The Truth About Cars » Disney The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:52:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Disney Look What I Found! One Family Numbers Matching 1964 Mercury Park Lane Convertible From Ford’s NY World’s Fair Magic Skyway Thu, 06 Sep 2012 14:28:22 +0000

When I saw this 1964 Mercury Park Lane convertible at the Ford and Mercury Restorers Club meet a few weeks ago, I immediately knew what it was. Actually that’s a fib. I didn’t actually realize exactly what car this was until I saw the informational panel laid out in front of the Merc. Then I knew immediately what it was. Earlier this year TTAC ran a post of mine about the car companies’ pavilions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The Detroit automakers went all out and Ford, working with Walt Disney’s team, came up with a novel way of exposing fair visitors to Ford and Mercury cars.

The Disney crew came up with what was branded the Magic Skyway. It was a continuous conveyor that carried 134 Ford and Mercury convertibles, plus a dozen of the earliest Mustang convertibles made (the Mustang was first introduced to the public on the day the fair opened, April 17, 1964). Families would hop into a Ford or Mercury and it would carry them past a series of dioramas that showed the ascent of man from the earth’s earliest history to highways in the sky. This ’64 Park Lane was one of those cars. While those early Mustangs are holy grailish for Mustang enthusiasts, this Mercury’s history also makes it a very unique car. Unique as in singular because it’s a “one of one” car in so many ways.

To begin with, it was ordered and built specifically for the ride at the World’s Fair. According to one account, it was the very first of the World’s Fair cars made. It was the only one of the NYWF Mercurys painted in “palamino”. 1964 was also Mercury’s 25th anniversary year so this was a special 25th Anniversary Edition. In addition to being equipped with a 380 CI V8 and an automatic transmission, it was built with every power, luxury and convenience option that Mercury offered on the car.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This exact car was photographed with Henry Ford II, Walt Disney and Robert Moses, the legendary NY politician who ran the fair. I believe that you can see it in this video at ~4:51 (the video’s color is not very good, that might be a red car).

This Park Lane also has unbroken provenance and it’s been owned by one family car new. Well, “new” is open to question because of the tens of thousands of people who rode in it at the Ford pavilion. After it was retired from service on the Magic Skyway when the fair closed, like many cars used for promotional purposes, the Park Lane ended up in Ford’s “B lot”, where employees could buy them as used cars. Adolph “AJ” Jedryczka worked for Ford engineering and bought the car for $2,500. His co-workers thought he was foolish. They joked about him driving a car that had been sat in by thousands of people’s behinds. Jedryczka paid them no heed, he and his wife loved the car. So did their daughter Virginia.

You can see the bracket used to attach the car to the Magic Skyway welded to the rear axle just inboard of the spring shackles.

AJ drove the car to work every day at Building 5 in Ford’s Dearborn engineering center until it was taken out of service in 1970. Six years sounds about right for the usable life of typical car back then. Still, the Jedryczka family knew it was a special car because instead of selling or scrapping it, they parked it in their garage. It still has the original engine, transmission and rear end so it’s a number’s matching car. Actually the rear end is important to establishing the car’s authenticity as it still has the special brackets that were welded to the World’s Fair cars so they could be anchored to the Magic Skyway.

After it was parked, it sat for 40 years. Virginia grew up and got married and two years ago she and her husband started to restore the Park Lane. The restored car had its debut at the Detroit Autorama earlier this year and, as you can see, the family is now displaying it at regional car shows, in one case taking the car back to its old haunts. A few weeks after the Ford & Mercury restorers’ meet, the Park Lane was the hit of a Ford employees’ car show held adjacent to Building 5 in Ford’s Dearborn engineering complex. It looks like there’s a large car show held every fall there in Queens so perhaps the Jedryczkas’ Park Lane will yet again ride in the mean streets of Flushing Meadows.

For more pics, visit Cars In Depth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS


img_0232a img_0118 img_0119 img_0122a img_0125 img_0126 img_0131 img_0132 img_0133 img_0135 img_0136 img_0139 img_0227 img_0228 img_0229 img_0231 img_0232 img_0122 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail


]]> 10
Hammer Time: Mickey Mouse Sun, 17 Jan 2010 16:45:43 +0000 WWMD? (

Back in 2007, I made my 37th pilgrimage to mouse country. My wife and kids were hardcore Disneyites. Me? I was just there for the company. I deal with enough Goofys in real life and the thought of waiting in line to meet yet another one chafed at me. So I told my wife that I would spend the next day visiting my own wonderland. An auto auction. There was a low mileage Geo Metro I was interested in along with about a half dozen other older vehicles.

It would turn out to be an amazing day. First of all, I saw about a half dozen wholesalers from the Atlanta area at this Orlando auction. They were the ‘big money’ dealers who were often given breaks with transport costs and sale fees due to their purchasing power. The cuts were so deep and subsidies so strong that combined with the excessive inventory in Florida, a visit was always worth their while. I was a well liked fellow among company, and so when it came time to bid on a 2000 Olds Silhouette with 109k and leather I got it for cheap. $1395 to be exact if you include the auction fee. It was half the price of what the sun faded 72k mile Metro sold for.

I took four pictures of the vehicle (left front quarter angle, driver’s entrance, captain’s chairs, and driver’s view) and put an ad up on Craigslist for $2000. The Autocheck history was accompanied by a long list of luxury features. A note for the choir here. Folks just love to have their luxury even if they have a beer budget. Within 15 minutes I got my first call, and the calls kept coming throughout the day while I was waiting in the interminable lines of Adventureland.

The next morning I scratched off the yellow chalk from the windshield and proceeded it to drive it a few hundred feet to a nearby sandwich shop. The first couple sniffed their nose at it and tried to nickel me. I was courteous but within a moment of their saying, “We’ll think about it.” extended family number one came by with the three generations in one old Taurus. They looked at the vehicle for a few moments while the other couple started to come in at me for more hard dealing. I explained to them that these folks had come a long ways away and I was obligated to give them their chance.

The extended family bought it on site without so much as a test drive and I was glad about it. First, I got a chance to use my Spanish which doesn’t happen quite so often in my hometown of Powder Springs, Georgia. Second I knew it was going to a family that would value and keep it. I offered the first couple the phone number of a friend of mine who had purchased a base model Venture with cloth. I was calm, well-spoken, and a bit intense with my thought process. That’s usually enough to eventually get away from most difficult people. A couple of muscular Latinos in the construction industry also apparently helps. I got cash. The familia got their new ride. All was well with the world.

Profit $605. Cost of vacation? I think right around that much. We got one of those free hotel studios with a kitchen from a timeshare group. After a free breakfast, a two hour presentation, and our obligatory ‘No.’, we got four free disney tickets. Throw in a knapsack full of food and a few visits to relatives, and it ended up being a nice break from 70+ hours I was working at the time. Every now and then I had thought about traveling across the country, buying up cars on Craigslist and selling them for peanuts. But I would also have to give up a profit at home and I had seen too many rainy days to sacrifice a bull economy. It was tough to say ‘no’ to the possibility of an adventure. But given today’s economy I’m glad I did it.

]]> 6