Vintage Machines

FTLComm - Tisdale - February 18,1999
The automobile and North Americans seem almost as one, their history, achievements and stumbles. This article is not the definitive last word on old cars it is just another statement, a commentary on how the vehicle that gets from here to there has been often associated with what we are and who we are and has had a lot to do with our potential as well.

The picture above and the two below are of a rather unique Ford. Henry Ford's triumph the Model "T" was in production for a very long time, it was inexpensive and utilitarian but it was only a sort of fliver. It was slow but easy to repair however, in the colder parts of North America it was an uncomfortable beast. The Model "A" went into production long before the last "T" was made and it was a closed in modern car for its time. But Ford had recognised that they would not be able to command the market place building the same old model year after year and the first move to successive models was the car in this picture. With the Model "B" Ford decided it would move the auto industry to a continuous diet of newer designs and the public was more then ready for this change of pace. This is a four cylinder 1932 coup and was the pride and joy of the Eastend RCMP corporal when I photographed it in the summer of 1970
You would recognise this car as similar to the one seen in the movie Bonnie and Clyde many years ago only the version they used was a convertible with the famous V-8 engine. This car in these pictures was a more modest vehicle despite the fact that it came with a famous little rumble seat in the trunk. Notice that the door open at the front, the so-called suicide doors. The car that followed this was the the mid thirties beauty that had a lower profile and plush interior. The staggering economy of the period made all cars of that era rare as the market was pretty well busted and production numbers for the "B" and the 34 model were very low.
Now the vehicle below belonged to Mr. Dube a car dealer in Carlyle Saskatchewan and this picture would have been taken in 1965. It is a 1929 Buick. At that time Buick, may still have been as McLaughlin Buick made machines like this one here in Canada. This car was not all fixed up as a collectors item but was something Mr. Dube had obtained and planned to restore, as you will notice it is missing its left head light. The interesting thing about this car is this is what was rolling off the assembly lines when the great stock market crash occurred It is a big car and would have sold for a lot of money.
As you know the world economic situation never really did recover from the crash of 29 as folks struggled through the thirties mechanical progress moved right along. The designers began to integrate the fenders into the design of the vehicle
and the whole body was smoothed out. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors each built similar vehicles trying to produce some innovations that would attract what few consumer dollars were available. The picture above and the one on the left are of General Motors cars just ten years apart. The car on the left is Martha, my 1939 Pontiac sedan. She was built in Regina at the General Motors assembly plant at Broad and Dewdney and as was the custom of the time Pontiacs had Chevy engines and this car came with a six cylinder valve in head. It was painted in the colour of the day, olive drab. Remember Canada went to war in 1939 and this car was one of the few that made it into civilian hands. It had thirty thousand miles on it when I purchased it in 1966 for $50 from a farmer North of Bengough who took a tractor battery put it in the car and I drove it home. It was a part of our family until I sold it for $800 in 1975. Though it was in virtually mint condition for a car its age it was of low value. The Chevy six cylinder engine and the fact that it had a stick floor shift transmission devalued it for General Motors introduced the steering column shift in 1939 and Martha was not given this new technical wonder. We have more pictures of Martha and no doubt from time to time other images of her will show up on these pages.