Consider this perfectly practical, effective idea…the original parallel parking assist.

The fifth-wheel system uses your spare and hydraulics to help make parking easier

Parallel parking has never been fun, and drivers have always struggled with the skill required to slot in between two cars at the curb, especially in tight parking spots in major cities like New York or Los Angeles. To ease those woes, automakers have started adding systems that effectively park your car automatically. Park assist might seem like a modern feature, but it’s about 80 years old.

In the not-so-roaring 1930s, Brooks Walker filed a patent for the system you see above — a hydraulically assisted parking system. Hydraulically, because it uses a hydraulic ram to lift your car, by way of the spare tire. Then, the spare-tire-turned-park-assist powers your car into a parking space without having to do your best Austin Powers impersonation.

While Walker displayed his system using Packards and Cadillacs, it was available for any and every car. Obviously, the system required modifications to work — namely slicing up the trunk floor and possibly relocating the fuel tank. Those extensive changes are probably some of the reasons why the system never caught on with the public.

If you want a better look at how the system works, Old Cars Weekly tracked down one of Walker’s display models — a 1953 Packard Cavalier. The car was well-preserved over the years but was repainted by one of the previous owners.

If you’ve ever used one of the modern park assist features, watch the video above to see the way your parallel parking procedure would have been decades ago. It’s still interesting to see the ideas that never caught on with the mainstream automotive world.
via Wesley Wren at Autoweek

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