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Mark Gregory

In the 1930's could you Parallel Park ? ?

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I have watched quite a few old movies and all the cars seem to angle park on the streets . Could anyone parallel park a 1930's car in those days ?  Or was it just too much guess work with the mechanical and physical designs of the cars ? Some cars never came with side view mirrors and the high back windows .

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I wouldn't want to try to parallel park my '29 McLaughlin-Buick. That big 309 cu.in. engine sitting in front makes even parking it in it's corner of the garage a challenge !

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 I parallel parked a  152 inch wheelbase 1933 sedan this morning at breakfast. No problem..........

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I've parallel-parked my '35 Packard Twelve many times.  Big and heavy car, and it takes a lot of room and lots of arm/shoulder strength.  But it can be done. 

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I typically parallel park my 1937 Buick Century Sedan at least once a week at a local restaurant. It is really not difficult. While a bit difficult to steer when stationary, the slightest movement of the car makes steering fairly easy. 

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My dad took his drivers test in Vermont in 1940 and he had to parallel park with his logging truck. I had to parallel park when I took my test in Vermont at 14 in 1963 even though there was only one space to parallel park in all of Montpelier - right in front of the state Capital Building. All other parking in the city was angled in ! Kicker is it was between two cones set pretty far apart.. it was the only parking place for a couple of blocks.

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When my Grand father taught me to drive we used two sawhorses.  After each park he had me drive around the block and park again.  I didn't realize that each time he moved the horses closer together.  He finally said I was good enough when I could consistently park  the Pontiac (13' 6") in a 15 foot space, and that was with no outside mirrors.

He said the only vehicle that he/you couldn't parallel park in a space 18 inches longer than it's length was a Nash Quad with four wheel steering.

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From these photos, it looks like they could. 

 

I have no problem parallel parking my 1930s era car.  

45450081_1861879860594790_161719966964383744_o.jpg

31925115_1599618873425243_7078926580000489472_n.jpg

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Just like today some people could parallel park and some couldn't. In the US many small towns were built in the 19th century with extra wide main streets to accommodate a farmer's market on Saturdays. This extra space came in handy for angle parking later.

 

There are movies that show parallel parking, especially in big cities where they weren't so fortunate as to space.

 

I could add that a lot of old cars need a front end alignment badly and if you have radial tires that makes steering harder too. Original equipment size bias ply tires and an alignment job and even heavy cars are not too hard to steer as long as they are moving.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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In old photos of Richmond, VA, the cars are parallel parked. Very few angled parking streets there. One that did, until the city decided in the last 20 years to renovate entrances to the city, was "The Boulevard" where the angled parking was in the median of the street! You had to make sure the traffic was light before you pulled trough a parking space to turn a 135 degree turn to go the other way when you left the parking space in two lanes width. And there was parallel parking next to the sidewalks.

 

http://vintagerva.blogspot.com/2011/06/boulevard-1978.html

 

And, that Volvo dealer in the photo, was the Packard dealer, Moores Motor Car Company. Now relocated to West Broad street.

 

And Broad Street was always parallel parking, that I know of from pictures and family.

 

http://vintagerva.blogspot.com/2011/07/broad-street-1957.html

Broad_Street-Richmond-1957-small.jpg

Boulevard-1978-small.jpg

Edited by Frank DuVal
Pictures added (see edit history)

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Back in 1984 I surprised my HERSHEY CREW by Parallel Parking both my 1884 Suburban and the 4x6 ft retired U-Haul trailer at the curb on West Chocolate Avenue in a space barely 2-1/2 ft longer than the rig - and I did it in ONE SHOT - and both truck and trailer were parallel to the curb, and the truck was less than 3 inches from the curb. "Even a blind squirrel....". I DID HAVE LOTS OF PRACTICE AS A KID IN NEW JERSEY, AND VISITING FAMILY IN NYC.

(Short tongue & High Sides so I couldn't see)

 

Now I can parallel park any of my big Classics, but it does take a fair bit of shoulder since they are not as light steering as our 1950s cars.

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I recently had problems in parking my '37 Buick at a local event. Parked behind me was a low imported 1960's roadster and it was not visible through the rear windows nor the side mirror. Ultimately I parked at an angle and eventually moved to a better location.

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