The Hampton News: Helping To Build A Stronger Community Together.

Greg's Meats

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bill's Bits

THE 50'S - Fender skirts that were on the back fenders were popular on some cars. (the Hudsons were noted for having them.)

A knob on the steering wheel made it easier to make sharp turns.  Some knobs even had a picture of a current movie star on them.

Wind shield wipers were attached above the windshield.  They were controlled by the speed of the car, to some degree.  If you were stepping on the gas, they would hesitate and then start again, when you let up on the gas.  This was because the wipers were controlled by the vacuum of the car's motor.

The headlights were controlled by a switch mounted on the floor of the car on the left hand side.  From high beam to low was one press of the floor switch.  From low to high beam was two presses on the floor switch.

There were no turn indicators on cars for some time, so a driver had to do hand signals.  If you were turning left, the driver's arm was to be extended straight out the window to the left.  If the driver was turning right, the driver had to put their arm out the window and the arm was to be up from elbow.  If you were going to stop, the arm was out the window and hanging down from the elbow.

Automatic tranmissions were not on the scene yet so the car's gears had to be switched by pushing in a clutch on the left side of the car's floor.  This was somewhat tricky, because if you let the clutch out too quick, the car would "jerk" forward or backword.  The main gears were Low, 2nd, and High, or 3rd.  Later, "over-drive" was added and that would "kick in" at about 30 miles an hour when you let up on the gas.

Some cars had the starter button located below the brake pedal on the floor.  Later there was a push button located on the dash of the car.

Ignition switches on cars varied.  Some were on the dash board and others were on the right side of the steering column of the car.

All the windows had to be rolled down by hand and the rear windows only went down half-way for some odd reason. On some models, the front wind shield could be turned open part way to let in some cool air.  Keep in mind that there was no air-conditioning back then either.

Quite often the tires had a broad white stripe on them and they were considered quite "sporty" if you were a teenager and lucky enough to have a car.  The family car stayed with black tires,. (no white stripes) Most cars had the traditional "hub caps" covering the bolts and nuts on  the car's wheels. The "cool" thing was to have "spinners" that also covered the bolts and nuts also, but were more "flashy."

The tires on car's were generally standard grade tires, but with the Minnesota Winter approaching a driver's thought's turned to putting "snow tires" on the rear drive wheels.  They tended to ride a little "rougher," but they did help the driver to get through the winter snows.

Garages for cars were not common back then, but people that lived on farms parked their car in an open area of the farms grainry or corn crib.  The side affect of this was that some times birds would sit on a plank or beam above the car and mess up the car's hood and top.  The good news was that by being protected from cold driving winter winds, the car started much better.

Here ends the story of driving cars back in the "fifties" and earlier and sometimes later.  I probably missed some items, so if any reader's want to add a story or two about the subject, let me know. 

No comments: