Friday Ford

My condolences to the family of Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman. The legendary football writer died yesterday almost 10 years after suffering a series of strokes that left him unable to write and to walk. Zimmerman’s The Thinking Man’s Guide To Pro Football was perhaps the first look at the intricacies of the game explained for the football layman.

I very much enjoyed his column on the Sports Illustrated website and still miss it even 10 years later. Zimmerman was a no BS person and could be argumentative, but he was sincerely argumentative unlike the contrived conflict in today’s media.


For C/2 and Philip Maynard a look at a car from the “Dearborn Car Company.” If I am to be honest I was tempted to use this post to lay out mounds of evidence of how despicable Henry Ford was. However, I decided this was neither the time nor the place for such an endeavor.

From Hemmings a picture of a 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner. I don’t know if you can tell, but the front half of the roof is actually made of Plexiglass. In a way, this was a forerunner of today’s sunroofs/moonroofs. The Plexiglass was tinted green in an effort to cut down on glare, but the inside of the car would get very hot on sunny days. (An aside: if you are a car aficionado you should read Hemmings and/or subscribe. The Hemmings site is the homepage of my desktop browser and I check it multiple times a day.)

1954 was an important year for Ford Motor Company in that it was the first year Ford offered a modern, overhead-valve V-8 to replace the famous flathead V-8 that had been produced since 1932. The new engine was also modern in that it had oversquare, bore>stroke, dimensions. That type of engine gives up a little low-end torque in exchange for higher RPM, more HP and less wear per stroke on the engine. Ford’s modern V-8 was introduced five years after a similar engine by Cadillac and Oldsmobile, but one year before Chevrolet’s legendary small-block V-8. I imagine Ford did this on purpose, but the displacement of the new V-8 was the same, a compact 239 cubic inches, as the flathead V-8 displacement had been since 1946.

I think that for the era the styling of the Crestline was clean and crisp and the car has a handsome design. This exterior styling was introduced in 1952.

It seems a shame to me that Ford is basically abandoning the American car market. Conditions can change and no one really can predict the future of the market.


Greetings to all of the Aussies who are reading Disaffected Musings today!





8 thoughts on “Friday Ford

  1. The Fords of that era, IMO, are much cleaner designs than Ford’s arch-rival, Chevrolet, offered in those years. Despite GM’s reputation for superior and cutting edge styling, the Chevrolets (and GM cars generally) in the early ’50s were bulbous and still not 100% committed to the sleek, envelope styling the rest of the industry was moving toward.

    The Skyliner and its Sun Valley cousin from Mercury lasted only two model years for exactly the reason you mention – the interiors of those cars were real hot houses and air conditioning was a real rarity in those days.

    Speaking of air conditioning – that was a Packard first – just before WWII, the same year that Packard pioneered power windows. Packard even offered the ability to make ice cubes in the car for the alcoholic in the back seat that must have his cocktail while James was driving him to the Metropolitan Opera!


    1. I knew that Packard was the first car company to offer air conditioning although I don’t think it was similar to the systems in today’s cars. “alcoholic in the back seat that must have his cocktail while James was driving him to the Metropolitan Opera!”…LOL!

      I think it’s interesting that GM/Chevrolet designers liked the cleaner lines of the 1955 Chevrolet, but the make’s devotees seem to prefer the ’57. I don’t think it’s just Texas that thinks bigger is always better.


  2. Sad how despicable a human being Henry Ford was, especially to his own son….I can relate to that scenario, but cannot claim to be a fan of many Ford products (GT and very few ‘stangs included), I do believe Ford will remain in the “car line” biz, just go back to where they were in the 80’s when they launched the SVT division. They want to absorb the almighty dollar which is seen in sales of trucks and SUV’s, currently. As you clearly defined, times do change and one rise of the gas price may alter everyone’s habits!


    1. Good to hear from you, Steve. It is both amazing and scary to me how many people don’t know or don’t accept what an awful person Ford was. As you point out even his son, Edsel, was not immune. Edsel’s widow and Henry’s wife both blamed the old man for Edsel’s untimely death at the age of 49.

      Like you, whether it’s because of my animus for Ford or not, I have never been a big fan of most of their cars. I respect all three generations of the GT as I consider them to be amazing feats of engineering for their day and they look pretty good, too. I have recently developed an affinity for the hardtop coupe of the first generation Mustang through 1968. I consider that to be a great canvas for a restomod project.

      Amen about the price of gas…what will all manufacturers do when war breaks out in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran and gas is $5.50 a gallon?


  3. Thank you for the shout out about Fords. Yes, I am a fan but not of Old Henry’s socialist views. An an engineering innovator, he was excellent especially in his use of interchangeability of parts and his choice of excellent materials and methods to build the products. It was Edsel who had a great influence in the Model A and then again in the 1932 models. Don’t get me started on how badly Henry mistreated his son Edsel. Ford was a year behind General Motors in offering a postwar pickup; however, the complete line of F-1-5 trucks was a great start to their truck lines which continues today. 1954 was a very good year for new offerings when they also put the new overhead V8 in the F-100 pickup which had a new body style from the previous year.

    I love your history of the American automobile market and products. History is important.


    1. You’re more than welcome. Many thanks for reading, for posting comments and for the kind words. Believe me, those actions are appreciated.


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