Don’t Throw Away Your Shoeboxes, Folks…

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They come in handy to keep your memories in…

The 1949 -1951 Ford design must have burst like a bombshell over the heads of the other major US car manufacturers – it was so darned sleek and clean at a time when so much of the competitive sheet metal bulged and stepped through two or three body arches. It was not a long car but the pontoon side made it seem so, and depending upon whether you had a sedan or coupe you could could arguably say that you were driving 5 years ahead of your rivals.

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The designers must have been given the word that round would be the design of the future – because there is so much of this car that is rounded. But whoever was steering the propelling pencils as opposed to the drafting ones also must have specified a degree of economy in the lines. Between the two departments, they created a classic car in three years,

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The single spinner nose is the first of the series – they went on to two spinners later, and the nose lost the characteristic central bulge. You can look at the ’50 and ’51 and decide for yourself whether the look of the grill is cleaner – one thing is certain – for all the customisers who set onto a ’49 Ford nose with the aim of making some form of a fashion statement with chrome tubing or Perspex knobs or Buick teeth…well, mostly they failed. They should have left the spinner alone. The one custom alteration I have seen here in Australia at the VHRS a couple of years ago that improved it did so by making it over the top:

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Likewise, quite a few people have tried to ditch the front bumper on a shoebox to visually lighten it ( And physically lighten as well?) Again, there have been a lot of flops, though if someone rolls up a compound curve on a pan there and then does not go overboard with weird nerf bars it can be cool. When in doubt – re-chrome the bumper and put it on straight.

Speaking of chrome – note the single side spear and the chrome taillight fairings. Both make it slicker than an oiled cat and tie well visually with the chrome boot hinges. The orange rear trafficators are a local legal requirement.

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The inside is as impressive as the exterior – and look at the clear dash. Again the designers were told to look at roundness and clean design. Even the speedometer features something I’ve never seen on the needle of the dial – a round orange bulls-eye to rivet your eye to the speed number underneath it. Not much in the way of heating or cooling but then that is what wooly jumpers and quarter windows are for. Henry expected you to be hardy.

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I am also impressed by the decision of the car’s owner to upholster those seats with quiet dignity and a durable material. I hope we get to see more of it – like inthe boot and under the bonnet.

Oh, final note – this is one car that can wear those spinner hubcaps with pride- they are absolutely in keeping with the aesthetics of the period – as any car publication of the time will show.

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