Charles A. Post, his white beard aging as quickly as the Winton car he sat atop, rode in the Transportation Parade of the Years, held during the Great Lakes Exposition. It was the middle of the Great Depression. But visitors to the Expo could escape the economic downturn, even just for a day. Post, an author, businessman and bon vivant, was part of the show. He rode in the car next to a man dressed up as Winton founder Alexander Winton “for the sake of old times.” Post reportedly had driven the car when it was new. But that was long ago.
The Winton company was founded in Cleveland in March 1867. It became as well-known for its innovations -— it was the first company to sell a standard American-made, gasoline-powered automobile — as for its marketing stunts. On two occasions, Winton himself drove one of his cars from Cleveland to New York City, then considered quite a feat.
Showiness could, however, spell defeat too; in 1901, a Winton infamously lost a race to a car made by Henry Ford. By 1924, Ford’s cheap prices and mass production had outpaced Winton and the company ceased producing cars. It began to concentrate on diesel engines, and was acquired by General Motors, which closed Winton’s Cleveland factory in the 1960s. As Post and the actor dressed as Winton traveled the parade route, they were already living history, symbols of a better and more freewheeling time before the Depression. Winton died in 1932. Post followed in 1943.