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Essex Ascending: 1930

Essex Ascending: 1930

San Francisco, 1930. "Essex Super Six climbing Webster Street hill." Latest display in the Shorpy Diorama of Discontinued Dreadnoughts. 5x7 inch glass negative by automotive impresario Christopher Helin. View full size.


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Hills of San Francisco

All of these automobile photos appear to be trying to sell us on the car being able to climb the hills in San Francisco. That's nice and all, but I would be impressed when I see someone start off on that incline without choking down the car or burning up the clutch. I think you need a Studebaker "Hill Holder" to handle that.

Bill Cosby is poison now, but his old routine about driving in San Francisco was a hoot.

Cosby: Well, I don't want to let [the guy behind me] know I can't drive, so I say "Come around, idiot, come around!" but he can't hear me because he's busy telling the guy behind him, "Come around, idiot, come around!"

She had an Essex

Polly Archer, my grandmother's best friend, had a 1926 Essex that was her very first car (purchased in the early/mid 1930s) that she never got rid of. She had it until she died in the late 1980s.

This is obviously a VERY upgraded car, since hers still had Kerosene headlamps. Many is the time that I remember "Aunt Polly" taking us around the block in that car in the 1970s and 1980s after one of her Luau BBQs; we'd put on ancient 1920s hats and motor around Portsmouth, Virginia on lazy Saturday evenings.

Even though it was a full sedan, it STILL had a rumble seat, instead of a trunk. My older sister got to ride in the rumble seat.... once. I never did.

Note to Engineering Department


We've getting some complaints about the transitions on the Webster Street hill. Yes, car dealers say they aren't sharp enough. Take a look at this photo. I want a full review with suggestions, including time and costs, on how to make this transition even sharper so even more cars will "high center".


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