The automobile industry always makes changes in its new models, but it isn't until 10 years later that you realize cars have gradually become different. The tail fins of the 1960s didn't disappear overnight.
I can't remember how many cars I've owned. A lot. My memory of cars goes back to the '30s before I was in high school. I don't believe the first car my parents owned had a heater because there was a bar across the back of the front seat with a blanket on it for people sitting in back. Maybe the car had heat in front but not in back. Air conditioning was unknown.
The windshield wipers were not automatic and if you wanted to clear rain from the windshield, you twisted the wipers by hand.
When you climbed into a car in those days, you first stepped on the running board. If you've seen some of those old
Radiator caps have disappeared. For many years, the most distinguishing characteristic of a car was the radiator cap on the front of the hood. They made ornaments of them and each make had its own. The temperature gauge for the water in the radiator was built into the hood ornament on my parents' 1935 Packard.
Every car came with a crank. It was frequently necessary to stick one end of the crank into a hole behind the front bumper and turn over the car's engine by hand until it started.
Cars weren't any bigger then, but there was more room for passengers and less room in the trunk for junk. On many early models, "the trunk" of a car was literally that -- a boxlike appendage attached to the rear of the car.
Most cars had small, fold-down seats in back and you could squeeze five people in back and three up front. The most fun of all was a rumble seat. Why did they abandon something that was such a joy?
The spare tire was carried on the running board in front of the driver's door and sank into an indentation in the fender. They were called "fenders" after the word "mudguard" was phased out. The best thing about fenders was, if you dented one, you could replace it. Now the metal part that covers the front wheels is so elaborate and so integrated into the whole body of the car that you have to buy a new car if you dent one.
In spite of all the cosmetic changes, the speed a car can travel has changed less than most other features. In 1938, I clearly recall driving a Chevrolet we owned 80 mph. I've seldom driven a car faster in the 50 odd years since then.
The first car I ever bought was right after World War II. Discharged as a sergeant, I sold a book to MGM in
I should have put it in mothballs and brought it out now.
- Remembering the Cars of Yesteryear
- We All Need to Carve Out Some Down Time
- The Perfect Blend
- How Hot Was It?
- Why Do We Take Pride in Ignorance?
- That's the Night the Lights When Out (in Lake County)
- A Doctor a Day Keeps the Apples Away
- Picture This
- I Have Good News . . . and Bad News
- It's Time to Think About Vacation
- No Bees, if You Please
- The Luck of a 20.5-Carat Engagement Ring
- My Interview With 'Dr. Death'
- The Tools of My Trade
- It's Time to Play the Feud (Happy 95th Birthday, Aunt Pearl)
- Why I Love My Job
- Some Philosophical Thoughts on Religion
- Sometimes, You Just Can't Be Cool
- Guess Who's Running For President in 2012?
- In Defense of Dentists
- Because You Are a Blabbermouth!
- Apple Store Like a Land Far, Far Away
- Hand Me The Bread
- Say Hello to Fred and Anne
- A Memorial Day to Remember
- Some People Just Know How to Fly and Some Don't
- What a Week for the World
- Hot-Button Issue
- Give Yourself the Gift of Paper
- Living Out the Good News of the Census
- What Not to Wear
- GOP Reality Show Could Be a Win-Win
- Any Coupons Today?
- Food For Thought
- I'm Really a Newspaperman At Heart
- The Fine Art of Parking
- You Can Count on Me to Complain
- March Madness -- or Not
- Dearly E-Parted Deserve Better
- It Was the Best of Times ...
- My Trip to the Cafeteria
- #WINNING? I Think Not
- It's Becoming Too Expensive to Fly
- The Headlines Don't Grab Me
- The Bare Accessories
- The Case for Good Food and Bread
- The Year of the Shoe
- Life on the Road
- Food For Thought
- Losing the Battle of the Sexes
- There's No Business Like Snow Business, Folks!
- A Smashing Time That Was Good for Some
- Boy, Do We Like to Watch
- Lessons Learned
- Looking at America
- Please Don't Feed the Twins
- My Winter 'To Do' or 'Not To Do' Lists
- The (Second) American Revolution
- Parenting: Don't Think. It Can Only Hurt the Ball Club
- A Little Warm Weather Sounds Nice About Now
- It's Snowing Again!
- Regrets. People Should Have a Few
- What I'll Miss About Bachelorhood
- Get That Nut Away From My Child!
- A Christmas To Remember!
- I Hereby Resolve
- United We Don't Stand
- The Most Important Story of 2011
- My Best Christmas Presents
- Remembering the Cars of Yesteryear
- For the Love of the English Language
- It's Time to Win One for the Zipper
- Does Whatever a Lousy Title Can
- I Prefer My Preferences
- What Do You Do With a Gift Shop Gift
- The Old Dog Whisperer
- Giving up the Parental Gear This Holiday Season
- Some Thoughts On Money
- Life and Religion
- The Sporting Life
- The Action Pile
- I am Now an Ordained Minister
- Why I Hate Myself for Going to Starbucks
- Kicking the Bucket List
- The Great Driving Machine
- There's Power in the Wind
- Familiar Names of People and Places
- A Master Mess Maker
- The War of the Sandwiches
- In Praise of the Common Cold
- Nobody Wants a Bummer Ending
(c) 2011 Andy Rooney
About Andy Rooney
Andy Rooney born January 14th, 1919 is a writer, humorist, radio and television personality.
Rooney became most famous as a humorist and political commentator with his weekly broadcast on the CBS News Program "60 Minutes" since 1978.