Home » Here’s Some Good Stuff From A March 1963 Issue Of Popular Science

Here’s Some Good Stuff From A March 1963 Issue Of Popular Science

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As you may have noticed from a couple of the Cold Starts I wrote this week, I’ve been digging through my big pile of old Popular Science magazines again. I regard this as an important part of my job, keeping you updated with the cutting edge of automotive and science news from over 60 years ago. You’re too important and busy and, let’s be honest, sexy, to go through all this crap on your own, getting mold and dust all over your hands and coming out smelling like a cigar discarded in a library ashtray since the Ford Administration. So I’ll do it! Which means that sometimes you’ll get posts like this, a random salad of stuff I found interesting or amusing in a given issue! Hot damn!

This issue is the one you see up there on my Bally Astrocade, which, yes, I’m quite proud to own. It’s from March of 1963, and the colors of the cover remain gloriously saturated and rich. I’m telling you all this because our publisher Matt has drilled into my head that we really can’t publish images before the third paragraph, because it screws up some ad placement or the video player or some shit. I’m not sure; sometimes I just kind of glaze over when he’s going on and on about that stuff.

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But, I do remember the important bits. No images until the third paragraph, right! And hey! Look where we are! Time for some images!

Modeltad

Let’s start with this strangely ominous and scary ad; I don’t think it was Ford/Autolite’s intent to make a Model T seem like some monster from a horror movie that is moments away from masticating you into a thick, chunky salsa, but they sure as hell pulled it off! I mean, it’s great that they got that 1914 car to get a whole mile per gallon better, but did they have to shoot it like it was crawling out of a foggy swamp? Also, that car was, what, 49 when this ad was shot, so if it were to be done today, the equivalent car would be a 1975 something. Holy crap, my Beetle is older than that.

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Tweel Almosr

So, this is fascinating, and so far I’ve not found any other references to this thing online, but it seems to be a sort of early tweel-like airless wheel, designed for use as a spare tire. It uses rubber springs in the center and a solid rubber “tire,” and seems to be only two inches thick. It reminds me of the skinny plastic wheels repair shops use to move cars around that we wrote about back in March. Only these old Schmid-built wheels were tested to 100 mph! I wonder what it’d be like to drive a Beetle on two-inch-thick tires? I bet it’d be fun. And scary. But fun?

Vwbusoven

Here’s some more VW goodness for you: A Type 2 van with what looks like a whole lot of home kitchen equipment built into it. I wonder if the “demonstration” of these ovens and ranges meant they actually worked? Maybe if it plugged into some outside 220V power source? Maybe I’ll just call L.L. Smith at ED-3-0387 on my rotary phone and ask.

Ghiafiat

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Check out this amazing Ghia-designed Fiat! This was a Fiat 2300S Club, and while it got an official mention in Fiat brochures of the era, only two were actually built. It was described as being for

“…for long distance travels, for sports and holidays in all Countries and in all weathers.”

Ghia2

It’s quite striking; they refer to it as a “shooting brake” which it could be, though it does feel more hatchback-ish. I’d have to check the measurements against the Wagon Rules to be sure.

Econoline2

I really like this old Econoline ad, because it basically just describes the virtues of, well, a van. Which the Econoline very much was!

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Armstrongtires

Here’s another creepy approach to advertising: tires that sprout human hands that desperately claw at the road. And those “safety discs” – what were those? Little rubber bits between the treads to keep the gaps open and clear? That’s some tire tech you no longer hear about, along with automatic human hand growth tech.

Horsecontest

Okay, finally, there’s this one, which really doesn’t have anything to do with cars, but it’s just so weird. It’s a contest from a tobacco company where you can… win a horse? You pick a name for the horse – which is the son of the legendary Citation, by the way – and if your name gets picked, then, boom, you own a horse, horse-owner! Luckily they’ll handle taking care of it for you and, it seems racing it, too. Could you have opted to take it home and keep it in your garage? Maybe?

I found some forums online where people remember these contests, and it seems lots had hopes of bringing the horse home, too.

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What a world we live in, right? Or at least, a world from 60 years ago, but still.

 

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This 1960 Issue of Popular Science Has Front-Wheel Drive Car Owners Talking Smack And Early-Autonomy Experiments That Still Make Sense Today

This Comparison Between EV Costs And Horse-And-Carriage Costs From 1900 Is Fascinating

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Dan Roth
Dan Roth
9 days ago

PopSci and PopMech backissues available at books.google.com – go as far back as you’d like. Thanks, Bonnier Corporation.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
11 days ago

What? No stories about the flying cars we would all have by 1970?

Serg_skudnov
Serg_skudnov
11 days ago

child of the top
name sold for tobacco
the best horse is wild

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
11 days ago

We’ve heard so much about tweels over these years – I wonder if they could at least be used as low-weight/zero maintenance spares rather than full-on wheels?

Roofless
Roofless
12 days ago

One trick for making sure the auto playing video player doesn’t interfere with the content would be to remove the accursed thing.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
12 days ago

I remember a TV ad for Armstrong Tires. It showed a hand with discs between the fingers reaching out of a tire and digging into the pavement. As a child I found it kind of creepy. Armstrong tires grip the road!

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
12 days ago

RIP PopSci in print, killed by the same private equity overlords who chased off a bunch of talent from Donut. 🙁

Wezel Boy
Wezel Boy
12 days ago

Did no one else look at the cover and see-

Boats!
Boats!
Boats!

Is this where that comes from?

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
13 days ago

Oh man..everybody had one of those lanterns

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
13 days ago

In the early 1980s, my best friend’s grandparents in Oklahoma had the entire collection of Popular Science from 1930s through 1960s. I perked up and got all giddy when seeing the collection. His grandfather asked me if I wanted them, yes, the entire collection. My best friend and I didn’t speak to each other for a while afterwards because he wanted the collection, too.

Nevertheless, I spent lot of lazy summer days reading them and were marvelled at what people could come up with in the first half of twentieth century. I learnt so much from about diagnosing and servicing the cars from monthly columns featuring Gus and “Say Smokey”. My favourite columns are “I’d like to see them make…”, “New Ideas from the Inventors”, and “Wordless Workshop”.

VS 57
VS 57
13 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

All of the monthly Gus features are online at “The Gus Project”. I love the Auto Tech Procedural format the articles follow… also not having to deal with the moldy aspect of history.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
10 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

Popular Science online largely helped me maintain my sanity during the worst of 2020 & ‘21. Gus was my gateway, but Smokey’s adiabatic motor was a fun rabbit hole to suck up too much free time. Also, it was fun to start in the 1920s and watch society evolve a bit. Iirc, WW Dad was still sporting his pipe into the 70s. I seem to remember Mom chipping in with her own projects around then, as well.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
10 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Oh, yes, the adiabatic motor! I think this would be great topic for Mercedes to dive deeply in and write the article about it.

Tagarito
Tagarito
13 days ago

I like how Popsci narrowly avoided calling the Ghia Fiat thing an SUV. It’s like giving back a few minutes to the automobile doomsday clock

James Carson
James Carson
13 days ago

I remember seeing that Armstrong ad. Wish I’d kept my collection of PopSci, PopMech and PopElec. Used to get them monthly and read cover to cover alongside Cracked, Nat Geo, Mad Mag and later the Lampoon.

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
13 days ago

If you really wanted to get around that whole “three paragraphs rule” you could have gotten technical.

Just one sentence per paragraph is needed.

Technically right is the best kind of right.

So this just proves, Torch, that you actually love following rules and you secretly want to make Mike’s job easier. Or something.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
13 days ago

That horse ad is just sad. Poor horse, maybe he had hopes and dreams of his own.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
13 days ago

It’s kind of funny how Ford is suggesting that the Econoline van is so much better than the Econoline pickup that they also offer.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
12 days ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

Not to mention knee capping the F-Series they were also selling. Clearly before they figured out how to pad the margins on pickups, as there’s no way they’d spend a penny of the marketing budget trying to talk people out of buying one now

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
13 days ago

Could I politely suggest that Messr’s Lionel Smith and Murray Ramsbottom might have been gas-fitters? I like to think that Mrs Ramsbottom, assisted by Leticia Smith would skip brightly from the cab and cook a magnificent dinner for the assembled construction workers. It would explain all those houses in Oklahoma that have VW type 2 kitchens.

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
13 days ago

Is it just me or has Popular Mechanics turned into some kinda crackpot conspiracy theory thing?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
13 days ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

It’s not just you. I was recently thinking about how Newsweek went from being a respectable, mainstream news magazine to what seems to be basically news-themed clickbait.

James Carson
James Carson
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

And most of the other mainstream titles all replaced with toxic Social Media, tiktok and youtube. How far we’ve fallen.

Roofless
Roofless
12 days ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

They all have. The history channel used to have history, discovery used to have discoveries, popular mechanics used to have mechanical things. They’re all the same slush of bullshit and trash now, because the people who own things have “Homer Simpson with a crayon up his nose” as both their target audience and their view of the rest of us.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
13 days ago

I say name that horse Excitation!

Do I win? Huh? It’s been dead for 40 years? Where the hell have I been?

Damn, is that thunder? No, it’s those hooligans up the hill bowling again. Bastards. I’ll take care of them one day or my name isn’t Rip Van W …… zzzzzzz …

Chris D
Chris D
13 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I wonder what the horse ended up with as a name.
Already There would have been good. The judges might have liked Smoke Rings.
The Kentucky Club Tobacco company would have disapproved of Carcinoma as a moniker, or Emphysema, although the first one would roll nicely off the race announcer’s tongue.

Tony D
Tony D
12 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

the days before he’d be named Horsey McHorseface.

Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
12 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Maybe it was called “Court Appearance”?

…As that is what usually follows a Citation.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
11 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Bojack Horseman enters the chat.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
13 days ago

The later 60s Autolite ads were perhaps more evocative, but still had the same “these amazing but cheap things will make your car so much better and we’ll prove it by equating it with something way cooler” mojo.

Those ads referenced the original Mustang, the GT40/the win at Le Mans, and even some of Ford’s cool concept cars like the Mach 2, all tying things back to “this freakin’ filter is the only one we’d (Ford’s factory team) ever use on our $$$$ racecar and it’s only $ so buy it already!” line. It was pretty good pitch.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Those Autolite batteries were the shit though, only needed water 3 times a year

VS 57
VS 57
13 days ago

No war surplus jeeps?

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
13 days ago
Reply to  VS 57

I liked the ads for Austin champ jeeps with Rolls-Royce engines for $100. and there were always ads for brand new Allison V-1710 aircraft engines in crates in cosmoline for a few hundred dollars

VS 57
VS 57
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Complete with all accessories $350, Buffalo, NY. I wonder how many E.J. Potter went through.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
13 days ago
Reply to  VS 57

Send No Money!
Do Not Order From Us.
Prices shown are direct from suppliers abroad.
B. L. MELLINGER, JR.
Famous world trader…
President of The Mellinger Co.
Put coupon in mail today!

http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/BU/B_L_Mellinger_Jr_-_Here_Is_My_Personal_Message_Side_One.mp3

Last edited 13 days ago by Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford
Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
13 days ago
Reply to  VS 57

I remember those adverts well. The internet seems to think that the WWII/Korea era surplus Jeeps were sold by the Govt for considerably above that price with preference to veterans. I wonder if the cheap Jeeps was just a long running scam?

James Carson
James Carson
13 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

If you haven’t encountered a juicy conspiracy before 8am, just create one. The wonder of the internet.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
13 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

The thing they didn’t tell you about those $100 Jeeps is that most of them were decomissioned, which means they were cut in half. I’ve see a few of them that somehow survived many more years after someone crudely welded one back together.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
12 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

The ones in the ads are English, excuse me, British Austin jeeps with the Rolls-Royce engines that were presumably scattered all over the world about the time the sun started setting on the British Empire.

BubbaMT
BubbaMT
13 days ago

Armstrong used that imagery in TV commercials, too. They would show the hand with the rubber discs between them, accompanied by the voice-over, “ARMSTRONG TIRES, they GRRRRIPP the ROAD!”

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