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Lot 112

1949 Ford Custom Station Wagon

  • Chassis no. 98BA766141

Sold for $66,000

Model 98BA. 100 bhp, 239.4 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 114"

The new 1949 Fords were introduced on June 8, 1948. They were as un-Fordlike as anything the public had ever seen. Slab-sided and streamlined, they were every bit as modern as the other all-new postwar cars: Studebaker, Hudson and Packard. The company proudly announced that the New York Fashion Academy had judged Ford the “Fashion Car of the Year.”

Under the skin were still more changes. With Henry Ford having died twelve months earlier, features he would never have approved had become fair game: coil spring independent front suspension, open drive line and a conventional side mounted distributor.

Traditional wagon bodies would not work with the new cars’ lines, but Ford had much image equity in the wood art form and was reluctant to go all-steel. A steel skeleton body was designed, and skinned with mahogany plywood trimmed in maple or birch. Laminating and heat-bonding techniques that Iron Mountain had learned during the war while building gliders for the armed forces led to curved wood laminates. This construction not only allowed complex wood shapes, it reduced waste and was cheaper. Only two-door station wagons were built, and the Ford wagon came only in upscale Custom trim.

An original car that has had one repaint in its original Meadow Green, this 1949 Ford station wagon has clocked just over 57,000 miles. The exterior has a deep shine, but has chipped in a few places. Body contours are generally good, but for a few dings. The doors and tailgate operate well, and show even gaps. The wood is highly varnished, showing discoloration only at some joints. The original woodgrain on the liftgate has mellowed over time.

The condition of the brightwork varies. Some has new chrome, other pieces show some scratches. The hood ornament plastic has weathered. The glass is generally good, although the script markings vary. There is some separation on the sliding panes.

The brown leather seats are original, and show some wear. The front seat has lap belts for two. The vinyl headliner, particularly, has scars, some of which have been noticeably repaired. Floormats are black rubber. The woodgrain dashboard is original and in very good condition, as is the instrument cluster, but the steering wheel shows substantial wear on the spokes. The car has a radio, Magic Air heater, electric clock and windshield washers. It has also been equipped with Signal-Stat accessory directional signals, incorporated into the front parking lights, but since this is a single-taillight car the rear indicators have been mounted above the bumper.

The 8BA engine is weathered and has surface rust, but is otherwise clean. The chassis and underbody are likewise unrestored, and show considerable surface rust. There is some oil leakage. The muffler and tail pipe are new. The car is fitted with 7.10-15 Firestone wide whitewall tires, installed in 1998. The spare is tailgate-mounted, under a metal cover.

Nick Alexander purchased the car from Michael Laureno of Suffield, Connecticut, in December 1998. Previous owners include Roy Clark of Houston, Texas, and Don Capella of North Tonawanda, New York. As testimony to its roadability it was driven from Los Angeles to Hood River, Oregon, where it received Rouge Award honors from the Early Ford V8 Club in 2004. Currently registered with California year-of-manufacture plates 37A3166, which go with the car, it is ready to be enjoyed or restored as a new owner may wish.


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Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more