The Ford Car in Miniature – 1941 and 1942

By Dave Turner

A detailed model listing and photographs taken by the Author of some of the models described may be found at the end of the written article.

Fords for 1941 received a new body that at first glance looked very similar to the 1940 but came on a two inch longer wheelbase and they were no less than seven inches wider inside than the preceding cars. That it looked familiar was no doubt due to the fact that it was shared with the contemporary Mercury, removing the need for two separate production lines.

Three Ford levels for 1941 were the top spec Super De Luxe, the De luxe and the new low spec ‘Special’.  A new in-line six of 225 cubic inches replaced the previous small V8 as a second choice to the long running larger V8 and this new unit came as standard in the new “Special” or as a $15 delete option on the Super De Luxe and De luxe models. Top level cars can be identified by having all three grilles plated, heavier bumpers and fine plated trim on the fenders.

Body choices were a Coupe in three, four or six seat layout, Tudor and Fordor Sedans, Convertible and Station Wagon. The latter were produced at Fords Iron Mountain plant while the Convertibles were made in the Lincoln factory. The 29 Millionth Ford was a 1941 Station Wagon that was donated by Edsel Ford to the American Red Cross. One milestone in 1941 was a Ford car with a body made of fibrous formaldehyde plastic, the first plastic bodied car in the US. Another was the first of many Ford produced Jeeps, although initially the bodies had to be made at the old Auburn factory due to a lack of space.

Models of the 1941s are few and far between for some reason but starting off with the AMT 1:25 plastic kit for a Station Wagon, despite it being labelled as “Custom’, box art provides a hope that it may be able to be built stock. For those of us with the desire to keep the collection free of police vehicles, the one benefit of having such models made is that the basic subject is often later made available in its ‘civilian’ form. This is the case with the White Rose range of police vehicles, their very nice 1941 Tudor in Pennsylvania Motor Police livery (MAR 184) subsequently made an appearance in civilian guise under the Fleer label (MAR 186) and yet again in the American Heritage range, so the model in non-police form has been readily available.

Around ten years earlier, Durham Classics in Canada added a 1941 Coupe to their range of 1:43 scale metal models. Initially this was a special issue of 350 in black for the 1994 Toronto Toy show while the later standard issue was in beige. A further limited edition of 250 were produced in maroon. These Coupes featured correct fluted bumpers for the Super De Luxe version together with appropriate plating on central and side grilles as well as the optional rear fender skirts. A bench type rear seat suggests that it depicts the six seat Sedan Coupe. Three years later an open Convertible version was added, the dark green version limited to 250 while just 50 of a special issue in metallic blue followed. Naturally a closed version was also produced, 250 were made in black.

No attempt has been made to create a catalogue of models of Ford built Jeeps, but in acknowledgement a representative example has been included and it came from the Gems and Cobwebs range of metal models. This depicts the Ford GPW that was the equivalent of the Willys MB wartime Jeep. A further Jeep marked as a Ford came from Minimac of Brazil and this depicts the Brazilian made Jeep CJ5, the production of which was carried out by Ford between 1967 and 1983. This represents the post war civilian version that began in 1945 as the Willys CJ2A and continued being developed until the CJ5 arrived in 1954. The model provides an interesting comparison with the GPW model.

More substantial changes came with the 1942 cars, but it was probably not realised just how short the 1942 production period was going to last. The future for the US was changed on December 7th 1941 when the Japanese joined the Germans in a bid to destroy the world by attempting to wipe out Pearl Harbour. These new for 1942 cars were an inch lower by the use of a lower frame and springs while the body sides were now almost full width having no real running boards. Rubber stone guards were fixed to the leading edge of the rear fenders that were now in danger of being peppered with objects that the running boards would have previously deflected. One-piece fenders were quicker to fabricate than the previous multi-piece items while the demand to reduce material content because of military requirements resulted in a new pressed rather than cast grille, small parking lights inboard of the headlights and the gradual elimination of all bright parts by December 19th. The manufacture of white wall tyres had already been stopped during August.

The inevitable happened on February 10th 1942 when production of all vehicles for private use was stopped and the production lines turned over to Jeep manufacture. It was to be July 3rd 1945 before some form of normality returned.

Apart from models of Jeeps the only miniature of a non-commercial 1942 Ford found so far comes from a predictable military plastic kit but rather ironically from Tamiya as No 59 in their 1:48 Military Miniature Series. Including a diecast base it is a quite complex and intricate looking kit but should enable a perfectly acceptable civilian Fordor Sedan to be produced.

Model Listing
1941
AMT USA 1999 30052 Station Wagon 1:25 plastic kit
American Heritage China 202 Tudor Sedan Super De luxe 115mm 1:43 metal
Fleer China 2004 6336 Tudor Sedan Super De Luxe 115mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1994 15 Sedan Coupe 113mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1997 20 Convertible open 113mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1997 21 Convertible closed 113mm 1:43 metal
Gems & Cobwebs UK 70 GPW  Jeep 75mm 1:43 metal
Minimac Brazil A1 CJ5 Jeep 76mm 1:43 metal
1942
Tamiya Japan 2008 32559 Fordor Sedan 110mm 1:48 metal/plastic kit
Illustrations: Ford 1941/2

Durham Classics 1:43 metal from Canada: 20, Super De Luxe Convertible.


Fleer 1:43 metal from China: 2004, Super De Luxe Tudor Sedan.


American Heritage 1:43 metal from China: 202, Super De Luxe Tudor Sedan – civilian version of White Rose police models.


Durham Classics 1:43 metal from Canada: 15, Super De Luxe Sedan Coupe.



Gems & Cobwebs 1:43 metal from UK: 70, GPW.


Minimac 1:43 metal from Brazil: A1, CJ5 civilian version of Jeep.


Tamiya 1:48 metal and plastic kit from Japan: 32559 Fordor Sedan.


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