Southwest Freeway, 1962: Bad Traffic & A Car From Mars

La plus ca change....
La plus ca change....

La plus ca change....

While doing a photo search, we came across this gem (Couldn't find a credit; if anyone knows please pass it on). (Update: It's a

Houston Chronicle

photo, also used in the out-of-print book

Houston Freeways

, by Erik Slotboom.)

It's apparently the Southwest Freeway in 1962. Which, in terms of traffic, looks a lot like the Southwest freeway in 2010.

But we have some questions:

First, how did these Houston drivers ever feel world-class without arched bridges with non-working neon lights to drive under? Second, if that period wasn't a classic for death cars, we don't know what was -- we can almost feel the sharp-edged metal dashboards just waiting to pierce the un-seatbelted chests of the cig-smoking drivers. But hey, at least no one's texting.

Most importantly, though -- what the hell is that midget car in the middle? It looks like it's facing the wrong way. And we love the protection the driver has if he plows into anything.

We guess it's some sort of early version of a Euro Mini Cooper thing, but we're stumped -- any ideas?


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