Thursday, July 4, 2013

Buick Back Seats

If you were like me, your trips in cars as a child were spent in the rear seat.  Nowadays, I normally ride in front, even when I'm a passenger.  That's because my legs are longer than my wife's, justifying this arrangement.

It has gotten to the point that I've almost forgotten what back-seat riding was like.  Fortunately, a few months ago, someplace on the Internet (can't remember where), I came across some old publicity photos featuring rear passenger compartments of various Buicks, bringing back memories -- even though my family didn't own any Buicks when I was young.

Here they are:

This first image was captioned that this was a 1937 or thereabouts Buick.  Note the rounded windows and fuzzy upholstery.  The model is touching a grab-strap.  A robe holder cord is on the back of the front seat and a foot rest can be seen below the seat back.  The part of the armrest near the model's knee features an ash tray with a metal lid.  The overall package is fancier than what would be found on low-price or even many mid-price cars of that era, but it's a small step below what might be found in luxury cars.

These next three photos were captioned as from around 1941, though I think they are from the same vintage as the top photo (one has to be very cautious about accepting photo captions on the Internet).  The image above is of a two-door sedan.  Note that the front seat back folds forward to allow a passenger to enter and exit the rear.  Also note that it is still a small passageway near floor-level.  Visible features include grab-straps and a small light just above the opposite grab-strap.  The upholstery is spartan by today's standards in terms of design, but plush and comfortable to sit on.  And of course there were no seat belts.

The roof interior was covered with fabric; ditto the insides of the doors.  These practices were continued through the 1940s, though panels of leather or artificial material began to make their appearance.

The purpose of this photo was to dramatize interior room.  Earlier cars tended to be narrower, holding only two rear-seat passengers comfortably.

We conclude with a photo of the interior of a 1954 Buick Super or Roadmaster hardtop convertible.  Materials and styling are closer to current practices, but the seat remains a bench seat.  Many sedans of that vintage also featured bench front seats.  And still no seat belts.

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