Monday, April 21, 2014

American "Continental Kits" of the 1950s

Into the 1930s, American automobiles carried spare tires outside the body.  Often they were placed in wheel wells on the front fenders.  Otherwise, they might be found at the rear of the car.  The reason was that integral (to the body) trunks large enough to house both luggage and a spare tire didn't become common until around the mid-to-late 1930s.  Even so, exterior tire-mountings persisted as a now-superfluous accessory -- a fad that reached a peak in the USA in the 1950s.  A Wikipedia entry on the subject is here.

Below are examples of what were called "Continental Kits" in the 50s.


This is the inspiration for the postwar fad and Continental kit name: the Lincoln Continental.   Shown is a 1940 model coupe.

The kit on this 1951 Mercury is probably an after-market item.

I'm not sure whether the kit on this 1958 Edsel is a factory accessory or after-market.   Edsel mavens are welcome to set us straight in Comments.

The same applies for the Continental kit seen on this 1955 Ford Crown Victoria.

On the other hand, kits were factory items for 1956 Ford Thunderbirds.

Due to their limited interior room, all Nash Metropolitans had spare tires mounted externally at the rear.  This is a 1957 model.

Early Nash Ramblers were larger than Metropolitans, so Continental kits were factory options.

Regular Nashes also had factory-issue optional kits such as this one seen on a 1955 model.

Packard pre-1955 Caribbean convertibles came from the factory bearing Continental kits.

No comments: