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1947 Ford Two-door Coupe

Story and photos by Jerry F. Boone

When Leo Logsdon went looking for a restoration project, he set his sights on recreating the 1947 Ford that he drove to high school in Southern California.

What he ended up with is the 1947 Ford every high school kid wishes he could drive.

“It’s been chopped, dropped, pinched and pulled every way imaginable,” says his daughter, Patty Logsdon, who became the curator of the custom after her dad passed away.

“I’m the oldest of five kids and probably the least likely to get the car, but I’m the only one who has the time and interest to take care of it,” she says. “I get to drive it, take it to shows and spend a lot of time keeping it clean and polished.”

The Ford began its second life in 1993, after being pulled from a ditch next to a farm field in Montana.

“At first it was supposed to be restored to be just like he had in high school,” she recalls. “That lasted about a month. I’m happy about that. I always felt the original car wasn’t very attractive.”

The transformation from neglected hulk to attention-getting beauty took years to accomplish.

“He had work done on the car as he could afford it,” says Russ George, who helped in building the car and handled much of the suspension work, using knowledge gained during a career building drag race cars.

Logsdon was an orthodontist who had to take care of his hands in order to do the delicate work involved in his career.

“As a result, he couldn’t do a lot of work on the car, but he’d be at the shop whenever he could, to help where he was able and to check on the progress,” says George.

The project spent much of its time at Street Rods by Dowdy in Dolan Springs, Arizona, where Dan Dowdy chopped the top, pinched the hood, shaved the trim and massaged the bodywork.

Among the subtle details is the front bumper. Dowdy took the rear bumper from a ’46 Ford -it has the distinctive “Ford” script logo in it -and move it to the front, but only after sectioning the piece to make it fit, and locating the turn and parking lights behind a pair of slits cut in the metal.

The chassis was heavily modified and uses the front clip and rear end from a ’73 Chevy Nova.

A highly modified Chevrolet 350 lives under the hood. The polished engine is fed via a 650 Edelbrock carburetor riding under a B&M “baby” blower.

“When Leo began the project, he originally planned to keep the original Ford Flathead and run a supercharger, but when he looked at the cost of keeping the original engine, it would have been twice what it ran to do the Chevrolet conversion,” says George.

The interior includes a custom dash fitted with digital gauges, tilt steering column and plush, nine-way adjustable seats from a Pontiac Bonneville.

The paint is “true blue” by the House of Kolor.

The name is a misnomer.

Bodywork under the bright summer sun glow a striking metallic blue, while the panels in the shade reveal a darker, almost purple tone. The changing hues help define the delicate contours of the award-winning bodywork.

“The whole thing changes color as the sun moves and begins to look entirely different as night begins to fall,” says George.

The Ford gets trailered back and forth to major shows and meets, but at home it hits the road on a regular basis. It was finished in time for Leo Logsdon to display the car at some of California’s major shows, such as the annual Good Guys festival at Del Mar.

“It’s no trailer queen,” says Logsdon. “We drive it and enjoy it.”

George says that’s the way it was meant to be used.

“We take it out on the road. It’s quiet and comfortable. You turn on the sound system, roll up the windows, hit the air conditioning and play with the seat buttons. It’s better than almost any new car you can buy today.”

Well, with the exception of the thumping, blower-fed V-8.

It’s no economy champ, says Logsdon. But everything has its price.

Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

James Moloney
Ford Postwar Flathead V-8s 1946-1953 Photo Archive
Iconografix, Paperback, 2002-12-19
Travel back to a simpler time with this enjoyable collection of photographs. Find your favorite Ford V-8, and see fun pictures of autos bearing advertisements, insignias and slogans. Original pricing and production numbers are included where available.

Victor W. Page
Ford V-8 Cars and Trucks: Construction, Operation, Repair (1946)
The Norman H. Henley Publishing Co., Hardcover, 1946
This book was published in 1946 and is of interest mainly to collectors.

William King Toboldt
Fix your Ford, V8’s and 6’s, 1958 to 1946
Goodheart-Willcox, Unknown Binding, 1958
This book is decades old and fetches collector prices.

Ford Motor Company
Ford, 1946, 1947, 1948 Closing the Years of Tradition A Reference Guide for Precision Ford Restorer
Post Era Books, Hardcover, 1975
This book is a reference guide for the Ford restorer, reproducing sales, data, and accessory source materials.

Greg Grandin
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City
Metropolitan Books, Kindle Edition, 2010-04-27

In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America itself, along with its golf courses, ice-cream shops, bandstands, indoor plumbing, and Model Ts rolling down broad streets.

Fordlandia, as the settlement was called, quickly became the site of an epic clash. On one side was the car magnate, lean, austere, the man who reduced industrial production to its simplest motions; on the other, the Amazon, lush, extravagant, the most complex ecological system on the planet. Ford’s early success in imposing time clocks and square dances on the jungle soon collapsed, as indigenous workers, rejecting his midwestern Puritanism, turned the place into a ribald tropical boomtown. Fordlandia’s eventual demise as a rubber plantation foreshadowed the practices that today are laying waste to the rain forest.

More than a parable of one man’s arrogant attempt to force his will on the natural world, Fordlandia depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch. As Greg Grandin shows in this gripping and mordantly observed history, Ford’s great delusion was not that the Amazon could be tamed but that the forces of capitalism, once released, might yet be contained.

Peter Collier, David Horowitz
The Fords: An American Epic
Encounter Books, Paperback, 2002-02-25
“The Fords: An American Epic” is the dramatic story of three generations of Fords and of the dramatic conflict between fathers and sons played out against the backdrop of America’s greatest industrial empire.

The story begins with Henry I, the mechanical wizard, tinkerer, and mad genius who drove the automobile into the heart of American life and conquered the world with it. But in the end he became an embittered crank who so possessively loved the company he built that when his son, Edsel, tried to change it to suit the times, Henry destroyed him. It was left to Edsel’s son, Henry II, to avenge him and save the Ford Motor Company.

The authors have added a new preface to this now classic work, showing how Henry II’s line lost out to the line of his brother William Clay Ford in the quest to control the company in the twentieth century.

Douglas G. Brinkley
Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress
Viking Adult, Hardcover, 2003-04-28
Few endeavors in history can match Ford Motor Company’s impact on human civilization. Launched a century ago by a bumptious squad of clever eccentrics-led by the odd visionary mechanic Henry Ford-the first mass-production auto manufacturer would push the rest of the industrialized world into the modern age. Along with other social upheavals, Ford’s reasonably priced and well-made assembly-line Model T would mobilize America’s middle class while the company’s cleverly generous “$5 Day” did no less than redefine industrial labor relations.

In Wheels for the World, Douglas Brinkley, one of our most engaging historians, reveals the riveting details of Ford Motor Company’s epic achievements, chronicling the outlandish success of the Tin Lizzie to the beloved Model A through the glory days of the Thunderbird, Mustang, and Taurus, as well as the revolutionary plants where they were built-Highland Park and River Rouge. Brinkley tells of the amazing acquisitions of Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, and Mazda in the 1990s. His narrative also explores Ford Motor Company’s darker aspects, from its founder’s anti-Semitism, ill-considered wartime pacifism, and disloyalty-not only to the cohorts who made him the richest man of his time but also to his only son.

Ford Motor Company Auto Manufacturing & Production: The History of the Henry Ford Assembly Line & Ford Automobiles
Quality Information Publishers Inc., DVD, 2006
This DVD contains four brilliantly made industrial propaganda films produced by The Ford Motor Company used to promote the continued growth of the automobile industry. Packed full of footage of automobile manufacturing plants and workers in action these films bring the history of auto making back to life. Table Of Contents: (1) The Human Bridge (1949) - An in depth look at the work of an automobile engineer. Shows how engineers work to improve the comfort and efficiency of automobiles and shows how a car is designed from the inside out. - 12 Minutes (2) Highland Park Ford Manufacturing Plant (1920s) - Great silent footage from Henry Ford’s Highland Park Ford manufacturing plant’s dedication to the Ford Model T. Also has footage of the smoke stacks of the plant falling as the plant was taken out of operation and better plants were constructed - 12 Minutes (3) The Harvest Of The Years (1930s) - In depth and fascinating look at how ford manufactured cars in the 30s. Covers Ford’s creation of the raw material for automobiles all the way through the assembly line and out to the show room. Great footage of manufacturing plant workers at work. Even talks about the thousands of gallons of molasses that go went into making cars - 22 Minutes (4) Henry Ford’s Mirror of America (1962) - This film looks at the life of Henry Ford and his impact on industry and transportation in America. This film also looks at daily American life and culture from 1915 to 1935. Contains rare footage of Henry Ford with Thomas Edison, Firestone, The President, and other famous people from the day. This timeless masterpiece is one of the very best films from this era - 36 Minutes

1928 1945 1946 1947 1948 FORD Parts Book List Guide
This is the (nearly 800 page) Parts List Catalog created by the factory. Includes part number, common name & application. Labeled blown up “exploded views” of the parts, showing what they look like and how they fit together with their adjacent parts.

Classic Car Wiring
1946-1947-1948 Ford Cars Color Wiring Diagram
This diagram covers the complete basic vehicle: interior and exterior lights, engine compartment, under dash, etc. The colors are the same as the original wiring. The diagram is laminated in rigid plastic for years of use.
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