Friday, April 10, 2009

Hupmobile — which calls itself 'a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s,' — frequently features photos from LC's Prints and Photos Div. Yesterday's images included a Marmon touring car from about 1914. Here are links to the LC photos: normal size, high resolution, highest resolution (without compression).

The photo reminds me of one that appears in our family photo albums from the late 1940s. I haven't seen it for years, but, as I recall, it shows one of these touring cars on the parking strip in front of our house. Taken following a winter snow storm, it lets you see how the large wheels on that car set it above the accumulated snow.

I'm sure my parents bought the car second hand and expect it was 15 or 20 years old at the time the photo was taken. I thought it might be a Marmon, but even second-hand, those cars were probably outside my family's price range and, anyway, I recall our car having wooden-spoked wheels and Marmons of the 1920s had wire wheels or even steel disks.

It's more likely that it was a Hupmobile. They were cheaper and the models of the '20s did have wood spokes. It was also a lighter weight car and most models had a four cylinder motor rather than a six. That's important because although it was big (enormous from my little-kid perspective) I remember that my mother would start it by putting it in gear and then pushing it to turn the engine over, climbing into the driver's seat via the dashboard as the car began to chug forward.

I'm sure it had a fabric touring top as well as the running board and wood wheels.

We didn't hold onto it very long.

The car we owned might have been the touring version of the 1917-1925 Model R. Like this:


I can almost recall the feel of the plush seats and massiveness of the steering wheel. Note the spark and throttle levers next to the horn button. You advanced the spark timing and opened the throttle and then used battery ignition, or, if it was dead (as if frequently was) used the start crank or (my mother's method) pushed the car in order to start it.

{interior of a 1922; source:}

Here are photos of some old Hupmobiles from antique car sites:

{1925; source:}

{Another 1925}

{1922; source:}

{Another 1922; source:}

{1913; source:}

Some Hupmobile sites:

Hupmobile entry in wikipedia

Hupmobile Club

Wapedia Wiki: Hupmobile

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