This man is 80 years old. He’s from Baltimore. His daughter – who lives in Detroit – had brought him to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. I noticed that he was looking and looking at the ’49 Ford Coupe for many minutes. He even sat down on a bench and kept looking at it.
I asked what he knew about the coupe. My question was the spark that started the conversation, as I knew it would. I was glad to listen. He was alone – with his daughter – and I could tell he was reminiscing and processing in his mind.
It had been green. It was a 1952 four door model. His dad had bought it brand new for him. His father had explained that he would need something to drive to work every day.
He later met his future wife and had “courted” her in it. It was fast, he said, and very comfortable.
His daughter relaxed, sat down by us, and listened.
He said it took a little bit of maintenance but certainly not as much as the earlier old cars. He liked to keep it clean and polished.
He would speak then stop and think and look around.
He said it was popular to have “headlight skirts” on headlights. Basically, the skirts were installed over the headlights such that instead of seeing a round looking headlight from a distance, the headlight would look half-moon shaped.
He put some headlight skirts on his car except that he installed them slightly sideways. He said it made his car look “Chinese”.
They looked good but the problem was that the local policemen knew it was his car at night because of the headlights.
One night a policeman pulled the car over for one reason or another. The cop approached the car in the dark and addressed the driver as Mr. _____. Problem was, it was Mr. _____’s mother driving his car. She had needed to go to the store for something and the car was the one farthest out on the driveway.
He chuckled again as he looked around.
I asked if it would be ok to take his photo in front of the car. He was glad to oblige but he said that he needed to put on his Australian cowboy hat. His daughter fished the hat out of the bag she was carrying and gave it to him. He put it on and graciously posed.
His daughter quickly took some photos of him, too. I hope they turned out ok.
I thanked him for his time and his photo and our brief conversation. He went back to the bench to sit down.
I turned to move on. His daughter said to me, “He never let’s anyone take his picture.”