Auto Hierarchy…………….. …#40 (the 50’s)

Fourteen year old Gary Willson sitting in the car,  his Dad pulling out of the previous owner’s driveway, the teenager having mixed feelings.   The car was different, it smelled different sat different and it’s dashboard was different, but most of all it had a column shift,  no gear shift rising up from the transmission beneath the floorboard that the person sitting in the middle had to straddle.   The faithful 1936 Oldsmobile,  the never fail to start, the iron horse of mobility, and on occasion, Gary’s moving paper route platform for throwing the Tribune from the running board.  The olds being replaced with this new addition to the family,  a 1948 battleship gray,  four door Chevrolet Stylemaster.   Still there remained that sense of pride he had from knowing the Oldsmobile, with its eight cylinders,  coil front springs,  steel bodied structure ,  this indestructible truck of a car having been part of his world,  he would miss its aura of invincibility



The new car, as referred to by the family,  having something called vacuum shift which made it easier to move the column shifter when changing gears, a sun visor mounted over the windshield and a single hood that raised from the front instead of the 2 side panels on the Oldsmobile.   In one respect he felt elated, the family having moved up in the hierarchy of automobile class,  although never one to brandish an accomplishment,  but still had an awareness of family achievement.   Gary couldn’t help but observe that his two best friends,  Hank Ball’s family still drove a 1946 Ford,  and Don Bryant’s family, a 1947 Chevrolet.   and with his family’s 19 48 Chevrolet accession,  he recognized a sense of escalating  self-esteem.


Gary having toured  the Chevrolet Plant located at 73rd ave. and Foothill Boulevard during his younger cub scouting endeavors, like all budding teenagers, waited every year in anticipation for the new models.  Each fall the plant workers would drive the new models off the assembly line to a fenced in parking area which was donned with a covering in an attempt to keep from revealing their change in appearance.   This practice was more entertaining than practical, Gary and most other inquisitive people having no problems observing the recent production thru the gaps in coverings and deciphering the changes made from last year’s model.   The event like always,  being highlighted by the industries advertisements and sale initiatives, propelling the vicissitude to a waiting audience.


Gary’s discernment of self-esteem from the family’s newly acquired 48 Chevrolet was found to be short-lived due to the actions predicated by the Bryant and Ball families.    The youth discerning a new 1956 Chevrolet parked in Don’s driveway, and a new blue 1956 Ford parked in Hanks.


Taking stock of the situation,  he noted the change in auto hierarchy, concluding that his family’s new car,  just became old.



One Response to “Auto Hierarchy…………….. …#40 (the 50’s)”

  1. Winter Russo Says:

    Auto Hierarchy………………………….#40 Inquisitive Quest is an interesting name for a blog, keep up the good work, thanks, from Winter Russo

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