The 1950 Ford was the second year edition of the first totally new car design from the big three American automakers following World War II (the previous years’ models merely featured updates to the manufacturers’ prewar forms).
Ten million man-hours and $72 million went into building the original, stylish design. Except for the wheelbase and the power train, everything about the car was brand new, and it showed.
Styling of the 1950 Ford Custom Convertible
Many people referred to the car as the “Shoebox Ford,” with its smaller shape, slab sides, minimal trim, wraparound bumpers and completely integrated rear fenders. In the front, there was only the barest hint of a fender.
The new, modern design was introduced with panache at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, featuring rotating carousels with the new models and chassis. Ford carried over the styling changes to their Mercury 8 and Lincoln Cosmopolitan models, as well.
Layout and Engine
The two-door rear-wheel-drive car featured a ladder-type frame with a coil-sprung suspension on A-arms in front and a Hotchkiss rear end with leaf springs and a live axle. There was more room in the front over prewar designs, made possible by moving the engine forward, and the former “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. The 239 ci (3.9L) flathead V-8 engine received an upgrade from pre-1949 engines that now saw it rated at 100 horsepower (75kW). All body styles of the model for 1950 offered three-speed transmissions and optional overdrive. Ford advertised the integrated chassis as a “lifeguard body,” with an X-member for structural solidity. Handling issues and noise from the car’s 1949 edition were eliminated.
The frowning grille featured a chrome “bullet” in the middle, with the number “8” inscribed in a red square in the center of it, to indicate the engine type. 1950 was the first year the famous “Ford Crest” was used on the body of the car, on the front center and in the rear.
In the first three days of the design’s introduction in 1949, 28.2 million Americans went to go see the car in the showroom. The 1950 edition both added and subtracted some chrome trim from the original 1949 edition. Despite the fact that the car’s development was accelerated, Ford sold more than 1.1 million of the Shoebox models.
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