Cars in the 50s

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jep1210

New Member
How likely would it be to see model As and Ts driving around in the late 40s early/mid 50s? Would it be as common as seeing 1977-1986 model vehicles driving around now?...which isn't too frequent in northern NJ anyway. My thought is it might be more frequent due to fewer choices in manufacturers and economic considerations. Thoughts?

J.P.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
You would see some, probably in stock form or stripped down and hot rod form but you still see quite a few of the 40s and 50s era vehicles as well. Especially as popular as the mercs were, or some of the 55 chevys.
 
Having been a teenager in the fifties, I would say rarely, except as described in a previous post. Through the mid fifties, lots of vehicles from the forties though. My first car, which my Uncle gave me, was a 1948 Chevy. Most of the guys I ran with had late forty or early fifty cars.
Tom
 

Printer

Member
I grew up in Detroit in the 50's and the abundance of new cheap cars was the rule. We "kids" had our parents cast offs, 48 Buicks, 49 Mercury's *DROOL* and the likes. My Mother bought a 57 Chevy for somewhere around $2,000 NEW, and I got her old DeSoto. The only T's we saw were chopped buckets running up and down Telegraph or Woodward on Friday and Saturday nights with HUGE Big Block V8's.

Scoot
 
I would support the theory that, as good runners, they easily survived the 1950's and if you look around there A LOT of them (Model A's, un modded) I would definately put a handful of them on your layout. I would also buy a few and weather them, dent some of the fenders, and some with mis-matched body panels. Model T's were probably floating around somewhere if you look hard enough, as some still survive today, and they couldn't have come from thin-air.

I also would encourage buying a couple of cheap ones and parking them in a field, with heavy weathering, remember though, that both model A's and T's have a WOODen body frame and roof, with canvas stretched over the top.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
that both model A's and T's have a WOODen body frame and roof, with canvas stretched over the top.
What parts are you exactly refering to on the frame as being wooden?? I'm trying to picture it. The only thing that I can think of is wooden inserts in the beds of some of those old trucks.
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Pre 1935, a lot of vehicles had wooden cab frames but were covered in sheet metal that was rivited together and screwed to the wood frame. Back on the farm as a kid in the 1950's and early 60's, I drove around the old 4 ton Chevy trucks. The 1934 truck had a wooden frame cab covered with riveted sheet metal and had cable brakes. The 1936 Chevy 4 ton had an all steel cab and hydralic brakes (that hadn't worked in years......). We also had a dead 1935 Chevy 4 ton that dad picked up at an auction for parts. If I remember correctly that had a steel Cab body. I can remember Model A still around and being driven when I was quite young. Our Family Doctor used to drive one. That was back in the days when Doctors still made house calls. There were a couple other people that were still driving Model A Fords in the late 40's and 50's but it was rare. Yes the Model T and Model A were canvas covered wood bodies just like the Airplanes of those days. I was painted several times with a goop made primarily out of benzene called appropriately "Dope" that made it very hard but light. Some Model Ts were convertibles also. You would find quite a few Late 1930 cars and trucks still being used back then. Just as it isn't uncommon to see a few 1980 vintage ones around today.
 
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NickB

Wannabe Engineer
See I just don't remember too much wood on my grandpas old t's and a's when I think of the frame Yea I know there was some interior wood parts and I've seen these things in various stages of restoration. He has about 11 that he's restored, I just don't remember the whole part of frames being part wood.
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Nick, I can't say for sure on the Ts or the A how much was wood, but here is a photo of a Ford Van (possibly a Model B?). I'm guessing from the early 30's ???? We are not talking the under frame of the vehicle, just the cab. Notice the inside of the Van and you will clearly see the 2 x 2 framing the sheet metal is screwed to. You can also see the bolt heads right beneath the windshield. Very similar to the old 1934 Chevy 4 ton truck we had on the farm. BTW, GM didn't change the gas tank placement for many years and needed some major prodding from legal actions to correct the dangerous design (like late 1980s I think). You sat on the gas tank in those things. To fill the tank, you had to take out the seat and unscrew the cap which was right in the middle and put the hose in through the door and pump away. I remember overfilling it many times and having raw gas running all over the inside of the truck. We didn't worry about it back then. Just started her up and drove away.....

Restoration03w.png
 
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NickB

Wannabe Engineer
Oh I know they used wood like that for interior purposes on the A's and T's, just the way it was phrased is what threw me off "wooden body frame". Made it sound like part of the frame that the body rode was made out of wood. Sweet picture by the way. Interesting little fact that I learned past couple years about the flathead since my dad is rebuilding one. France used the flathead v-8 up into the early 80s.
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
The photo is from the Rochester and Genesee Valley RR Museum. They are restoring that old van. I have been approached about joining and helping their work. I would love to work on that old truck as much as the locos they have. Most of our vehicles on the farm had flathead engines. The old 56 Dodge truck had a flathead 6 as did all the Willis cars and the Rambler Americans we had over the years. It was a rugged workhorse design that lasted many years. There were even some Tractors that my dad borrowed from the "dead letter office" at Don Howard's Farm Equipment (my dad's cousin) during the summer months that ran them. When I was in High School I won a $10 bet from my Driver Ed teacher that the old Rambler American Station Wagon could wind up to 50 MPH in First gear. He said, "Impossible, can't be done". So the next day instead of using the Schools car, several of us and the teacher climbed into the Wagon with me driving. I already had my license and was taking the course to save money on insurance. I took off down Main St. in Canandaigua and put her to the floor. She wound up to about 55 MPH just as nice as can be in low gear (3 speed on the column - remember those?). Of course it was a 30 MPH speed limit........ The rest of the kids thought that was pretty cool. The teacher reached into his wallet and handed over the tenner!

OK, sorry for stealing the thread. Back to T's and A's.......
 
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OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
Hi All I don't remember too many A or T models being around growing up in the fifties but I can tell you my parents owned a 48 Ford that was held together with every piece of bailing wire you can think of before they got rid of it !!!!
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Dad's first car was a '49 Merc. By the time I was aware of the car, it was pretty weathered (the paint). No rust, though.

It ran OK until the neighborhood mechanic did some work on it. Put the carb linkage in backwards, so it was a dog, until he fixed it. Was a daily driver for him until 1967 when we bought a Buick, and he sold the Merc to somebody.

Kennedy
 




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