Friday, July 20, 2012

C is for Cars: The love of fine cars, it's in the genes!

It's not the kind of hereditary trait that I would ever be able to confirm with DNA testing. I've noticed for many years, however, that a love for fine automobiles runs in the Toth family.

Not to mention the many gems in more recent generations, Steve Toth was the owner of a number of humdingers. There was the 1956 convertible pink Cadillac that he bought used in 1957. His wife Mitzi surely enjoyed that car the most out of all of his vehicles, since she has always favored the color pink.

Back in 1943, when World War II was in full swing, Steve ordered a Fleetwood Cadillac. By the time his order was filled, four years had passed. He received his black Fleetwood Cadillac in 1947. (Here he is enjoying a "trunk-side view" from the Fleetwood with his young son Stephen.)

You may have read earlier about Steve's Reo Flying Cloud, the car that he owned during his courtship with Mitzi. They drove off to their honeymoon in style in that car in 1930.

My hunch that this love for fine cars was hereditary was confirmed one day a few years back when I found Steve's father's World War I draft card. István Tóth had arrived from Hungary only a decade or so earlier, and now used the name Steven Toth. Although I don't believe he served in World War I, along with every other male citizen of eligible age, he was required to report to the United States government and fill out the appropriate papers.

Steven's World War I draft registration (pictured below) indicates his occupation at the time. Only ten years after Henry Ford had begun producing his Model T, Steven Toth, according to the document, was working as "Repairer" in the "Boston and M. Car Shop" in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

Another bit of circumstantial evidence? Or definitive proof? I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not this confirms the hereditary nature of this family's appreciation for fine automobiles.

This gene didn't seem to be as strong on the other side of the family - the Ujlaki branch. You see, Frank Ujlaki brought a car home to his family one day, more than likely sometime in the 1920's. In the process of introducing it to his wife and children, he somehow managed to plow into the fence with it. His wife Helen, concerned that the thing was too dangerous, made him take it back. He never owned another car again.

Frank did, however, work as a carpenter for many years. Part of the time he was a "wheelright" building wooden wheels. He also worked jobs buildling wagons and trucks out of timber. It took a lot of mathematical precision, talent and hard work to create the vehicles that he did. But I don't think his wife Helen would ever have let him drive them!

This article was originally published here at 100 Years in America in 2008. I've reposted it as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  Follow me here at 100 Years in America as I try to keep up with the challenge to work through the alphabet while writing my family history. I'm way behind getting started, but here goes!


  1. Awesome post. I love really the photos, as well as the anecdote about your other side of the family, and how "in the process of introducing it to his wife and children, he somehow managed to plow into the fence with it." Love that kind of stuff!

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading. I'm so thankful to have these great photos. Wish I had more!


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