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All in the Springs: 1919

All in the Springs: 1919

San Francisco, 1919. "Overland auto." And if you don't like my driving, get off the sidewalk! 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.


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No need to reinvent the wheel.

While working as a young automotive engineer in the early 1970s for Cadillac Motor Car Division, I was part of a design team developing bumper systems that would met the 2.5 and 5 mph federal safety standards. The first idea we tried was based on springs like these. This idea was soon replaced with shock absorbing bumper mounts (another old idea turned 90 degrees).

[I've owned four 1972 Cadillacs with the 2.5 mph front bumpers. Look at them too hard and they get sprung five different ways. So thanks for that! - Dave]

The car that got away

I was a Denver high school senior in 1952 when I found an Overland car at a local wrecking yard. It was restorable in my opinion and the guy wanted $25. I got the money and returned with a friend who was going to help me tow it home. The guy would not sell to me without written parental permission. That queered the deal. For years, I had daydreams about what I could have done with that car.

Now a Nissan dealership

Van Ness is still the mecca of auto business in SFO!

Willys Overland Pacific Company building

At Van Ness Avenue and Bush Street.

Singularly sprung

This car, the "baby Overland," had triplex springs -- two short cantilever springs mating at a point ahead of the radiator, hidden from view under an apron. No other car, Willys models among them, had this feature.

It's the Fuzz!

The license plate indicates that the vehicle is being used by law enforcement. Our local police museum has a similar license plate (w/star). In the late '20s, the local constable used his own vehicle for police work.

[Incorrect. The star was on all 1919 California license plates. - Dave]

"It's All in the Springs"

According to Joseph A Friedman, Dept of Sales.

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