Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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THE AGE OF MOTOR VEHICLES

In 1904 the Ford Motor Co. of Canada was incorporated. Robert McLaughlin and his son formed the McLaughlin Motor Car Co. in 1907. Their first vehicle was the McLaughlin - Buick. In 1918 this company became General Motors of Canada. Some other companies that did not survive the era were: Canada Cycle and Motor Car Co., Durant, Star, Flint, Gray Dort and Reo. In 1954 Hudson and Nash merged to form American Motors Ltd. The Maxwell- Chalmers Motor Co. became Chrysler Canada Ltd.

in 1925. In 1910 Studebaker of Canada Ltd. was formed and produced cars until 1966.

At first cars were very expensive. The Model T Ford was the most popular car in the early 1900''s. In 1908 it cost $850, but, when Ford introduced the assembly line, cars became more accessible as the price dropped to $400 in 1916. Some of the cars had fold down canvas tops like the buggy and cutter.

Cars and trucks began to make their appearance in the history area after 1910. Trucks began to appear in a larger number in the 20''s. Most were half ton trucks often with a wooden tier added to the box which enabled more grain to be hauled to the elevator. Then came the three-quarter ton and ton trucks.

In the 1920''s the body lines of the cars became more graceful and the closed car mostly the sedan became popular. They had no storage room but a car trunk could be affixed to the back bumper.

Running boards were part of the car until the Second World War. It was the dream of every young man to own a coupe with a rumble seat like Mickey Rooney who played Andy Hardy in the movies.

During the Dirty Thirties many people could not afford to buy gasoline nor licence their cars. The cars were easy to pull as they were light and their solid rubber tires tracked well. So some enterprising farmers hitched teams to their cars and used them as buggies - hence the Bennett Buggy. Bennett was the prime minister at the time.

Cars were still stored during the winter. They were put up on blocks to protect the tires and the battery was removed. Horses were still used for winter driving. It wasn''t until after the war that both cars and roads improved to enable year round driving. Snowplows kept the roads open in the winter for the first time.

After the Second World War cars became longer, lower, wider, and more powerful. The curved windshield became part of the design. These trends continued with the car consuming more gasoline. Farm trucks also became larger and more powerful. Finally, the World Oil Crisis and the price of fuel reversed the trend. Small cars designed for fuel economy became popular.

Power brakes, power steering, heaters, turn signals, cruise control and air conditioning were added. Seat belts and the padded dash added to safety.

Today there are so many small cars, mostly imported it is difficult to remember all their names.

So many foreign cars flooded the market that the government had to put an import quota on Japanese cars.

The motor vehicle and the railway provided a great leap ahead in transportation. They ended the horse and buggy era.

:If :If :If Remember when you could not get parts for cars during the war. Some little part in the starter went in our ''32 Chevrolet and there were only two methods of starting it. One was to crank it, and the other was to get persons on the running board on each side of the car and by their jumping up and down the car would rock and the starter would connect. If you were in town, this last method was apt to draw a crowd.

Now I had two girl friends and we all went to dances together. Since none of us could crank it and the second option seemed undignified, we devised a plan. Since it was my father''s car I was designated to be the driver, one girl friend was to open gates, and the other was to get us a cranker. Needless to say, the one chosen to get the cranker was a good looking blonde. She never let us down and that Chevrolet was cranked by many a handsome British airman.

 

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