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A Late Start: 1940

A Late Start: 1940

October 1940. "Oldest Sauer boy cranking family car. Cavalier County, North Dakota." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Sauer is a familiar name.....

I grew up with a family of Sauers who lived around and in the towns of Carpio and Foxholm North Dakota. I wonder if they are related to the Sauer pictured in this photograph?

A Late Start: 1940

There are 14 other photos of the family that were taken by John Vachon, but none gave the first names of any of the family members. My research indicates clearly that the father in the truck was Peter Sauer, and the son was Clarence Sauer. Clarence died in Cavalier County is 2006. I talked to the widow of one of Clarence's brothers. She didn't know about the photos. She is going to get me in touch with one of Clarence's sisters, who is in at least one of the other photos.

[The number of photos is at least 25, including many not in this gallery that don't have captions. For example, three other photos of this car. - Dave]

Watchful dog

He's keeping an eye on any oncoming traffic.

My oh my

it really is flat in North Dakota, I think I can see Moose Jaw across the border.

The trunk

Now I know why they call it that.


Looks like that kid knows what he's doing, as he appears to be pulling on that crank instead of pushing -- one of two precautions necessary to avoid a broken arm/wrist should the engine kick back. The other precaution was to grasp the crank so as to keep the thumb on the same side of the handle as the fingers.

Incidentally, emergency cranks are still supplied with small marine diesel engines. At least one model, made in Japan, carries a warning label: "Adult males only! Women and children not allowed!"

The Car

1928-29 Dodge Victory Six.

Evolving Automotive Design

Though this handsome big sedan was likely a model from about 1928-32, it sure looked very different from the "new" 1940 cars; nowadays a ten or twelve year old car much more closely resembles the 2012 models.

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