1949 Studebaker Truck

Whatever the job, this awesome 1949 Studebaker 1 1/2-ton truck would make the work more enjoyable. Studebaker described it as husky, handsome and trustworthy, and I can’t disagree!

Notice that iconic Studebaker “rocket” hood ornament:

Studebaker also touted the “roomy, big-vision” cab:

Studebaker’s big trucks like this 1 1/2-ton and the 2-ton were powered by a 6-cylinder “Power Plus” engine and were available in four wheelbases:

Studebaker. Advertisement. The San Bernardino County Sun, 29 November 1949, p. 19.

Studebaker. Advertisement. The Freeport Journal-Standard, 15 November, 1949, p. 7.

1937 Chevrolet

The grille on this Chevy was part of the “Diamond Crown Speedline Styling” that was new for 1937. Chevy’s tagline was “The Complete Car – Completely New,” and other innovations like all-steel unisteel bodies by Fisher and new six-cylinder high-compression valve-in-head engines were enough to make Chevrolet the best-selling automobile that year.

Chevrolet. Advertisement. The Daily Messenger [Canandaigua, NY], 2 December 1936, p. 3.

Ford Snowmobile

And just like that, Nebraskans go from needing amphibious Amphicars to needing something like this:

1930 Ford Model A at Pioneer Village

That’s right, Nebraska, still not recovered from massive flooding, was treated to a blizzard this week. This Ford Model A snowmobile would be very handy for traversing the snow-covered roads, and it was actually called a snowmobile by inventor Virgil White. White was a New Hampshire Ford dealer, and he patented this special attachment for Ford cars and trucks in 1917.

The front wheels were replaced with runners that were 5 feet long and 18 inches wide. The rear axle was extended and wheels were added to hold the caterpillar tread. The kit sold for around $175 and was very popular, particularly with rural mail carriers and doctors.


Constable, George N. “Snowmobile Ideas Began Drifting Around in 1913.”  News Journal [Mansfield], 21 January 1986, p. 1-B.

“Ford Turns Out the Snowmobile.” The Calgary Daily Herald, 7 March 1925, p. 20.

“Snowmobiles for Automobiles is New Idea; Scheme Tested.” The Windsor Star, 10 January 1925, p. 3.

The Snowmobile.  Advertisement. The Burlington Free Press, 6 October 1923.

Amphicar (The Car Nebraskans Need Right Now)

Although this Amphicar was not American-made, it was marketed primarily to Americans. It was an amphibious automobile invented by German Hans Trippel and was produced from 1961 to 1968.

Amphicar at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska

Twin propellers (located under the rear of the car) were easily engaged with a shift knob.

The front tires acted as rudders and special seals around the doors and engine compartment kept the water out. It had stamped steel body panels, a Porsche transmission and suspension made by Mercedes-Benz. Power was supplied by a rear-mounted 43-hp 4-cylinder Triumph engine. Newspaper accounts vary, but top land speed was around 65-70 mph with water speed somewhere around 10-12 mph.

“Chemist Goes By Water in His car.” The Sidney Herald Morning Sun, 25 April 1965, p. 17.

The Amphicar was apparently seaworthy, crossing the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 5.5 hours in 1962. Back in the states, a salesman demonstrating one at a lake in Texas said, “Most of the time people think I’m either a drunk who has run his car off into the lake, or some crazy nut.”

McGuire, Michael. “Cars Ahoy, Hail Drivers During Plunge in Lake.” Chicago Tribune, 1 August 1965, p. 1.

Another story about the Amphicar from 1962 asked, “Who needs bridges anymore?” Good point! With many bridges destroyed by historic flooding, thousands of Nebraskans would find an Amphicar extremely useful about now.

1963 Amphicar Ad


“Amphicar Demonstrator Discovers People are Curious.” The Irving Daily News Texan, 7 October 1962, p. 9.

“Amphicar – Hans Trippel Knew How to Make Hope Float.”  Fort Myers News-Press, 6 October 2004.

“Chemist Goes by Water in His car.” The Sidney Herald Morning Sun, 25 April 1965, p. 17.

Hill, Michael.  “What Has Four Wheels and Floats?” Chicago Tribune, 8 January 1995, p. 6.

“Hope Wasn’t Enough to Make This Idea Float.” Chicago Tribune, 24 October 2007, p. 2.

Ianfield, Peggy.  “Amphicars Startle Cape Coral Area.”  Fort Myers News-Press, 29 July 1962, p. 5-C.

McGuire, Michael. “Cars Ahoy, Hail Drivers During Plunge in Lake.” Chicago Tribune, 1 August 1965, p. 1.

 “Sports Car – Boat Too.” The Nashville Tennessean, 7 October 1962, p. 6-C.