I don't get it. Is "nimble as an ox" good or bad, the before or after status of fueling up with their gas?
Original ad here.
It's a combo seat-buckle alarm stopper and bottler opener. So that you can crack open a cold one when you get in the car, and then drive seat-belt free. You can find tons of them for sale on eBay, where they go for as little as 74 cents each
They should give these away as a freebie when you buy a cellphone to make it a trifecta of unsafe driving.
A device for simulating driving, and measuring the skill of drivers, which was developed at Iowa State's Driving Research Laboratory in the 1930s.
A description of what it felt like to operate the thing. It sounds like it would have made a good arcade game. From The Dalles Chronicle - Aug 21, 1936
Dr. Alvan R. Lauer of Iowa State college sent here today a shiny red instrument of torture, designed apparently to give the ordinary, garden-variety motorist the everlasting willies. This device, which Dr. Lauer invented and christened the drivometer, insidiously reverses the usual laws of nature and turns them wrong side forward. The drivometer consists essentially of an automobile which doesn’t move, and a landscape which does, at 50 miles an hour. Imagine that, if you can! We couldn’t either, until the American Automobile association persuaded us to sit behind the wheel. The road twisted like a hula dancer – and we were supposed to steer down it, paying close attention to stop lights, warning signals, WPA men working, and hot dog stands. Never before have we had such a ride. We knocked a truck off the road. We ran down a farmer’s daughter and we wrecked his house. We whanged into a freight train, jumped across a mountain range, drove through a lake and smashed an ice cream shoppe into tutti-frutti. We tried to stop the thing, but everything we pressed made it go faster. We shifted into reverse and raced to the rear, bumping barns, beats and bicycles. Sadly shaking his head, Earl Allgaier, the AAA safety expert, turned off the current. He said we didn’t seem to be very well coordinated, somehow, but that he’d test us on his other machinery. This, together with the drivometer, will be taken on a nationwide tour beginning next week to prove to the average motorist that he’s got a lot to learn.
I think the top picture shows the 2nd version of the Driveometer, developed in the 1950s. The original version, from the 1930s, is below.
Wausau Daily Herald - Oct 26, 1937
So maybe you don't want to turn your Beetle into a lawnmower...
Original ad here.
At the start of the Automotive Age, merely driving from, say, Detroit to Kansas City was a challenge and endurance test. Thus the AAA-sponsored Glidden Tours.
Here is a good write-up of the 1909 one.
Back in 1977, as a stunt to help promote the opening of Star Wars, Toyota created a custom Star Wars Celica GT. Then they raffled off the car. Somebody won it, but nobody knows who. The fate of this car has become something of an obsession among fans of the movie. Was it destroyed? Is it still sitting in a garage somewhere? The mystery endures...
More info: SpeedHero
Santa Ana Register - Oct 8, 1977
Yes, I want my product associated with the destruction of property and possible loss of life. That's a glamorous ambiance!
Original ad here.
In the mid 1930s, Dr. Harry DeSilva of the Massachusetts State College at Amherst created a brake reaction test to measure how quickly drivers can step on the brake in response to a red light. He took it around the country and tested thousands of people.
People in their mid 20s generally had the quickest reaction times, and then times declined with age, which wasn't a surprise. Slightly more surprising was that short people generally had faster responses than tall people. From Time
magazine (Aug 1935):
The average reaction time was .43 sec. The fastest was .26 sec. The slowest was .90 sec. It was found that tall persons generally react a little more slowly than short people, no doubt because motor nerve impulses travel through the body at about 300 ft. per sec. and thus for tall persons the motor impulse would take longer to go from the brain to the foot. Another theory is that short people simply have less leg to deal with.
Time - Aug 26, 1935
Democrat and Chronicle - Mar 15, 1936
In 1975, the Federal Energy Administration (FEA) conducted a telephone survey about energy conservation and included the question, "Have you installed a thermidor in your automobile?"
Five percent of the people who took the survey stated that they had. Therefore, the FEA concluded that 5 percent of the survey takers were lying in their responses, because Thermidor
is a month in the French revolutionary calendar
Though, to be fair, Thermidor does sound like it could be some kind of heating device.
The Minneapolis Star - Sep 11, 1975