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Homepage. This page: Photographs from the 1920s and 1930s of cars stuck in a river, driving along flooded roads etc.

Photographs of cars in water.

2012 has witnessed more old-car events cancelled due to heavy rainfall than I can remember in previous years. For this reason, adding a page to feature original photographs of old cars driving along flooded streets and getting stuck in rivers, seems appropriate. The photograph below has been published on the site for some time, but warrants a repeat mention here to open this page's proceedings.

1. A Shell tanker takes a dip.

Lorry dives into a river

2. Driving along a flooded road.

Inclement weather is far from unusual in the UK, but torrential downpours leading to flooded roads is, for most people, a hazard they'll be unlikely to encounter in their car. A car registered RV 3296 tackles just such a flooded road. The registration points to the car being supplied to its first owner in the Portmouth area during the early 1930s. Perhaps someone recognises this car from the rear three-quarter angle? Identifying features include the shape of the rear corner bumpers, and the (presumed) location of the car's spare wheel on the nearside running board. The headlamps are fitted to a hefty cross bar passing between both front wings, another feature that may help i.d. the car in view.
A pedestrian, perhaps stood close to his own front garden's gate, watches as the car drives by. The car's windows are steamed up, suggesting that its occupants had recently been caught outside in a downpour, before finding cover inside the medium-sized car. Or else the car's windscreen leaks badly, leading to sodden carpets! The driver has had to wind down his or her front window to try and improve their view of the road ahead - demisters and in-car heaters were the preserve of the fortunate few only in those days, and were far from effective in most cases anyway.
(Please click the thumbnail to view a full-size version of the flooded road photograph.)
A car drives along a flooded street

3. Stuck in a Tennessee river.

Quite what is happening in this next shot is unclear. The photograph was developed on July 8th 1930, by Mclean's "Fadeless Prints" of Knoxville, Tennessee. Various people can be seen paddling in the water, and a late-1920s two-door coupe is, for some reason, parked in the centre of a river - possibly a shallow section of the Tennessee River? The water where the car has stopped doesn't look especially deep, but perhaps it had driven from the right through deeper waters, before grinding to a halt close to the lefthand shore. Someone in a bathing costume is leaning over the car's front wheel. Does anyone recognise the car? it has a long bonnet, incorporating a good number of cooling louvres - possibly the reason for water entering the works and causing it to stop mid-river (a clearer view of the car can be seen here).
If the driver's lucky, only the engine's electrics will have received a soaking, and if so once they've been dried out should function again with minimal damage being done. If he or she is having an especially bad day, then the engine will have ingested the wet stuff, leading to a hydraulic lock and seizing it solid with likely undesirable consequences.
Car stuck in a US river

4. A much-dampened Morris.

This Stoke-registered Morris saloon of the mid-1930s already features on a page of 10/4 photographs, but warrants a repeat here also. Somehow this car has found itself marooned in the middle of a moderately-shallow waterway. A lady and child, to the right of shot, look on no doubt with some surprise at seeing a 10hp Morris parked in this way - or was she the perpetrator of this parking malfunction? We'll never know sadly. If someone stumbles across car registration DEH 249 in a barn somewhere, be sure to have a good look at the condition of the car's floors and trim!
A classic Morris car parked in a river
Find more early motoring photos on Page 16 of the vintage gallery.

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