Friday Funny: Wooden Pole – 1, Vintage Car – 0

Buick Tourer 1920s Accident Postcard


Whilst idly reading through GeneabloggersTRIBE’s really quite extensive daily prompt list I found Friday Funny1 which I thought would be a fun way to share all those weird and wonderful orphan photos, funny family stories or interesting articles I come across. I won’t be posting every week – a strict timetable is not much fun, after all – so keep an eye out!

Without further ado, here is the inaugural Family Fractals Friday Funny post!*

* With bonus alliteration!

Vintage Car – Meet – Wooden Pole

I like this photo for the faces of the men staring at the wreck of the car. A mixture of “Wow! Will you take a look at that!”, “Who the hell did such a damn fool thing?” and “Now what are we going to do?” There’s certainly a heap of “standing around and staring” going on in this photo. Probably a lot of head scratching as well.

I found this postcard amongst our family photo collection. I do not know if it was one someone bought because it looked interesting or whether it was a photo of something they themselves saw. I don’t recognise any of the faces of the men in the photo so it is all a bit of a mystery.

But its a great photo. I mean, how did it happen? You can see the right hand bumper was smashed flat so I assume the car hit the pole on the right, rode up the pole and turned, finally falling off and getting skewered on the left hand side. In the process, the bump seems to have dislodged the roof which has snapped back and the window has folded down.

It probably took a bit of muscle to get that car lifted off that post. I expect after the photo was taken those nice white shirts of the men got a bit dirty if they helped to manhandle that car down!

What Type of Car Is It?

Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that. I really wanted to know what kind of car it was and how old the photo could be.

Well, in the end it took many hours of searching to finally figure out what this car was. I thought it would be really easy because of the lovely and distinctive curvy shape of the grille frame. Likewise, around the edge of the headlamp frame is a similar and, again, distinctive curvy design. Also, the door handles are a rectangular shape and there is what I can only describe as a decorative feature across the bonnet under the folding window – though it probably serves some kind of practical purpose. The roof obviously folds down as well.

With all these interesting features, you would think it would be a snap to identify the car. However, I just couldn’t seem to get the search terms right.

Finally, after mucking around with the photograph in a photo editing program I finally saw a very faint emblem above the grill – a rectangle with a dark background and something written on an angle from bottom left to top right.

From this I identified the Buick emblem and then it all fell into place.

Photos showing particular features:

Buick Tourer Grille Headlamp

Close-up of grille with emblem highlighted. Also notice the distinctive curly pattern around the headlamp. [Click to enlarge photo – in separate window]

Buick Tourer Grille Shape 1920s

The lovely curve to the top of the grill – mimicking the similar pattern on the headlamp. [Click to enlarge photo – in separate window]

Buick Tourer Door Handle Bonnet Accident 1920s

Side view showing the shape of the door handle and the decoration across the bonnet. [Click to enlarge photo – in separate window]


And the answer is…

And here is what I found. A 1927 Buick Master Six Tourer – a close match but I’m not a car expert and can’t be sure that the car in our photo is exactly the same model as this one. However, it does have all the features – same shape grill with a fine metal mesh, same pattern around the headlight, rectangular door handle, folding window and roof, and the decoration across the bonnet. I’m at least sure that our car is some kind of Buick Tourer.

And The Age?

Based on the photos on the Pre-War Buick website, that distinctive curvy grill shape was used on some of their models from 1924-1928. So that helps to date the photo in that it can’t be any earlier than 1924.

The back of the postcard is not as useful for dating purposes. From what I have found, the particular Kodak paper this photograph is printed on was probably used between 1913 and 1933 – mainly in the 1920s. Dating is apparently based on the Kodak Stamp box.

Postcard Back Kodak Austral Stamp Box

Back of the postcard showing the Kodak Austral Stamp box

I think it is a beautiful car and I would love to have one just like it. Especially in red because that makes it faster, of course!

1 Friday Funny: “To participate in Friday Funny, post anything genealogy related that makes you smile or laugh. It could be anything from funny epitaphs, census entries, photographs or family stories. Let’s start the weekend with a smile and a laugh.”

This entry was posted in Genealogy, Mystery, Photograph, Postcard and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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