CC Capsule: 1935 Ford Model 50 Half-Ton Pickup – Going Stag?

As a devout lover of ‘30s vehicles, I don’t get many chances to unearth and write about my favourite era. But luckily, one such gem was to be found hidden amongst the concrete jungle of north Tokyo. Is this not the 2022 F150’s great grandfather? The F-Series got started in 1948, but Ford were in the pickup game long before that. Let’s do the Asian thing and pay our respects to this venerable ancestor, then.

Of course, as per what seems like 95% of V8 Fords of this era, this pickup has been lowered and modded here and there. It could be a lot worse, but there is no telling whether this particular one is only part-way to a more thorough customization, or if it’ll stop here. Love the red/black combo though.

That face is irresistible. Fords of the mid-‘30s are, to me, the prettiest of the lower-priced American cars. Those jowly fenders, which sort of remind me of the Citroën Traction Avant from this angle, give the ’34-‘36 Fords a bouncy appearance. At least, that’s what I felt about the sedans, coupes and roadsters. But it seems this can be extended to the smaller pickups, too.

However, that only works from 1935, not ’34, for blue oval’s pickups. The 1932-34 Ford trucks were of an older design and available with the Model B’s 4-cyl., but the V8’s increasing popularity meant that when the truck line was given a shake-up for MY 1935, the 221ci (3.6 litre) V8-85 became the sole option. One could opt for the base-spec 2.2 litre V8-60, but only from MY 1937, as far as I know.

Fat chance of finding anything flat-headed under the hood of this truck, of course. That rear sticker did give me pause, however – perhaps a Stag V8? It would make absolutely zero sense for many reasons, it’s just fun to think that a ‘70s Triumph engine might be used in a prewar Ford.

Late ‘30s Ford pickups (MY 1938-40) received more bulbous styling, with an oval grille and puffier fenders. Those are very nice too, but look a bit too much like a Disneyland exhibit. The classy, timidly streamlined features of this mid-‘30s generation is a better mix of workmanlike solidity tempered by a dash of sweetness.

Speaking of dashes, here’s the inside. The light was against me on this one, unfortunately. Ford pickups kept a flat windshield until 1937, when it switched to the trendy V-shaped style.

Still, compare this to an F-150 of the present century. One is diminutive in size, styled with restraint and strictly business-like. Want air? Crank down the window. The other is as big as a house, looks like a deconstructed robot and has more gadgets than the Space Shuttle. Progress, eh?

So were oldies the goodies? Styling-wise, I’d have to reply yes, but maybe not under the hood. Those early flatheads were not paragons of sobriety, to say nothing of the reliability issues that were baked into the design. Great logos though.

Hydraulic brakes were still quite a few years off, too. I trust this particular truck, restomodded as it is, was fitted with them. Old Henry would turn in his grave if he knew. Which makes me really feel the need to read a full long-form CC piece featuring a strictly stock (or as close as possible to it) 1935-37 Ford Model 50.

So come on, fellow CContributors and Ford pickup aficionados! There must be a survivor out there, probably on your side of the Pacific. Find one, photograph it (the interior especially) and write it up. The world in general and CC in particular needs to see and learn more about these beauties.


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Car Show Outtakes: 1935 Ford V8 Roadster And Convertible Sedan – Thank Goodness They’ve Avoided The Hot Rod Schtick…, by Tom Klockau