“Drive! The automobiles of inter-war Gdynia” exhibition

02.05.2019 Premieres

The automobiles of inter-war Gdynia at Klif Mall

It is the second time that Klif Mall invites its visitors to an exhibition created as a result of a cooperation project with the Gdynia City Museum. This time, the exhibition includes 30 large-print photographs which recount the automobile history of Gdynia. It is also a story of the residents of the city before World War II – the firefighters, chauffeurs, dashing young men and beautiful ladies. The exhibition will open on 26 April at 1 p.m. It will be available until the end of May.

The exhibition depicts the everyday life of the city and its residents. It includes journalistic photographs, portraits and posed pictures, all of which tell a fascinating story of the cars which were part of everyday life back in the 1920s.

Taxi cabs, hearses and more

They saved lives and health as ambulances and fire engines, they served as taxi cabs, they were used for Sunday trips and finally, just as today, they were a sign of social status. They were used daily by politicians and senior officers, they can be seen parked in front of churches and during the Sea Holiday celebrations. They slowly replaced horse-drawn carriages, also being used for deliveries and as hearses.

Mercedes and the secrets of old-time photographs

Every photograph has its secrets. Most of the people depicted in them are anonymous, unlike the cars. The photos are a confirmation of the extraordinary popularity of Ford cars, you can also spot the sporting Czechoslovak Aero 50, the popular DKWs, Chevrolets, Opels and Polish Fiats, including such peculiar models as the six-seat Fiat 1100 limousine! Mercedes-Benz, quite deservedly, was perceived as the most reliable automobile and it is precisely this car make that invites visitors to tour the exhibition. You can see it at the main entrance to Klif Mall.

The oldest photo in the collection comes from 1926 and commemorates the first refuelling of a car at a newly opened petrol station in ulica Węglowa. Among the most interesting exhibits are portraits of taxi drivers by Brunon Czapp. Other attention-grabbing items include the logo of the BC taxi company, elaborate chauffeurs’ outfits and a white canvas which was used to enable passengers to comfortably admire the surroundings just as in today’s electric carts. The photographs also show the diversity of the cars of the time – you can see a municipal bus, delivery vans, a Chevrolet pickup, a fire engine, a car from the Adolf Sajewicz chauffeurs’ school, a luxurious limousine during a trip to a forest (possibly Mary’s Spring), and even a small children’s car with a firefighters’ ladder. Inside, you can make out a delightful little face, apparently overjoyed at being in the photo.

The exhibition will be on display for five weeks, between 26 April and 31 May, during the opening hours of the Mall on the first floor. Klif Mall financed the prints of the archival photographs. After the end of the exhibition they will be donated to the Gdynia City Museum. They will thus be showcased on other occasions as well to promote Gdynia and its history.