|On February 11, 1936, the Parade of Progress made its debut in Lakeland, Florida using eight custom-built Streamliners. The Streamliners resembled large moving vans. This version of the Parade ran until Pearl Harbor in 1941. During this time the Parade stopped in 251 cities and played before audiences of more than twelve and one-half million people.|
Billed by GM in their 1936 promotional literature as "Silver-Topped Streamliners" and refereed to as the "World's Largest Highway Leviathans" at 33 feet from stem to stern, the 28 vehicle caravan, including nine support semis, was an impressive site.
It's hard for many of us to imagine this, but there were no 4-lane super highways in 1936 only 2-lane roads. It's been said that top speed for the Streamliners was about 40 mph.
Unfortunately, this was a very poor picture to begin with, and its been brightened as much as possible, but, because of the rarity, its worth showing anyway. It appears to be a roadside shot of the the Parade of progress pulled off to the side of the road. You can just make out the Streamliners lined up. Photo supplied by Bernard A. Zink
The caption that came with this photo states:
"This is a photo of the crew lowering tire pressure so the Streamliner would fit under a bridge. They would let the air out of the tires right before the overpass and once on the other side, they would have to refill all the tires with air before proceeding."
With all the dirt piled up behind the man in the coveralls, it looks like there might be something else going on here as well. Remember, this was 1936 and paved roads were not the norm. Photo supplied by Bernard A. Zink
This photo, provided by Michael Strainic, shows a Streamliner in a Brownsville, TX parade in 1938. The photo is captioned, "The Charro Days Parade, February 24-27, 1938." This may have been the first parade for the festival, The first parade featured horse-drawn, hand-made floats, charros and chinas on horseback. Most of the downtown store windows were decorated for the occasion.