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Geared to the Road: 1924

Geared to the Road: 1924

San Francisco circa 1924. "Hudson Super Six touring car at Spreckels Mansion." Plucked from the Shorpy Pantheon of Pharaonic Phaetons. Our title comes from the slogan on the car's gigantic Miller Cord tires. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

I don't think ...

... the doors were poorly fitted. I think that's the way they were designed to look. Also I don't think that was a single brake light. I think it was just a reflector like they have on bicycles.

[It's a lamp with an electric bulb. - Dave]

Trunk or boot

I see why we still call that space in the back of our cars a trunk. It was a trunk. So why do the British call it a “boot?” Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

[The boot locker was where your coachman or driver kept his boots. - Dave]


I suppose the padlock on the sidemount spare might have been justified, but it is curious that the one on the external trunk is used not to protect the contents but rather to keep the entire trunk secured to the vehicle. I also had not noticed before the vertical bars between the trunk and the rear of the car body, presumably to prevent movement of the trunk from damaging the body panels.

The other thing that is revealed by the shadows is the shockingly poor fit of the doors, which seem to jut out at the bottom from the body structure itself. Odd on what is otherwise an impressive-looking vehicle.

Several degrees from Elvis

The Spreckels mansion was designed by George A. Applegarth for Adolph B. Spreckels, an heir to the Spreckels Sugar Co. fortune. At 2080 Washington Street, it is currently the home of romance novelist Danielle Steel. Judy Spreckels, the ex-wife of Adolph Jr., became a huge fan of Elvis Presley, traveling and hanging with him and his entourage in LA, Vegas and Memphis.

Give me a brake

Check out the puny single brake light, placed low where no one will see it.

No Okies Here

Although it was a Hudson Super Six of this vintage that years later purportedly carried the semi-fictional Joads from Oklahoma to California in "The Grapes of Wrath," it is extremely unlikely that theirs featured double-sided whitewalls or full spare wheels (as opposed to merely the demountable rims). Nor was their Hudson likely to have bristled with padlocks like the photo car -- quite an oddity considering that anyone possessing a short length of wire could have made off in minutes with the entire vehicle.

Just for hooligans

The spare tire has a padlock. I didn't know that feature was required then.

We just love rooting through customers' cars looking for the key for the locking lug nuts. In a perfect world, the last people that touched it put it back where it belongs.

Once in a while we will get a car owned by a packrat. Stuff piled to the ceiling, with who knows what living under the pile of magazines and old food. The trunk is usually stuffed too, and the key is buried somewhere in there.

No one really steals alloy wheels anymore so we usually use our special tool to get the locking lug nut off, and install four new lug nuts to match the others.


I'd love to see this colorized. In its present condition, it almost looks like Pershing's spare staff car.

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