Imagine you lived in a San Francisco home like the one below, on a downhill one-way street, and drove a stickshift. Assuming you pull into the garage head-on, that means every morning you need to back out in reverse and uphill, all while watching out for the oncoming cars that will require you hit the brake and the clutch mid-maneuver. I guarantee you're going to stall out at least a few times a month, not to mention ride the clutch a bit more than you ought.
Inside the same house we see the solution being built:
In this morning's car photography post, we caught a glimpse of the automotive turntables that we know from car dealerships, auto shows and the Batcave. Now we'll take a peek at the work of Carousel USA, one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of the devices, started by a mechanically-inclined guy named John Thomson.
In 2004, Thomson had a problem. His California home, built in 1936, had a narrow driveway—and a beautiful 250-year-old California Oak tree in front of the garage. He found it was impossible to turn his car around in the allotted space, but ripping the tree out would have been ecologically irresponsible. Looking into existing mechanical turntable companies, Thomson found poor design, high cost, and low quality of manufacturing. He then designed his own, and Carousel USA was born.
Eight years later, the successful company builds mechanized turntables ranging from smaller retail-store models all the way up to 100-foot-diameter models. Their clients include the major automakers, NASA and even the U.S. Navy, who use their turntables to test rotating ship antennae.
If you're curious to see how these all come together, check out their website. While a bit laborious to navigate, it features tons of shots of turntables both great and small and in various stages of construction. Here's a few shots to whet your appetite: