When you think of cars from the 30s you would be forgiven for thinking ‘slow and ugly’. However, in many cases you would be wrong. In fact, many cars during the 1930s were equipped with heaters and radios – not as old, or as technologically challenged as you may have thought! This article has been created to share the joy and magnificence of cars from the 30s.

The Need for Speed

Despite the fact the decade of the 1930s was almost a century ago, there were cars capable of reaching incredible speeds of up to 270 mph [1]! With a horsepower of 736, this incredible car was a Mercedes-Benz race car driven by (now legend) Rudolf Caracciola. Who could have imagined a car would be able to hit 270 mph in the 1930s?

Got the Power

In the modern world cars have developed to such a degree where people love them for completely different reasons; whether it’s the way they look, who they are made by, their top speed or the overall power of the car.

In the 1930s Ford set the standards for performance and efficiency with the introduction of the flathead V8 engine into mainstream vehicles. However, the big step was taken by Cadillac with their V-16 that was launched in January 1930 – the industry’s first production car to offer an amazing sixteen-cylinder engine that was in high demand from people who could afford it! Imagine the car insurance quotes people were getting back then!

Technology

You don’t usually associate 1930s cars with the word ‘technology’, but it’s true that by the end of this incredible decade for cars the majority of what you see in your shiny new car today was around in some form back then. Below are just a few of the things you could expect (or ask for) in your 1930s car:

• Independent front suspension – The Lancia Lambda 9th series was built in 1931, and only 500 were available. [2]
• Tempered Glass (or toughened glass) – the late 30s saw the introduction of tempered glass, a huge leap forward for the industry.
• Radio – Developed in 1929, the radio quickly became a hit in the 30s and was in almost every car.

Style

The majority of cars in the 20’s and early 30s were based upon the Austin Seven – a simple box saloon. However, as the Great Depression began, integrated fenders and fully-closed bodies were the best sellers, with some cars even having a boot at the rear for extra storage.

The Great Depression resulted in many auto manufacturers going out of business quite quickly, but the ones who were left grew and began to really change the design of automobiles post-war.
From the incredibly quick Mercedes-Benz and the staple-car of the early 20th Century – the Austin 7 – to the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s we have today, cars will continue to fascinate humans from all over the world because of their design, power and speed.

[1] Rudolf Caracciola Speed Record (2010). http://www.monaco-grandsprix.org

[2] Lancia Lambda (2010). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancia_Lambda

Charlotte Walker writes for MediaVest (Manchester) on a number of topics including classic car insurance.

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