The new 1949 Fords were introduced on June 8, 1948. They were as un-Fordlike as anything the public had ever seen. Slab-sided and streamlined, they were every bit as modern as the other all-new postwar cars: Studebaker, Hudson and Packard. The company proudly announced that the New York Fashion Academy had judged Ford the “Fashion Car of the Year.”
Under the skin were still more changes. With Henry Ford having died twelve months earlier, features he would never have approved had become fair game: coil spring independent front suspension, open drive line and a conventional side mounted distributor.
Traditional wagon bodies would not work with the new cars’ lines, but Ford had much image equity in the wood art form and was reluctant to go all-steel. A steel skeleton body was designed, and skinned with mahogany plywood trimmed in maple or birch. Laminating and heat-bonding techniques that Iron Mountain had learned during the war while building gliders for the armed forces led to curved wood laminates. This construction not only allowed complex wood shapes, it reduced waste and was cheaper. Only two-door station wagons were built, and the Ford wagon came only in upscale Custom trim.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
100 bhp, 239.4 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 114".