?

Log in

The Vent Valve
Venting on anything, but most likely on cars, bikes, music, and Wikipedia
The forgotten Brougham 
15th-Dec-2011 09:51 pm
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
The second automobile I saw within my immediate family was a Holden Brougham. My father had bought it for the use of his three eldest children (I am the last of his seven children), and they named it "Chug-A-Boom". It lived an interesting life until shortly after my father's death, when a police car without siren or flashing lights hit it at about a hundred miles per hour while my brother was driving out of a T-junction. Thankfully my brother survived the crash without serious injury.

After having been used as a model name by Holden, Cadillac, and Daewoo, and as a deluxe trim level on various models of Cadillacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Fords, Mercurys, Lincolns, Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths, and American Motors, the Brougham name now slumbers in the annals of automotive history.

How did it get there in the first place, though? What is a Brougham, anyway?

Appartently, the first wheeled vehicle to which the term "Brougham" was applied was a carriage built to the specifications of Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux. Brougham, a writer, critic, lawyer, and politician, specified a carriage with an enclosure for two seats and a bench for the coachman in front of the enclosure. Unlike a coach, the enclosure of Brougham's carriage had a glass window at the front so the occupants could see where they were going if they wanted, or draw a curtain if they didn't.

Brougham's carriage had the letter "B" prominently painted on either side of it. This, and Lord Brougham's irritable nature, caused the Reverend Sydney Smith, a former colleague, to remark: "There goes a carriage with a 'B' outside and a wasp within!"

Lord Brougham might not have been popular among his colleagues and acquaintances, but his carriage started a style that was continued until the horse carriage was superseded by the motor carriage. The term's transition from horse carriage to motor carriage had some problems. While Britain may have been disposed to refer to a motor car with a passenger enclosure and an open area for the driver at front as a Brougham, that kind of vehicle was referred to as a Sedanca de Ville on the Continent and as a Town Car in North America. Another trend leading to confusion of the term was the rise of the electric Brougham in the United States. These electric Broughams were completely enclosed 2-seat electric cars, often with two rear-facing folding seats at the front so that they could seat four "vis-a-vis". These vehicles were driven by one of the occupants of the enclosure, so the "Brougham" name was probably justified by the makers getting rid of the coachman and his bench along with the horse.

By 1916, Cadillac had fully deprecated the meaning of the term by calling its five seat and seven seat fully enclosed cars "Broughams". The term "Brougham" lost its specific meaning and became a vague term signifying a large closed car with upscale, deluxe trim. Or as a model name, as Holden used with old Chuggs.
This page was loaded May 23rd 2017, 8:57 am GMT.