Home » Cold Start: I Wonder What’s In That Little Tiny Box Back There

Cold Start: I Wonder What’s In That Little Tiny Box Back There

Cs Jagst770

One of my favorite categories of automotive brochure art is what I’d call the Loading Fantasy genre, where a schematized cutaway of the car is shown populated with people and an assortment of packages and luggage, sometimes with improbable shapes and sizes. This 1960 Jagst 770 brochure features a really charming example of the genre. Especially that little box way in the back.

What I like about these images is that you can tell the goal was to fill every possible bit of usable volume of space in the car with humans or some sort of hard-sided cargo, and they did just that. Little area behind the spare tire in the front trunk, under the main loading area? It gets a little box. The tiny shelf under the rear window, just behind the main area of the rear luggage well? A strange tiny parcel fits there, too, possibly a longish one, but we have to guess, as we get no overhead view.

Also, I like the implication that driving with the rear seat folded is a white glove affair, while driving with the rear seat up is not. Good to know.

Cs Jagst770 2

The Jagst 770 was, as you likely have guessed, a license-built version of the Fiat 600. The company that made it was a German joint venture between NSU and Fiat, sometimes known as Neckar, sometimes just NSU-Fiat.

Also, if you’re looking at this and thinking, hot pickles, that baby looks eff-aigh-ess-tea, then boy are you right! That 25 horsepower 767cc inline-twin could motherflapping launch this brute from zero to 100 (well, kilometers) in a blistering 40.6 seconds! That is well under a minute!


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41 Responses

  1. I too live for the cutaways. My favorite is the 1960 Falcon ad, complete with Great Dane staring and wagging and junior with his little fire truck.

    I would include a picture but, ahem, I can’t do that. I really can’t communicate well without pictures, hint hint.

  2. The long skinny package on the shelf is Mr. Brady’s roll of architectural drawings and the briefcase holds the lunch Alice packed for him.

  3. I’m more interested in the ACME Premium bomb in the back seat with the optional plaid paint job. I don’t know why you’d want to go through all the effort to custom paint something that you’re just going to explode, but there it is. I guess it’s to say “We’re not trying to kill some dumb roadrunner here.”

  4. That little box is probably a 2 Inch subwoofer, for that frisky German Polka music that makes men and women swoon at each other, at the ankles.

  5. As someone who’s moved cross-country with an A4 sedan, I’ve actually realized the packing fantasy. My travel duffle goes in the rear footwell on one side, it holds my pajamas for the motel overnight and clothes for the rest, backpack with immediate needs goes in the passenger footwell, a few large totes in the trunk with my desktop tower next to them and monitor in between, seats left up to minimize cargo height as I had plenty of soft laundry bags to lay on the seats, and a plethora of shoe boxes holding odds and ends shoved in every little corner. With about an inch above the tote boxes and below the bulkhead, I placed my keyboard on top of one, and a binder I remembered last minute on the other. Fit everything I owned in the little B5 without obstructing rear view at all, that’s one of my prouder achievements to date.

    1. Friends: How are we fitting all our [camping gear | groceries | luggage] in your sedan?
      Me: *Utilizes decades of spatial visualization training*
      Friends: Wow, and we can even still see out the back too!

      1. I am always good on the outbound leg, but when it comes to stowing everything away again to go home my possessions have always increased in volume by 30%.

  6. “767cc inline-twin” Nope, that was a 4 cylinder. The twin was in the 500. And you (hopefully) know what powerhouses Abarth made of these tiny engines…

  7. I’m another vote for reading it as people turned into boxes. The white gloves are not for formality, they’re to avoid leaving fingerprints between the kill room and the pig farm/construction site/Lake Mead

  8. Having grown up on Long Island with a Brooklyn-Italian mother, I always imagined those little boxes to contain cookie assortments and/or cannolis. You’re all dressed up, crammed into a tiny car, going on a Sunday pilgrimage to your cousins house in Bensonhurst. You can’t cross their threshold without first passing them a tiny box with dusty cookies.

  9. All I read was Jag luggage and thought about a nice leather set costing about 6,000 pounds sterling that could be a nice supplement for a vacation with an E-type….

    Then I looked again and realized this is a 25 hp JagST with some shitty post-war cardboard luggage crammed into the trunk that may leak and soak the lederhosen and schnitzel.

    My bad.

  10. What is interesting to me is that they didn’t use the empty blue triangle behind the seat for anything. Because I am weird I measured the tiny box and found that it would just fit in there with room for some other small triangular object. I’d suggest a large Toblerone.

    1. Maybe it’s Japanese and you read from right to left. The people became boxes. Not unlike that Star Trek episode where a red shirt crewman gets turned into a dodecahedron.

  11. It looks too small for Gwenyth Paltrow’s head, so we can cross the worst thing to find in a box off the list. It’s also probably not a parcel bomb since this ad easily predates the Unabomber’s reign of terror. The suitcases obviously have all of the lederhosen that the occupants packed, so scratch that as well- Wait. I have it. The box contains lederhosen for ants. I’m pretty sure German ants wear tiny lederhosen, and you need many pairs since a single colony can have thousands of ants in it. It’s Oktoberfest and these proud Germans are helping a local ant colony celebrate.

  12. What I like best in vintage ads of this type is there’s often a hat box. And b/c despite the fact that none of us here lived through the main time when this was a thing, I’m willing to bet most of us know exactly what that round box represents.

    I always wonder if it, even back then, was chosen mostly for visual flair.

    As in, people in 1960 would look at this ad and think “really, they think the wife’s gonna taking her finest hat on the trip to the lake? You know how much that cost me? I don’t think so. And how the hell am I supposed to cook my Frankfurter Wurstchen in this thing anyway??”

    1. Actually, a few of us are old enough to remember hat boxes. My memories of 1960 are that you are correct in assuming that, by that time, not many American women would have taken their best hat on a trip in a small car like this. Maybe it was a hair dryer, I remember seeing some that had carrying cases like this.

      It is interesting that everyone is dressed up, maybe the foursome are just going to an event, I imagine it was something like Cousin Hilda’s wedding, and the small packages are wedding gifts.

      1. I stand corrected. And jealous, as you’re old enough to have experienced some of the best years of American motoring that the rest of us just fantasize about. Damn.

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