Car Camping #3: The Cadillac #3, Parking 

We got our new Cadillac in 1952. In 1952 grocery stores were just starting to include parking lots and advertise for an area larger than the near neighborhood. Shopping for anything else meant going downtown where the department stores were located. 

In 1952, downtown Boise had bustling business buildings, cafes, specialty shops and six large department stores. And crowded two-way traffic. 

Downtown Boise also featured that most challenging aspect of city adventures: parallel parking. Mom had no idea how she would ever be able to park that huge, heavy vehicle in tiny downtown spots with traffic backing up behind her.

INT mom

There was a reason cars had huge steering wheels back then – it gave the driver more leverage when turning the tires. Another way the driver was given more leverage when turning the tires was making it so it took a lot of turning the  steering wheel to move the tires back and forth.

At driving speeds the tires turned rather easily since the they were moving into the change of direction. When the tires were standing still the only thing that worked to turn the tires was brute force. 

Well, folks, the tires on a car are standing still when you are cranking the wheel to parallel park.  No wonder Mom was worried about parking that heavy Cadillac in downtown traffic. Yet on her first try that vehicle slipped into a spot easier than any other car she had ever driven! 

Today we take powered steering for granted, but my Mom never did! 

INT steering wheel.jpg

PS – While researching this story Wikipedia told me the first power steering for cars was put together by a man named Fitts in 1876. Chrysler sold the first off-the-line passenger car with power steering called Hydraguide in the 1951 Chrysler Imperial. Apparently General Motors was not going to be lost in the dust and had power steering ready for the 1952 Cadillac, the first GM car to feature it. Both these systems were based on work introduced in 1926 by Francis W. Davis. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_steering

3 thoughts on “Car Camping #3: The Cadillac #3, Parking 

  1. JAMES GARDNER

    You mom was a pretty woman.We do take powering steering for granted I would of loved to been downtown Boise in the 50s.I bet there were no gays bars😂

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    Reply
  2. deansgreatwahoo Post author

    You are right there Jim. Not until the early 80s as I remember . At a place on 10th Street in a space that was lit by my stained glass. I had installed the lighting in the artisans shop that was in there before the bar. Stories to tell about those days …

    Reply
  3. rangewriter

    What a great story about your mom and a trip down memory lane about cars of the day. A caddie. Wow. Your family was hoppin’, and your mom was a beautiful woman.

    Reply

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