Granddad Talks Car Fever, 1916-1960

G.M.C. Massey, 1952

G.M.C. Massey

Imagine a time before automobiles commanded every aspect of our culture and you begin to understand the world my grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, grew up in. His memoirs detail days-long journeys by wagon to see relatives, or even just to go to town.

Previously, I posted his account of his first time he ever saw an automobile in 1910. Here, he writes of buying his first cars in 1916 and 1917, and his later thoughts about auto ownership, circa 1960.

I sold a small piece of land that I owned back there at Yantis in 1916 when the Car Fever struck me, and I bought me a new 1916 Model Ford, Of course a model “T” as there were only one kind then, and that is what I bought, And the very next year a 1917 model, when I could on account of my having such good luck with my cotton buying, and could pay for it so easily.


I too, very well remember when I decided that I wanted to buy my first automobile. It was in the year of 1916; and I sold a patch of ground near where I lived, and bought a new model “T” Ford And I soon learned that I had made a mistake: I kept on making the same mistake, and kept buying new, or old or second handed cars till Now and it looks like you cannot do without one even now, after I am so old that I don’t drive any more; but wife drives, and I have lost one of my legs, and never expect to drive any more But I want a car so that we can go where, and when we get ready. Although the car is the costliest thing that we maintain in the Family Although I am anxious about having a good car so as to be able to go to church, and to town. And to see some of the children that live here in the same town with us, and go fishing If I am so disposed, In other words be independent.


Now they beg you to come and buy without money But with a price; But they will take most any kind of down payment And let you have at least Three years to pay; and if you don’t have anything to pay with; If you have a job you can borrow money to make the down payment; and they make it so easy to buy a new car that if you are not very careful you will buy when you have no business doing so.

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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