3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago#591by JP
JP created the topic: Automobiles of the 1930: Antique Cars
Chrysler Custom Imperial Roadster Convertible by LeBaron (CL) '1933
If you are, as the say, “of a certain age,” you’ll probably remember the popular song, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” Thankfully this writer cannot. And you don’t have to admit that you do, either. The Great Depression was ushered in by a plummeting New York Stock Exchange in October of 1929. My mother can still remember that time in her life. You see, she’s 95 years young. An amazing specimen of old age mixed with a virulent mind. Tonight I’ll ask her if she remembers this song. Since she loves music, and politics, I bet she’ll be the one person I need to carry on with this article about the 1930s.
It definitely was a rough period of time.
Hmm. This is probably a good time to muse about one of the stories she told me about that era of time. You see, her dad was a Pennsylvania coal miner for many years. He was a smart man. As his back began to say, “This work is for the young!” he decided to turn the basement of their home into a general store. He was a kind man whose heart was bigger than his business acumen. He let the “down and outers” run tabs with him because many of them wore shoes that were made with cardboard soles; they rarely had a change of clothes or a dime in their pockets. But his heart never left them. His compassion told him to help them, even to his own hurt. And as you would probably guess, they never paid those debts off. But I bet afterward each one of them spoke about him fondly and often. In fact, I once saw his dusty ledger many years after my uncle died in 2003 when we were cleaning out the old house. There were many numbers that were never reduced to zero. God bless him. He cared more for his neighbors than he did about money because he knew God would provide…and He did; his kids never missed a meal. I think this speaks to the 1930s. These were people who still cared for their neighbors.
The Reader’s Digest version of the story of the Great Depression is that one day the stock market crashed. Strong companies saw their net incomes decline 58% over the next two years. Between 1928 and 1932, the national income dropped from $82 billion to $40 billion. There are a lot of interesting studies and stories published about this most grueling period of time in America’s history. However, nothing in time can diminish the triumph of the car industry which overcame many obstacles thrown its way by the depressed economy. Despite it all, they continued to press on and developed better and more appealing versions of man’s greatest invention, the automobile.
For the U.S. car maker, the crash couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. In the mid-1920s, the American automobile industry truly emerged from the horse-less-carriage age. Unworkable ideas for self-propelled vehicles had not been abandoned and the internal-combustion gasoline engine (with the notable exception of the Doble steam car) ultimately reigned supreme. Engineers were consistently successful in wringing previously unheard of amounts of horsepower out of that engine.
1928 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron 7 passenger car
Designers in the great coach-building house-LeBaron, Murphy, Rollston, Brewster, Waterhouse and others were creating some of the most extraordinary styling ever to roll on four wheels. Many new companies and “makes” were just getting started: Plymouth, DeSoto, Graham, Cord, Roosevelt, American Austin, Viking Pontiac, LaSalle and Marquette. Some of the most impressive models ever built by the more established companies were just being announced. But, oops, there was a hiccup in the economy. And it turned out to be just that…a hiccup. The industry showed its innovative zeal for perfection.
Before I go on, let’s check out these models to see what was evolving at this most inopportune time in history:
1932 Buick 90 Series Town Car, body by Murphy
1929 Packard 645 Rollston Roadster
1929 Brewster Rolls-Royce Phantom II Newmarket Sport Sedan
1929 Graham-Paige Model 612
1931 Ford Model A
1932 Pontiac 402 Coupe
1932 Cadillac LaSalle
1929 Graham-Paige Model 612
1929 Cord L-29 Special Coup
Stayed tuned in for my next article about the 1930s and their cars. JP