Four Taillights: Enough to Get You There
May 16, 2023
Prior to becoming self-employed as a Manufacturer’s Representative my dad was in sales for a hose company. Not the kind to be worn on one’s lower extremities, but rather hoses used for industrial purposes: flex connectors, expansion joints, metal hose. Our garage was a supply store of product, and product seemingly devoid of interest to a sometimes-bored preschooler.
His was a five-state territory and travel frequent. A company car was one of the tools provided. Even then, I learned that companies were austere and bottom line focused. The company car was a General Motors product, specifically a Chevy. At that time Chevy offered three sedan models: the Impala, the Bel Air, and the Biscayne. The cars were so equipped in regressive order. The Impala, as top of the line, came with automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, and air conditioning. Lot of chrome. Maybe even bucket seats and a console. There was a nifty radio speaker neatly centered at the top of the rear seat.
Bel Air, not too long before supplanted as Chevy’s top of the line, still contained many of these features.
The Biscayne presented few, if any.
The company car was a Biscayne.
My mom and me, and sometimes my sister would travel with my dad. The interstate highway system was still in its infancy, so most thoroughfares were part of two-lane federal or state systems initiated back in the 1920’s. At least all the roads traveled, to my recollection, were paved and led directly into every downtown along the way. Traffic was often snarled by stoplights, construction, and a vast assortment of other delays.
Apparently, hose selling season was in the summer too or so my memory tells me. Mind you the territory included Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, not locations conducive to non-air-conditioned travel in July. Vinyl seats deepened the warming process, clothes and cushions adhering through and with sweat as one.
Passing the time in my perspiration-laden ennui I noticed other vehicles. Some, even on a 95° afternoon, had rolled up windows indicating air cooling. From a rearview it was easy to distinguish: four taillight Chevy models did not have AC: