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Love those old cars!

March 14, 2012

Don’t you love to see cars like this?

File:1940 Chevrolet.jpg

We are always on the lookout for old cars when we’re driving around town.  My boys love them.  They must get that from their great-grandpa.  My grandpa has always loved cars.  Last April when we studied the 1940s in our homeschooling, we took the boys out to interview my grandparents and several of our questions revolved around the cars of the era, of course.

I don’t remember what Grandpa’s first car was, nothing quite so snazzy as the car pictured above, but a ’36 Chevy was the second in a long line of cars he owned and loved.  As a young man trying to date in the mid-40s, he felt a good set of wheels was important.  He was actually the only guy Grandma ever dated that owned a car though.  Many of his jobs had to do with cars as well.  He made deliveries and worked in the parking garage at the Hotel Utah.  War rationing made it difficult to get gasoline though and he hated that.

During our study of World War II, we learned that one of the reasons gasoline was rationed was that rubber was also needed for the war effort.  If people couldn’t drive their cars so much, then their rubber tires wouldn’t wear out as quickly and need to be replaced.

Grandma said that Grandpa was always trading to get more gasoline stamps, although she didn’t know what he’d trade.  His mother’s sugar stamps?  or shoe stamps?  He wouldn’t admit to anything!  Cars were his great love though.  Grandma on the other hand loved shoes and was always trying to get more shoe stamps.  Leather was scarce though, also due to the war, so shoes were plastic.  “I owned a lot of plastic shoes!” she said.

Wouldn’t it be great if the 1940 US Census had asked people what kind of car they drove?  Unfortunately it didn’t, but it did ask questions about occupation, salary, education, and home ownership.  Here’s a list of all the questions asked on the 1940 US Census and in less than 3 weeks, we’ll be able to see how our families answered them.

You can still sign up to index the 1940 US Census with me by visiting the 1940 Census Project website.  Just this week I indexed a simulated 1940 US Census form for practice.  I can only hope that the actual census will be written in such readable handwriting!


As part of ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. (And you know how much I love to buy books!)  In an effort to spread the word about the 1940 US Census, Blog Ambassadors will be eligible for weekly prizes, so why not join me and become a 1940 US Census Blog Ambassador? Click here for all the details.  

Photo: 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Series KA. Image by User:Morven via Wikimedia Commons

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2012 7:21 am

    Great post! I love old automobiles.

  2. March 14, 2012 11:30 am

    Nice post! I wish I had similar stories about my grandparents…and I love the license plate on the car, perfect!

    If you have a minute, I’d love to hear what you think about my posting on technology.

    Nice job and good luck!

  3. March 14, 2012 3:38 pm

    I was going to write about automobiles too! Still haven’t gotten around to it. Love the personal family story you guys have. So funny that men and women haven’t changed much – cars and shoes.

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