(Reader requested reprint from March 14, 2011):
People often ask me how I decide what car to write about on any given week. The answer to that question is complex and, if I told you, I’d have to ... well, I don’t know what I’d have to do, but it wouldn’t be pretty.
In the case of this week’s subject car, however, the process was simple. I was "surfing the web" last night and Googled “Ford cars of the '50s” under the "Images" tab.
Now, let me detour for a moment and say many of my, shall I say "more senior" readers, aren’t exactly computer friendly. Here’s something to dazzle those folks. In 0.24 seconds, "about" (as Google likes to say) 621,000 images appeared before my eyes. As I randomly scanned the thumbnails before me, this beautiful 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria caught my attention.
Maybe the fact my parents were "green car people" and my father’s 1959 Olds Super 88 was nearly the identical two-tone green hues as this Ford, influenced my brain. That bias aside, it’s hard to argue the beauty in the design of this 50s Ford.
The graceful "sweep spear," a common 50s styling cue, is very well done. The wraparound windshield, a still relatively new feature, terminated in nicely rectangular "vent windows." (You may have to explain what a “vent window” is to the millennials and even the Gen-Xers at your next family gathering.)
Fairlanes for '56 were offered with both six- and eight-cylinder power plants and in 2-door, 4-door and convertible body styles. The "Victoria" moniker designated a "pillarless" (hardtop) coupe or sedan. This Vicky, dressed out in "Springmist Green" over "Berkshire Green" carried a factory base price of just $2,294 back "in the day." Checking a handful of tempting options from the generous list offered, could bump the bottom line up to a nicely rounded-out three-grand ... or about $24,560 in 2011 dollars. One like the green goddess shown on this page, could set you back better than 30 g’s in today’s collector market.
This was the first year for a 12-volt electrical system. Victoria coupe production accounted for 177,735 of Ford’s total 1.39 million units for the year.
Don’t miss the only show in town on 4th of July (according to my sources), the 33rd annual River Road Cruiser Car Show held on the grass (cool man, cool) at the Lions Club Pavilion at the west end of Red Bud, Ill., just off Route 3. For more information, call 618-282-2852 and please be sure to tell them The FIN MAN told you about it right here in the OCC.
This Friday, July 7, meet The FIN MAN and Co. at the Faith Church, 13001 Gravois Road, in Fenton, as the Memories Car Club presents one of their huge Friday Night Cruises from 4 to 9 p.m.
I’m working on Rollin’ With The FIN MAN II, sometime in August. Details to follow.
And get ready once again to roll with The FIN MAN as we hope to do a second tour of the Levi collection sometime in September/October. Stay tuned right here for details!
Finally, be sure to join us a week from today, Sunday, July 9, at the 19th annual World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle Car Show, at Woodland Park, in Collinsville. For details on this “DME” (don’t miss event), call 618-975-1372. And, again, please tell them you heard about it here.
Bruce Kunz, a.k.a. "THE FIN MAN," is a member of the Society of Automobile Historians. If you love old cars and care about kids, visit thefinman.com.