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Homepage. This page: Original snapshots of people and cars, that also capture the fashions of the time.

People and Old Cars - Page 1.

Many photographs turn up that have cars in them, but often they are in some way obscured by the real subject of the photo(s) - usually people. While they aren't best suited to pages of car photos, these shots can be interesting in their own way as they capture the fashions and environments that the cars which are preserved today, often served in. In other words, it gives the cars some context. If nothing else, snapshots such as those shown below give useful clues to re-enactors of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s eras, in order that their costume, accessories, and re-created surroundings are as close to period-correct as possible.
In some ways it's sad that there are no relatives around of the people shown, who could take ownership of these photos. Many simply get binned when houses are cleared. Perhaps in sharing them here, they continue to serve a purpose despite in most cases the persons in the photographs having become anonymous over time. Car ownership, especially in the pre-war years, was something to celebrate, and many's the trip to the countryside or the seaside that was captured on film for posterity. I'm sure that if these photographs could talk, some of which were sourced in the UK and others overseas, they'd have an interesting tale to tell.

1. Three men and a ... Model A?

The first in this set of "cars and people" pictures sees three smartly-dressed gents, sat on the front bumper of a two-tone vintage car. Given that the car's radiator is obscured, identifying it isn't straightforward. It would look to be from the late 1920s, the front doors are hinged in the "normal" fashion, and it has a sturdy double bumper. The presence of a windscreen wiper and motor to the left of shot, points to it being a RHD car. The style of bumper, the peak over the screen, the moulding on the open door, and the car's general shape suggest Ford Model A to me (clearer pictures of Model As can be seen here). The light-coloured beading just visible running over the top of the scuttle re-inforces this notion. The wing-mounted sidelamps could be a later addition.
There is a note written in ink across the top of the image, all I can really make out is a date - August 1931.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Three men sat on the front of a vintage car

2. An upright motor-car and its passengers in Essex.

According to a note on the reverse, this photo was taken at Dovercourt (Essex), and has in it "Mum and Dad" plus "Mr and Mrs Adcock". All are sat on the running board of an upright 1920s saloon car. Unfortunately it isn't dated. All but one of the people are wearing hats suitable for a sunny day, the lady nearest the camera - perhaps because she hasn't got a hat - isn't looking particularly cheerful, although in those pre-digital days photographs tended to be taken on special occasions only, so maybe a serious rather than joyful expression was deemed more appropriate to the moment.
Two women and two men sat on a car's running board

3. A trip back to 1925.

Handily someone has jotted "1925" on the front of the following picture, and maybe someone can pinpoint the approximate location of this scene by the touring car's distinctive registration number - "D 544"? Four beaming people are stood with the lofty vehicle - rearward visibility through the tiny oval window set into the folding hood must have been minimal at best. There are handwritten notes on the rear which someone reading this may be able to decipher.
A large vintage touring car & four people
Handwriting on the back of the photo

4. A dad, his daughter, and an open-top car.

Once again what is probably a very interesting old car, in this case a sizeable tourer, is blocked by people, in this case a father and his daughter. A pencilled note gives her name as "Unner" I think, which - if the scribbler meant "Unna" - could point to them being either of Icelandic or, more likely, German origin.
A father and daughter stood near a car

5. A large gathering of people with a very early car.

This is probably the oldest of the photographs on this page. What appears to be three generations of a large family are photographed with a very early car. Their motor-car has spoked wheels with its rims held on with bolts, and a spare sat on the offside running board. Acetylene lamps are also present.
Large family

6. Armstrong Siddeley?

Two chaps - father and son - are pictured leaning against a four-door saloon, while the mother of the group stands on the far running board. Nowadays, anyone irresponsible enough to smoke near a young child is rightly castigated, but in those days - 1930s - the dangers of passive smoking weren't understood. What car is it? Well, the rear wheel centre cap has the letters "A" and "S" intertwined, which point to it being an Armstrong Siddeley.
Family with their Armstrong Siddeley?

7. RAF chap, with a sportscar.

In this shot a chap serving with the RAF is photographed alongside a rakish, low-slung sportscar, with a young lady on each arm. Perhaps they'd nipped down to the local watering hole, in a bid to try and forget, if only for a brief time, the unpleasantries of war. No names are given unfortunately, so identifying the people won't be possible, but perhaps someone can identify the car? Note the two-door Series E Morris parked in the background.
RAF chap with sportscar and two ladies

8. Nurse, child, and taxi.

Here the young lady appears to be a nurse, shown holding onto a young child with a gleaming, but unidentified, vehicle in the background. A roof rack can just be seen on the vehicle's roof, while a carriage-type doorhandle is just visible on the (open) driver's door. It would appear to be a taxi, although once again pinning a make to it is proving tricky. Was the child hers? Perhaps the youngster was to be an evacuee, heading away to the country for safety while her parents remained in the city? Photos like this throw up many questions, most of which it's sadly impossible to answer. A charming photo nonetheless.
A nurse with child, in front of a taxi
Return to Page 18 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here.
A second page in this set titled "People and Old Cars", may now be found on this page.

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