1953 Ford to west coast and back in 1954

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS.CA - BILL SHERK

Shorty Wal­lace of Leam­ing­ton, On­tario, pur­chased a green 1953 Ford when it was only one year old. It had fender skirts, wide white­walls, an out­side sun vi­sor, and a 3-speed stick shift on the steer­ing col­umn. For win­ter driv­ing, Shorty added anti-freeze to the rad. When warm weather re­turned, he drained out the anti-freeze and topped it up with fresh clean wa­ter from Lake Erie.

Af­ter he joined the Cana­dian Army, he was sta­tioned out west at Vic­to­ria, B.C., and drove there in his ’53 Ford. The weather was warm and so was his rad. When he started driv­ing through the moun­tains, he dis­cov­ered his all-wa­ter coolant started boil­ing over. He propped open the hood on the safety catch to let more air in and had to stop fre­quently at road­side streams to add more wa­ter. If he had left the anti-freeze in the rad, the car would have run cooler.

Af­ter a while in Vic­to­ria, he was trans­ferred to Cal­gary and drove there in his ’53 Ford. By now, win­ter had set in. He took the car ferry from Vic­to­ria to Van­cou­ver and had to drive part-way through the U.S. be­cause the Rogers Pass in B.C. had not yet been opened. This was in 1954. Some­where near Belling­ham, Wash­ing­ton, he en­coun­tered a po­lice road­block and was told he could not con­tinue be­cause of bad weather un­less he had chains on his rear tires – and chains were for sale right there.

Shorty bought a pair of chains for $19 and with the help of a truck driver put them on his car. He fol­lowed that truck through the moun­tains around ev­ery twist and turn of the high­way un­til they got back on level ground. He made it to Cal­gary and later moved back to Leam­ing­ton.

Red Brown had a used car lot on Erie St. North and Shorty traded his ’53 Ford for a white 1955 Buick con­vert­ible with a red in­te­rior. That car sup­plied Shorty with many pleas­ant mem­o­ries. Mean­while, Garry Porter pur­chased Shorty’s ’53 Ford and drove it till he bought a ’54 Ford Vic­to­ria hard­top, got it re­painted Candy Ap­ple Red, and nick­named the car “Big Red.”

The ’52, ’53, and ’54 Fords were right up to date with their one-piece curved wind­shield, pen­du­lum-style brake and clutch QFEBMT BOE B HBT lMMFS OFDL CFIJOE UIF SFBS

li­cense plate.

In May 1953, Ford opened its new plant in Oakville. Shorty’s ’53 Ford could have been built in Wind­sor or Oakville.

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