Ramblings on Rumble Seats

Rumble seats, a unique feature in early American cars, were popular during the 1930s. These seats were located at the rear of the vehicle, often above the trunk, and provided an exhilarating open-air experience for passengers.

The concept of the rumble seat originated from the days of horse-drawn carriages. It was essentially a small, foldable seat that could be accessed through a rear-facing door or by flipping up the back of the car. In early automobiles, rumble seats were a popular option, allowing additional passengers to sit in the open air while enjoying the ride.

One of the most iconic cars to feature a rumble seat was the 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe. This stunning vehicle was finished in Washington Blue with black fenders, white wheels, orange pin striping, and a beige cloth interior. It perfectly captured the spirit of the era and remains a beloved classic to this day.

Other notable American car manufacturers also offered rumble seats as an option during this time. In 1939, Ford, Dodge, and Plymouth all included rumble seats in some of their models. However, it is important to note that this was the last year for rumble seats in Ford vehicles.

Chevrolet, on the other hand, offered its last rumble seat in 1938. Studebaker, another prominent American car manufacturer, discontinued rumble seats around 1937. As the automotive industry evolved, these unique features became less popular, giving way to more comfortable and spacious seating arrangements.

The allure of rumble seats was not just the novelty of sitting in the open air but also the sense of adventure they provided. However, the experience of riding in a rumble seat was not always pleasant. The seat’s location above a live axle with 40″ wooden rims and no suspension meant that passengers would feel every bump and jolt on the road. This made for a rather jarring experience, especially on rocky or uneven terrain.

As automotive technology advanced, suspension systems became more sophisticated, providing a smoother and more comfortable ride for passengers. This, along with changing consumer preferences, led to the decline of rumble seats in the automotive industry.

Although rumble seats are no longer a common feature in modern cars, they remain a beloved part of automotive history. The nostalgia and charm associated with these unique seats continue to captivate car enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Rumble seats were a distinctive feature in early American cars, providing an open-air experience for passengers. The 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe stands as a testament to the popularity of these seats. While Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Plymouth offered rumble seats as options in their vehicles, the late 1930s marked the end of their era. Despite the discomfort they may have caused, rumble seats remain a cherished part of automotive history.

What Year Did Cars Have Rumble Seats?

According to various online sources, rumble seats were last featured in American cars in the late 1930s. The 1938 Chevrolet is cited as one of the last vehicles to offer this feature. Additionally, the 1939 models of Ford, Dodge, and Plymouth also provided rumble seats as optional features. It should be noted that these sources specifically mention these particular car models as the last ones to include rumble seats.

what cars have rumble seats

Which Ford Had A Rumble Seat?

The Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe is one of the Ford models that featured a rumble seat. The rumble seat was a popular feature in many cars during the early 20th century. It was essentially an open-air seat located at the rear of the vehicle, which could be accessed by folding down the back of the car’s trunk. The Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe, in particular, was a two-door coupe that had a rumble seat as an added feature. This model was produced in the 1930s and was known for its stylish design and comfortable seating arrangement. It was often chosen by individuals who wanted to enjoy the open-air experience while riding in a classic car.

What Was The Last Year Ford Had Rumble Seat?

The last year that Ford offered a rumble seat in its vehicles was in 1939. Chevrolet, on the other hand, discontinued rumble seats a year earlier in 1938. Studebaker had already phased out rumble seats around 1937. To summarize:

– Ford last offered a rumble seat in 1939.
– Chevrolet’s last rumble seat was available in 1938.
– Studebaker discontinued rumble seats around 1937.

Why Is It Called A Rumble Seat?

The term “rumble seat” originated in the early 20th century and refers to a small, auxiliary seat that was commonly found in the rear of certain automobiles, particularly those from the 1920s and 1930s. The name “rumble seat” derives from the noise or “rumble” that the seat made when the vehicle was in motion.

The purpose of the rumble seat was to provide additional seating for passengers, as cars during that time period typically had limited seating capacity. The rumble seat was often positioned above the car’s rear axle, allowing it to fold out or be accessed from the outside. It was usually open-air and lacked the comfort features of the main cabin, such as suspension or cushioning.

The term “rumble seat” became popular due to the distinct sound it made when the vehicle traveled over rough or uneven terrain. The lack of suspension and the proximity to the rear axle meant that passengers in the rumble seat would experience a significant amount of jarring and vibration during the ride. This led to the characteristic rumbling noise, hence the name.

The rumble seat was primarily used for short trips or for leisurely drives, as it was not as comfortable or stable as the main seating area. It was often favored by young couples or adventurous individuals who enjoyed the novelty of riding in the open air, despite the less-than-ideal conditions.

The term “rumble seat” was coined to describe the unique seating arrangement found in early automobiles and was influenced by the noise and experience associated with riding in that particular seat.


Rumble seats were a unique feature in American cars of the early 20th century. They provided an additional seating option, typically located at the rear of the vehicle, allowing passengers to experience the thrill of open-air driving. However, their popularity waned as advancements in car design and suspension systems made for a more comfortable ride.

The last American cars to offer rumble seats were the 1938 Chevrolet and the 1939 Ford, Dodge, and Plymouth, although the option was available only as an add-on. These vehicles showcased the charm and nostalgia of a bygone era, with their stylish exteriors and attention to detail.

While rumble seats provided a fun and adventurous experience for passengers, they also came with some drawbacks. The lack of suspension and the position above a live axle made for a bumpy ride, especially on rough and uneven roads. This, combined with the rapid advancements in car technology, eventually led to the decline in popularity of rumble seats.

Today, rumble seats are highly sought after by car enthusiasts and collectors. They serve as a reminder of the early days of automobile travel and the sense of freedom that came with it. The 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe, with its striking color combination and classic design, is a perfect example of the allure and nostalgia associated with these unique seating arrangements.

Rumble seats were a fascinating feature in American cars, offering a thrilling and adventurous experience for passengers. While they may no longer be a practical option in modern vehicles, their legacy lives on as a symbol of the golden age of automobile travel.

Photo of author

William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with H-O-M-E.org, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.