- One of just 2,274 built for the model year
- Flathead V-8 performance and mechanical reliability
- Certified Milestone Car by the Milestone Car Society
- Features include hydraulic window lifts, AM radio, electric clock, and accessory heater
- Offered from the collection of Mike Laureno
Despite the fact that Ford was the first manufacturer to return to production after World War II, it was months before cars were actually available. Production began on 3 July 1945, with the first public showing of the new Fords on 26 October. The first Sportsman was not actually delivered until Christmas of that year, going to Hollywood star Ella Raines with all the fanfare that Ford’s publicity machine could muster. Shortly thereafter, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey rode in a Sportsman as Grand Marshal of the 1946 Rose Parade. As intended, the Sportsman caught the market’s attention and was featured heavily in Ford’s corporate and dealer advertising during its brief production cycle.
Quantity production of the Sportsman was delayed by strikes and material shortages and therefore did not effectively begin until July 1946. The cars were built by some 300 craftsmen on an assembly line at Ford’s Iron Mountain, Michigan facility, alongside regular station wagons. Unlike its competitor, the Chrysler Town and Country, Sportsmans did not use wood as a structural component. Starting with standard convertible bodies, the outer door skins, quarter panels and trunk lids were removed. Next, the bodies were coated in primer before their maple wood framing and mahogany panels were fitted and varnished. Then, the completed bodies returned for the fitment of final trim before shipment to Ford’s assembly plants to be mated to their chassis.
Offered from the collection of Mike Laureno, the exterior of this Sportsman is finished in a classic shade of Pheasant Red with a tan canvas top and matching boot. Inside, you will find a matching red leather interior including hydraulic window lifts, AM radio, electric clock and accessory heater. The exterior wood is claimed to be original, and as Ford’s top-of-the-line offering, it includes the brightwork requisite of the Super Deluxe trim level along with bumper guards, dual side mirrors, “Ford” script spotlight, amber fog lights, bumperettes, and Firestone wide whitewall tires. Underhood is tidy showing evidence of little use, while a matching spare tire is included inside the similarly well-kept trunk.
This car received best of show honors at the Early Ford V-8 Club meet in Rhinebeck, New York, in 2017, along with a Dearborn Award and an AACA Senior Award in 2018. This is a beautiful example of a rare Ford model from a collector known for having some of the finest early V-8 Fords.