Does your character drive a 1951 Crosley?

1986 Ford Half TruckI’m not a car person; I’m really not. If one drives by, I can tell you what colour it is, if it’s small or large or a convertible. That’s it. I might be able to identify it if it’s a Ford Focus wagon—that’s what I currently drive. I can also tell you that ten hay bales can be stuffed in the back and there’d still be room for one passenger.

I can distinguish between a car, a truck, a mini-van, a van and an SUV (although this seems to be getting harder each year). But I’ll be honest; I don’t take interest in details unless it’s something I’ve driven and loved.

Ah, my 1982 Ford F-150, midnight blue, 6-cylinder automatic…now, I can tell you all about that. I’ve been under the hood, on top of the engine and at the rear replacing a gas tank. I can tell you the ignition key didn’t unlock the doors or the glove compartment; you needed a second one for that. The locks were manual—you actually had to push them down, but you could also pull them up. You could unlock the vehicle from the driver’s side and the passenger side with the key!—something you can’t do in today’s vehicles.

If one of my characters drove a truck like this, I’d know they’d have to give it a little gas to get it started. I’d also know the truck would roll at minus 30 without a block heater, that it ran on unleaded gas and to flick on the high beam headlights, they’d press that round, steel button on the floor with their left foot.

If my character drove a 1951 Crosley, 2-door Super, I’d be lost. I wouldn’t even know what the car looked like without googling it unless…I went to a car show.

1951 Crosley, 2-door Super

Car shows are great places to not only to see what old cars look like, but they’re great events to snap pictures, talk to owners, ask questions about what this does and what that does, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to sit in the vehicle to feel what it’d be like before you sat your character there.1951 Crosley, 2-door Super

If you’re at a car show for research, remember to take lots of pictures, so when you get home, you can recall all the information you gathered, such as what the dash looked like, what gages were used and where the gas went in.

When talking with the owner, ask which parts are original and which weren’t on the car when originally sold. I’ve see cars with modern-day stereos in the dash that really standout. And I’ve seen unique things that I’ve never seen on today’s vehicle, such as a manual spot light.

The light is mounded behind the driver’s side mirror and the handle to work it protrudes through the body of the vehicle and comes out beside the steering wheel. Apparently, the driver can manipulate the light so that it shines forward, at any angle he wants. It reminds me of the floodlights the light and power company uses to check for downed and damaged lines.

Now that I have this information, I wondering how I can fit it into one of the stories I’m writing. Mmm, I’ll have to wait and see.

Have you used events such as car shows for your research? Do you know what type of car your main character drives?

Ford Truck

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2 thoughts on “Does your character drive a 1951 Crosley?

  1. I actually know what kind of car every single one of my characters drive. My husband is a big car person, and I do a lot of photography of cars in my spare time. I go to car shows most every week end. I know cars, and if I don’t know it, I ask my husband and he does. I love doing photo shoots of cars and hopefully my husband and I will make a website for it! I have some really great shots of a Nissan z at the pier in Mystic, CT on my blog. Great article!! Car shows are a great place to do research!

    • Cassandra, you’re one up on me. I don’t take notice of cars; I’d be a terrible witness at a hit and run. “What kind of car was it, Mame?”…”A green one!” lol

      Thanks for visiting and commenting on the post.

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