Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Part 5

Continuing our tour of the auction automobiles, we next encounter a 1942 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible. The date of this vehicle is important — due to the ramp-up effort for World War II, production ceased in December of 1941 — as a result, very few newly redesigned '42 convertible coupes were built.

I find the owner's description fascinating — "Fully restored in 1997, this car was a southwest car for many years [ed. note: implying less rust forming during its lifetime]. There is a full dossier of receipts and records from the restoration and subsequent years showing the fastidious nature of ownership over the last decade and a half."

The owner also mentioned that the restoration was done in "correct periwinkle blue". An interesting color that I would not have associated with the automobiles of that era.

Sitting is the sun (not under a tent) was a 1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible. 1947 was the final year for the classic Pontoon body Cadillacs and is the last model year for which any Cadillac is deemed "Full Classic" by the Classic Car Club of America. Along with subtle styling updates, 1947 is additionally notable for the introduction of the now-famous "sombrero hubcaps".

Under the hood is a 346 CID L-Head V8, upgraded by the factory with hydraulic lifters and hardened ball seats for vastly improved reliability. Also, this model was equipped with Hydro-Lectric power windows.

It was restored in 1999, redone in its original madeira maroon iridescent over red leather with beige soft top. It has the optional Hydra-Matic transmission, power seats and hydraulically operated roof. Interestingly, the original tube AM radio still works.

Just a few steps away was a second example of the same model. I thought the owner's description was classic — "This car is not meant to be a trailer queen, it is meant to be driven and enjoyed."

Next we encounter a 1947 Ford Custom Sedan Delivery. The seller states, "Beautifully done in burgundy paint over a laser-straight body, combined with new chrome modified bumpers". The engine is a 350 CID Chevy with headers, dual exhaust, auxiliary fans and more. Curious, a Ford body containing a Chevy heart. Further, this vehicle is "titled as a tractor truck".

But don't you just love the old interiors. The detailing that caught my eye is the pair of dials — the speedometer and the clock, both the same size and placed symmetrically on the dash.

Here is a 1947 Chrysler Town & Country Woody Sedan which has been "cosmetically restored". The wood framing "appears to be original and is in very good condition". "A great car for tours or weekend cruising."

As a former woodworker, I just love the real wood woodies. Note the finder joints used to marry these pieces of wood — that's craftsmanship. Quite unlike our contemporary "woodies" that are just pictures of wood pressed on the underlying sheet metal or plastic.

Here we find a 1948 Lincoln Continental Convertible. V12 engine. 3-speed transmission with overdrive. Hydraulic power windows and top. Leather interior.

And fitted with a snazzy hood ornament and completed with rear wheel covers. Way cool.

To complete this week's tour is a 1948 Packard Custom Woody Wagon. As you probably know, Packard was the luxury automobile of the first half of the 20th century. During World War II, Packard built airplane engines, licensing the Merlin engine from Rolls-Royce as the V-1650, which powered the famous P-51 Mustang fighter, ironically known as the "Cadillac of the Skies" by GIs in WWII. It was one of the fastest piston-powered fighters ever and could fly higher than many of its contemporaries, allowing pilots a greater degree of survivability in combat situations. They also built 1350-, 1400-, and 1500-hp V-12 marine engines for American PT boats (each boat used three) and some of Britain's patrol boats.

Like other US auto companies, Packard resumed civilian car production with the 1946 models, modestly updating their 1942 models. Although the postwar Packards sold well, the ability to distinguish expensive models from lower-priced models disappeared as all Packards, whether sixes or eights, became virtually alike in styling. Further, amidst a booming seller's market, management had decided to direct the company more to volume middle-class models, thus concentrating on selling lower-priced cars instead of more expensive — and more profitable — models. Worse, they also tried to enter the taxi cab and fleet car market. As a result, Packard's image as a luxury brand was further diluted. So, Packard lost buyers of expensive cars and couldn't find enough prospects for the lesser models to compensate.

So, in 1948, Packard presented its first postwar body — prior to its competition from the major firms (Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler). In fact, these cars were heavily facelifted Clippers. The design chosen was of the "bathtub" style, predicted during the war as the destined future of automobiles, and most fully realized by the 49/50 Nash. Six-cylinder cars were dropped for the home market, and a convertible was added.

The new design cleverly hid its relationship to the Clipper. Even that name was dropped — for a while. But it looked bulky, and a bulky nickname it got: the "pregnant elephant". When a new body style was added, Packard made the mistake of introducing a station wagon instead of a 2-door hardtop as buyers requested. Test driver for Modern Mechanix, Tom McCahill, referred to the newly designed Packard as "a goat".

Packard continued its slow decline, eventually merging with Studebaker but the handwriting was on the wall.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com