Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Remember When . . . There Were No Vintage Cars

One thing that's super interesting about the 20s is that what we consider "modern life" had taken hold in some areas (like big cities) and was virtually unknown in others (read: rural areas--like where I live, lol). Electricity? You'd find it everywhere in town, but go five miles out, and nada. Phones? They were gaining traction fast, but very few private residences had them, even in urban areas.

One thing I really enjoyed researching, though, were the cars (partially, perhaps, because my husband did the bulk of the research, lol). So this blog is totally for my car-loving hubby (and all those other people out there who think Car and Driver is literature at its finest [for the record, I thoroughly enjoy the snippets my hubby reads me from C&D]).

When it came time to put my 20s characters behind the wheel of a car, I yelled across the room, "Hey, honey. What cars would these people drive in 1922?" My hubby dear spent the next hour looking them up for me. We decided that my hero would drive a Nash. A what, you ask? At this point in history, a Nash was your solid, middle-class car. Affordable, but offered considerable value for your buck. They rarely broke down and had a certain elegance. Totally the car my ever-reasonable hero would drive.

But keep in mind this is a book about the Mafia, so naturally I needed something a little more ostentatious too. For that, we went with a Pierce-Arrow. Made famous by another Chicago gangster (who died in 1920), the Pierce-Arrow was distinctive, huge, and sooooooo expensive. What I found interesting in reading about them is that you could choose to make them less distinctive. They were known for the unique placement of their headlights, but you could also order the more standard placement. I have my heroine's father, a fictional mob boss, do this. He wants the status symbol of the Pierce but doesn't want to be confused with Colosimo (the aforementioned gangster).

One thing I'm looking forward to in the sequel to Mafia Princess which I haven't yet written is picking out what car my new hero will drive. He does some rum running (bad, Tony, bad!) so it'll have to be something with some get-up-and-go. Should be a fun choice to make. =)

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