One is majorly spoiled living in Northern California. No matter the time of the year, one can step right out their front door and, if they’re quick with their camera, find a supermodel sensation from a previous season passing you by. This particular 1956 Ford Crown Victoria particularly likes to draw me in on its daily errands up and down Adeline Street here in the McClymonds district of Oakland. Each time it speedboats by, I get lost in reverie, imagining the story it might tell. I’m not only fascinated by the mere thought of this hunk of Dearborn design, but also with the story that sees it in daily service nearly 60 years later.
It’s a pretty eager old beauty that’s found running all sorts of errands at all hours of the day. The burble of the Y-Block V8 reveals no exhaustion in competing with the Prii, W123s, Jetta TDIs and donked out GM B- H- and W-bodies that comprise the majority of West Oakland’s vehicular population. She’s not the oldest daily in the motley fleet of longtime residents and gentrifiers; by my observation, that honor goes to the 1949 Plymouth across the street. Despite the newer California Disabled Person plates, I can’t wait to catch it at rest to hear both its engine and the current owner’s story. It does seem like a much beloved family heirloom, found parked in front of a West Oakland Victorian full of Dinah Washington records, Formica tables, and other ephemera from The Great Migration.
Until then, I have to deal with the fact that this old dog still finds itself an eager puppy, eager to live another day among the young rather than wither away as either a museum piece–or worse. Until then, I can smile at the fact that in so many ways it–and the folks that have given it a home–have avoided the multiple Cruella De Vils of Oakland life over the last 60 years.