The 1940s were difficult for Ford: Henry Ford's savvy, visionary son Edsel died unexpectedly in 1943; Henry himself died in 1947 and was replaced by his inexperienced 28-year-old grandson. Moreover, Ford had stopped all production of civilian vehicles in 1942 to contribute to the Allied effort in World War II, and the company was in a financially disastrous state by war's end. Still, Ford managed to produce memorable vehicles.
Prewar Ford DeLuxe and Super DeLuxe
Produced from 1940 to 1942, the prominent-nosed DeLuxe and Super DeLuxe Fords had a more modern look than previous Fords, with wider bodies, a longer wheelbase, petite three-piece grilles, a new interior boasting a flashy new dash and a bit more room than previous DeLuxes. The DeLuxe was offered in coupe, wagon, sedan and Tudor bodies.
The Super DeLuxe had more chrome trim than its less expensive counterpart. By 1942, the chrome was replaced with plated zinc due to wartime restrictions. Offered as a convertible, coupe, Tudor, Fordor, and coupe sedan, Super Deluxe buyers could also opt for a wood-bodied estate car. Stripped-down Super DeLuxe Specials were also available.
Both cars were sold with Ford's flathead V8, 90hp engine, with the 90hp V6 as a pricier option.
DeLuxe After the War
After the war, the DeLuxe line returned with a few upgrades. The newly horizontal and chrome-plated grill sported red vertical stripes and hid a 100-hp V8. The Super DeLuxe had a beautiful, new two-tone interior.
The Special was gone, replaced by the handsome and pricey '47 Sportsman, a "woody" convertible trimmed with timber inside and out. For those wishing to attain a similar look for less, Ford offered the Super DeLuxe wagon.
By 1948 the grill striping was gone, but chrome continued to creep over Ford's new models. Unfortunately, even this couldn't change the fact that postwar Fords were looking dated.
In 1948, Ford introduced its new pickups as "Bonus-Built." Sleeker bodies with the headlight set neatly into the fenders, larger and more comfortable "million dollar" cabs and a single-piece windshield resulted in huge sales.
The series ran from the half-ton F-1 to the three-ton HD pickup, and the three-on-the-tree transmission was combined with a V6 or V8. The bed was made of hardwood planks set between stamped metal.
The '49 Ford
Considered the most revolutionary Ford ever made, the 1949 Ford has been called "the car that saved Ford." It was completely modern: a sleek, "slab-sided" body without the bulges of yesteryear, an enormous flat hood, horizontal taillights and the iconic, bullet-nosed chrome grill.
A roomy interior was crowned by a dash inspired by the aeroplanes the car's designers had flown over Europe; the car had better visibility and a smoother ride than earlier Fords thanks to placing the seats between the axles, a stiffer chassis, shock absorbers and a combination of front coil and rear longitudinal springs. Ford's flathead V8 put 100 horses at the driver's disposal.
Available in a Club Coupe, four- and two-door sedan, woody wagon and convertible, the '49 Ford came in ten colours. Called "a sensationally new Ford" by "Popular Mechanics" magazine, the '49 Ford was a bona fide hit with 1.1 million sold.
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- "American Cars 1946-1959: Every Model, Every Year"; J. Kelly Flory; 2008
- "Popular Mechanics"; Debut for the '49 Ford; Wayne Whittaker; 1948
- "Automobile" Magazine: Collectible Classic: 1949-1951 Ford
- Mac's Auto Parts: The History of the V8 Ford & Mercury 1932-48
- "Classic Ford F-series Pickup Trucks, 1948-1956"; Don Bunn; 1998
- Ford Motor Company: The '49 Ford Put the Company Back on the Road to Prosperity
- Concept Carz: 1941 Ford Deluxe Images, Information, and History (Super)
- Car Lust Blog: 1949 Ford
- Hemmings Motor News: 1944 Ford GPW
- Ate Up With Motor: The Lion In Winter: Ford's Flathead V8 and the Fall of Henry Ford
- The Ford Century: Ford Motor Company and the innovations that shaped the world; Russ Banham; 2007