Memorial Day 2022

A while back I wrote a post about a woman named Kathryn Otis, an endearing character who was setting records in her 1908 Stearns in the early years of the last century. You can read that story here: A Gutsy Broad and a 1908 Stearns.

As I was researching Mrs. Otis, I discovered that her husband, Kenneth R. Otis, was one of the millions of brave servicemen felled during World War I. Kenneth Otis was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1881, and he tragically died in 1918 while serving as a combat engineer for the Canadian Overseas Railway Construction Corps. He has a Canadian Virtual War Memorial page and is buried in Auberchicourt British Cemetery at Nord, France:

Remember those who served.

Another Old Dealership Building: Buick-Hudson

This early brick building is situated in downtown Gothenburg, Nebraska:

If you examine it carefully, and maybe squint one eye, you can just make out the words “BUICK HUDSON”:

A little research revealed that there was a car dealer in this city by the name of Orrin Hamilton Cotton who entered the business in 1915 with a Buick dealership:

1916 Advertisement

Cotton obtained the Hudson agency in 1917, and remained in the automobile business until his death in 1943.

1928 Advertisement

“When American engineers brought the automobile within reach of the many, they gave humanity the most amazing opportunity for increasing the benefits and joys of life that history has yet recorded.”

O. H. Cotton


Another Car Part Mystery

Awhile back, I mentioned how the 1939 Dodge hubcap appears to be something of an “ink blot test.” Well, here is another car part that is similarly open to interpretation:

This one was included in a part lot we recently purchased, and it took me half the morning to figure out what it was. Do you see:

A) a bird sitting on top of a shield;

B) an eagle with head turned to the side and wings outstretched;

C) a phoenix, rising from the ashes; or

D) Hernando de Soto?

The answer is . . . . . . . . .




Apparently, D, some stylized version of Hernando de Soto, because this emblem is found on the hood of the 1958 DeSoto. In the parts manual, it is referred to only as a medallion:

The DeSoto automobile first appeared in 1928, and it was named for the famed Spanish explorer and conquistador credited with being the first European to cross the Mississippi River. It was not uncommon to honor early explorers in this fashion; names such as Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and Robert Cavelier de la Salle were also immortalized in the automobile industry. When the DeSoto was introduced in 1928, the explorer was represented by a crest, which was also used as the radiator badge:

Of course, the best depictions of the explorer are the hood ornaments of the early 1950s:

They are certainly more recognizable than whatever that 1958 medallion is supposed to be!

Mopar’s Iconic “Forward Look” Logo

1958 Plymouth emblem, part number 1682578

This nice-looking emblem is one of Mopar’s iconic double-boomerang “Forward Look” emblems that first appeared in late 1954 (in reference to the new 1955 models) and was used through 1961.  The concept of the “Forward Look” encompassed the entirety of the motoring experience, all the style, performance and features not found elsewhere.  It was all about new and daring styling and engineering for traveling on America’s modern super-highways.  Chrysler described it this way in one 1955 advertisement:

“Cars that bring things to you other cars do not yet have.  Cars that do things for you other cars are not yet able to do.”

Some of these “things” included the push-button PowerFlight transmission; power steering and brakes; powerful engines like the hemis and the ’56 Plymouth Hy-Fire V8 with PowerPak (special intake manifolds, 4-barrel carb and dual exhaust); swept back windshields; safety features like LifeGuard door latches and optional Safety Seat Belts that met official airline specifications; and the Flight-Sweep design of the bodies which wrapped “up the whole idea of motion with one, clean, aerodynamic sweep from headlight to upswept rear fender,” or, as the goofy “Forward Look” song commissioned by the Chrysler Corporation put it:

“Its beautiful lines are so low, low, low, even standing still, it looks like go.”

1956 Plymouth
1957 Desoto
1955 Dodge