By on September 2, 2015

14 - 1951 Ford Deluxe Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

We’ve been seeing a lot of 21st century Junkyard Finds lately, so today we’ll change up and go to one of the older cars I’ve seen in a self-service yard lately. This ’51 Ford showed up at a Colorado yard last month.
02 - 1951 Ford Deluxe Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

It has the look of a long-abandoned project: interior gutted, bodywork, etc. You’d think that a non-rusty two-door shoebox Ford would be worth enough to keep it safe from the clutches of the wrecking yard, but such was not the case here.

15 - 1951 Ford Deluxe Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Someone put some work into the body and paint and then forgot about the car, but it’s impossible to say whether that happened in 1968 (with indoor storage since) or 2008 (with outdoor storage).

07 - 1951 Ford Deluxe Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

You could get the ’51 Ford with the famous flathead V8 or the 254-cubic-inch flathead straight-six engine. This car has the six.

49FordComesToLife-23

A Denver friend owns this ’49 sedan project, so he was all over the junkyard ’51 within hours of learning of its existence, grabbing bits and pieces for low prices. When you have an elderly project vehicle and one like it shows up at U-Wrench-It, you drop everything and pull what you can!

 

This generation of Ford was the first true postwar design from the Detroit Big Three, and the first Ford to be mostly free of the late Henry’s erratic leadership and limitations as an engineer. Other than the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle, few cars you’d find in this sort of junkyard will have this level of historical significance.

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72 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1951 Ford 2-Door Sedan...”


  • avatar
    Banger

    For some reason I thought these were known as “Tudor,” not 2-door, Fords.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      Ford used that nomenclature for two-door sedans in their literature for a long time, from at least the Model A (and probably the Model T when closed bodies started to become popular in the ’20s) into the early ’50s. They also called the 4-door sedans “Fordor” in roughly that same period.

      It wasn’t unusual for manufacturers to have marketing codenames for different types of sedan depending on number of doors and, for awhile in the mid-30s when built-in trunks were becoming a thing but not universal, whether they had one of those. There were “coaches”, “town sedans”, “club sedans”, “sport sedans”, “touring sedans” etc.

      For example, Ford in 1935-37 had the Tudor/Fordor Sedan (flat back with only a small luggage space accessed through the rear seat), and the Tudor/Fordor Touring Sedan (with a humpback and an external trunklid), in both Standard and Deluxe trims (IIRC in 1935 the Touring models were Deluxe only).

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    This is like a last vestige of the ’30s business coupe form. Love those big-ass cars. And practical with that huge trunk, too!

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      Most manufacturers made both two-door sedans and coupes in the ’30s and ’40s. The coupe models were much closer-coupled with a short passenger compartment and a long deck and could be had with or without a backseat (sometimes folding jump seats in a very cramped space); this innovation was introduced by Ford in 1937 as the “club coupe”. Sedans had more of their length devoted to passenger space (mostly manifested in generous rear legroom) but had much less trunk space.

      Without a rear seat in the passenger compartment and a large trunk the traditional 2/3-passenger coupe was often called a “business coupe”, meant for people who needed carrying space such as salesmen. Very early on circa 1915-20 when closed bodies were much more expensive they were sometimes called “Doctors’ coupes”, popular with physicians who had to go out on house calls in bad weather. With a rumble seat instead of a trunk it would sometimes be called a “sport coupe”. You could even buy some of the business coupes with a removable short pickup bed to turn it into a little 1/4-ish ton truck; the trunklid would be removed when the pickup bed was installed. Pickup-coupe survivors are rare, especially ones with both the trunklid and the pickup bed intact.

      Coupes in general lost their practical raison d’etre as tradeoffs between passenger and cargo space when the “three box” shape (typified by this Ford) came into being after WWII and all cars had good-sized trunks. Then the convertible-styled pillarless “hardtop coupe” took over as an alternative to the traditional two-door sedan for people who wanted something that looked sporty.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The large trunks on these Ford coupes is also what made them popular with rum runners; they could carry more moonshine with them. Since NASCAR was born out of the rum running trade; these Ford coupes were also popular in the early race days.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Denver

          Just to quibble, “rum running” usually implied smuggling liquor by boat – e.g. bringing in Caribbean rum to Florida. What the early NASCAR guys did was called moonshining or bootlegging.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Though according to my limited contact with old time mechanics who had worked on such cars, including an elderly gentleman who had his original owner 37 Packard sitting in his front yard, and whom I met when I stopped to admire it, there was a quick move towards both the contemporary Mercs in the early fifties, due to a more bulbous body, and the slightly later and better powered mid to late fifties Fords. Also, according to him, there was more than one driver who preferred some of the larger pre-WW II cars such as his.

          He said, and sounded knowledgeable enough and sincere enough, that he had been the mechanic for many of the drivers in N. GA. during that era. And the size of the house he lived in in his 80’s seemed to support the idea that he had made a good nickel in his day.

          A real nice gentleman, too. A pleasant afternoon drive discovery I made a couple of decades ago, while visiting family.

          But there was no doubt, according to him, that FoMoCo was the choice among the post-WW II cars for such adventures.

          And also according to him, the movie Thunder Road starring Robert Mitchum and his son, was based on a true story, one that was widely known back in the day. Which answered a question I had long had.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      This is a two-door sedan. Here’s a ’51 Ford coupe:

      http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/1951FordBusinessCoupe.png

      Notice that the back window is smaller.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    So Murilee, did you grab the clock, cracked lens and all?

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    The ad sounds like a description of the Airflow from ten years prior.
    “Rear seat ahead of rear axle, cradled-in seating, flatter floors”.
    Nice looking car though.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Winner winner chicken dinner.

      The Airflow itself was a failure; but it had a profound effect on car design. I realized this when I added a 1937 Ford to my timeline, then studied it in relation to the cars before and after it. You could see how Ford rushed to join the aero game by fairing the headlights into the fenders, placing a more rounded grill on the front, and adding a split windshield. In 1940 they went all out and moved the engine forward so that it was centered over the front axle, and centering the passenger compartment between the front and rear axles; just like the Airflow. Moving the engine forward resulted in a more pointed beak; it also has a split windshield, just like the Airflow. These features; plus the fact that so few were built due to the war is why to me the 1940 Ford was a “postwar” design.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/18559038228/in/dateposted-public/

      The 1945 Ford just barely in view on the left in the picture above carried the theme forward; but the 1949 Ford was the first with “pontoon styling”; which had the front and rear fenders totally incorporated into the body and no running boards as well as up-to-date engineering underneath.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        And I say that even though Ford has made many excellent vehicles over the decades, the ’40 Ford coupe was one of the finest of them all.

        It was everything good that Ford has tried to stand for over the years. Few other cars have ever even come close.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I keep saying I won’t look at these posts anymore, but I still do.

    A guy I knew back in the 1970’s had one of these that had been hot rodded in the 1960’s. It had a tri-power J-2 Olds motor in it and some other things I no longer remember. It had been made a mild custom back then, but this guy wanted to build it as a sleeper. So, he was in the process of restoring the car back to it’s original exterior appearance. But it was not the easiest thing to do in 1978, because these were all old cars back then and few people cared about restoring them back to their original looks. The few that were on the road were mostly hot rodded or lead sleds and the rest had been turned into washing machines sometime in the 1960’s. He eventually moved away and took his project with him, I never did find out if he got it finished.

    A buddy of mine bought one of these at an estate sale in the mid 1980’s. It was an elderly gentleman’s daily driver since the late 50’s, and when he finally passed at the age of 98, the surviving family just sold off everything. My buddy made the mistake of driving off in the car like you would a modern (well, 1980’s) car, not realizing 1950’s steering and brakes were woefully bad compared to even a Yugo’s performance back then. He almost totaled it on the way to my place (.75 miles away!) Once we got it up in the air, the 30+ years of daily usage revealed a truly worn out car. He flipped the thing for $300 or so to some collector somewhere in Pennsylvania.

    Oh what fun…

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I haven’t seen one of these for a very long time. Too bad the owner had to give up on it, for it would have been a nice non-tri-five-Chevy running around.

  • avatar
    skor

    The fact that a relatively intact coupe version of this car could end up in a junkyard speaks volumes about the profound changes to our society and economy. Wrenching on cars was long a blue collar hobby. What little is left of the working class can no longer afford to indulge in a hobby like this. People who do have the money buy new, and show little interest in getting greasy.

    I watched the commercial straight through. There is something to be said for the mature, restrained delivery of old time ads.

    BTW, the woody gave me one.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      @ Skor ;

      There’s still a few of us left and I keep bumping into young Men who’re rebuilding old vehicles here in car crazy Los Angeles so all is not yet lost .

      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      “BTW, the woody gave me one.”

      LOL, QOTD!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Is it particularly desirable? Yes it’s old, but I wouldn’t think it’s particularly rare, nor is it a large luxury model or etc etc.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      This is a car sixty-five years old. Other than being old, it has little to go for it. There are plenty of more recent vehicles that would be both easier to work on as a hobby project, and demonstrably superior in every way.

      There’s no unwritten rule that all vaguely-usable car bodies and engines are deserving of being preserved in perpetuity.

    • 0 avatar
      thattruthguy

      This is essentially a useless car unless it’s gutted and updated. Making it anything more than a lawn ornament requires taking a full set of parts from perfectly good used cars and stuffing them into it.

      From what I see, working class guys like late model trucks just fine, even if they aren’t brand new.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        The body shell looks solid, and the 2 door is always more desirable than a 4 door. Let’s say you grab this, and used a complete 4 door with a rough body as the donor, you’d have a pretty good project.

        • 0 avatar
          thattruthguy

          At a minimum, it’s a car you can’t drive in modern traffic without installing modern brakes, modern tires, and a package of modern springs and shocks. Otherwise, you will get into a crash when someone cuts you off, then suddenly stops. It may not be your fault, but righteousness won’t help you when you have to put your add-on lap belts, 60 year old seat frame (the lap belts are connected to 60 year old metal, too), rigid steering column, and old school dashboard to the test.

          Stock, it can’t keep up with a base model Nissan Versa. And the engine is an obscure six, so you have to either engineer custom performance upgrades or install a complete engine and transmission package from another car.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I see your point about the restoration of cars. I just had this conversation with my dad (when I was a kid in the 90s we built model cars, worked on the family cars and such; nobody builds models anymore, the kits are hard to find, and not many new ones are issued). I think the problems are cars old enough to restore are largely expensive (even a non rusted out 80s Cutlass goes for $5k these days) and who can actually afford a hobby the entrance point to which is $5k? We can thank changing automotive tastes, technology, and Barrett-Jackson along with the whole information age for rising collector values. Also, society is largely into technology based hobbies, including adults, so the interest and attention spans aren’t there. Finally, for cars newer than the absolute dawn of the computer age, the car market has to a much larger degree been lease/finance for a few years, defer maintenance, then repeat. And the cars are made with this in mind, because why wouldn’t they be? Society has simply changed. Nobody was forced out of car restoration on the personal level by a single simplistic economic reason.

    • 0 avatar

      I think a lot of it is that people buy old cars are often purchasing the cars they wanted as a kid or owned as a teenager. The people who would remember this car are mostly past the age that they are willing to work on one.

      As someone in his mid-30’s, I have to admit to being more interested in and saddened by the convertible RX-7 next to this car than the Ford itself. They were pretty rare, and neat. I bought my LaForza because I remember reading about them in a car mag when I was 9 and thinking they were cool.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I sure hope your buddy grabbed the OVERDRIVE transmission and relay , cables etc. ! .

    Those are gold for those of us who actually drive their oldies .

    This car looks too good to have been scrapped .

    -Nate

  • avatar

    With the sanding done where it is, looks like maybe a chop was in the plans? Always looked like a nightmare job on these, given the lines you have to work with.

    Grew up in a 50 model my granddad restored – that dash brings back some fantastic memories. It got a set of very non-original GM lapbelts because I pitched a fit about it not having belts. Of course, I rode everywhere in it with no child seat at all..

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Yes, it looks like a chop job for sure.

      One of the flaws of car people is that many love ’em and leave em. Whoever had it, probably found something better, and sold it off as parts quickly. It’s possible that whomever it was, ran into financial stress, but these aren’t that expensive to at least make a runner. The owner could have passed as well, but I find the first scenario the most likely.

      What a waste of time. I can never NOT finish a project I start. Sometimes I have regrets during the process, but I always follow through. It’s what gives you the strength for the next thing.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        I’m with you Crab ~ sometimes a project gets side lined (the Morris is coming up on two years) but sooner or later , even if only to make it salable , I’ll finish them up .

        I’m amazed no one here remember the horrid quality control problems the ’49’s had ~ leaks , squeaks and rattles .

        Then and now , this body style (‘ Shoe Box ‘) was wildly popular .

        Not to me but then it’s not mine .

        I remember watching those Chevrolet new car adverts in the movie theater in the early 1970’s in Los Angeles as I was courting my ex Wife…

        -Nate

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    This was the 2nd car to save FoMoCo’s ass: just as the Model A forestalled disaster at the hands of Chevrolet’s more powerful models, so too did the new design ’49 Ford revitalize sales to post-WWII Americans, flush with cash and rapidly climbing the career ladder. A similar feat would occur 4 decades later when Ford again knocked one out of the park with its market-changing Taurus sedan.

    I had forgotten about the duplication of the serial number/VIN stamped above the firewall for that series of automobile; I can imagine many later customizers filling those in with lead to create the super-smooth engine bay look popular among that crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      You forgot the Falcon, which was a monster sales success. 5 years later it was the Mustang…..a Falcon derivative…..which was even bigger in sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Ah yes, that too; it’s fun to see how Ford tends to come roaring back in the marketplace every couple of decades.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Falcon was a huge sales success, and served as the basis for several other Fords and Mercurys over the next 15 years. But Ford was not on the verge of bankruptcy while the Falcon was under development. The Falcon did not save the company. It was financially healthy in 1959-60.

    • 0 avatar

      The Model A and ’49 have a special place in Ford history, especially the ’49 as FoMoCo was fighting to climb out of third place – yes, Plymouth was outselling Ford afer WW2. Henry’s insistence upon WW1-era engineering almost buried the company, and the ’49 was the first-ever Ford to not have to answer to the old man.

      The combination of ChryCo’s homely ’49s and Ford’s beautiful new lineup drove the company permanently past Chrysler.

      Ford was in far better shape when game-changers Thunderbird, Falcon, Mustang and Taurus were introduced.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Plymouth came close to outselling Ford Division during the 1940 model year. If Plymouth did outsell Ford in the years immediately after World War II, it was because of Ford production difficulties at that time, not because people preferred Plymouths to Fords. Ford Division had second place in sales nailed down even before the 1949 model debuted.

      • 0 avatar
        NOSLucasWiringSmoke

        Plymouth wasn’t outselling Ford, but Chrysler Corporation was outselling Ford Motor Company, and did from about 1936 to 1950. I think Ford got the #2 corporate sales spot back in 1951, thanks to the popularity of the new Fords and Mercurys (Mercury especially, as in its new iteration as a “Junior Lincoln” it went from selling about 85,000/year to over 300,000 and became a real medium-priced contender).

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    A little trip down the old memory lane for me. My parents brought a newborn me home from the hospital in a light blue ’51 Tudor. They traded it in ’53 for the first car I remember – a two-door post ’53 Chevy Belaire with Powerglide (my dad really got a kick out of his first auto tranny). The neighbor lady had a ’49 Ford Coupe and kept it for about 11 years. Ahh, the days when there was a selection of body styles based on the same model…

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    Where would an 8 minute commercial have played in 1949?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Before the movie? A lot of people didn’t have TV.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      Movie theaters. There were a lot of short subject and one- and two-reel type films that were shown in movie theaters as product promotions (commercials before the movie comes on are back as a thing now in big theatres, at least here in Canada. When I was a kid growing up our small-town theatre never did that).

      Chevy sponsored a lot of these types of film in the ’30s including “newsreels” where whatever events were pictured (silly stunt-type novelty items rather than real news) prominently featured a new Chevy. Some were even animated. They also had the Jam Handy organization make a bunch of short subjects from about 1935-41 about various technical topics (driver safety, automotive systems, cartography, building roads, how traffic lights work, movie cameras, automation, magazine photography, etc.) that featured their products.

      There’s a lot of these types of movies on the Internet Archive (I’ve probably watched most of them by now).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yep, they’re doing commercials now, before the show. It’s built up from just 1 – 2, to probably 4. Also, the number of previews have increased to the point where a movie starts (at least at the Regal Cinemas chain) TWENTY FIVE minutes after your “show time.” Ridiculous. I’m going to start showing up to the theatre parking lot at the time the “movie starts.”

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          AFAICT, that’s exactly what they’re for–for all the stragglers to come in without interrupting the cinematic experience. And the fact that it’s almost literally a captive audience.

  • avatar
    ArBee

    I love the 1949-51 shoebox Fords. They were all over the place well into the 1960s. My brother bought a very nice ’49 sedan with a locked engine, the flathead six cylinder. We got it apart and gave it a rebuild. Boy, was it smooth and torquey. It’s a shame this one was abandoned, but at least it yielded up some nice parts.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I enjoyed both seeing this car, and reading the linked article about the flathead V8. Well done.

  • avatar
    NOSLucasWiringSmoke

    Anorak moment: the six in passenger Fords from 1941-51 was a 226-cid unit. The 254 was a truck engine. When the six came out it was 5 cid larger than the V-8 and prompted Ford to up the V-8’s power rating from 85 hp to 90 because the six came in at that figure. IIRC it was a reluctant (Henry Ford hated the idea) response to dealer demand. It was never highly popular, historians who have researched it say it had a take rate of 10-15%, I think the hope was that those were people who otherwise would have bought six-powered Chevys or Plymouths.

    When production resumed after WWII Ford upgraded the V-8 to the 239.4-cid 100 hp unit used in contemporary Mercurys. The power rating of the six went up to 95 in 1948 and I believe stayed there through the end of its run. The flathead six was replaced by the ohv I-block six for 1952, Ford dipping its toes in the water with ohv engines for its lower-volume products (the Ford six and the Lincoln V-8) in preparation for big changes in 1954.

    The real secret about the six was that it could keep up with or even outpace the V-8 up to highway speeds. “Uncle Tom” McCahill road tested one and came away very surprised, that road test was republished in the 1988 feature article “Collectible Automobile” ran on the ’49-51 Fords.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What is the thing next to it (not the RX7, other side)? It has the side profile and trim like a Jag, and the front quad lights like a Jensen, but the back looks like an Impala.

    It’s really throwing me off.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    When I moved to Houston in 1958 my older brother’s friend had a white 1950 Ford convertible with a flat head V-8. I built an AMT 3 in 1 custom 2 door model of one of these and a 36 Ford with a rumble seat and entered them both in a junior model contest–the 36 Ford won 2nd and the 49 Ford 2 door won 3rd. This was a city wide model contest sponsored by one of the largest Ford dealerships in Houston. It is a shame to see this car in the junk yard. These cars were revolutionary for their time and many were customized along with 49 and 50 Mercuries.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I wonder what that 8-lug rotor is doing in the trunk. Full floater axle would be way overkill for this car.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    The owner passed away and the offspring are happy driving ’08 Altimas, they don’t see beauty or anything in it – for a surprising amount of people I know this Ford would be nothing but a liability.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Interesting find. It looks like an abandoned project.

    I don’t believe that this car was the first true postwar design from the Big Three (unless, by “Big Three,” you are talking about Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth).

    The 1949 Ford officially debuted in June 1948. I’m almost certain that the 1948 Cadillac (which featured the first tailfins) and 1948 Oldsmobile 98, which were true postwar designs, were already on the market by that point.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Maybe so but the clean uncluttered lines are similar to many of the mid 60’s cars. The Cadillac and Oldsmobile lines of this era were not as clean and modern. There is something to be said for simpler and less cluttered designs which in the later part of the 50’s were more extreme with larger tail fins and over chromed. The first generation of Taurus was similar in that it was a simpler and less cluttered. A 49-50 Ford looks less out of place today than a 57 Chrysler despite the bar across the front window.

  • avatar
    gasser

    My Dad had a “51 Tudor in Hawaiian Bronze, V-8 with overdrive. I was with him when we picked it up at the factory. The Korean war was on then, and the front bumper rusted from chrome to brown almost immediately. My uncles used to say it ran “like a bat out of hell”. He kept it untli ’58 or ’59. I can’t recall why he sold it. In those days (post war, mid war, tight economy for blue collar workers) it was much admired.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      “Korean War Chrome” was a thing in cars at that time. The layers of copper and nickel understriking applied to the steel before the chrome plating were thinned because the materials were in short supply, so the plating didn’t last as long.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    This “behemoth” is 5 inches longer than a 2015 Lexus ES, and weighs 300 lbs less.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      Good point. People forget that the “intermediate” cars of the ’60s were the same size as the “standard” cars of the first half of the ’50s. Everything was getting steadily bigger.

      Standard sized low-priced cars (i.e. Ford, Chevy, Plymouth) went through considerable bloat from about 1957-58 until they peaked at beached-whale size in the early 1970s. Intermediates did the same, by peak size circa 1975 they were the size of a modern-era Crown Vic (about 215″ long). The big downsize of the late ’70s brought things back to about where they had been in the ’60s. The new-generation midsize sedans of the ’80s (Celebrity, Taurus) were about the same size as the ’50s models.

      The first intermediates, the ’62 Fairlane and ’64 Chevelle, were almost the same package as the standard cars of 1955; they were successful because they really were “enough car” for most people.

      1951 Ford: Wheelbase 114″, overall length 197.3″, width 71.7″
      2016 Ford Fusion: Wheelbase 112.2″, overall length 191.7″, width 72.9″*
      2016 Ford Taurus: Wheelbase 112.9″, overall length 202.9″, width 76.2″*

      * Excluding mirrors, since those wouldn’t have been in the ’51 figure either.

      I’ll wager the modern cars will be lower and quite a bit heavier.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “Thunder Road “the movie staring Robert Mitchem, about bootlegging started with Mitchem driving a souped up 2 door Ford just like this and ended with him driving a souped up 57 Ford Fairlane 2 door. In the end of the movie the law sets a trap for Mitchem and he dies. Some great car case scenes in that movie.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      As I mentioned in another reply, that movie was almost certainly based on a true story. And his name is spelled Mitchum. One of the true real men of early Hollywood, and a man who was also ahead of the laws of his time, with respect to personal tastes.

      Much of what I did and became in late teens and early twenties was at least an indirect result of having seen Mitchum in Thunder Road in my early teens. My mother was against it, but my father took me to my first drive in movie to watch it with him when I was about fourteen.

      May have changed me a bit, but I don’t think the movie ruined me…just made me shift lanes, so to speak.

      And I respected my father for not trying to shield me from the movie and for wanting to be there to, in order to be able to discuss it with me afterwards. It was one of the first times, perhaps the very first, that he and I talked about things that I would have to learn to deal with as a man. And given that he tended not to be very outgoing, it was especially special to me that we had that meaningful discussion.

      But it was years before I could consider that there was anyone else in Hollywood who could be as much of a role model as Mitchum…in an era of studio made figurehead stars, he seemed to be the only one who travelled his own path.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Thanks for the correction I meant Mitchum. I was closer to 7 or 8 when I saw the movie at the Drive Inn and I became interested in cars. I built a 49 Ford 2 door AMT model car similar to the 51 Ford in the movie and a 36 Ford rumble seat convertible and entered them in a Junior Model building contest sponsored by one of the large Ford dealerships in Houston and won 2nd place on the 36 Ford and 3rd place on the 49 Ford (I got trophies for both).

        Some History about Thunder Road from Wikipedia–“The film was based loosely on an incident in which a driver transporting moonshine was said to have crashed to his death on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee between Bearden Hill and Morrell Road. Per Metro Pulse writer Jack Renfro, the incident occurred in 1952 and may have been witnessed by James Agee, who passed the story on to Mitchum.”

        “The role of Robin Doolin, Lucas’s younger brother, was originally written for Elvis Presley per Mitchum’s request. Mitchum personally submitted the script to Elvis in Los Angeles. The singer was eager to play the role, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker demanded Elvis be paid an enormous sum of money, more than the entire budget for the movie, which ended negotiations. Mitchum’s son James got the part, which worked well due to the close physical resemblance.”

        One of my other favorite movies with car stunts and chases was Bullitt. I always liked Steve McQueen and he did his own driving and stunts. McQueen was a stuntman before he was an actor. I also remember him in the TV series Wanted Dead or Alive.

  • avatar
    lOmnivore Sobriquet

    American cars were better than French cars in those days.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Well yes, they had starters rather than crank handles, and options like windows and roofs made of metal and not canvas. :)

      Not that the CV2 isn’t charming in it’s own way.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Renault Colorale, Renault 4CV, Delahaye 135, Ford Vedette, Simca Aronde and 8, Citroen Traction Avant, Panhard Dyna, Bugatti 101, various Peugeot.

        Three of these I’d take over the 1951 Ford easily when all were new.

        The one thing Detroit didn’t suffer from during WW2 was bombing. All the French factories were forced to turn out materiel for the Germans, so they did take a bit of a pasting from the Brits.

        In Britain, the 1951 Ford Consul looked like a smaller version of the 1951 Ford and actually had a genuine overhead valve engine, as did the bigger Zephyr, but that was a six that looked like the subsequent 223 Ford six – identical architecture.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The 49 thru 51 Ford was a significant car for post WW II. I realize that Studebaker and Nash had new cars that were quite revolutionary but this Ford was much more like the cars of the 60’s especially the intermediates. The Studebaker had a very modern streamlined look but it was a little too radical in that the back end looked like a front end. The Nash even though it was very modern looked more like an upside down bath tub. The lines of the 49-51 Ford were much cleaner and less cluttered. The first generation of Taurus had simple clean lines as well which were followed by the odd roach like Taurus 1996-1999. The 2000 Taurus had clean lines and uncluttered. Taurus brought Ford back into the competitive car market. I think the 49 Ford and the 86 Taurus were very much alike in that they were significant cars not only for Ford but for their eras.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Note the 1991 Accord floormat in the back.

    Oh the humanity!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Isn’t that blue car next to this car a last generation Corvair? This car has since been crushed up and sent to China to become a Haier appliance to be sent back to the US and sold at H H Gregg.

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