The 1946 Ford like other automobiles produced right after the end of World War Two were essentially designs from 1941 and what limited 1942 cars were produced.
If you look at a 1941 Ford coupe or sedan you'll for the most part be looking at a 1946 Ford. It took the automotive designers a few years to get new design plans in motion. It's interesting to note that Ford did still produce some 1942 sedans during the war to be used as military staff cars.
Another interesting fact is that dealers did have automobiles in stock when the war came which were designated to be sold to "essential users". The cars typically were then registered at the time of sale therefore technically you would have 1943, 44 and 45 models registered but to the automaker these were 1942 Fords.
Ford Motor Company was the first American automaker to begin production after the war's end. The 1946 Ford Convertible Coupe shown in this article is an excellent example. The first 1946 Ford rolled off the assembly line as early as June 1945. One of the changes on the rare 1946 Ford is the horizontal grille layout. The hood was also widened somewhat with a center strip and the new larger engine was a 239 cubic inch V-8 delivering 100 horsepower which before the war beginning in 1939 had been put into Mercurys.
As you can imagine, there was a considerable amount of pent up demand for civilian automobiles immediately after the war. Civilian car and truck production was halted in February 1942 shortly after the U.S. entered the war. The first 1946 Fords to hit the dealership floors in late 1945 were snapped up very fast. The war was over and the economy was booming. It was reported that some 300,000 orders were taken on the very first day that civilian cars could again be sold.
For 1946 Ford offered two models. These were the Deluxe and Super Deluxe. The Special model was dropped for 1946.
The 1946 Fords were base priced at around $1,100 or a bit more for a six cylinder version and it was said that a buyer might have been inclined to pay another few hundred dollars under the table to get one quick from a dealer. The convertible model had a base price tag of around $1,400.
Steel was in short supply immediately at the end of the war and Ford, starting production so early, also introduced a "Sportsman Convertible" model which utilized wood side panels.
Ford produced a total of 468,000 vehicles for the 1946 model year. Out of this amount 16,300 were convertibles. The largest model segment were two door sedans of which Ford built 163,000. Ford built 720 Sportman Convertible models with their wood side paneling.
Ford Motor Company management was shaken during the 1940's when Edsel Ford died in 1943 at the age of forty nine after stomach cancer surgery. Edsel had been the major mover for change within the company and often had to struggle with the founder, Henry Ford, to update the Ford models especially during the 1930's.
In 1944 Henry Ford II at age twenty seven joined the company and took over many of the responsibilities of the late Edsel Ford. Henry Ford II entered the company at a key time. Prior to the war, both Chrysler and General Motors were doing a good job of taking business away from Ford. With the start of post war production and the loss of Edsel Ford in 1943, Ford Motor Company faced stiff competition during the latter half of the 1940's.
When the war ended, Ford Motor moved rapidly to begin production and with some new management. Regardless of who was at the helm of Ford Motor, in 1946 Henry Ford, the founder, still controlled over fifty percent of Ford stock.
1946 Ford Coupe Specifications
The 1946 Ford had a 239 cubic inch V-8 L-Head engine delivering 100 horsepower. Also offered in 1946 was a 225 cubic inch six cylinder engine delivering 90 horsepower. Fuel consumption for both engine versions was rated just under 14 MPG.
A three speed column shift manual transmission was the only transmission available for 1946 models.
Brakes were drum front and back.
The car's wheelbase was 114.0 inches The car's length was 197.8 inches, width 73.4 inches and height 66.1 inches.
Vehicle weight averaged around 3,050 lbs.
Suspension front and rear consisted of transverse leaf springs.
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Auction Prices for 1946 Fords
1946 Ford automobiles are relatively rare. Depending on the model, Deluxe or Super Deluxe and the car's condition, restored or not restored, how many original parts are still on the car, the prices can be all over the place.
As of this writing, a 1946 Super Deluxe Convertible in finely restored condition sold for $25,500. A 1946 Ford Two Door Sedan sold at auction for $18,700. A Ford Super Deluxe Business Coupe sold for $19,900. Several other 1946 Ford Super Deluxes are price between $18,000 and $20,000. A 1946 Ford Woody Wagon of which very few were manufactured has an auction asking price of over $90,000.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)