Hard-To-Find Tail Light From the 1930s

We recently bought a carload of items from an old dealership, and there were a number of hard-to-find lights in our haul, all dating to the 1930s. This one may show its age with rust, wear, and missing lenses, but it is still a beauty.

The torpedo-shaped housing is larger than you might think and measures eight inches in length. It is marked “DULITE,” and the license plate bracket is marked both “DULITE” and “RILITE.” The part number on the mount is 655863. Notice that the configuration is not what you would expect with the mount on the side of the light housing.

This is what it looks like mounted on the car:

This light is original to a 1936 Dodge, and the beautiful blue Dodge pictured here is one that I photographed on the courthouse square at Minden, Nebraska, a few years ago.

Dodge had already developed a reputation for dependability and ruggedness by this point, so for 1936 the company placed an emphasis on beauty and economy. Powered by a 217.8ci inline 6 L-head with 87-hp @ 3600rpm, this Dodge was able to achieve 18-24 mpg. This is a fun little ad about the gas saving features.

As seen in my last post, car companies during this time period were linking their automobiles to fashion in order to attract female buyers. Below is a newspaper advertisement and a page from the Dodge brochure which touts what “noted fashionistas” are saying about the ’36 Dodge:

It is a truly stunning automobile with so many great details like the convex grille, artillery wheels, airplane-like speedo, and, of course, those amazing tail lights.

Photo credit: David Berry from Rohnert Park CA, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons