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Snapshot, 1955: A moment of suspense in Corsica

It’s the mid-50s. You’ve arrived in Corsica from the mainland by simply stepping down from the ship’s gangway – but the car in which you’ll explore the island must be perilously hoisted from the main deck…

By this point, large ferries capable of swallowing hundreds of cars within their opening hulls were in use across the Mediterranean – but routes to Corsica were still covered only by traditional cargo ferries. Therefore, automobiles were transported on their decks and lowered onto the docks using the on-board cranes, as demonstrated in the Roger-Viollet photograph above. The image was taken in 1955, and shows a car being lifted from the deck of Cyrnos (which served the France-Corsica route until 1966), with pillows stuffed between the crane’s wheelclamps to prevent damage. We imagine that watching your brand-new Mercedes-Benz 300 SL being unloaded in this manner would be a nerve-racking experience – all the more reason to find a bar from which to order a relaxing pastis, then.

Photo: Roger-Viollet/Getty Images