TRAVEL in the 1930s
During the early 1930's cars were rapidly becoming a necessary part of life. Owning a luxury car like the Packard Super 8 or a big car with a big engine was the distant dream of many people. The reality of gas mileage and cost often took a back seat to luxury cars.
This page is about those days when the roads were almost devoid of traffic, especially on hot summer days and during bad winter weather. One could not just get in their car and be sure it would start. Batteries were 6 volt and the weather took its toll on them. Long distance travel had its risks. For instance, traveling across the deserts of the American Southwest in summer could lead to being stranded in 100 degree plus weather with little or no water to drink or put in an overheated car engine. Some Car radiators would boil over or their tires blew out in the intense heat. Older car engines usually had a lot of *blowby because their piston rings were worn out.
Some engines were not cared for properly and occasionally they did not last even 50,00 miles before a major overhaul, if the engine could be repaired at all. Car engines often would gum up with gooey sludge. Bulk oil was cheap and was often pumped from a tank into an oil can with an adjustable pouring spout.
Back then many people did not take proper care of their vehicles, which still happens.
Finding gas and oil was not a given like today. The difference is one could encounter a sign that read, "Next Gas 50 Miles." That was a problem if one had less than a quarter of a tank of gasoline in a car that only got 10 - 15 miles to the gallon. And, gas could cost a lot more than in a big city. Today many tend to think in terms of dollars per gallon, but then many tended to think, do I have the money to buy enough gas to get us to the next town? There were no credit cards and banks usually did not have branches. Checks were hard to cash or pay for goods with.
The consequences of believing one could make it 50 or more miles to a "cut rate" gas station before their car's engine choked out on its last drop of gasoline were very, very real.
*From Merriam-Webster online "Definition of blowby : leakage of combustion gases between a piston and the cylinder wall into the crankcase in an automobile"