During the oil boom in the early days of the last century, many of the roads in Texas were a bit on the primitive side, to put it mildly. Photos we have seen from that era, like the 1917 image of a Reo light truck seen below (via Clive Baker), show roads that are just a sea of mud. Enjoy the short film (above) where a Dodge Brothers sedan takes a wild ride through the Texas back country in the 1920′s. Many more Dodge Brothers photos (scroll down) and more information can be found here on The Old Motor.
We’re particularly fond of candid street scenes from the earliest days of motoring. This image shows one of Henry Ford’s first Model “A”s with a group of interesting looking characters in front of Pitzer’s Pool and Billiard Parlor and Sheppe’s Drug Store. Powered by a horizontally opposed 12.8 horsepower 100 cubic inch two cylinder engine with an equal bore and stroke of four inches, Henry’s “Fordmobile” proved quite popular with just over 1800 units assembled and sold in 1903 and 1904.
In the text of the ads in the first two thumbnails below, you will see that the modern notion of “win on Sunday and sell on Monday” is far from a new idea. In the first, Ford refers to the mighty “999″ race car (last photo on the right) to capitalize on the famous speedster’s record runs in order to move the merchandise. Just as today’s cars have little in common with their racetrack bred brethren, so the little Tonneau shared nothing with that 18.9 liter beast other than it’s nameplate.
Both ads also mention “The Trust”. Many of you no doubt know that this refers to the patent wars between the Ford Motor Company and George B. Selden, which were going full tilt at the time. The second ad refers to these legal battles in some very strong language that you might find amusing. Also of note is that the car was being marketed through the famous John Wanamaker department stores, perhaps the first time such a sales strategy was attempted.
More information can be found at the MTFCA where you can see chassis and drive train illustrations from a 1903 Model “A” brochure. Photo at the top by photographer Rufus W. Holsinger, courtesy of the University of Virginia.
The “Mother Road”, Route 66 , has long been a favorite subject for photographers over the years and has provided us here on The Old Motor with a seemingly endless number of interesting images. This appears to a posed shot staged to illustrate new widened lanes that allowed a greater margin of safety for passing trucks. The poured concrete pavement still looks pretty new and nothing seems to be growing on the shoulders yet. The truck on the left is an International KB model, either a KB-8 or KB-10 and was also fairly new at the time this photo was taken in 1949. Photo courtesy of the Joe Sonderman Collection (scroll down).