A special glimpse into the early days of motoring

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Updated Mar 23, 2015

For you travel buffs with a weak spot for the olden days of America’s highways, the Antique Automobile Club of America has a fine collection of some of the earliest car commercials and other videos, starting in the 1930s.

From “The Gasoline Trail.”From “The Gasoline Trail.”

I spotted only one devoted to trucking. It’s “Singing Wheels,” a 23-minute trucking industry promotion made in 1941. It’s about trucking’s role in the economy, and how even before daybreak, “the wheels of our swift-moving civilization are turning.”

I’ve written about “Singing Wheels” before, including a letter from reader D.D. Norman of California, who had done a lot of research on it, including its funding by the Fruehauf Trailer Co.

The AACA site hosts more than 160 videos, mostly falling under the categories of movies and ads, old car stories, and car museums.


The 1930s productions, many by Chevrolet, are quite charming. One of them, the 1935 “Down the Gasoline Trail,” uses animation to trace what happens to a personified drop of gas after it’s pumped into the tank.

In “Dinah Shore Introduces the 1953 Chevrolet,” one of the top TV celebrities of the decade teases viewers about a “great new star” she’s about to introduce. She doesn’t let on that … it’s not really a person!

Anyone remember Dinah singing “See the USA … in your Chevrolet”? That’ll date you….

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