One chilly, dreary day in late January of this year I headed out on a little day trip. As usual, I had a plan that I knew most likely would not work out the way I intended; that’s how I day trip. I made my first stop – a yarn shop in Comfort, Texas – and decided to head on to Bandera, Texas. The drive between the two communities is filled with beautiful Hill Country scenery. Older brick homes, farm houses with porches, barns, rolling hills and fields of grazing cattle.
I stopped once to make a picture as the dark skies and winter landscape was just so peaceful, but it was way too dark for any decent pictures. I was a little frustrated, but it didn’t take away from the pleasure of the drive on a winter’s day. While driving along I came upon an old car and some field implements in a pasture near the road. Now, anything old in a field always catches my eye and this old car just called out to me. I was going way too fast and, truthfully, had my mind on lunch so I didn’t stop to make any pictures. But I made a note of where I was on the road landmark wise and decided immediately that I would come home on this same route and try to get some pictures. The scene was just too enchanting, especially with the rock house in the background.
I went on to Bandera, had lunch, visited some shops, and walked around in the dampness to read some historical markers before heading back to the site of the old car. Oh, but wait. First I had to venture into another little town and explore and then return to find the car!
My griping about the day being too dark for pictures disappeared because the darkness was perfect for portraying this lovely old automobile. A sunny day would not have showcased its dilapidated state. Unfortunately, due to the right of way being very wet I wasn’t able to get very close to the fence, so I zoomed in and did the best I could. Just to note, the farm implements were too far away and it really was too dark to get any pictures of them. But this old car captured my imagination.
On the drive home and several times since I’ve concocted stories about it and its owner in my mind. What color was it originally and where was it bought? I envisioned a young man, a salesman perhaps, from the Mid-West. Perhaps Chicago or somewhere in Kansas. Assigned to a sales route in Oklahoma and Texas this ambitious young man buys a new car to drive to meet clients and solicit new business. He comes to the Texas Hill Country and finds the young miss of his dreams and enjoys pulling up in front of her rock house for Sunday dinner or to collect her for a Saturday night dance nearby. Soon they say “I do” and drive away in their “Dream Boat” as my parents called their honeymoon car. The young man has found love in the Hill Country and decides it is the place to live. Goodbye to sales, hello to establishing a business and ranch of his own.
Babies are born and ride in the back seat. In time the car finds itself at the drive-in movie theater frequently, loaded with children and picnic supplies. A few more years and the older teens borrow Dad’s car to take it out on a deserted road and see how fast that big engine can really go. In my head the story goes on as I add details of life in the Hill Country. My imagination has taken hold and a story has formed, but still there are so many questions I need answered. I wonder why the car was left to deteriorate under this tree so near the road. What is its story? This car called to me, yet it won’t answer any questions. My imagination has to suffice.
One unknown that I would like to solve is it’s make and model. The chrome writing on the trunk reads “Hydra-Matic”. The Hydra-Matic transmission, the first fully automatic transmission offered on passenger vehicles, was introduced with General Motors 1940 Cadillac and Oldsmobile models. It totally transformed the driving experience.
From looking at many pictures online I feel certain this car is mid-1950’s, as the hoods of cars flattened out around that time and the trunk and rear window follow the trends of 1954-56. However, the back end of the car has a round chrome circle where an emblem would go and I can’t match that to any brand of car. The body shape and the tail lights closely resemble the 1955 Hudson (Nash) Rambler; however, the only photographs that show the back end of that car have a spare tire over the emblem so I’m not sure if it’s a match or not. Or could the round circle be where the tire attached to the trunk?
I’ve wished that my father was alive as he would have looked at it for a moment and then told me the make/model and other pertinent information! Or maybe the owner would just appear and tell me the whole story…oh, dear my imagination needs to take a rest!