This column, introduced in summer 2009, doesn't need much fanfare to celebrate its third anniversary. Let's fuel our tanks and go!
Today, I'd like to show some pictures from an amazing collection of Raymondx1 @ Flickr: amateur shots showing cars as family members. Common people and their everyday vehicles fascinate me no less than movie stars with their luxury chariots.
A family of four posing in front of a 1924 Buick. The car has Washington licence plates.
A fellow in a white shirt and two ladies in summer dresses posing with a Mathis Cyclecar. Note the tow rope attached to the front of the lightweight French sportscar, registered in the city of Düsseldorf (IY = Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf).
Three men and a girl posing next to a Talbot DS 15/40 in rural Austria. The driver is sitting behind the wheel of this right-hand drive French car, while another man is standing at the car's front fender. In the background the village store can be seen. The shop doesn't only sell groceries and hardware, but also fuel – there's a petrol pump visible behind the car. The man in the white shirt looks like the station attendant – perhaps Johann Jammernegg himself.
Fiat 521. A man wearing a Basque-style baret and a raincoat with a little white dog. He must be a true dog enthusiast – note that the car's radiator mascot has the form of a dog's head. The art deco-like radiator grille with its radial bars also seems to be an after-market addition to the Fiat. Could these be French licence plates from the Territoire de Belfort region?
Four women – probably a mother with her daughters – posing next to a 1929 Dodge Sedan. Note the wonderful decorative border on this vintage print.
A young woman and a young man with a 1933 Chevrolet Master Sedan in the drive of a middle class home. A toddler can be seen through the driver's window of this right-hand drive Chevrolet, registered in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The following words in German are handwritten on reverse: "Unser neuer Wagen – Roy, Jolantha und Paul am Fenster" (Our new car – Roy, Jolantha and Paul at the window).
The proud owner of a 1934 LaSalle Series 50 Convertible posing with his car. He's wearing a checkered blazer with a pocket square, a turtle neck sweater and a hat in the fashion of the thirties. The car is registered with temporary Italian licence plates issued to non-residential foreigners (EE = Escursioni Esteri).
Two girls – probably sisters – sitting on the bonnet of an Opel 4PS Limousine. A blanket has been draped over the car to protect their silk stockings. A fellow wearing a bowtie and hat is standing behind them. He is most likely the boyfriend of the girl in the black female suit. A second man – vaguely resembling Leonardo di Caprio – is posing on the car's running board. He is wearing a suit and tie with knee highs, a raincoat and gloves. Two young women can be seen sitting inside the Opel. The car is registered in the city of Stuttgart (III A = Polizeipräsidium Stuttgart).
Three ladies dressed in the fashion of the 1930s with a Peugeot 601. The words "Cap Falcon" and "36" are handwritten on reverse. There are several places called Cap Falcon in France, one is near Toulon on the Mediterranean. French licence plates, possibly from the département of Bouches-Rhône. Note the movement in the arm of the woman at the car's door.
Three members of a middle class family – probably a daughter and her parents – posing with a Renault Monaquatre on a mountain road. The photograph was taken by a fourth person, most likely the young woman's fiancé or husband. The location is Col du Lautaret in the French Alps, as the words handwritten on the back of the print explain. Note that mother and daughter are dressed almost identically.
A crowd of people gazing at one of Switzerland's most famous landmarks, the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) at Schaffhausen. The date – 28.5.33 – is handwritten on the back of the print.The car in the foreground is a Mercedes-Benz Typ Stuttgart 200 registered in the city of Zurich.
A company of four with an Adler Standard 6 saloon in the countryside. The young woman in the white dress and the man on the right are probably a couple, while the folks sitting on the running board are most likely her parents.
Two couples posing with an Audi Zwickau in wintertime. The ladies are wearing fur collared coats and hats in the fashion of the early thirties, the gents are dressed in suits and greatcoats. The rare Audi Zwickau was powered by a straight eight, originally designed by the American Rickenbacher company. The print is marked "Zeuthen, 24.3.1934" on reverse.
A lady wearing a coat and flying helmet posing with an early 1930s Stoewer on a country road. It's a so-called Cabriolet-Limousine, a convertible with a roll-back roof and rigid doors. The car is registered in the city of Berlin (IA = Landespolizeibezirk Berlin).
A company of four (including the photographer) with a Ford Rheinland convertible on a city street. Looks like these folks are preparing for a bit of open-top motoring, with coats and flying helmets at the ready. Assembled at the company's Cologne factory, the Rheinland was the German version of Ford's Model B with a four cylinder engine.
A young lady wearing a woolen coat and a headscarf posing with a Steyr 200 in the countryside. The car has post-war Austrian licence plates from the city of Vienna.
Two couples posing with a Renault Reinastella at the seaside. The lady on the right is wearing an enormous fox fur neckpiece. A sign reading "Club de Canards & Dauphins" can be seen in the background.
A middle-aged woman in a dress posing with a Fiat Balilla 508A. The photograph was probably taken in the late 1930s.
A couple posing with a Berliet 944 on a coastal road in the south of France. Although the car is a pre-war model, its scruffy condition suggests that the photo was actually taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Note the dark patch of anti-corrosion paint on the fender.
An elderly woman and three girls posing with a 1937 Chrysler Imperial Eight in summertime. At first I thought this was a family photo of a mother with her daughters. However, the words handwritten on reverse prove otherwise: "Helen Watz, Maxine Urquids, Mom, Shirley, August 21, 1942". Note the cat held by the girl on the right.
A young woman in a 3/4 length dress posing with a Borgward Hansa 1100 in summer time. The photograph was probably taken in the late 1930s. Note the opened louvers on the side of the car's bonnet.
Four members of a family posing with an Adler Trumpf Cabriolet on a mountain road. The girl and the women are wearing floral dresses and white flyling helmets. The little girl in the foreground is apparently performing the Nazi salute. The car is registered in the German state of Hesse (V S = Hessen, Provinz Starkenburg).
A young woman wearing a coat and hat standing next to an unusual rear-engined Mercedes-Benz 130. Inside the car two children are playing with the steering wheel. The car is registered in the state of Baden (IV B = Baden).
Two blonde women posing with a Hanomag Rekord Typ 15 K in summertime. The car is registered in the German state of Baden (IV B = Baden).
A couple posing next to a Fiat Topolino. Their names – Giulia and Amedeo – are handwritten on the back of the print. Giulia is dressed in a floral dress, Amedeo is wearing a sharp suit and two-tone shoes. The car is registered in the Italian town of Novara.
A woman – probably wearing a naval uniform – sitting on the fender of a 1936 Chevrolet. The car is registered in the state of Oregon.
A young woman holding a hat next to a 1936 Nash 400 rumble seat coupe in summertime. The car has Maryland licence plates.
A young woman in a short-sleeved dress posing with a 1937 Buick Century 4-door sedan in a middle class neighbourhood. Note the wonderful decorative border on this vintage print.
A woman in a coat with an Opel 6. The print is marked "17.5.1937" on reverse. The car is registered in the city of Berlin (IA = Landespolizeibezirk Berlin).
Four members of a German family posing with a Wanderer W21 on a sunny day in the thirties. The car is registered in the Prussian province of Silesia (IK = Provinzen Ober- und Niederschlesien).
Two girls with enormous bouquets of lavender posing with a Peugeot 402 in the countryside. The print is marked "1937" on reverse, the car is registered in the French departement of Loir-et-Cher. Note the horseshoe, attached to the radiator grill as a lucky charm.
Two ladies and four gents posing with a Renault Viva Grand Sport Cabriolet. Note the open rumble seat on this rare Renault converible. The words "Rouen, 9 juillet 1939" are handwritten on reverse.
A young woman in a checkered dress and a small girl posting on the fender of a 1939 Ford Standard. Are they sisters, or is she a teenage mom?
A young woman dressed in a lady's suit sitting on the fender of a 1940 Mercury Eight. The photo is marked "Sat. before Easter, Sue K. Rollins sitting on Joe's Car" on the back. Note the Tennessee licence plates in the shape of the state outline.
Two young women dressed in the fashion of the 1940s posing with a 1940 Hudson Eight on a city street.
A couple dressed in the fashion of the early fifties posing next to a Ford Taunus Spezial. Black licence plates of Allied-occupied Germany, the car is registered in Recklinghausen.
A young woman proudly posing with a Hanomag 1.3 Liter Autobahn in summertime. The car is registered in the state of Lower Austria, known as Niederdonau from 1938 until 1945. (Nd = Gau Niederdonau).
A young lady wearing a white flying helmet posing in the driver's seat of a Lancia. The French registered car seems to be a coachbuilt convertible, probably based on Lancia's Aprilia chassis.
Three generations of an American middle class family posing with a 1946 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan in a typically suburban neighbourhood.
A lady wearing a black coat and sunglasses posing with a Jaguar Mark V in wintertime. The car is registered in the city of Frankfurt.
Headline photo: A petrol station in Germany in the late 1930s. A somewhat grumpy looking station attendant is standing at the pump ready for service. Could he be August Dapp, the proprietor of the petrol station and the adjacent workshop? The car in the foreground is an Opel Olympia.
Images & captions: Raymondx1 @ Flickr