- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Jason Javaras had just started elementary school in Bladensburg, when his father came home with a nearly new used car from Northeast Ford. He had purchased a black 1947 Ford Super Deluxe coupe.

The Ford faithfully served the Javaras family and after a decade the son, by then a high school student, received the car as a hand-me-down. He was thrilled because most of his classmates that had family hand-me-downs were driving four-door sedans while he had the hot rodder’s dream car.

Before graduation in 1961 Mr. Javaras taught his girlfriend, Dee, how to drive his trusty Ford with a three-speed manual transmission and a forgiving clutch. Soon thereafter, the Ford was traded for a newer car. Thus began a 40-year ordeal.

While Moses wandered in the desert for that length of time, Mr. Javaras had to endure four decades without a 1947 Ford Super Deluxe coupe. Sure, he had a variety of other Fords during that time but none like his first Ford.

In June 2002 he saw an ad offering a black 1947 Ford Super Deluxe coupe, supposedly in original condition. He and the girl he taught to drive, now his wife, flew to Chicago, rented a car and drove on up the western shore of Lake Michigan to Racine, Wis., to investigate. It was as advertised with 53,000 miles on the odometer and was purchased with the agreement that the seller hold the car for a couple of weeks.

The couple flew back to their Fredericksburg, Va., home. Two weeks later they drove their dualie diesel pickup to Wisconsin to retrieve the 1947 Ford. So far, so good.

When they arrived in Racine, things started to go wrong and continued until they got home.

The rental trailer that Mr. Javaras had reserved to haul his car home was in a town 50 miles away. When he went to get the trailer he found a beat-up, rusty trailer missing most of the equipment to secure the load. The equipment that was there was in poor condition.

With the 3,166-pound 1947 Ford secured as best he could on the trailer, the Javarases left Racine at midday. After a couple of hours they stopped to check the load and found only one tie-down still in place. That and the old Ford’s emergency brake were all that kept the Ford on the trailer.

A quick trip to a hardware store produced reliable tie-downs, clamps and safety chains.

They pushed on and late that night stopped in Columbus, Ohio. The next day they drove on home and arrived safely with the 1947 Ford unscathed.

“Getting home with that rickety trailer was a white-knuckle experience,” Mr. Javaras says. “It was the trip from hell.”

Mr. Javaras rolled the 16-foot, 4-inch-long Ford off the trailer and gave his prize a thorough once-over. Under the hood is a 239-cubic-inch flathead V-8 engine that develops 100 horsepower. The base price for the car in 1947 was $1,409.

A metal funnel-shaped apparatus on the right underside of the hood is an air heater intended to capture engine heat and direct it into the cabin.

The Super Deluxe coupe is loaded with accessories, a couple that Mr. Javaras has added, which include:

• AM radio.

• Vanity mirror.

• Roof antenna.

• Air heater.

• Gas door guard.

• Signal indicators.

• Rear seat speaker.

• White sidewall tires.

• License plate frames.

• Locking gasoline cap.

• Foot-operated tire pump.

• Outside swan-neck mirror.

The previous owner had replaced the four original 6.00x16-inch tires with slightly larger 6.50x16-inch white sidewalls. Mr. Javaras, in an effort to keep the car consistent, bought a 6.50x16-inch tire to mount on the spare wheel.

“I didn’t think old Henry had such close tolerances,” he said when he discovered the large tire wouldn’t fit in the allocated space in the trunk against the back of the back seat.

Since the 1947 Ford has entered the Javarases’ family life, it’s like reliving their high school days.

Even without air conditioning in the summer, Mr. Javaras says riding on the 114-inch wheelbase is pleasant. With the cowl vent pushed open and the two rear pop-out quarter windows open, the flow-through ventilation keeps the passengers comfortable.

Sitting behind the two-spoke steering wheel, Mr. Javaras wonders how many of the 80,830 Fords like his that were manufactured 57 years ago survive, let alone with original paint and upholstery intact.

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