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The Hoosier Motorist: The Pride Brothers Garage and Ray’s Barber College

Today’s feature image is one of a number of photographs that have survived which may have been published in the “The Hoosier Motorist” a publication of the Hoosier Motor Club.

The Pride Brothers Garage was located in Evansville, Indiana, and was in the general repair, gasoline sales, towing, and storage business. Judging by the photo taken in 1926 of the operation, it had a staff that included one woman, and seven men. The Shop must have been an up-to-date operation as hanging above the “Garage” sign is a service banner for “Lockheed Hydraulic Brakes” introduced only a couple of years earlier. Located on the far-left of the image is “Ray’s Barber College” where haircuts cost 15 cents.

The Pride Brothers had an impressive fleet of service vehicles that included a pair of Cadillac V-8 powered automobiles converted into tow trucks, two 1926 Model “T” Fords, and an unidentified roadster or touring car transformed into a service vehicle.

Tell us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

13 responses to “The Hoosier Motorist: The Pride Brothers Garage and Ray’s Barber College

  1. If the Fords were 1926 or 1927 models I think they would have nickel radiator shells. The radiator shell appears to me to be painted on the T on the right of the photo making it an earlier 1923-1925 model. The T on the right also looks somewhat beat up compared to the other with it’s shiny paint. I’m guessing the one on the left is likely is an “improved” car as the 26-27 models were called, and the photo just doesn’t reveal the nickel radiator shell or headlight rims well.

    • Lew, I dated them as being 1926 Model “T” Fords due to all of the vehicles having 1926 plates and the Ford front fenders are of the 1926 – ’27 style. It is possible that both cars were updated.

      Check back in a day or so, hopefully the Model “T” experts will chime in and let us know more about the Fords.

      • That location I believe is now the Greyhound bus terminal on 3rd st in downtown Evansville, IN, about 3 blocks from the Ohio River. We go to Evansville several times a year for shopping and doctor visits. We frequently stop at a bakery on Main St. just 2 blocks away. The buildings appearing in the picture are gone now .

  2. Those thin-line “whitewalls” on the large truck to the right really pop ! Great photo ! We had those exact fold-down canopys over the store fronts into the 60s where I grew up, I think all of them were green and white stripes. These old photos sure are a great way to kick in the memory bursts, ha ! Thanks David

  3. The 1st car on the left – I wonder if that is a Clymer spotlight. Floyd Clymer’s story is very interesting. He invented a spotlight that mounted through a hole that you cut in the windshield. Made a lot of money from that, and then tried a tire gauge that was a flop. Much more to his story; a car guy, fun person to research on the net.
    I wonder if those are train tracks or trolley running down the street. I see no overhead wires, so I’m thinking train.
    Certainly a very enjoyable pic. Thanks Dave!!

  4. The middle car might be an Ajax (small Nash). Note 4 lug nuts on the disc wheels. What other car had 4 lug discs? The Fords are 1923-25 (two rear windows) and 1926-1927. Note the tab on the cowl vent. The gas tank is now under this . This style came out in mid 1925 called the improved Ford. The open cars, tudor and coupe and pickup truck now had cowl gas tanks. The Fordor and ton truck still had the gas tank under the seat. These examples still had the 23 inch clincher tires. The 21 inch balloons were extra on open cars.

    • Re the pickup. the problem is that the pickup has slanted hood louvres and the Ajax had them vertical. The slanted louvres suggest an earlier date. Oldsmobile was one of many to use slanted louvres.

  5. I think the unidentified service vehicle is an early 20’s Hupmobile Model R, they had four bolt disc wheels and slanted hood louvers, which very few cars had.

  6. Yes, the Fords are both early ’26 models based upon the headlamps and lack of a fenders brace/headlamp bar. Cowls, windshields and hoods are all improved (’26/’27 style). Edwin H should be commended for noticing that the front tires are the old clincher style 23 inch, as opposed to the 21 inch balloon type most people expect. He is correct that the open cars were standard with the clincher wheels and tires, the 21 inch balloon style were a popular added option. They are rarely seen this way today simply because few people realize how common it was for them back in the day. These both do appear to have the demountable rims at least. The “loss leader” open Ts for 1926 came with non-demountable rims in 1926. It is still debated whether the fronts were 23 inch clinchers or 24 inch clinchers (30X3 fronts). I fully side with the loss leaders having 24 inch (30X3) front wheels and tires because many years ago I got to personally see hundreds of original era Ford photos from one of the finest collections ever (I hope the collection still exists, the fellow that had them is sadly long gone). In the collection were dozens of photos and even copies of original sales records showing loss leader Ts in 1926 having the 30X3 wheels and tires.
    As for the nickel plating on the radiator shells and headlamp rims. There is still debate about where those lines were really drawn. Some printed records and advertising clearly stated that that at some point all Fords came with the plated trim. Other records, as well as a lot of empirical evidence, clearly show that many of the improved Fords did not have the nickel trim, or the colors they are known for. Numerous enclosed cars (coupes and sedans) have been found with no trace of non-black anywhere on the body, and quite a few also with black steel radiator shells. Open cars (touring cars and roadsters) often had black shells and rims, although the nickel trim was offered as an option.
    It would appear that part of the problem was one of implementing the changes. While colors were offered in the early advertising beginning in August of 1925, there were problems with the production and practical application of the new type paints at the factories . There are many early ’26 model T coupes and sedans that are (or were) original enough to clearly show they were never anything but black, and many of those cars well into and past April of ’26. Exactly when Ford worked out the problems is not known. Most closed cars and many open cars were in the new colors before July of ’26. Open cars continued to be black as standard, but colors soon became a popular option. Just not until late in the ’26 model year.
    It is still speculation at this point, however I suspect the same issue may be the reason for empirical evidence not agreeing with advertising record about the plated shells and headlamp rims. In the beginning of the model year (August ’25) until sometime early in calendar ’26, they may not have been able to turn out the plated parts fast enough to keep up with production and sales. That would explain the good numbers of closed cars with black trim, and mostly they seem to be early ’26 models.

  7. My suggestion for the middle car would be a mid-1920s Hupmobile. Fits with most of the basic parts (wheels, louvres, fenders, steering wheel), though not with the shape of the windscreen. But that part could easily be a replacement.

  8. Pretty obvious who the “brothers” were, and who were the grease monkeys/ drivers ( With the accountant in the vest way in the back) The 1st truck on the right, is overly sprung, and must have been their “heavy-duty” wrecker, and all hand cranked. Haircut @ 15 cents, (or $2.11 today) is a bargain. Being a barber college, you may or may not get the cut you wanted. Kind of why I stay away from “dental schools”.

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