Museum Classics: The Heartland Ford Museum


Situated in the middle of a corn field near the tiny Northeast Missouri town of Bethel is a community called Heartland.  Amongst the restaurants, housing developments, and dairy is the Heartland Ford Museum, off in the corner of the Solid Rock Cafe.  It has a variety of Ford products from 1906 to 2012.


When I say “off in the corner”, it is no exaggeration.  I took this picture from my seat in the restaurant. My last time here was about four years ago, prior to my involvement with CC.  So let’s do like I did–eat some ice cream and stroll around looking at the cars.  With a dairy on campus, ice cream comes with every meal.

The collection is varied, so let’s go in sections.


For all you Mustang fans, they did not fall short.  This is a very early Mustang.


I say that due to the 260 engine emblem on the front fender; Ford swapped over the 289 soon after introducing the Mustang.  The 260 was bolted to an automatic transmission.


This 1985 GT is powered by a 302 with a four barrel carburetor and a five-speed manual transmission.  Maybe it’s those gnarly vibes, that are, like, so ’80s, man, but this Mustang is, like, totally radical.


If you like newer Mustangs, you are in luck.  The two nearest the camera were both Cobra models.  Unlike the relative modesty of the ’85, these two are like threading a needle with a sledgehammer – which is endearing in its own way.


Not big on Mustangs?  Well, let’s keep going since there is something here for everyone.  I’ll toss in a few big bodied boulevard cruisers, such as this Lincoln Mark V.  Like me, it must have eaten too much, as it appears a bit drowsy.  That 460 (7.5 liter) V8 just needs to be awakened.


If you are passively concerned about fuel economy, there was also a 302 (4.9 liter) powered Gold Edition 1988 Lincoln Town Car.  Yes, it’s gleefully tacky, yet unapologetically garish with the gold trim.  The hood on this Town Car didn’t appear much shorter than that of the Mark V, although the greenhouse on this one is much taller.


Enough of those.  Let’s get to the red meat of this collection.  And as for red meat from Ford, I nominate this 1906 Ford Model S.  This is the car that preceded the Model T.


An adaptation of the Model N, it was the last Ford built with right hand drive for the American market.  Only 3,750 were produced.


There were four Model Ts present and accounted for.  My favorite T of the day was this 1927 model.


The Model T milk delivery truck had this terrific aftermarket, engine-mounted food cooker.  It would be a great way for the delivery man to have a hot, nutritious lunch while making his deliveries.


In the Ford alphabet A follows T and a nice sampling of As were on display.


I once drove a 1929 Model A and would love to do so again.


Since I find myself going in chronological order, this is a great representation of the 1933 Ford.  Clyde Barrow would be proud to have liberated the use of this V8 Ford so he and Bonnie Parker could continue their crime spree.


Had Clyde not been eradicated in 1934, he would likely have found great pleasure in this 1940 Mercury.  This is one of five body styles Mercury offered that year; total production for Mercury was 81,128 for calendar year 1940.  All were powered by a 95 horsepower, 239 cubic inch V8.


This 1955 Lincoln Capri is one of two Lincolns remaining in our tour.  This hardtop Capri was the most popular Lincoln that year, with 11,462 going out the door.


No collection seems complete without a retractable hardtop, in this case a 1957 model.  As an aside, I recently came across a driver-condition 1959 retractable in a grocery store parking lot.  Annoyingly, I did not have my camera.


Not all the convertibles from 1957 to 1959 were Skyliner retractable hardtops; this 1958 was a regular Sunliner convertible.  The Sunliner weighed 500 pounds less than the Skyliner.


Even a pickup was on display.


Saving the best for last, this is a 1933 Lincoln KB, the absolute star of the show.


Having peered through the engine vents, I was able to determine this car is packing the 448 cubic inch, 150 horsepower V12, which came standard on the 145″ wheelbase KB series. The higher-level KB series weighed 5,200 to 5,700 pounds depending upon body style.

Note the door, presumably for golf clubs, between the door and rear wheel.


This car had wire wheels behind the chrome covers.  Seeing the valve stem near the middle of the wheel was a first for me.  Despite it being at the bottom of the picture, it was nowhere near the rim.


Production of Lincolns in 1933 was scant. As this is a two-passenger car, I am using my Encyclopedia of American Cars to deduce this is a LeBaron-bodied convertible roadster, of which only 37 were built between two- and four-passenger styles.  If somebody can verify (or refute) my deduction, please speak up in the comments.


This Lincoln was truly breathtaking.

The town of Bethel is a town you won’t stumble upon, but it would be well worth the drive down from Iowa or over from Illinois.  This museum is a true gem in a profoundly rural area.