Curbside Casualty: Flat Faced Flathead

I am sure that since 1949, an awful lot of ’49 Fords have rear ended other cars.  After all, Ford made over a million of them and (according to Wiki) actually slightly out-produced Chevrolet for the 1949 model year.  But ’49 Fords are not all that common on the ground anymore, particularly here in the salty midwest.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, after idling through a rush hour traffic jam, I got to the cause of the problem – the poor driver of the nice 1949 Ford was unable to stop quickly enough and rear ended a modern Explorer.  Fortunately for me (and for you), traffic was moving slowly enough for me to un-holster the trusty Blackberry and capture what has to be a pretty rare occurrence.

The bad news is that the Blackberry camera takes a few seconds to cycle between shots, and traffic started up again before I was able to catch the front of the ’49.  Let’s just say that the car (and it’s spinner grille) needs more than a little dental work.  Was the problem the drum brakes?  Bias ply tires?  Or just driver inattention?

Traffic accidents are a fact of life.  They have been since shortly after the invention of the horseless carriage.  The actuaries out there can tell us that a certain percentage of every model will, at some point, be damaged or destroyed in a collision.  We who love old cars like to think that those that have survived long enough to be pampered classics will avoid this fate, but this is just not true.  It is a sad fact that a very small number of the coveted old ones will meet their ends in wrecks and garage fires every year.

As if to prove my point, the very day after these photos were taken, I was treated to another sight – a beautiful 1969 or 70 Electra 225 coupe riding on a flatbed truck with its entire front end smashed much worse than this one.  Unfortunately, there was no time to photograph that one for you. An accident with a modern car is bad enough, but there are only so many clean, original, perfectly fitting parts out there for AARP-elligible cars.

Fortunately, I have never had to experience this firsthand.  Although I did once see one of the beautiful original wheelcovers on my 20 year old ’59 Plymouth Fury smashed before my eyes.  John at my old neighborhood gas station was mounting snow tires on the rims.  His habit was to put the hubcap on the floor while the car was on the lift.  He would remove the lugs and put them in the hubcap.  I think the reverse threaded lug bolts (not nuts) must have thrown him, because suddenly the tire and wheel came loose and dropped about four feet onto the beautiful conically shaped piece of anodized aluminum.  Ouch.  Certainly not a catastrophe.  But there was one less pristine wheelcover from 1959 left in the world.

I suspect that with all of our readers, at least somebody has had the kind of day that this ’49 Ford’s driver had, where your very clean and straight old pride-and-joy, that had managed to go years and years without much more than a door ding,  got damaged.  Are you up to telling us about it?