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Bruiser: 1931

Bruiser: 1931

Washington, D.C., 1931. "Auto accident." I will leave it up to Shorpy Nation to determine the location and make of this dented dreadnought. 8x10 safety negative, National Photo Company Collection. View full size.


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1929 Peerless

Appears to be a 1929 Peerless.

Those Galvanized Tubs

Those tubs had a great many uses outside their primary use of scrubbing board washtubs.

I spent many a summer day in one as it did duty as an outdoor pool and come Saturday night you could fill it with a 25 lb slab of ice from the ice man to cool down the Royal Crowns and Gunther beer for a backyard party.

Also with a broomstick and twine it doubled as a bass fiddle or if you liked Krupa or Cole you could bang away with a couple of sticks to the tune of either Topsy or Turvy.

A Possibility

The only crash I can come up with which might match this is the June 1931 crash of the wife of Pennsylvania Senator Davis in Frederick, Maryland, as she was on her way back to Washington from Gettysburg PA. She was driving a coupe and struck in the side while passing a milk truck. No serious injuries, but it did warrant a trip to the hospital.

[This is a four-door sedan, not a coupe. - Dave]

Double Jeopardy

Your grandparents were right. The glass in these cars were extremely dangerous. Equally dangerous were the steering columns which were not designed to collapse during frontal impacts. It was not uncommon for a drivers to be fatally impaled from frontal collisions at speeds as low as 25 mph. So much for the saying "they don't build 'em like they used to"!

Glass Cabinet Cars

I'm told that for years, my Dutch immigrant grandparents refused to ride in a "glazen kast" (glass cabinet) car because of the danger of glass shards as so clearly evidenced here. Maybe they had a point back then!


Hit in the driver's side door by another vehicle, which propelled it off the road causing the front-end damage. Doesn't explain the left rear fender well, though.

Such a masculine machine -- like a boxer cut and bruised after a fight.

Buff right out?

At least this was in the days when it *could* be economically repaired! Other than the panel in front of the driver's door (which probably could be buffed out), everything else damaged just bolted on.

Today, if that car were more than a few years old, it'd be totaled by the "insurance" company!

Based on the hubcap design

My guess is that it's a Peerless.

[You were the only person to venture a guess, and you are correct! Circa 1930 Peerless. - Dave]

Danger glass

I didn't even notice the broken windshield. What can be seen is a clean break, as the large shards are absent in this view. I would have been looking for the telltale spiderweb of modern laminated safety glass, an invention that is too easy to take for granted.

The Shadow Knows

Also memorialized are the photographer's and his camera's shadows!

This boat hit everything!

Front bumper torn off.
Base of radiator pushed back.
RF Fender crumpled
Right headlight turned a little outward.
LF Fender crumpled.
Running board bent downward.
Drivers door is crumpled, with a section rolled up into a fist sized ball.
LR Fender bent.

I'd venture to say this guy did all this himself going to fast, spinning out, and bouncing from solid object to solid object.

[Also: Large hole in windshield on passenger side. - Dave]

Good Observation

If that ain't a cat it's a dog.

I also like the stone curbs. There are areas in the city I live in that still have stone curbs and brick streets.

Not that bad

It'll buff right out!


There appears to be a kitten coming through the hole in the gate at the very precise moment the photographer took this picture, thus memorializing himself for eternity or for at least as long as the picture lasts. Very clever, these felines. (Or is that a piece of debris?)

What exactly is that light

mounted slightly in front of the drivers door, almost on top of the hood? An extra headlamp? A searchlight? I ask because my father once owned a decrepit 40 Ford model sedan that had exactly the same thing, but it was so long ago (I was just 6 or 7 years old then) I never found out what it was for before he sold the car for scrap.

[Parking light. One on each side. - Dave]

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