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By Jan Wagner - syndicated weekly columnist/photojournalist
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Fabulous Fords Forever
at Knott’s Berry Farm

 

 

Once a year for the past 22 years, legions of the Ford faithful have gathered at Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm for a gigantic celebration of all things Ford. This year’s gathering featured the largest collection of wonderful Fords that I have ever seen in my life. Old and new, they were everywhere, neatly organized by model for all to see and enjoy. The weather was a little overcast but not nearly enough to dampen our spirits.

 

 
1932 Ford Coupes (the one on the right is a custom German Ford)

This year is special. First, it is the 75th anniversary of the Deuce Coupe – which inspired hot rodders and had the world’s first mass-produced V-8 engine.

 
Mercury Cougars; photo of Jan by Matt Wagner

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Mercury Cougar, so several examples of these cars were featured too.

 

 

Ford has a rich history. Models included Galaxie, Fairlane, Edsel, Thunderbird, Cougar, Meteor, Lincoln, Falcon, Ranchero, Pinto (and Bobcat), Maverick, Bronco, Comet, F-Series trucks, Cobra, Capri (European and domestic), SVO, SHO, Pantera, Merkur, various race cars (including the GT40), Econoline vans, Probe, Cortina, Focus and, of course, Mustang.

 

 

I don’t know about you but as I think back over the years, certain cars made by Ford are associated with pleasant memories of good times long past.

 
Lincoln Continental Mark III

After his Chrysler years (that can be a subject for another column), my dad enjoyed three comfortable Lincolns: first, a stately 1969 Continental Mark III, with its upright grille reminiscent of one from a Rolls Royce; and then two more of the Mark series. The last one he owned was a blue and white Bill Blass edition, as I recall. My parents really loved those big cars.

 
Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

Dad, mom and I used to travel in those Lincolns on our annual summer vacation. We drove from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to Penticton, in the interior of British Columbia, for a week and then on to Vancouver. The back seat was so comfortable and spacious that I used to stretch out back there and sleep.

 


Ford Focus station wagon drag race car

While mom stayed in Penticton, dad and I drove up a back-country dirt and gravel road to a fish camp at Postill Lake. Those Lincolns really smoothed out the rough road.

 
Replica of 1992 Mach III concept

On a side trip to Osoyoos, which got extremely hot in the summer, I remember observing that the Lincoln’s air conditioner was so powerful that when one of its two large doors was opened to the outdoors, the effect was like stepping into an oven.

 

After spending the week in the interior of BC, we drove on to Vancouver. While mom stayed and visited with her relatives there, Dad and I drove over to Vancouver Island, via a BC ferry. Once there we went salmon fishing.

At the end of our trip, we packed the frozen fish with ice in large waxed boxes, which we then loaded into the Lincoln’s roomy trunk for the journey back to the mainland and then home to Alberta.

  

I remember once, when I was still developing my more basic driving skills, I accidentally scraped the side of dad’s grey Mark III on a white wooden post at the side of our garage. The white paint transferred to the car, but since the sheet metal was so thick, it did not dent. I rubbed and rubbed until the white paint eventually came off. Dad never knew. They don’t build cars like that anymore.

 

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of how cars used to be built, here is another true story for you dad’s Mark III. One day dad was stopped near a railroad crossing to let a train pass. The tracks were at a diagonal to the road so dad did not have an easy view of what was to his left on the tracks. There were actually two sets of train tracks. He had stopped for a train coming on the far set of tracks and did not realize that there was also a train coming on the near set of tracks. An overhanging boxcar from that second train clipped the front of his car as it passed but that Lincoln was so heavy that it did not get dragged. Instead, the car stayed put and the train sheared off the front corner of his car like a hot knife through butter. Naturally, dad was shaken, but otherwise he was none the worse for wear. As I said, they don’t build cars like that anymore.

 

 
1921 Model T speedster; child admiring a Detomaso Mangusta

My biggest regret from the car show is that I can only share a few of the hundreds of photos that I took.

 

 

As if enjoying the cars was not enough, afterwards we spent some time enjoying the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, including the Wild West Show and many of the thrilling rides.

  
Photos by Matt Wagner

I can’t believe that I had the nerve to go on some of the faster ones. I did, and enjoyed myself like a kid!

Enjoy the full spread of photos from this AutoMatters and others in the column archives at www.AutoMatters.net.  If you would like to share your car, truck, road trip, car art, vacations, racing, car movies, famous people, driving and other automobile-related stories, please send them to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Drive safely and do join me again next time.

Copyright © 2007 Jan R. Wagner – #233 AutoMatters 

 

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