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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Rumble-Seat Rodent: 1928

Rumble-Seat Rodent: 1928

San Francisco. "Hudson roadster at Lafayette Park, 1928." With a boy and his basket bringing up the rear. 5x7 glass negative by Chris Helin. View full size.

 

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Rumble Seat

I am still amazed how someone could get away with an idea like that and even sell it. The epitome for a rough and dangerous ride.

In Germany a rumble seat is called "Schwiegermutter Sitz", in English: "Mother-in-law seat" (No kidding!). I wonder why.

Angus J's rumble seat car

1933-34 Ford 5-window rumbleseat coupe. Both year models were very similar, so it's hard to spot differences in this shot. But Aunt Molly's ride appears to be one or the other. 1934 was the last year Ford had suicide front doors. This is a 1933:

Aunt Molly in the Rumble Seat of a ?

My father is standing beside his car, with his sister Molly and an unidentified gentleman in the rumble seat. This photo was taken near the family home on Cornish Road in Toronto, Ontario. The year was about 1941, and shortly thereafter my father travelled to Britain for World War II service with the Ordnance Corps of the Canadian Army. Can anyone ID the year and model of the car?

Safety Last

True family story: Way back when, my mother-in-law was riding in a rumble seat with her then-fiance and a group of friends out on an excursion in Minnesota. The car (as I recall) blew a tire and started to skid over an embankment. Her beau picked her up bodily and tossed her to safety on the roadside. He and the others died in the ensuing crash.

So, in odd circumstances, maybe it can be safer.

The Little Fellow

The cheese stands alone

One wonders who originated the idea that just one member of the party, the "ostracized one" would be excluded and isolated from the conversation inside the vehicle and be most at risk from being exposed to the possibility of bad weather, getting rear-ended by a truck, or being pelted by rocks and garbage tossed by mischievous delinquents.

Although I actually did enjoy getting a ride or two in my cousin's jalopy way back when, it was on a remote, rural road with little traffic. Because of the safety issues, I doubt we will see this invention ever used again in the future, so I should be grateful that I experienced this unique oddity once upon a time.

The safety of the rumble seat.

Out of reach of Dad's backhand when you were being bad.

DOT Rated Tires

If this photograph was for an official Chevrolet advertisement, someone would have had to line up the white dots exactly the same (usually at the top), indexing a particular prominent feature such as a valve stem, hubcap facet or spoke pattern.

Big car or small people?

I fondly remember the acerbic Michael Sedgwick's books about automotive history, where he also spent some time on car advertisements; he used to talk about the "performing midgets" shown in line art and paintings of the day, intended to subtly (or not so subtly) exaggerate the size of the product. Here, it looks like some them are at work in photographic form, they make this Hudson look like a locomotive!

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