Picture this: It’s 1955, and you’re an eight year old boy (now you know how old I am). The post war economy is going strong, and “new is better” is the mantra. Everyone wants, and is buying cars that represent the optimistic view folks have after a long devastating war. The old jalopies are being crushed and turned into dirt track racers.
OK, that sets the stage. The boy is me, and my grandfather, a retired Ford employee, is still driving his 1931 Model A coupe. The first time I saw this car was when he came to visit his daughter, my mom, and her family. Up until then, the car remained in the garage under a blanket. For everyday use, he drove his 1948 Ford Tudor Sedan, which I was very familiar with. The sight of that car almost drove my mom into a fit of shame at having such an old car in the driveway so the neighbors could see it. It’s a 24 year old car, for crying out loud! Couldn’t he afford a new one? He could, because the next year he bought a 1955 Ford post sedan. A plain Jane model with a Thunderbird V8, but that’s another story. The Model A was something I had never seen, and fell in love with at first sight. I mean, it was DIFFERENT! Short, tall and the ubiquitous Ford Black. Granddad showed me the little switches he installed under the seat for all sorts of accessories, and took me for a ride in it. I was hooked! He was a retired Ford employee with almost 45 years with the company, and was hired as a blacksmith by HF I himself since he needed skilled metal workers. His loyalty was to Henry, and he bought nothing else. His two sons, my uncles, both attended the Ford Trade School, and spent their entire careers working for the company.
That short ride got me started on a lifelong love affair with cars, for which I thank my now long gone grandfather. Many years later, when I was about to paint my 37 Ford Tudor, I chose a color close to the 48 Tudor he had. So in his memory, my Washington Blue Tudor is proudly being driven whenever the weather permits. When I showed up with the Tudor at my uncle's house to take him on an outing, I even thought I saw a bit of mist in his eye. Thanks, Grandad.