Mike M '52 Ford tudor sedan

"My Blue heaven" on wheels

When reading stories of car things--my experiences run deep at this time--however my first car would still be the most interesting to remember.

As a young Airmen new in the Air Force and assigned his first base, I found myself in Sacramento, Calif., and as anyone knows, Calif. is not a place to be without wheels. Although I had quite a bit of driving experience, I had not , up to that time, actually owned my own car. After completing a base drivers school, in which they attempted to traumatize me to the point of traveling only by bus, I searched the local ads and came up with a private owner wanting to sell his son's car due to going into the Navy. It was a very worn out but serviceable 1952 Ford tudor sedan. After a brief conversation, it was agreed I would meet him at a small used car lot where he had consigned it to sell. My interest at that time was, largely based on the $150 asking price. As a new Air Force airmen, money at that time was key. The Ford was less than a show queen--painted blue via a spray can and paint brush, it was a stock car for the most part, with all the trim pieces and logo's stripped off and leaded in. The drivers door was roped shut as the jamb was broken, the interior was original, but the badly worn front seat material cloth had seen better days, and springs were showing. The top of the back seat was burned out due to many hrs. in the "Warm Calif. sun". The dash had been a pallet for an amateur graffiti artist. It was a six cylinder (first year for the OHV eng. in the six), and it sounded like the pistons were swapping holes when running. Originally had Overdrive, but it didn't work as I found out later. It was driveable, so "Old Blue" and I started what would be a memorable relationship. Although it ran--it didn't run too well. It had at least three badly burned valves and other worn out problems, wheel and throwout bearings, etc. and ad-infiitum, but I soldiered on as if they didn't exist--not being too mechanically knowledgeable at the time. I threw towels over the bad spots in the seats and tried to wash and wax it as best I could, although most of the paint wound up on the wash cloth.

One day two best buds I had the time, and I decided we would drive over to San Francisco for the day for some sightseeing and other bachelor exploits. Our first hint that this was not going to be a good day was getting stopped for speeding near the gate to the Oakland Bay Bridge. Somehow, the officer took pity on me and only issued a warning. Probably thought I needed all the spare change that I had to keep "Old Blue" running. After getting into S.F., the fun began when we stopped on one of their infamous "hill" streets for a red light to discover we were atop electric streetcar tracks. I think I mentioned about the valve problem earlier--well the Ford didn't have a "hill holder" option, and with little start-up torque available, it was happy just to stay in its own shadow, but not climb any grades barely past level. With rev's built up to the max and torturing the clutch we inched forward literally. Naturally the next thing we heard was the familiar clang of the streetcar behind us. Just as I thought he was going to have to use the cowcatcher on his tram, we made it over the top turning right onto a level street. Needless to say, a lot more planning went into any more traveling over the hills of Frisco that day. As we started toward the Oakland Bridge to depart, it got loud, as it sounded like the muffler had "exited stage left". After pulling into a local garage and going on the lift, it was discovered that the tailpipe separated forward of the muffler. We couldn't get it repaired properly so we tried to jury rig a fix. My friend Joe got a couple of pop cans cut up and wrapped around both ends of the pipe. It didn't work that well--but better than nothing. I don't think any of our fix was left by the time we got back to the base.

I had many more similar adventures with this car before trading it for my first new car, a 1965 Ford Galaxie hardtop, but their stories of their own. Listening on that original 6 volt tube radio to JFK's assassination was just one, or the heater hose valve control disconnecting in the middle of Nevada in November, was another.

The good news was that it made a pretty good driveway mechanic out of me.

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