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Lot 616
1946 Ford Sportsman Convertible


Selling on Saturday Evening

From The Tom Sharp Collection

CHASSIS NO: 99A1398737

• A perfect 1,000-point Dearborn award winner
• Restored and owned by top Woodie aficionado, Tom Sharp
• Incredible attention to detail
• Iconic example of Ford Motor Company's most sought-after 'woodie'

239 cid flathead V-8 engine, 100 HP, three-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drum brakes, front solid axle, rear live axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs; wheelbase: 114”

The first wood-bodied convertible ever produced; the Ford Sportsman evolved on the whim of company president Henry Ford II. Ford asked Design Chief, E.T. “Bob” Gregorie, if he could build a one-off body on an existing chassis that could be used for family outings to Southampton Beach.

Copying the wood-paneled themes of the station wagons which the company had been producing for years, Gregorie utilized expensive mahogany plywood sourced from Ford’s wartime production plant that had been used to build gliders. Gregorie’s charming creation became the envy of many upper-level Ford executives and prompted the design of a similar production convertible. These “woodies” were designed to lure buyers back to Ford showrooms after World War II by adding a touch of glamour to otherwise very familiar models. The idea attracted Henry Ford II because it was easy and cheap to execute. The company possesed massive northern timber forests and a processing plant at Iron Mountain, Michigan. It had been supplying raw materials for Ford's woodie wagons since 1936, and a convertible would be no more costly or difficult to build. Each Sportsman began as a stock convertible with a section of rear sheet metal cut away, replaced by a steel "skeleton." To this was fitted the wood framing, made from solid wood blocks, and mitered together with handcrafted precision. The Sportsman Convertible proved to be the only brand-new design for Ford in 1946, as all automakers largely resumed their pre-war models to quickly meet the overwhelming demand created by the conflict’s production moratorium. It was also the only American production car available only as a convertible.

This impressive black example was meticulously restored in 2004, beginning with our consignor and the Wood Sportsman Shop in Sedro Wooley, Washington. Just a few trim pieces needed to be replaced, and these experts will challenge you to determine which ones. They achieved just the right gloss to the finishes to accurately replicate the factory sheen. The body and paint work were completed by Veley’s Restoration in Boring, Oregon with excellent results. Every piece of the intricate trim was restored to perfection, and the fit and finish on this Sportsman are truly exceptional. Inside, you can’t miss the red leather seats and door panels, with ample leg room to spare both front and back. Nick Alexander Restorations did an outstanding job on the interior, and also fitted the replacement black fabric soft top. Accessories include the factory radio and heater, with an accurate presentation throughout. The clean engine bay was completed by Gary Duff in Seattle, with great accuracy and a very clean presentation. It starts and idles so quietly, that you can hardly tell it’s running. Smooth and confident at highway speeds, you’ll enjoy the comfort and luxury of this Sportsman with the top up or down.

Restored by the owner with help from some of America's most dedicated craftsmen, the meticulous attention to detail and the quality of materials and workmanship lavished upon this Sportsman are undeniable. It can rightfully be described as a concours quality car that can still be enjoyed at any time. This is a car that will always attract attention, will satisfy the most minute inspection, but most importantly, give the new owner the immense pride of owning one of the very best. The Early Ford V-8 Club agrees, as this Woodie earned 1,000 points at their meet in Hood River, Oregon and it has appeared at the Pebble Beach and Kirkland Concours as well. Deserving of the finest museums and collections, it is a prize for the astute collector that commands the best of the era.

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