John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (1866 - 1929), Member of Parliament, publisher of The Car and all-around advocate for the internal combustion engine gave an address in which he extolled the virtues of the automobile in societal evolution. Some of the virtues are just plain quaint while others touch upon elements of Edwardian life we would never consider. Lord Montagu innocently believed that motorists would play a part as unofficial ambassadors; traveling abroad, joyfully chatting with one and all and thereby decreasing the chances of a European war.
He would have been surprised to know what an active roll the automobile played throughout both world wars.
Attached is a magazine article concerning the on-going debate regarding women drivers and the continuing balderdash as to which of the genders is the better driver: the issue was decided in 1936 and the men lost:
"...according to the report of a university professor who took the trouble to find out. Armed with statistics, he asserts that the female of the motoring species is not nearly so deadly as the male."
An article that your gadget-loving, audiophile pals will probably not enjoy from the days before "woofers" and "tweeters". Will wonders never cease? A radio IN THE CAR and an antenna that looks like a luggage rack, for heavens sake...
Shortly before President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the nation was treated to articles like the one that is attached herein - articles that detailed all the very many flaws that existed in the American road system:
"The most highly motorized nation on earth faced the danger of finding itself all gassed up with no place to go. As the budget-harried [Truman] Administration pressed for a 20% cut in highway aid to states, legislators and private groups warned that U.S. roads were fast crumbling."
This is a quick read from a 1920s HARPER'S BAZAAR comparing the European and American limousines (a.k.a., 'coupe, town car, cabriolet'); these were the luxurious looking vehicles that we've all seen in pictures from that period in which the chauffeur was expected to perform his duties without the benefit of a roof over his head. The uncredited journalist talks about where cars such as these are likely to be found, their interiors, tufted seating upholstery, basket weaving applications, leather casings and more.
Click here to read about the first car radios.
Click here to read a magazine profile of W.W. I fighter ace Captain Eddy Rickenbacker.
With the centennial re-running of the New York to Paris race beginning this May (2008), it is interesting to read about the authentic 1908 contest and the difficulties they faced in a world without proper roads.
"Interest in the New York - to - Paris race, temporarily suspended by the failure to find a passable road in Alaska..."