Automotive history buffs, or duffers a year or two older than I am, will remember the Ford advertisement that featured a crystal ball and the slogan, “There is a Ford in Your Future!” In its day this advertising campaign was as popular as the “see the USA in Your Chevrolet” promotion kicked off by GM a decade later.
Well, I am hoping there is a Ford in my future. There have been a number of Fords in my past but this particular Ford is an elusive one that has been in my future for at least thirty years.
Now, there is a glimmer of hope that the long awaited time capsule in the form of a 1931 Ford truck, bone stock, may become a reality in 2012. A Route 66 adventure in this old buggy would truly be a grand adventure! Why, it might even be enough of an adventure to become a book.
Meanwhile, I focus on the harsh realities that often crowd out dreams and make plans for next years adventure or adventures behind the wheel of our trusty Jeep. As it stands now we have one confirmed adventure and two pending ones.
Confirmed is the trip to Victorville in August for the international Route 66 festival. Pending more information, and vacation schedule, there is the possibility we will be attending a big wingding in Tucumcari in June.
But the one I am most exited about is the trip east in October. The Route 66 Encyclopedia & Atlas is scheduled for release at that time and the initial plan is to give it a public debut in Cuba, Missouri. Not that we need it, but this would provide a perfect excuse to pay another visit to Connie and her magical Wagon Wheel Motel.
Now, I have no qualms with taking the Jeep on these adventures. In fact, we prefer it as we can take to the road less traveled without worry about pavement, mud, or an occasional missing bridge.
But the afore mentioned Model A would work almost as well in this capacity, just at a reduced speed. As a bonus it would provide us with a great photo prop at every stop, inspire some great camp fire stories, and enhance the time capsule feel of the journey.
Still, I have a long list of vehicles that would fit this bill, with the exception of off road capabilities. As an example I have been evaluating the merits of a Rambler station wagon built between the years 1951 and 1956.
Quirky styling that is sure to inspire conversation at every stop. Check. Superb mileage (25 to 30 miles per gallon). Check. Easy to repair, easy to get parts for, and capable of keeping up with most reasonable drivers on modern highways. Check. Lots of cargo room for books and gear. Check. Good examples can be purchased at surprisingly reasonable prices. Check.
There are several vehicles that fill this order quite well. There is the 1949 to 1951 Nash, any Studebaker built between 1949 and 1955 that is outfitted with overdrive, any Chrysler, with overdrive, built between 1938 and 1941, and any Hudson built between 1935 and 1953.
Of course if I really want to test my dearest friends patience, and did not have a day job that restricted the schedule, I would take to the road in a Hudson Super Six built between 1916 and 1928.
I know little about these cars and they really fascinate me. In 1916, to show off the prowess of the new engine, a stock model touring car was driven from New York City to San Francisco in just over five days without mechanical failure. It was then driven back, also without mechanical failure in six days.
Okay, a trip along Route 66 in a car without windows, or heater, or air conditioning, or front brakes, or turn signals, or windshield wipers might be a bit much. But can you imagine the fun of driving a beast like this along Route 66 or even along the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 through the Black Mountains in Arizona?
I suppose these wistful thoughts give you a better idea as to why my dearest friend will deserve sainthood in two years. That is the least one should expect after thirty years with me.
When we first were courting I drove in from the ranch on weekends in a battered 1946 GMC. We double dated in a 1926 Ford that had sat outside, uncovered, for more than forty years. One of the first vehicles we purchased as husband and wife was a 1956 Ford Fairlane. This was later traded for a 1949 Chevy truck. And so it goes.
I suppose the bottom line is this, road trips are to important to miss out on just because you have an old car or truck. And if your fortunate enough to have some really old, and something very odd, well, that is the frosting on the cake.