The American Automobile Timeline 1899-1970

The American Automobile 1899-1970
Multimedial Historical Collection

Page 8




The 1929 Wall Street crisis will involve the American people and the American way of life for a decade, allmost until the beginning of WW II.
Woody Gouthrie himself describes the young people moving west trying to escape from the 1929 Crisis as " ...a whole army!".
Detroit banks funded by Henry Ford, and other banks refused to let customers withdraw their money. The action triggers nationwide bank panic.
With the Great Depression, almost all of the smaller automobile companies will be wiped out, leaving giants like GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and some small independents like Kaiser, Frazer, Nash, Hudson, Packard, Studebaker, Willys, Checker, Crosley, and a few others.
Cadillac introduces shatter-resistant safety glass in all windows of 1929 Cadillac and LaSalle models.
This year Cadillac becomes the first to adopt chrome plating as standard on its cars.
In 1929 Chevrolet introduces its new six-cylinder engine for use in commercial vehicles. This engine is nicknamed "the cast iron wonder" for its remarkable durability.
During 1929 Frigidaire designs and produces the first room air conditioner.
Adam Opel AG, based in Russelsheim, Germany, is acquired by GM and takes its place as a key member of the General Motors family.
GM do Brasil inaugurates its first plant in Sao Caetano do Sul to assemble vehicles and produce bus bodies and automotive components.
In 1929 GM enters the commercial aviation business by buying a 40% interest in Fokker Aircraft Corporation which now has assets of Dayton-Wright, 24% interest in Bendix Aviation Corp., and all of the outstanding stock of Allison Engineering Company. These acquisitions also give GM access to technical information that is valuable in automotive operations. The name of Fokker Aircraft Corp. of America is changed to General Aviation Corporation.
Motors Holding Corporation is established to give financial assistance to worthy individuals who want to become GM dealers but lack the capital. In 1936, this subsidiary will becomes Motors Holding Division.
Also in 1929 Buick introduces a smaller 6-cylinder sedan which is named the Marquette. It is discontinued by 1931.
In the same year Olds introduces the Viking, an all new V-8 new model for a more expensive market. Sales drop as the Depression advances and the Viking's production ceases in 1930.
1929 Oct. 21: Henry Ford and Thomas Edison dedicate the Edison Institute (now called Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village) in Dearborn, Michigan, on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the electric light.
In 1929 45,000 cars are produced by the Auburn Automobile Company.
E.L. Cord forms the Cord Corporation, a holding company which owned the Auburn Automobile Co. The Cord Corporation acquires Lycoming's remaining stock, Stinson Aircraft and Columbia Axle.
Auburn Model 120 Sedan is introduced at a price of $1,895.
Auburn Phaeton Sedan is introduced as the first custom production model at a price of $2,095.
Auburn Model 120 Speedster is introduced at a price of $1,895.
Auburn Model 8-90 four-door Sport Sedan introduced at a price of $1,395.
The Auburn Model 8-120 Phaeton and The Auburn 8-120 Sedan are produced.
America's first front wheel drive car, the Cord L-29 Sedan is produced. the designers are John Oswald & Al Leamy.
Gordon M. Buehrig becomes the Chief Designer of the Duesenberg. During this year Buehrig complete the Duesenberg Model J renderings number 1 and 2.
By 1929 Hudson has made its way to the number three spot on the U.S. sales chart, behind just Ford and Chevrolet, with 300,962 units sold. But that proves to be the high-water mark for the Company.
The stock market crash of October 1929 and the decade-long Depression that followed hit Hudson particularly hard, possibly because Chapin continues, despite everything, to be optimistic.
Through the Thirties, Hudson will continue to be an innovator with its Essex and Terraplane lines.
By 1929, Chrysler has grown to become one of the Big Three leading automotive manufacturers. The Company will endure the Great Depression of the '30s through cost-cutting measures but never cutting back on research and development. That decision will pay off in 1933 when Chrysler became the only automotive company whose sales surpasses the record 1929 sales year.

1930 The great Depression begins to affects car sales that drop 36%.
Top speed for new cars is 60 mph; gasoline fuel efficiency is 25 miles per gallon.
In 1930 another Cord's new model is produced: the L-29 Cabriolet.
The Marx Brothers purchase a 1930 Cord L-29 Phaeton.
In 1930 Electro-Motive Company of Cleveland becomes part of GM.
By 1930 Buick falls to sixth place due to the Depression and the new Pontiac/Oakland team. Strangely enough, they are from another stall of the mightly GM stables. On the positive side, there are such new Buick innovations as bullet-shaped headlamps, smoother hood, radiator and cowl contours, three-bar bumpers and the famed "H" shift pattern. On roadster and touring Buick's models the windshield folded flat across the cowl.

In 1931 General Motors - Holden's Ltd. is formed through merger of Holden's Motor Body Builders Ltd. and GM (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
B-O-P Sales Company is established, consolidating the wholesale sales forces of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. It will be disbanded the following year.
Also this year Packard Electric Company, a producer of automotive starting, lighting, and ignition cable, joins GM.
Three new engine versions are released in 1931 by Buick in straight eight form, resulting in discontinuation of the six. Cubic inches are of 220, 272, and 344 respectively, delivering horsepowers of 77, 90, and 104.
The major exterior changes in 1931 model Buicks are the elimination of one bumper, as bumpers are of the dual-bar type. Chrome has began sharing plating tasks, along with the old standby, nickel. Buick still relies heavily on wood in the construction of the bodies. This is especially true since closed cars are becoming unpopular.
1931 April 14: Ford builds its 20-millionth car.
1931 April 15: Ford closes Berlin plant.
1931 Oct. 1: Production begins at Ford's Dagenham, England, plant, Europe's largest factory.
During 1931 34,000 cars are produced by the Auburn Automobile Company. The Auburn assets are at $25,000,000. This year's new models are the Auburn 8-98 Boattail Speedster and the Cord L-29 Speedster.

1932: The U.S. Government taxes gasoline.
Pontiac Motor Division is established by GM in 1932, replacing Oakland.
Only 41,522 Buicks roll off the lines in 1932, as Buick falls to seventh spot in the industry. With Buicks of this era selling at $1,500, GM announces a sales campaign whereby Olds, Buick and Pontiac are to be sold through one dealership, in other words, from the same showroom. As a result, 25 percent of the Buick dealerships folds, and the campaign will be withdrawn after one and one-half year.
In styling, Buicks take on rounded edges and flowing lines with the aid of slanted windshields, fuller hoods and radiators, with longer but tapering headlamps and fender-mounted turn signals. Dual stoplights appears on Buicks for the first time, also in 1932, along with outside horns and single-bar bumpers. This is the last year for the Buick's headlight bar, and the first for opening panel louvres in the hood's side, like the Chevrolet of the same era.
1932 Feb. 19: Ford launches its first car designed specifically for Europe, the Model Y, starting production in England.
1932 Mar. 9: Ford builds its first V-8 vehicle.
In 1932 The Auburn 12-160A Sedan and the J-476 Murphy Torpedo Convertible are produced.
In 1932 Essex and Terraplane offer a choice of either 6 or 8 cylinder engines, but 1932 is the low point of the Depression, and the expensive changes to the models are greeted with yawns, not with profits. To jump-start sales, Hudson tryes stunts! Several hill climbs, economy-runs, and speed records are established, but still Hudson's sales languish.

1933: The first Drive-in movie opens in Camden New Jersey.
In 1933 the GM Sales and Service Section is renamed Customer Research Staff under the direction of Henry G. "Buck" Weaver.
No-Draft Ventilation, developed by Fisher Body, is introduced on all GM cars.
Also in 1933 GM sells some interests and assets of General Aviation to North American Aviation for shares of North American's stock and later buys additional stock in North American to increase its equity to 51%. North American's holdings include Eastern Air Transport (which later becames Eastern Airlines), and a substantial interest in Douglas Aircraft, and Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (which later becames TWA).
1933 brings on radical streamlined cars from every car maker. Buick is no exception, however the 1933 styling theme will prevail in Buick design through 1935.
This year's Buick's "V" shaped grilles are well recessed behind front fenders, as fenders themselves hint of full wheel coverage by starting to nose-dive toward the bumper. As the Buick's headlamps grows in diameter the horns grows in length. Windwings are this year's coolest new idea from Buick.
1933 June 7: The last of 199 Ford Tri-Motor planes is built.
1933 June 12: Edison Institute (now called Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village) opens to the public in Dearborn.
1933 is Gordon M. Buehrig's final year as Chief Designer of the Duesenberg. He is asked in September to design a "baby" Duesenberg by Harold T. Ames. Gordon Buehrig presents designs for a completely new car with exterior radiators in November.
At the end of the year Cord presents the 1933 Auburn Cabriolet Customized, an automobile with an oriental look.




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The Bee's Buzz (1929)
Director: Mack Sennett
Producer: Mack Sennett
Production Company: Mack Sennett Comedies

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:04:46 Audio/Visual: sound, C Quality: # # # 

Producer: Romano-Archives

Slideshow of the pages of various Cadillac brochures 1929-1933.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:29 Audio/Visual: sound, C Quality: # # #

Producer: Romano-Archives

Slideshow. 1929-33 GM cars images.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:34 Audio/Visual: sound, C Quality: # # # 

Producer: Romano-Archives / Vincenzo Romano
Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

Slideshow. 1929-33 Minor Makes cars images.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:05 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

Historical footage of the 1929 Wall Street crackdown. Some interesting epoca cars sequences.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:07 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # #  #

Producer: unknown

A smart way to park, indeed.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:07 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

A Ford Model A is nearly destroyed in this high-risk stunt. Epoca footage.

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Run Time: 00:03:42 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # # #  #

Producer: unknown

Inauguration of tyhe California State Highway 101 at San Francisco.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:47 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

Major Henry Seagrave with the Napier Lion aero engined "Golden Arrow" set the new land speed record of 231.567 mph at Daytona Beach on 11th March 1929. The only run for the "Golden Arrow", as Seagrave turned his attention to the World Water Speed Record.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:38 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

More historical footage of the 1929 Wall Street crackdown. Some interesting epoca cars sequences.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:08 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # #

Producer: unknown

Very short clip about "corn-mixed gasoline" (?)

Available on DVD


Run Time: 00:02:22 Audio/Visual: sound, C Quality: # # # # 

Producer: Romano-Archives

Slideshow of the pages of a 1930 Nash brochure.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:20:00 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

School's Out (1930)
Director: Robert F. McGowan
Producer: Hal Roach
Production Company: Blackhawk Films

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:18 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # 

Producer: Universal Newspaper Newsreel

Titles: "Mammuth Car! 60 men spend 3 months constructing world's largest auto" .
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:24 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

Unknown 1931 one-wheel concept car. Epoca footage.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:06 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

Unknown 1931 one-wheel concept car. Epoca footage. Part 2.
Available on CD

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Filetype: Quicktime VR movie Filesize: 336 KB

Virtual Reality image of a campers line in Arcadia, Fl in 1932.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:15:38 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

Besler Corporation Promo Film: Steam-Driven Vehicles. (1932)
Sponsor: Besler Corporation
Producer: Besler Corporation

A film about steam-driven automobiles, airplanes and trains.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:09 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # 

Sell What They Buy (1932)
Producer: GM

1932 Chevrolet filmstrip, reconstructed in 2004 by Romano-Archives from the original images and sonorized.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:16 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: unknown

The Dynasphere, all-in-one-wheel concept car. Epoca footage.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:06:28 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

In My Merry Oldsmobile (1932)
Surprisingly licentious advertising cartoon produced by the Fleischer brothers.
Sponsor: Oldsmobile Division, General Motors Corporation
Producer: Fleischer Studios

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:55 Audio/Visual: sound,B&W Quality: # #

Producer: unknown

The car-plane invented by Pratt.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:13 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

Another Essex Terraplane Thriller (1932)
Producer: Universal Newsreel

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:59:49 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

Thru Traffic (1932)
Production Company: Perfect Circle/Warner Brothers

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:15 Audio/Visual: silent C Quality: # # # 

Producer: unknown

A silent sequence of Walter Chrysler .
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:17 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # #

Producer: Romano-Archives

A 1933 Duesenberg SJ BoatTail Speedster filmed at a auction.


Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:12:38 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # # # #

Century of Progress Exposition: Wings of a Century (1933)
Holmes (Burton) Films

The Chicago World's Fair, 1933-34. Some interesting epoca cars sequences.

192 1933GetTheWholeDollarGMFstr .mov
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Get the Whole Dollar (1933)
Producer: GM

1933 Chevrolet filmstrip, reconstructed in 2004 by Romano-Archives from the original images and sonorized.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 01:01:41 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

High Gear (1933)
Production Company:

Infos about this movie are available on its IMDB page.

Available on CD


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Filetype: Mp3 Filesize: 140 KB

Producer: GM

1933 GM radio ad.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:37 Audio/Visual: silent, B&W Quality: # # # 

Producer: unknown

A guy has the body of his auto fixed on the chassis the wrong way...

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:21:22 Audio/Visual: sound, B&W Quality: # # # # #

The Triumph of America (1933)
Sponsor: Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation
Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization

Description and shotlist of this film are available upon request.



The American Automobile Timeline 1899-1970 - Multimedial Historical Collection (Over 1200 files)

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