Sixty-three years after the fact, Michael Gallahan was reflecting on the year 1941. He decided that despite the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it was still a pretty good year, especially as it was the year of his birth.
In the spring of 2004 he decided to buy a car of the same vintage as himself. There was only one caveat. 'It had to be a Ford,' he says. Any one of the 15 models manufactured that year would suffice, but Mr. Gallahan was hoping to find a sporty model. Ford built 691,896 cars in 1941 and many survive.
By the summer of 2004 as his birth date of July 7 approached, Mr. Gallahan had found several 1941 Fords, which were wanting in once aspect or another, when he saw an ad in an antique car magazine offering a Super Deluxe business coupe for sale in Dublin, Pa.
A telephone conversation with the owner, Dick Cutler, confirmed that the car sounded ideal. An anxious Mr. Gallahan wanted to inspect the Ford before some other buyer got there first.
His request to visit was rejected by the seller because of a previous commitment. Mr. Cutler and his wife, Rosemarie, were about to leave on a two-week vacation aboard a cruise ship.
A disappointed Mr. Gallahan was certain he would lose out on the little five-window coupe. After the longest two weeks of his life, he again telephoned the Pennsylvania man and was enthusiastically told to come on up and look over the Ford.
With a trusted mechanic along, Mr. Gallahan and his wife, Millie, drove there in July, carefully following directions. When they turned down the last street, Mrs. Gallahan exclaimed, 'This looks like a runway.'
She was absolutely correct. Every house on the 'street' was occupied by a pilot and every house has a hangar for a small airplane. The 'street' doubles as a runway.
As soon as the hangar door was opened and Mr. Gallahan saw the green Ford, he knew the deal was as good as done.
Mr. Cutler in 2001 had purchased the Ford in Oshkosh, Wis., from the son of the original owner. The son reportedly had the car repainted in 1968 and the 221-cubic-inch V-8 engine rebuilt in 2000.
Records indicate the Ford was purchased new in Fountain City, Wis., and was kept by the original owner until 1967.
The base price for the 2,929-pound coupe was $777. If the coupe had a back seat, the price would have been boosted by $30. This Ford cost considerably more because it is loaded with extra cost accessories including:
*Wheel beauty rings.
Mr. Gallahan had his 1941 Ford trucked home to Alexandria and was relieved when it rolled off the truck. He considers the Ford a belated birthday present.
The 85-horsepower flathead V-8 runs smoothly as should an overhauled engine beneath an oil-bath air cleaner,
Mr. Gallahan was about 98 percent pleased with his 1941 Ford, but he thought that the bumpers had lost some of their luster. After having them replated with chrome, Mr. Gallahan is now 100 percent satisfied with his acquisition.
Seated behind the two-spoke steering wheel with its chrome-plated half circle horn ring, he can admire the unwarped plastic trim on the woodgrain dashboard ahead of him or glance at the rearview mirror and observe thevenetiann blinds on the rear window. The car runs smoothly on its 6.00x16-inch-wide white sidewall tires
Although the speedometer is ready to register speeds up to 100 mph, Mr. Gallahan is reluctant to put any undue strain on his treasured 1941 Ford.
'I've had it up to 55 one time,' he acknowledges.