When there were far fewer people around, far fewer laws and regulations, when the legal speed limit was 75 mph, when gas was cheap, when driving was a pleasure, if you owned a hot machine you could point the grill down an empty road and go!

Dad's 1935 Packard

Here's a photo of me and my dad on a trip from Oregon to North Dakota. My mother is probably taking the picture. I guess we're in Montana here.

The car is a what I believe is a 1935 Packard. Both sets of doors are suicide doors. It's a flatback model so there's no trunk. As a result, we had to pack all our travel stuff in the back seat.

Earlier Packards were the standard of the world. Their motto was "Ask the man who owns one." The early ones had a lot chrome and stainless -- in 1932 or 1933 they were just loaded.

This a plain 6-cylinder, not so different from a Plymouth or a Studebaker. In the depression they had to make a cheaper car to keep customers, and it worked. They continued making cars, and the marque survived until 1958 when it merged with Studebaker. The results were some pretty unattractive cars.

I think my dad liked larger cars, which is probably why he bought this one.

This photo is in my book "Overtures to Motion," essays about the vehicles before I had a car, learning about cars, and finally getting one.