Fred Thomas' 1950 Ford
1950 Ford Two-Door owned by Fred Thomas of Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 1957 Michigan began offering driver's education courses in high schools. January 22, 1957 he went to the local county sheriff's office annex in Willow Village where the written examination and accompanying road test were to be taken. Fred's parents allowed him to drive everywhere after he became licensed. His dad ran a used car lot, and the next two months he mainly drove "lot cars." Fred had adopted a 1950 Mercury Tudor from his dad's business that suffered from a power deficiency. Fred never got the Mercury in shape, and the project was abandoned in favor of a black 1950 Ford two-door that came into his dad's lot. "It was splendid, a one-owner car with only 24,000 miles on the speedometer. Its 100 horsepower motor purred at an idle. The light gray interior showed absolutely no wear. The exterior surfaces exhibited no accident damage. However, road salt from several Michigan winters had taken its toll on the rocker panels. I knew I could replace them. What a beauty it was to the eyes of this young, car-crazy kid!" Fred's dad told him he could buy the well-preserved car if he wanted to. The purchase price was $233.74, "exactly what the Sesi Lincoln-Mercury dealership had charged for it." Fred's dad suggested he could sell the hydroplane to get funds for the car.
A Mild Custom Treatment
Fred bought the Ford in April of 1957. "Most of my spare time was spent working on it. Cleaning the inside, washing and polishing the exterior, changing the oil, and making mild modifications consumed my life. When I hit the road, it had to look its best, so others would appreciate it as I did. Often I would ad- mire its shiny reflection as I cruised by large store windows." An experienced body man from the local Lincoln-Mercury dealership, that used to moonlight for his dad, helped Fred install new rocker panels on the car. "A bull nose hood molding smoothed the frontal appearance. A stubby antenna was relocated to the left rear quarter. Parking light bulbs were tinted blue. Chrome headlight and taillight rims were painted black to match the car. That gave them a “frenched” look." Cut coil springs and lowering blocks brought the profile down. "Full ripple wheel discs fore and handcrafted, sheet metal fender skirts aft completed the exterior enhancements. I always wondered if Jimmy Jones, the bubble skirt creator from nearby Inkster, Michigan, made the pair I owned. I had no proof as I purchased them used."
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