What’s this?

What's This?When I went to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last year, I saw an unfamiliar feature on several of the cars from the 1920s and ’30s.

I finally asked a man what it was. He was kind enough to explain it to me at which time it made perfect sense.

Take a look at the following pictures and test your historical knowledge of automotive features.

[Answer at bottom of page 2.]



Not for the frugal
This topic came up because a concept from 2001, that I’m writing about for the next post, has a modern take on the mystery feature.

Below are a few pictures I found of cars from the Concours that were equipped with it. I added arrows pointing to the item. I’m pretty sure it was only available on upper-end makes but I’m not positive about that.

This first car is a 1930 Cadillac 452 Fleetwood Convertible Coupe (the car’s name is linked to a previous post I wrote on it).

1930 Cadillac 452 Fleetwood Convertible Coupe

This second car is a 1931 Mercer Prototype Merrimac Raceabout Convertible Coupe and the designers saw fit to include the feature.

1931 Mercer Prototype Merrimac Raceabout Convertible Coupe

The third car was inside the Cadillac tent. Notice the drawing on the wall also shows the feature. I intend to do a full post on this and a sister car that was parked just ahead of it.

1934 Cadillac Sixteen Custom Roadster

I’ve provided full-size versions of those pictures in the gallery. Feel free to comment if you think you’ve got the answer. If no one’s pegged it in a couple days, I’ll provide the answer.


Continue below to the photo gallery and answer.