sandy roads, the red brick ones, and yes, even the “corduroy” ones. Without serious mishaps, “Lizzie,” side curtains and all, brought us all safely to a warmer climate, mostly for my benefit, as I had recently recovered from a severe bout with pneumonia. Pressure of business did not permit sufficient time for my father to drive back to New Jersey at the end of the season, but Lizzie was carefully loaded aboard a ship and transported safely homeward along with her proud owners. My mother became one of the first women drivers in her country hometown, and continued to be an excellent driver for many years.

The year 1922 brought improvements in cars as well as my parents’ finances. They could then afford the convenience of the closed sedan. This was an amazing comfort after years of fumbling with side curtains in all kinds of weather. By this time, I was developing a fondness for riding and often watched my dad on many Saturday afternoons clean spark plugs, then wash and polish the shiny black sedan. This whiz of the 20’s served the family well. When still in grammar school I was beginning to beg to be allowed to “just steer a little.” This my mother occasionally granted when we went out for a short drive along the lightly-used roads in the local park on Spring afternoons. The thrill went very deep and all I could think of was the day that I could be old enough to get my driver’s license. On my 17th birthday, Father allowed me to apply for it. My father (shame on him!) had suffered from an attack of prosperity and bought (sh-hh) another make automobile which I soon learned to drive and successfully passed the exam.

In another part of the state, a young man, enthusiastic about his first steady job, bought his first Ford, a 1929 gorgeous dark blue roadster. So pleased was he with it, that he bought a 1930 and then another…a 1931. Then he, too, was the victim of the same prosperity bug, and (double shame on him) went to a larger and flashier car. (This may or may not have been a part of my courtship.) Wedding plans were made and in 1934, starting off on the right foot again, he bought a brand new black Ford coupe for the honeymoon.

This was the real beginning of our Ford Family. The Fords came along, one after the other as did the Children; first Daughter, then Son and finally Twin Girls. The Fords, each doing its share in molding the 1936 “60” many miles before failing eyesight forced him to give up driving just a year before his death.

New Ford Families had begun to take shape. Our daughter, while still in high school had bought, all on her own, her first car—yes, you guessed it—a 1940 Ford that she paid for out of her first earnings from her first job. She dolled up the little Ford with loving care, aided and abetted by another boyfriend, himself a mechanic and Ford fan and naturally driving one of his own at the same time as well. She and her boyfriend rebuilt the motor themselves. His hobby had always been working on older cars. Before long the boyfriend became our Son-in-Law and can now count no less than nine Fords to his ownership. The pattern is now complete. They graduated to a heavier, though still a Ford Motor Car product, but guess what—that past summer my husband found a perky little 1951 for her to get around in while Son-in-Law worked. This little ‘51 was actually a two-family Ford all summer while members of both families used it as needed. Six grand-children were added to our ever branching-out Ford Families, and used to beg to ride in their grandpa and grandma’s big “Wagon.” Our daughter’s family bought a wagon as well and she and her offspring have owned many other Fords and Ford products to date.

Now we come to another member of the family. Our son, as soon as he was old enough to drive (even before that, if the truth was known) was able to handle Father’s Fords like a veteran. Sure enough, as soon as he had his license he was not content to use the family car and soon found one for himself; this time a 1949 “six.” Wouldn’t you just know what happened! After serving his required time in the service, he returned home to start looking for a newer and slightly heavier car. Still loyal to Ford products, he, too, found what he wanted and, like all young men who love cars, enjoyed working on it and was fast learning the pleasures and privileges which ownership can foster. He has since also owned a ‘54 Mercury, ‘37 Ford, ‘70 blue van, ‘75 tan van, ‘79 green van, ‘34 truck, ‘54 blue truck and a ‘63 F-100 plus several others.

A new note entered the picture with the twins. The girls could hardly wait until they were old enough to drive. When they were seniors in high school, their father was especially lucky and found for them a good substantial 1950 model, which answered their needs for school and after-school jobs. Both paid for not only the original cost of that car, but its upkeep as well…even the insurance and licenses. Their father insisted on this routine with all of his children before they were allowed to buy a car, as he felt, and rightly so, that the experience of buying and maintaining a car would be a valuable one in molding their characters. One of the twins went into nurse’s training after high school and her need for a car was temporarily halted, but you can be sure that both girls have had many Fords, Mercuries and Thunderbirds since, as have THEIR five children!

“A Ford in Your Future” – indeed there was. As you can see, this wasn’t the end of the Ford Family, but rather the beginning of at least four more Ford Families of the Future. If the reader had a pencil and paper at hand he would now have counted at least 37 Fords or Ford products at this writing. I never did mention our ice blue or white Lincolns, did I? Today I drive a 1987 Mercury Colony Park (9 passenger) Wagon. I especially appreciate the ease of loading groceries and we feel quite secure in this large and heavy car. We’re not done yet!!!

Pauline F. Nulton
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Guess what car we have today? 
 🚘 A Ford Escape, of course!  👍


  1. A Ford Escape. Cute. I love the story. We have a Nissan Qashqai (eh ... I had to ask it my son, haha)

  2. A very entertaining post. When I was young we were a Chrysler family. Not Chryslers per say but Plymouths. I have driven Fords or Ford products since my 1984 Thunderbird. One of my favorite cars.

  3. I loved, loved, LOVED reading this. It brought back many memories for me too! We're of the age where we can remember all the old models/styles [of cars, NOT US!!].

    My first car was 3 speed manual. Then, I had a four on the floor at one time...they're great climbing mountains and going down hill.

    Yep, all cars look the same these days...You can't tell a Nissan from an Audi!

    [I had three older brothers who were all 'into' cars and I inherited their interest]