1953 Ford to west coast and back in 1954
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
In May 1953, Ford opened its new plant in Oakville. Shorty’s ’53 Ford could have been built in Windsor or Oakville.