Those Were the Days of ‘Differents’ !

Those Were the Days of ‘Differents’ !

Nick Volochatiuk – Dances with Words

I didn’t become a licensed driver until Remembrance Day in 1955. The day after, I started a job driving a 1948 Ford F-48 panel truck. Sam Fogel of Flowerdale Florist on Vaughan Road in Toronto was my very patient boss.

My interest in vehicles was sparked by a Ford Model A pickup truck that my brother Morris, who was ten years older, owned. In 1952 we attended the Model A meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. The older vehicle barely made it back. What an adventure that was! However, I fell in love with this truck. I now drive my third pickup, a high mileage 2007 Mazda B3000.

Now that I’ve established myself as an automotive journalist, I’ll continue with this week’s topic: “What the cars of the 1950s had – and didn’t have”. Cars were really different back then. I start at the front and work my way backwards.

The front bumper was strong enough to push another vehicle. (Attach a rug or floor mat to the bumper to prevent scratches.) The front license plate had to be changed every year. (It would take Rost less than 12 months to combine the nuts and bolts into a nearly inseparable unit.) Bug screens were fitted to the front grille for the long drive to visit relatives in Ethelbert, Manitoba. No parking lights that come on as soon as the engine is started. Sharp protruding hood ornaments that could impale a pedestrian. (Safety measures eventually required them to be reduced to flush.) The windshields were sloped for better aerodynamics, but still one-piece, or two-piece Vs for even better streamlining. Whitewall tires – often painted on. Wire curb sensors to prevent scuffing of the white walls. Triangular casement windows for drawing in outside air. Flashing was done by extending the arm outward after manually winding down the driver’s window. (No one has ever thought of imitating a four-way emergency flasher.) Foot-operated floor button to operate high beam headlights. Clutch pedal to the left of the brake pedal for shifting the manual transmission. (After my left knee surgery. I used a toilet plunger to depress the clutch pedal.) Tube radio that received AM stations. Three foot radio antenna. cigarette lighter and ashtray. Seat for three in front. No seat belts. There was no tinted glass for the comfort and privacy of the rear seat occupants. The trunk contained a full-size spare wheel on the rim. (Not like the “emergency donuts” sold these days.) The rear bumper was strong enough to allow another vehicle to push the car with the dead battery. The gas cap was removed long enough to add $5.00 to the nearly empty tank. (Fueling up is just as easy these days, but…) Yes, the rear license plate had to be changed every year as well.

end of the tour. If you were born before World War II, please tell me what I missed and what you can say about it.

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