Follies of the Madmen #352

Put the noisy little brats in the unsafe cargo area, why not?

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     Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 19, 2018
     Category: Business | Advertising | Family | Children | Parents | 1980s | Cars

Some station wagons had rear-facing seats at the very back. I can remember riding in them in the late 1960s. and early 1970s.
Posted by Patrick on 02/19/18 at 09:13 AM
I can go one better, Patrick. My family owned a 1957 Ford wagon - I don't remember the model name - that had very little padding on the dashboard, or on any surface inside the cabin for that matter. Just exposed, blood red painted steel.

And seat belts? Are you kidding? We little ones rode in the rear cargo area, sliding back and forth on every turn.
Posted by KDP on 02/19/18 at 09:22 AM
The guy driving the car looks really familiar. I'm sure I've seen him in some movie or TV show, but I can't think what.
Posted by Alex on 02/19/18 at 10:47 AM
They're in the "available third seat" which faced backwards because the location of the wheel well made it impossible to get to it through the side door.

For about six months, I had a 1980 Subaru Brat with their famous "seats in the pickup bed so we don't have to call it a pickup" plastic jump seats. My daughter was cool with my saying it was too dangerous, but every time her friends were over, they nagged incessantly for a ride in the back.
Posted by Phideaux on 02/19/18 at 10:48 AM
I'm trying to figure out what Junior is doing back there. I think he's assembling a death ray so he can blast the other cars.
Posted by Virtual on 02/19/18 at 03:53 PM
Phideaux, I owned a BRAT also. (Gotta capitalize that name.) A 1979 model, bought it used in 1980 with 22,000 miles and put another 235,000 before I gave it away to charity as scrap fifteen years later. Damned tough little car - 175,000 miles on the original motor with one rebuild and another motor pulled from a wreck with low miles and not a rattle in the body. It took me from beach camping to ski expeditions in any weather all over California. Of all the vehicles I've owned I miss it the most. Ironically, only a few people ever rode in the back seats, although I did have my brother drive while I rode in the back seat for a while. The ride was not as windy as you might expect and as smooth as riding in the cabin.
Posted by KDP on 02/19/18 at 10:05 PM
Those G.M. diesel owners were lucky to get 462 miles between engines. 0-60 in 20 seconds or so. AND, the later turbo models were worse.
Posted by John on 02/20/18 at 10:52 AM
My folks bought a new Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon in 1963. Had a new-fangled option: seatbelts. (But not shoulder belts. Only race car drivers and fighter pilots need those!)

Totally unpadded steel dash. Ditto the cargo area. aka the way-back -- flat steel deck, piano hinged to the plate steel backing of the bench rear seat. I was in the way-back when we were T-boned in the only accident we ever had as a family. Imagine shaking an otherwise empty coffee can containing a single marble. I was that marble.

I learned to drive in that car in the early 70s. Comparable to a tank in weight and maneuverability.
Posted by Frank P on 02/20/18 at 11:21 AM
KDP, I doubt I put three hundred on it while I had it. A friend found out his wife was going to file for divorce, so he sold that and his Jeep to me for $5 apiece. Other friends bought his boat, gun collection, and camera gear at similar prices.

We moved the Jeep from his storage area to mine (a distance of maybe thirty feet) to sit next to mine. I let his soon-to-be-ex see me driving the Subaru, and then parked it in my driveway. I used it occasionally for errands (mostly just to keep the motor wet), preferring my Chevy shortbox, but it did come in handy a couple of times.

Some months later (strictly coincidental that it was after his divorce was final), I decided I didn't need it and put an ad in the paper. Astonishingly, it turned out he was having seller's remorse, and he bought it from me for something like $100 (coincidentally what the original $5 plus costs of title transfer, plates, insurance, etc. added up to). A year or so later, he bought the Jeep back from me, too.
Posted by Phideaux on 02/20/18 at 11:24 AM
Seatbelts became mandatory in 1968. My parents were safety conscious, so when they ordered a new Chevy station wagon in the mid 60s, they got the optional seatbelts. They were lapbelts only, of course.
Posted by ges on 02/20/18 at 10:45 PM
It was routine for parents in the 60s and 70s to transport their kids by loading them into the back of a station wagon. The thought wouldn’t have occurred to parents to put any kid over age 4 in a car seat; they were for infants and toddlers only.
Posted by Brian on 02/21/18 at 10:30 AM
Dogcatcher, Everything we did was on advice of an attorney who'd pleaded cases before SCOTUS. It wasn't immoral considering the situation. I presented it because it was a humorous incident concerning a vehicle with backward-facing seats.

Why would I ever care about the approval of someone like you?
Posted by Phideaux on 02/21/18 at 03:04 PM
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