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Magnolia Beer Drive In Car Hop Service

Its interesting to see how things had changed at the time this photo was taken in the mid-1930s after Prohibition which began in 1920, ended on December 5, 1933. At this roadside drive-in restaurant, a carhop served Magnolia Beer (note the sign at the far end of the building) that was kept in an attractive art deco cooler to patrons sitting in a Packard roadster. It appears that the picture was taken down south as the brew was produced by the Galveston-Houston Breweries.

Note that the Packard was equipped with an antenna mounted under the running board signifying that it was equipped with a radio. The photo is via the Jazz Era Vehicle Archive Facebook page.

The second photo (below) includes another attractive roadster from the period, a 1930 Model “A” Ford. Note that this police car has no convertible top or it was removed. This was a fairly common practice with open police cars of the era to provide for better visibility above and around the car. The image is via the Vintage Philadelphia Facebook page.

22 responses to “Magnolia Beer Drive In Car Hop Service

  1. I’m wondering, was the Model A souped up in any way — the equivalent of an interceptor package? Because there were a lot of cars of the era that could outpace a stock A fairly easily.

      • Chances are it had a “B” head, colloquially known as a Police head, with a slight increase in compression ratio. My ’29 phaeton has a Model B engine, with improved pressure lubrication versus the A engine, with the “B” head, so a bit of an improvement from stock. The A versus B engines look almost identical externally, except for a boss cast on the side of the B block where a fuel pump would have been attached, as required on the Model B’s , as the fuel tank was moved to the rear of the car.

    • Hi Dave, I wondered that too. On one site, it had a “period correct” 1930 Model A Pittsburg police car and it said “with 40 horse motor”, so I don’t think they were anything special. Just the fact police had that kind of mobility was probably a huge advantage. I don’t think the car chase had evolved yet.

      • The car chase started surprisingly early in the history of the automobile – St. Louis had one in July 1904 that reached the “dizzying pace” of 28 mph. The chase started because of a speeding incident, and the driver was fined $50. The St. Louis Police’s “Skidoodle Wagon” was a single-cylinder 12 horsepower car made by the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company.

        But yes, the Model A for Philadelphia was primarily a replacement for the horse for patrol officers. It wasn’t intended for use as a chase car.

  2. Notice the size difference between the Packard and the Model A by comparing the size of the cars occupants.

    One doesn’t notice the size difference in photos without people to provide a sense of scale. (I remember being surprised the first time I saw a Cord 810 in person, it was so small).

  3. The Packard Roadster is a 1931 model 833 Standard Eight.The 8th Series Packards were the Standard Eight 826 and 833 and the DeLuxe Eight 840 and 845. The hood latch clearly dates the car.

  4. At the right of the Model A picture is a stack of what looks like poultry cages. “Hey, kids, pick out a nice looking bird for dinner.”

  5. Ever notice these rumble seat pictures always show the well dressed woman comfortably ensconced in her seat? Was there any way these women could get in and out gracefully, assuming most of them wore dresses during the period?

    • How did she keep her hat on? It had to have been really windy back there. Today, my passengers complain if I roll the windows down in one of my fifties or sixties closed cars, and they sure don’t want to ride in the back seat of a convertible. Also, I’ve always wondered how the weight of two people at the very rear of a rumble-seat equipped car would have affected handling. Maybe no more than two people sitting in the back of a phaeton or sedan, given that, at that time, the rear passengers sat above or to the rear of the axle? I have never driven or ridden in a car that old, so have no experience with them.

    • Rumble seats sat outside of the passenger compartment. As the vehicle traveled down the road you would hear the “rumble” of the tires, exhaust, rear axle whine. If it suddenly started raining most rumble seat had enough room to crouch down and low the backrest for a temporary reprieve.

  6. Jackson, MS had more than one local establishment in the early ’60s that had carhop service offering beer.
    They of course wanted to sell food as well but it was not at all required. One of the businesses is still open but there’s no longer carhop service.

  7. In the film Double Indemnity, Fred Mac Murray ‘s character has a bottle of beer at a drive-In.

    First time I’ve heard of that practice.

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