Friday, June 6, 2008

Family Automobiles XVI

There are at least three old photos of what appear to be family cars but with no inscription or clues as to what they were. One is a big four door sedan  The photo shows Dick standing by the car and there is "1928" on the back which would make him about 5 years old. It has big wooden spoke wheels and a luggage rack with a suitcase on the running board.. I think the picture is from a trip to a Diamond Lake in Canada perhaps during a visit to the Shanes in the UP.. I have this memory of Dick and I on a dock at a lake with fishing poles with open safety pins for hooks and Dad trying to sneak a dead fish onto Dickie's hook. I saw a story in the local paper about antique cars with an illustration that indicated it might be a Chevrolet. A little Googling led me to a car collector's website with a photo of a 1927 Chevy Landau Sedan.  Except for having steel disc wheels instead of wooden spoke wheels it is a dead ringer for the Dickie car. I have Emailed George Shane asking whether it might have been a Shane family car but have received no reply. The trip from Watervliet to the Soo would have been made in the 1928 Model A.
Another is the photo of Genevieve in 1921 at South Bend when she lived with the Wellington family.  It is an enormous, shiny two door coupe with huge windows and big wire wheels. It looks like a luxury car that the Queen of England would be waving at her subjects from. Mom standing beside it is made to look like a little girl. MYSTERY SOLVED! I Googled and Googled and Googled vintage and antique cars trying Packard, Cadillac, Auburn, Dusenburg etc.looking for luxury brands with no luck until I remembered Henry's Michigan History article about the family trip to the Soo in 1919. (Family Automobiles III) He told about having to get off the trail to make room for the West Michigan Pike Tour and that most of the cars were Packards, Cadillacs, Pierce-Arrows and Peerlesses. Of those four the Peerless was the only one I hadn't checked so I Googled Peerless and found an ad for a photograph of a 1921 Peerless and Bingo! The photograph was of a touring car but it was obviously the same make as the Wellington coupe. The body shape, the trim, the fenders, the wire wheels and the white sidewall tires are all the same. It was a product of the Peerless Motor Company of Cleveland which was known for building high quality luxury vehicles which were so good that their owners seldom bought new models. That led to the company's downfall and in 1931 they got out of the car business and switched to brewing Carlings Black Label beer when Prohobition was repealed......
The third photo is of a shiny, black touring car with a cloth top and wood spoke wheels with very light colored tires almost like white sidewalls. No chance to identify the driver whose face is in shadow. In age it looks like the circa-1915 Dodge and National but it may be from the early 1920s. I am going to continue fooling around to see if I can identify it.
Another mystery is the Allen and Genevieve car after the 1928 Model A and before the 1936 Plymouth. I have no photos but I think it may well have been a Ford V8. When I wrote in "Grandpa's Stories" in 2004 about learning to drive in the hay field I said the car Dad drove from the office and let Dick and I drive was the Ford V8. I have Googled Ford V8 and the 1933 or 1934 Ford V8 2-door sedan could well fit what my mind's eye sees both as to what we rode in to Three Oaks all those Sundays and what Dick and I drove in the hay field.

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