Sunday, 19 October 2014

Serendipity Sunday - Automobile Registration

I came across something this week that reminded me of the first car I drove. 
But let's start back a few years.....

My paternal grandfather was a travelling salesman and owned a 1928 Buick Sedan. Every summer he packed up the car with gear and took the family camping in Maine.

My Dad always had old used cars and worked on them himself in the driveway. Before the war he had an old Ford Roadster, and I found the registration card among his papers.

Dad was living at his parents' place after the war, and was fixing another old car of his on the driveway - Mom was on the ground under the car taking bolts out of the oil pan, all smeared with oil, when his parents drove up... and that was how they met her.  

My Dad used to let us sit on his knee and "drive" the car when we were little, but when I was turning 16 and ready to get my license I wanted to learn to drive from someone who would be more patient with me. I signed up for the driving lessons that were being given at the Lakeshore YMCA . The instructor picked up three of us in his special vehicle that had a passenger side brake. He even had us drive into the city at traffic hour! I got my license first try.

At that time the car I was allowed to drive was my Mom's - a second hand early 60's beige coloured Studebaker Gran Turismo, that had been owned by the president of a company.  I loved that car, it wasn't huge like a lot of cars of that time and it felt sporty.  At 16 I also loved that when I pulled in at a gas station the young attendants always asked to look under my hood. My friends and I got summer jobs at the new mall that year, and I drove us all to and from work. My Dad wanted me to be able to change a flat tire, so he made me take off all four and put them back on again, jumping on the jack handle to make sure the lug nuts were all tight. My parents were away when we had our first snowfall that year, so Dad had a friend come over and help me to practice winter driving. In later years I was the go-to person when any of my friends had to go to the city or out in a snow storm.

France was the first country to introduce the license plate in 1893. The first in North America were made in Massachusetts in 1903.  Following are links to some US Automobile Registration books, with owners name and residence.  Some say the kind of vehicle. 
Perhaps you can check with your department of motor vehicles to see if there are old vehicle registration or permit books that have survived.

The first link is the booklet I found that started me thinking of my first car.
On this list, the first name is that of Mr Fank D Kemp of Springfield Massachusetts, who had a 1925 Paige with the license plate number 88.

New England auto list and tourist ; containing complete list of all automobiles including dealers' and commercial cars also motor cycles registered in New England

California Automobile Registration 1914-1916

California Automobile Registration (1917 and 1921)

California Registration of motor vehicles and names of licensed chauffeurs

List of registered motor vehicles - Connecticut - to 1920

Vehicle registration history and info for different countries (Wikipedia)

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