Where Do They Keep The Towels? (Feb, 1940)

Where Do They Keep The Towels?

THIS new foreign limousine has a hot and cold water folding wash-basin of aluminum built into its right front fender. Beneath the hood is a 2-compartment tank holding two and a half gallons of water. The hot water section is heated by exhaust gases passing through a spiral pipe. The two faucets give water of any desired temperature. The basin is automatically emptied when it is folded into the fender.

  1. Kruk says: June 1, 20098:32 pm

    Ooooh, foreign.

  2. Rick Auricchio says: June 1, 20098:35 pm

    Used, no doubt, to wash the “ugly” of that vehicle off your hands.

  3. nlpnt says: June 1, 20099:07 pm

    Once again, no make and model given. The headlights look German – similar to pre-1967 VW ones – but I don’t think those were available off-the-shelf until after the war.

  4. Torgo says: June 1, 200910:02 pm

    That’s actually kind of handy.

  5. rick says: June 1, 200910:23 pm

    Reminds me a little of the car Mr Hulot was taking to a car show in Jacque Tati’s movie “Traffic” (1971). It had all kinds of “conveniences” like that tucked away in odd places around the chassis. Also, I see that the article is from Feb. 1940 when France and the other western European nations were about to be overrun by the Nazis. They were already at war with Germany since September of 1939 but the Blitzkrieg didn’t actually start until May 1940. Strange that they were still fooling around with cars at that time.


  6. thatguyruste says: June 2, 20093:38 am


    sink in car fender
    does it have a disposal
    crazy foreigners

  7. GTOJack says: June 2, 20098:53 am

    Would love to know what kind of car that is… has got some early Art Deco styling to it.

    (Hey Rick… I think you meant that the Blitz on France didn’t start until may ’40. The Nazis used the Blitz on Poland in Sept of ’39 to kick off WWII.)

  8. rick says: June 2, 200910:06 am

    Hi GTOJack,

    Yes, you are correct. I did mean the Blitz in France, and not the original one in Poland. Still it seems strange to me that they were building and showing off cars like that in Europe several months into a big war. Maybe that’s one of the many reasons it only took about 6 weeks to finish off western Europe once the Blitzkrieg got rolling there. If I remember correctly, the last cars to hit the roads in this country were the 41 models and production was stopped on those immediately after Pearl Harbor. My dad had just purchased a 40 chevy a few months before and it wasn’t until 1946 that car production got going again. Right after the war we were amazed to see the first Buicks that came out. They had three holes in the front fenders! Snazzy!


  9. Tom says: June 2, 200910:51 am

    Fender sinks could be the answer for Government Motors…..

  10. Bjorn says: June 2, 20091:47 pm

    It’s a beautiful design, whatever happened to design? If GM had been this innovative maybe they’d sell more cars & still be in business.

  11. Scott B. says: June 2, 20092:59 pm

    Rick and GTOJack, lead times on magazines were several months ahead back then. Cover dates were usually to denote when to pull the magazines off the racks, and allowed for the magazine to sit on the shelf for several weeks, or even a couple or three months, without looking “out of date.” It’s quite probable that this picture was taken in the summer of ’39. This also looks like “filler” that could have been used whenever they needed a hole in the layout that needed filling that month, rather than being breaking news in the world of fender conveniences. 🙂

  12. Scott B. says: June 2, 20093:19 pm

    It bears more than a passing resemblance to this Czech car:


  13. Baron Waste says: June 2, 20093:20 pm

    It’s clearly German – they came up with ideas like that all the time, as this site has showcased – but of course by 1940, or even ’39, no one would give them the credit of even naming the car’s make…

  14. -DOUG- says: June 2, 20098:12 pm

    The rounding of the nose strikes me as more Italian. Before you say Hitler had a round nosed limo, that was a ’39 Fiat. BMW’s did have some round noses that are close and as was mentioned Oh–those headlights, but I have this Lancia in my head that I can’t find a picture of, and there was an Alfa Romeo that has that shape but the grill is flat at the top. The only problem I see in suggesting it’s the Czech car is I can’t picture one making it to the U.S. England, France, Germany, and Italy will be where people look for luxury cars at the time. Both the Czechs and Russians will be knockoffs of someone elses’ anyway.

    There’s a 1909 New York Times article about an American who had Fiat build him a custom limo with running water, so this wasn’t a new thing. I wonder if this was special order.

  15. Dan says: June 3, 200912:14 am

    I would love to know what kind of car this is too (I think its beautiful, to me it looks French, maybe Citroen-esque? ), but if its a limo it might be tough because it could be a custom coach built body by one of the many coachbuilders or specialty panel beaters in Europe. But we can keep guessing!! I must admit though, that I don’t think it resembles the Skoda, and that’s not just snobbery!!

  16. Toronto says: June 3, 200912:22 am

    I’d bet BMW, though my first thought was Citroen (but the headlights aren’t very french.)

  17. -DOUG- says: June 3, 20092:40 am

    It sort of looks like later Citroens, but not late 30’s. It seems way close to this:


    There is “A full range of variants.” With Alfa’s there’s some cars that reference the Jankovits brothers, and I’m tempted to think this is their doing. But I look at the different models and they all have one thing or another that’s different from each other and more like this. I can’t find exactly the look, though.

    So I EMailed this to several of the auction houses who would handle such a car if it were for sale. We’ll see if anyone steps in and identifies it for us.

  18. Randy says: June 3, 20096:13 pm

    The hood mascot would be as good a clue as any to the manufacturer, if it were shown more clearly. I didn’t find any likely matches at http://www.mascot-mania… and don’t know of any more comprehensive mascot sites.

  19. Jester says: June 4, 20094:58 pm

    The car is german: It is a streamlined Horch 930 S which the Auto Union AG presented as prototype in 1939 at the Berlin Car exhibition.

  20. Firebrand38 says: June 4, 20095:59 pm

    Jester, for future reference you might want to add a link as proof that you are right. Kind of like this


    Good call though! You know your cars. Everyone else is wrong.

  21. -DOUG- says: June 4, 20096:38 pm


    I think we have a winner. Not least of which is because there’s a similar photo on this site of a 1939 Horch 930 S. Dang, the resemblance to the Auto Union racecars had me looking at their saloons and a number of the individual makes, but no match. (Oh, what I learned about the German car industry of the 30’s because of this.) There were suggestions at some messageboards I posted this at that it looked like a Wanderer, which also was a part of Auto Union. But without a model name or number it’s hit or miss finding the right car.

    For those not familiar with this, Auto Union would be like GM, the merger of Audi, Wanderer, DKW, and Horch under a master company. Ferry Porsche and others worked for them. The Silver Arrows racecars ran in the predecessor to the Grand Prix, and were eating it up. The Nazi’s could have kept the troops at home and Germany may well have conquered the world markets. Of course that wouldn’t have been as much FUN.

    So I was wondering if the failure to mention the make of the car had something to do with the war being underway, and now since there is an Auto Union connection, I’m sure of it. The Silver Arrows were commissioned and financed by the governement because Hitler wanted a winner, and he sure got one. Hey, it’s not the cars’ fault. A great foreboding was created as Bernd Rosemeyer collected a championship as he and his teammates were racking up the victories, only to cause the Germans a foreboding of their own when he was killed in a landspeed record attempt in the Auto Union streamliner.

    Our thanks to Jester, I know I was sure dying to know. Hey, I’m a car guy and a history nut. If you would like to actually READ the site, there’s always the google translation.


  22. -DOUG- says: June 4, 20096:59 pm

    Dang, Wikipedia doesn’t even mention the car. If they had I could have looked it up days ago. When I looked up the 930 V it was flatnosed and I moved on, the kind of thing that drives a big buck freelance researcher nuts. (Lately it’s just “Free.”)

    Oh well, since I’m posting again, here’s the Horch museum:


    Note the 4 ring Auto Union logo. Audi wound up deciding to retain it as remenants of the company went forward.

    It’s this kind of history that makes this site so fun.

  23. Firebrand38 says: June 4, 20097:14 pm

    Yeah, I just included the Wikipedia link because it has a good picture of the hood ornament.

    Oh and here is the English version of the previous website http://www.horch-museum…

  24. Randy says: June 4, 20098:46 pm

    Thanks for the pics, Firebrand38. The Horch mascot is indeed on the Mascot Mania site, but I hadn’t recognized it because I thought the blob to its lower right in the photo on this page was part of it…

  25. Randy says: June 5, 20093:53 am
  26. Jester says: June 5, 20092:24 pm


    > Jester, for future reference you might want to add a link as proof that you are right.
    > Kind of like this

    That’s what Google is for. 😉

    But I knew the car from a book about german streamline cars between the wars.


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