Good ol' cars and trucks - Ford

As we drive around the state, we spot some great reminders of the past, classic cars and trucks made out of "Detroit iron." We skid to a stop, and click ‘em. We’ll set this up by make, and each section will be chronological, oldest to newest, but always classics only.

Just click on the menu on the right to chase down your favorite makes.


Ford Roadster, 1920





Ford Model T Touring 1923




Ford Model T TT Truck, 1926. This is a "Closed Cab Express Truck." She was rated at one ton, based on the Model T, but with a heavier frame and rear axle. This is why she was called the Model T TT, the "TT" standing for "ton truck". She was also outfitted with a "ruckstell axle" that enabled a second gear for climbing. The first TT truck was released in 1917, and mass production occurred from 1925-27. We found this beauty at Winch LP Gas (715-457-6499), Junction City in Portage County on US 10.


Look at that interior! No gizmos here. She had 20 horses though. These trucks were popular because they were rugged and reliable, and cost about 400 bucks.


She can had sides put on if you wish to better hold cargo. This is a nice configuration for slide on-off.


Ford Model A Pickup Station Wagon, 1929



Ford Mod A Coupe, 1930. There's a story to go with this and the next photo.


Ford Mod A Pickup, 1930. Okay, here's the story about these two guys. I was on my way back to Wausau from the Tomah area in Monroe County and made my way on Hwy 21 heading toward I-39 when I got tired of the road and cut off to the north on CH G in eastern Adams County. As I'm driving north, these two Fords drove by me to the south. I am always looking for the old-timers, so I did a "New York U-ey" and hit the throttle to catch up with them. These guys were tooling along, I can tell you. I was on a high speed chase to be sure. The Coupe was lead with the Pickup protecting his butt. It turned out the guy in the pickup had a walkie-talkie with the guy in the Coupe. He could see me flashing my lights, he could tell I was smoking along burning rubber on CH G, and as I closed on him he could see me waving. So in tandem, they both slowed a bit, enough that I could pass and ride alongside the Pickup on the wrong side of the road. I showed him my camera. He got it, radioed to the coupe, and they both pulled over. I introduced myself, gave them my card, assured them I did not have a gun, and they all laughed and told me to take as many shots as I wanted. They said they were on their way home from an antique car show. Great guys. Praise the Lord I didn't crack up trying to get these shots!


Ford Model A Sport Coupe, 1930


Ford-A, 1930: Ford made 13,710 of these models. They were priced at base $650. Each wheel had 30-wire spokes. This one is surely a beauty, "upper-crust," and worthy of a few more views.





Ford Model A, 1931



Ford Model A, 1931: Spotted this guy at the "Oil Barn" in Wausau, Marathon County. The guy who owns the barn owns this swetheart, and he parked it for me right in front of the bar. Thanks!



The Model A followed the Model T and came off the line in 1927. By the end of 1930, Ford had sold 4 million of them. While the Model T remained a very popular car, the Model A had 200 cubes with 40 horses, twice as powerful as the Model T. She had four wheel mechanical brakes vice two, and shock absorbers vice leaf springs. The new car had over 6800 parts, far more than the Model T, which had fewer than 5000. Remember that this was the time of the Great Depression. Nonetheless, Ford sold 4.5 million Model A's between 1927-1931.



Ford Model A, 1931



Ford Model A Pickup 1931. Production ended for the Model A in 1932 after nearly 500,000 had been sold. On the outside, she looks much like the 1928-1930, but underneath many changes were made. Alterations included lower, wider fenders; a higher hoodline; stainless-steel (instead of nickel-plated) radiator and headlamp shells; smaller wheels; higher steering ratio; standard vacuum wipers; and balloon tires.


This edition could do 60 mph, had a modern gearbox and electrical system, and stopped much better with mechanical brakes on all four wheels instead of two.


The most popular versions were the fully enclosed Ford DeLuxe panel delivery and closed-cab pickup, such as this one. The year 1931 was a tough one, given the Depression and everything else going on in the car industry --- the era of the four-cylinder was coming to an end.



Ford V8 5-window Coupe, 1932


Ford Coupe Model 40, 1934.
Introduced in 1932, it came with a V8 producing 85 hp. The '34 Ford V-8 is infamous as being the Bonnie and Clyde "death car". Both of the outlaws were killed in their stolen car in a May '34 ambush by law enforcement officers in Louisiana.



Ford Convertible Coupe, 1936. This car comes with a couple stories. I was driving on lake drive at Deland Park on Broughton Ave. when I spotted this beauty firing up his engine to leave his parking space. I pulled over my car, jumped out, ran up to him and begged him to stop, which he did. I introduced myself and told him I wanted to take pictures for this web site, to which he agreed. Next, note the Illinois plates. I normally only show the classics with Wisconsin plates, but I, an old man, was so focused on the beautiful young lady with stylish hat and smashing smile that I did not notice the plates until I got home. You’ll also note I barely got the front bumper in the photo, what with having lost my senses over her. She was so excited. They were both lots of fun and we had a good time.


Perhaps the young lady thought I was a magazine photographer, because she turned around for this shot as he pulled away. Note how I again lost my attention span and barely got the exhaust pipe in the photo! This car was a beauty, and they were two marvelous people.


Ford coupe, 1938: Now we're cookin'. While the designers might not have foreseen this, Americans are buying these up, modifying them, and using them as hot, hot, hot "Bad Boys' Toys," saying, "where the difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys." These are now used by many as "Hot Rods." Take a look at her from the rear --- sweet.



Ford Pickup 1938. This truck offered an in-between light-duty car-based pickup and a heavy duty 1.5 T models. She was fitted with a new cab, front-end sheet-metal, an oval grille and bed for 1938. This guy pulled off his front and rear bumpers, which were nice features of the original.


These would be the owners --- look pretty relaxed to me!


Ford, 1940 Pick-up


Ford pickup 1940: This is a real sweetheart belonging to Tim at Mount View Towing in Wausau.


She's got a Weaver Manufacturing Co. auto crane mounted for towing. Weaver and Ernest Holmes Co. were two early leading manufacturers of wrecker and towing equipment. The first Holmes wrecker was assembled in 1917, attached to an auto near Chattanooga. Weaver's lightweight but husky auto crane could handle 4,000 lb loads. In 1931, Ford built a service car with a hoist and built-in tool chest. They didn't sell well. Ford then developed a "preferred tow truck" package for its trucks


Ford 2-door, 1941: Brought out as a luxury car, Ford, like the nation, was struck by the outbreak of war. The 1941 Ford was the largest Ford in 38 years with increased wheelbase, more room inside, bigger doors and windows. Indeed, Ford would advertise, "Everything except the price is big!"



Ford coupe, 1947. The 1947 and '48 Fords marked the end of an era. The 1947 had 100 horses, a V-8, arguably the best ever built by Ford. This was not a very best shooting off the mark, but at cruising speeds she could outdistance all rivals. Believe it or not, in those days cruise at 70 mph all day. This one on CH S and Hill, east of Antigo, Langlade County. A wonderful family welcomed us to photograph this gem. Thanks!



Ford Super Deluxe Convertible, 1947: WWII had ended in 1945, people were tired of having to do without, the men were coming home, and Ford produced 429,000 of these, in one form or another, in 1947. Demand outstripped supply. Obtaining a new car was a top priority. The station wagon version was known as the "Ford Woody." "Ford's finer in '47" was the motto, which went along with "There's a finer Ford in your future," or "Ford's out front from a woman's angle." That's what the guys were betting on when they rolled up to the sweetheart's house in one of these machines.



Ford F-1 Pickup, 1950


Ford Pickup, 1951. This line of postwar babies ran from 1948-1952, the broadest Ford roster in Ford truck history. Ford said she had “living room” comfort. This one sports her original V-8 and was handed from dad to son. I chased son from Wausau to Merrill to get these photos! The owner was a great guy, great fun.



Ford Pickup 1952. With WWII done, Ford brought out its F series of pickup trucks in 1948. She had three engine options, a "million dollar" cab, one-piece windshield, a solid cab suspension and strong chassis. The 1952 edition, the last year for the first series, had the first truck overhead valve (OHV) engine with 216 cubes, a V-6.



1955 Ford Thunderbird --- I always wanted one of these. The 1955 model was the first Thunderbird, and the series lasted until 2005. The 1955 version was a sporty two seat convertible. She had a faux hood scoop and her speedometer read up to 150 mph. The 312 cubic-inch V8 engine could push out 215 horses with a three speed manual transmission or 225 horses with the automatic.



Ford Thunderbird, 1956: It is hard to understand how Ford could have ruined this car in later years, but it did. This was the second production year for the T-Bird. You could have 292 cubes standard or option for 312. American troops returning from WWII had grown enamored with European sports cars, so Chevy brought out the Corvette and Ford responded with the T-Bird. This was not really designed to be a sports car, but rather a personal luxury car. If she had a problem, it was that she was seen by some as too small, which might explain how Ford, chasing the luxury market, loused it up by making it bigger.



Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner 1957. This car came to be known as a "Dreamliner." She was longer and wider. She also outsold the 1955 and outproduced Chevy for the first time.


Ya say you want to collide with that bumper? Probably not. But this car's forte was that she gave a "space age" look and had a bunch of technical gadgets. Her problem was she was expensive, and Ford had to give up this model after 1959.

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Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable, 1957. The retractable was made in 1957-1959. Note she is a two door only, with precious little trunk space. The roof mechanism was complex, with a ton of moving parts, but at the time, thought to be an engineering marvel. Ford sold about 28,000 units in 1957.


Ford Thunderbird, 1957


Ford Fairlane Wagon, 1957


Ford Edsel Wagon, 1959.
Okay, she’s not in the greatest shape, but either were her sales. Nonetheless, here she satns on Hwy 22 north of Wautoma in Waushara County. The year 1959 represented the last great gasp for the Edsel. Volume in 1958 ws disastrous, and numerous shortcuts had to be made on the 1959s to keep down costs. Sales in 1959 fell below 1958 and the last 1959 Edsel was made in August 1959. Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on November 1959.




Ford Unibody Truck ala American Pride 1961. This truck marked the fourth generation of Ford F-Series and this was the first year for the Ford F100 Unibody, built with an integrated cab and box. They were made only from 1961 through 1963. From 1964 on, only traditional separate cab and bed arrangements were available. You could get engines ranging from 137 hp to 186 hp with the Y-block V8.


Ford Galaxy Mayberry Squad Car 1962. It turns out that fashioning the the Ford Galaxy after the Mayberry squad cars that came to fame on the Andy Griffith show has taken hold around the country. This one is a 1962 Galaxy, but others have used 1962s, '63s, and '65s; not sure whether 64s have been used. The correct colors are Raven Black and Corinthian White.


Using the "correct" police shield decal on the doors has been an issue for replication enthusiasts. Based on my limited research, it appears to me that this is the correct decal.


There has been debate over the proper antenna to use. Some say it used a VHF Lo Band aerial in the 30-50MHz range. Most "Lo-Band" Police radio traffic was found between 39 and 45 Mhz. Others say they think they used at least two different radio sets. One student of the car says that "the mobile radio used in a 'technically correct' squad car would most likely be a Motorola "Twin V", which used vacuum tubes and was replaced by the Motrac around 1966."


Given all the wild lights used by today's police cars, I get a kick out of the Mayberry version which used only one bubble-gum light on top. Experts say they believe the light used on the squad car was a MARS light, though Dietz made something similar. A replica owner has said "the correct light for the replica cars is a Mars brand SW-2 'skybolt'." Another has said the Mars RB-363 and not an SW-2 is the correct light.

It looks to me like replicating this car is lots of fun.


Ford Mustang 1965. This is the fast-back version, considered a bold style. There was a 2-passenger seat in the rear which could fold down.


Not smart enough to know what kind of engine this guy has in her, but she was clean as a whistle and dandy looking to be sure.


Ford Mustang Coupe, 1967. We ran across this classic in Wausau, Marathon County. If you look closely, she suffers from a little rust, which could be fixed easily. Nonetheless, she's still a beauty. June 5, 2006


Ford Galaxie 500, 1968. The Galaxie 500 was a step up from the standard model. She had six different engine choices. This one carried 302 cubes. I spotted this neat convertible at a gas station on the corner of CH J and Z outside Wausau. August 10, 2011


Sweet looking from the side. She was redesigned for 1968 and reshaped to give this full size Ford a whole new look and some say, “personality.”


Ford Mustang, 1985. This is a “third generation” Mustang produced by Ford from 1979-1993. These were a complete departure from previous Mustangs. Some argue these were the best Mustangs Ford ever made, though old hands might argue that. Ford felt the Mustangs 1983-1986 had a more “aero” look. A convertible like this was intruded in 1983. Most had a V-6 though you could jazz it up about as much as you want.