Monday, February 19, 2018

1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan

1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan
Photo by Cliff West
The 1941 Ford was newly redesigned, and featured a number of changes over the previous design, including an increase in both wheelbase and overall length. The entry-level 136 cubic-inch V8 had been replaced by a 90-horsepower 226 cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder engine. The trim lines were changed, with Standard becoming Special, and Super Deluxe being introduced above Deluxe. This design would continue through 1948.

This 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan is pictured at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992.

1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible

1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible
Photo by Cliff West
1940 was Ford's last year for the design it introduced in 1937, and the last year for the 136 cubic-inch V8 as the base engine. Better remembered was the 221 cubic-inch flathead V8 of the Deluxe, which produced 85 horsepower and would continue to be offered. 1940 Fords, like this 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible pictured at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992, seem to be the favorites among collectors out of the 1937-1940 model years, with a high, flat-topped hood and wide-set sealed-beam headlights.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

1952 Cadillac 4-Door Sedan

1952 Cadillac 4-Door Sedan
Photo by Cliff West
Cadillac introduced new models in 1948, and gave them a facelift in 1950. Satisfied with the results, the 1951, 1952 and 1953 models saw only minor changes in the details. This 1952 model, pictured at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992, is most easily distinguished by the gold-colored winged emblem in the trim beneath each headlight, signifying Cadillac's golden anniversary of its introduction in 1902.

1950 Studebaker Commander 4-Door Sedan

1950 Studebaker Commander 4-Door Sedan
Photo by Cliff West
Studebaker was "first by far with a postwar car," introducing all-new models designed by Raymond Loewy in 1947, while the other automakers were still selling facelifted versions of their prewar models. Unfortunately for Studebaker, the high demand for new cars after the war meant that their new design was wasted on consumers who just weren't that discerning. By the time the other automakers introduced their truly new cars, Studebaker's design looked dated.

For 1950, Studebaker responded by giving its models a facelift in the form of the bullet-nosed front-end pictured here. The look was definitely different, though there were some similarities to the 1948 Tucker, and Ford used a similar though less dramatic bullet in its grilles for 1949 and 1950. Studebaker called the aircraft-inspired styling the "next look," but it would tone-down the styling for 1951 and become much more conventional in 1952 before finally introducing new designs in 1953.

Along with the new styling, the 1950 Studebakers also introduced a new fully automatic transmission as an option. Called "automatic drive," it was developed with the Detroit Gear Division of Borg-Warner.

Pictured here at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992 is a 1950 Studebaker Commander 4-Door Sedan. The Commander was Studebaker's higher-priced model, riding on a 120-inch wheelbase, and was powered by a 102-horsepower 245.6 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The lower-priced Champion had a 113-inch wheelbase and an 85-horsepower 169.6 cubic-inch 6-cylinder engine.

1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible

1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible
Photo by Cliff West
Though this picture from the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992 is very dark, a car with wood-sides fro the 1940s can be made out. While wood-sided station wagons were common, a closer look will reveal that this is not a station wagon. It's a two-door convertible.

After the end of World War II, Ford resumed production of passenger cars, essentially bringing back the 1942 Ford line with updated front-end styling. With the high demand for new cars following the war, this was all that was necessary. Steel was still in short supply, however, and this inspired Ford to create something special. In late 1945, Ford introduced the 1946 Sportsman, a Super Deluxe convertible with a wood-sided body over a steel frame. Sold at a high premium and equipped with a host of luxury options, the Sportsman was exclusive and unique. Ford sold 1,208 in 1946, followed by another 2,250 in 1947. Another 28 leftover 1947s received new serial numbers and were sold as 1948 models. By then, the novelty of a wood-sided convertible had worn off, and those who bought them had undoubtedly realized that the wood bodywork required much more care than painted steel. Today, however, examples like the 1947 model shown here are rare and highly prized.

1958 Edsel Citation Hardtop Coupe

1958 Edsel Citation Hardtop Coupe
Photo by Cliff West
Ford's Edsel is probably the most famous failure in the history of the American auto industry. That reputation was likely cemented by the unmistakably bizarre styling of the debut 1958 models. It wasn't simply the styling that made the Edsel infamous. Though promoted as revolutionary, beyond its unique look, the Edsel wasn't that different from the Ford and Mercury products it was based on.

The story of the Edsel began in 1954, when Ford planned to compete with General Motors by emulating GM's five-brand structure. The key to this plan was the addition of a new medium-priced marque between Mercury and Lincoln. With the addition of Continental above Lincoln, Ford hoped to match GM at every price point. After considering 6000 possible names, the new division was named after Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford and father Ford's the-president Henry Ford II. In contrast to the original plans, by the time the Edsel actually debuted in 1958, it actually found itself placed between Ford and Mercury.

Edsel wasn't simply a single car, it was an entire lineup with four models called Ranger, Pacer, Corsair, and Citation. Ranger and Pacer were the lower-end models, using Ford's 118-inch wheelbase chassis and a 303-horsepower 361 cubic-inch V8. The higher-priced Corsair and top-of-the-line Citation used Mercury's 124-inch wheelbase chassis and were powered by a 345-horsepower 410 cubic-inch V8.

Pictured here is a 1958 Edsel Citation hardtop coupe at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992. As the top of the Edsel line, the Citation was available only as a hardtop coupe or sedan or as a convertible. The 345-horsepower 410 cubic-inch V8 produced 475 foot-pounds of torque at 2,900 rpm, and even with a standard 3-speed automatic transmission, it could accelerate the 4,000-pound Citation to 60 miles per hour in 9.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 105 miles per hour.

Edsel arrived during a recession that hit mid-priced brands particularly hard. Ford had hoped to sell 100,000 Edsels in 1958 but only sold about 63,000. Of those, only 8,577 were Citations. Ford tried to recalibrate, toning down the styling, offering smaller, more fuel-efficient engines, and cutting back the number of models, but the damage was already done. Coupled with the losses from Continental which was folded back into Lincoln in 1959, Ford's five-brand plan was dead, and Edsel was cancelled in 1960.

1908 Ford Model T Touring Car

1908 Ford Model T Touring Car
Photo by Cliff West
In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T, which would go on to be one of the best-selling automobiles of all-time. The Model T first went on sale on October 1, 1908, and 305 were built by the end of the year. By the time production ended in 1927, over 16.5 million would be built.

The Model T was powered by a 20-horsepower in-line 4-cylinder cast iron engine with a 2-speed manual planetary gearbox. It could reach a top speed of 42 miles per hour. The Model T used quarter-elliptic leaf springs for its suspension instead of semi-elliptic to reduce costs, resulting in a rough ride on its wooden wheels and solid tires.

Despite Ford's famous statement that a customer could buy the Model T in any color as long as it was black, early Model Ts were made in a variety of colors, including blue, green, gray, and the red shown here, though only touring cars were available in red. Not until 1914 was black the only color available. In addition to the Touring Car pictured here at the Towe Ford Museum (now the California Automobile Museum) in Sacramento, California, in March 1992, the other initial body styles available were the Runabout, the Coupe, the Landaulet and the Town Car.

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