Friday, June 5, 2009

Rumble Seat

We close out our look at Rural America today with this picture of a family and their car. The picture was taken in 1940 in Pie Town, New Mexico. I agree with one of the comments from earlier . . . I think that all these pictures were taken on the same day at a Fair type event. I like this picture because the car has a rumble seat. I wonder if any of you ever got to ride in a Rumble Seat? If so, was it fun?


  1. Now, I'm too young to have riden in a rumble seat, but my grandparents used to talk about double dating in her brother's car. When it rained, Uncle Russell would close the rumble seat and my grandparents (who were not yet married) would spend the ride in the dark. "But we never minded", my grandfather would grin, and my grandmother would give him a playful slap on the shoulder!

  2. 1940 is about six years too early for me to have been around, and about 40 years too early for me to have any memories. (Had way too much fun in the '60's) (kidding)

    Except for the color, all these photos look strikingly similar to picnics that Mom's family had in Montana. Instead of barbecue, it would be fresh caught trout. Don't remember color in family photos until the late '50's. A hunting trip in Wyoming.

  3. My great uncle had a 1928 Ford Coupe with a rumble seat. I got to ride in it a few times as a youngster and I thought it was the greatest fun.

    In the 1940's my grandfather lived on a farm/ranch in Justin, Texas. He had a 1920-something Buick sedan that he cut the top off of and used it to haul water and feed for his landlord's livestock. That was just as much fun as the rumbl;e seat; maybe it was becasuse I knew it was one of a kind!

    Back to the water-hauling: all the water in those days came from wells or down as rain and collected in stock tanks. Some lucky people had windmills which pumped water; this was before electricity was widely available in rural areas.

    Anyway, "Papa" could not draw enough water (one bucketful at a time) from the well, so he drove to a stock tank and filled a 50-gallon barrel at a time and hauled it in the cut-down Buick. Man, those old timers were tough...they had to be!

  4. One of my friends had a '31 Model 'A' Ford when we were in high school in the early 60's. It was about three quarters used up but it ran well.

    It was a lot of fun to sit in the rumble seat with a girl and drive up and down small, county seat, town main street along with a few hundred other kids on a Saturday night.

    Then after the girls had to be home we would go out in the country, pivot the windshield up and shoot jack rabbits along the roadside. (We used shotguns so we wouldn't kill cows or other critters that might be nearby. No sport to it at all but the farmers seemed to like us keeping rabbits thinned out.)

    It is also true that with a crescent wrench, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a bit of baling wire your could keep those old Fords running for a long time.

    Things sure have changed and I reckon that they always have.

  5. My Dad owned a 1932 Auburn Cabrolet with rumble seat. Had many a fun ride until he sold it in 1937 and bought a Chrysler Airflow. Enjoy your pictures..

  6. I've never ridden in a rumble seat, but my grandma told me one very surprising story about one. She and Granddaddy eloped in 1933 when my grandmother was 17. She was afraid to tell her parents that she got married. So, she and my granddad went back to their respective homes for several weeks until she got up the nerve to tell them. I asked, "Well, what about your wedding night?" She got a smile on her face and replied, "Haven't you ever heard of a rumble seat?" I about fell off the chair!

  7. Rumble seats were better if the top was down on a roadster, so you could see forward. Otherwise, it was like riding in the back of a pickup.
    Pie Town was extensively documented in 1940, by Russell Lee, for the Farm Security Administration.

  8. My son-in-law is the president of the Cowtown Model "T" club. He owns a 1932 Touring car and a truck similar to the one in the pic. The truck has been in his family since it was brand new. It was used in a "Dickey's" commercial and a childrens book about trucks.

  9. I'm too young to experience a rumble seat, but my mother sometimes sat in the rumble seat as a child and she said it was fun during the day and cold at night.

  10. I wish a car maker would bring back the rumble seat - but I suppose there are too many "for your own good" laws out there to make that possible. I loved riding in the back of my dad's pickup - I'm sure a rumble seat would be just as fun.

  11. Oh no, eyes leaking like an artesian well - what a wonderful image . No, it's not just a picture, it's an image of a family experiencing life and it's pleasures at a 'fair type event'. I'm guessing Dad is behind the camera taking the picture. Clearly other families are doing much the same. I note the rising smoke in the distance presumably from a private family barbeque. Wonder what's cooking?

    Yes, I rode in a rumble seat a number of times in the '40's. Can't remember the make of car though, it belonged to my school friends dad. On occasion when I was at his house to play on a Saturday and his folks were going down to the local store his dad would call "Hey, you brats want to come along?"

    Of course we did, to buy a sixpence (six cents in US money?) worth or gob-stoppers and a Ripley's 'Believe-it-or-not' bubble gum.

    We too, went on picnics not unlike the one in the image but we were in Central Africa in those days. Sorry if this is too long, but nostalgia is a powerful trigger

  12. I did ride in a rumble seat,my brother by my side. It just pulled out (like a trunk on a car)
    Mom and Dad were in the front with their part of the car under a roof. I felt kinda like a queen. Thanks for the memory.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.