What’s a Tailfin, Daddy? Hunter and Brook Shop for a New Car with Dad

by Allen B. Simons


As the title hints Daddy, What’s a Tailfin? is for the younger set. It is the sort of book that car-enthusiast grandparents or aunts and uncles, even parents will take pleasure sharing with and reading aloud to pre-schoolers in their lives. Young-uns whose own reading skills are still growing will enjoy working their way through the story on their own although some of the images and some of the words are likely to raise questions, likely becoming topics of still more conversations and discussions with the kiddos. 

The story revolves around a five- and seven-year old, respectively, sister and brother. One Saturday they accompany their dad on an afternoon visit to several new car dealerships. Their mission is helping him shop for a replacement for their family car. 

Author Allen Simons is a car-guy and a grandpa. He modeled the two kids in the story after his own grandkids to whom he dedicated the book. Tailfin is a fun, light, fast-paced read filled with what today are for many nostalgic items and memories but then were all brand new or current, as that new car shopping trip is set in the very earliest 1960s. 

You can still purchase today Nehi soft drinks (or pop as Simons calls it in Tailfin) but the brand is not nearly as ubiquitous now as they once were and certainly not the household word that Coca-Cola became and has remained to this day. But you have to be “of a certain age” to recall when Coca-Cola came in glass bottles and you paid a deposit on the bottle as part of its purchase price. That deposit was refunded if you put the bottle in a special carrier so it could be returned to the bottling facility and refilled. Coke started phasing out the returnable glass bottle in the early 1970s although it wouldn’t happen quickly for it took until 2012 for those hourglass shaped bottles to be gone forevermore.

Early loyalty programs, although they weren’t called that then, came in the form of trading stamps given by the merchant based upon the value of the purchase. Customers pasted them in collection books and those, when filled, could be turned in for merchandise offered in the catalog issued by the trading stamp company. There were several types of trading stamps with S&H Green Stamps the better known. 

And what about that Esso tiger? Don’t confuse him with the Tony the Tiger of cereal fame. The Esso, a brand name of Exxon, tiger didn’t have a name but his slogan “put a tiger in your tank!” hinted at more or better power that your vehicle would generate by filling up with  his brand.

The car at the top on the cover is, of course, a ’59 Cadillac. The car beneath it is the same as the one on the right-hand page pair immediately above that the kids are quite taken with, saying it looks to them like a Batmobile. They are even more captivated by its air conditioning, calling it “Eskimo Air.”

It’s all too infrequently that a car-oriented book for the younger set is published. Don’t pass up this opportunity to share your interest and your hobby with those special youngsters in your life.

What’s a Tailfin, Daddy? Hunter and Brook Shop for a New Car with Dad
by Allen B. Simons
Auto-Archive Book Specialties, 2023 (only avail. on Amazon)
45 pages, 43 color & 4 b/w images, softcover
List Price: $16.99
ISBN 13: 978 1 7376467 3 0

RSS Feed - Comments

Leave a comment

(All comments are moderated: you will see it, but until it's approved no one else will.)