Czechoslovakia’s Stylish 1939 Aero Model 50 Special Convertible

Featured in this article is the 1939 Aero Model 50 Convertible. The car is a beauty with great styling and lines.The Aero cars were manufactured in Czechoslovakia from 1929 to 1947. The automobiles were produced in what today is the Czech Republic and were built in very limited numbers. The Aero Model 50's were built from 1936 through 1939. Production stopped in 1939 with the start of World War Two.

1939 aero model 50

1939 Aero Model 50

Aero Automobiles

The Aero Company was founded in Prague in 1919. The company was in the business of building airplanes. In 1929 they entered into the auto building business. The aircraft business declined significantly when the Great Depression went to Europe and the automobile helped the company stay solvent. After World War Two Aero manufactured a Model 30 automobile until 1947. This endeavor was short lived as the automobile company was then nationalized and effectively disappeared. What did survive was Aero as an aircraft manufacturer. It still exists to this day.

The heyday for the company would have been in the late 1930's when they were building over 1,000 vehicles per year.

aero model 50 sodomka

Unique styling by Sodomka Coach Builders

Sodomka Coach Builders and the Aero Model 50

Reportedly there were only twenty Aero car models built by coachbuilder Josef Sodomka. Three different models were built by them all looking somewhat similar.

The automobiles are obviously quite rare. The one featured in this article is on display at the Blackhawk Museum located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Cir, Danville, CA. Danville is a San Francisco Bay Area community. If you happen to be in this area about a 36 mile drive east of San Francisco you will be very pleased to have stopped by this absolutely spectacular auto museum.

Josef Sodomka founded The Sodomka Company in 1895 in Vysoke Myto in what's now called the Czech Republic. The company started in business with five employees and originally produced several types of coaches, both sleighs and horse drawn carriages. Josef Sodomka's company became the largest and best known coachbuilding company in Czechoslovakia.

sodomka coachbuilders

One of a kind styling from Sodomka

Just as in the U.S. the second world war brought to a stop the production of private automobiles. What was being built were buses, bus trailers, ambulances and special purpose bodies.

In 1944 new designs for private cars were drawn up at the plant in Vysoke Myto.

A Czech Coach Builder and the Iron Curtain

The ending of the war meant many new challenges. When the war ended Sodomka  wanted to continue with the design and manufacturing for automakers such as Tatra and therefore they unveiled on their own initiative a modernized version of these three vehicles...the Tatra 57B, a Skoda Superb Convertible, a Skoda 1101 en the Aero Minor II. Times were changing rapidly with the economy, the political situation and with automakers.

Several of these automobile models mentioned above were taken out of production after the war and the coachbuilders were having a tough time. Cars that were being produced were in such a low price range as to make it financially unsuitable for custom and special high end coach builders like Sodomka. You could say luxury was out and cheap bare bones manufacturing was in.

sodomka aero model 50

Inset headlight on the Aero Model 50 Sodomka built Special Convertible.

With a communist regime taking over by 1947, Josef Sodomka Jr. 'donated' the company to the State (Communist regime). Because of this "donation" (probably better described as a confiscation) the State allowed him to stay with the company as a director. This worked for a few years but by 1950 the Communist Party removed him entirely.

The Karosa national company came into being nationalized in 1948 by the new Czechoslovakian regime which was in effect a Communist run manufacturer of buses and commercial vehicles. Surprisingly, this new company did produce several top-class bodies. In 1953 a luxury body was built at Karosa on a Mercedes 770 base for Minister General Cepicka and in 1956 the prototype of the Skoda 1500 body was produced, a sports laminated body on a Skoda 440 chassis, and the prototype of the Skoda 976 private car.

Carrosserie Sodomka (the renamed Sodomka coachbuilder) ceased to exist in 1958, but the Karosa company still builds commercial vehicles and buses in the Czech Republic.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The Rare 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II

A Rare 1930 Duesenberg Willoughby Model J

1931 Auburn 8-98A Phaeton Convertible

Brno based automotive historian Jan Tulis has written a book on the Sodomka body works. It is well illustrated and gives an insight view in other body shops as well as the personal live of Josef Sodomka.

aero model 50 sodomka coachbuilders

the 39 Aero Model 50's one of a kind grille by Sodomka coachbuilders

1939 Aero Model 50 Specifications

The 1939 Aero Model 50 came with an inline four cylinder two cycle engine capable of reaching 85 MPH. Some sources claim a top speed of 81 MPH. The engine delivered 50 horsepower. Some sources claim 45 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed manual and the brakes were four wheel drum.

Suspension was four wheel independent.

The Aero Model 50 had a wheelbase of 119.0 inches. Overall length was 192.0 inches, width 76.8 inches and height of 51.6 inches. Curb weight was about 2,899 lbs.

The new car price for the 1939 Aero Model 50 Convertible was about $2,400.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Finely Restored 1917 Ford Model T Touring Car

Featured in this article is the 1917 Ford Model T Touring car. This original and finely restored Model T Sedan is in pristine condition. This is exactly the type of vintage automobile that people are instantly attracted to.

Anyone who owns one of these vintage Fords have been asked questions such as...How long have you owned it?...Is that the original engine under the hood?...Where did you find such an old automobile? The Ford Model T Touring car is one of the finest exhibits of American craftsmanship.

1917 Ford Model T

1917 Ford Model T Touring Car

Ford's Rugged and Low Cost Model T

The Ford Model T design was born in the northeast corner of Detroit's Piquette Ave. Ford plant's third floor. This was the car that would help usher out the age of horse drawn carriages.

The Ford Model T was the car for the masses. The Universal Car as Ford once put it. The Ford Model T is referred to as the first affordable automobile, the car which initially helped the car market become what it is today.Henry Ford created the famous “$5 a day rate” for assembly line workers which was designed to be earnings enough to allow them to buy a brand new Model T.

There were many things that were important to the success of Henry Ford’s Model T but one major attribute was the ruggedness and reliability which adapted it to any number of uses. Specialty suppliers soon flocked to the Model T’s platform. The Model T  coachwork was seen in a large variety. This was everything from runabout speedsters to rugged commercial bodies that pushed even the Model T to the limits of its endurance.

model t touring

1917 Model T Touring

Add to that the low price of Model T's, heading even lower with Ford's mass production, and the car had quite a lot to offer.The Model T came in five body styles for private passenger vehicles. These were the five-passenger Touring, two-passenger Runabout, seven-passenger Town Car, seven-passenger Landaulet and two-passenger Coupe.

The Model T's relatively light weight of about 1200-1400  pounds made it well suited for use on the muddy and rough roads during the first part of the 1900's. If you happened to get your Model T stuck in a hole or mud, a few mules could pull it out without much difficulty.

Ford Motor Touts Their Model T

Ford Motor was quite proud of their product which debuted in the toward the end of 1908 as the following sales literature from 1909 points out.....

The Model T is built entirely of the best materials obtainable. No car at $5000 has higher grade, for none better can be bought. Heat treated Ford Vanadium steel throughout; in axles, shafts, springs, gears-in fact a vanadium steel car-is one evidence of superiority.

model t tourer

1917 Ford Tourer

Nobody disputes that Vanadium steel is the finest automobile steel obtainable...We defy any man to break a Ford Vanadium steel shaft or spring or axle with any test less than 50% more rigid than would be required to put any other steel in the junk pile...

As a side note, , the Model T was selling so well, Ford saw little reason to spend much on advertising. Ford Motor dropped most of its ads in national magazines that year, and in 1917, stopped doing paid advertising altogether. Ford did not buy anymore ad space for the Model T until 1923. Four years later the Ford Model A came out.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

A Barn Find 1920 Model T Pickup

The Classy Stutz Bearcat

Smith / Brtiggs and Stratton Flyer Cycle Car

Several good books have been published regarding the Ford Model T. A few that you may find interesting include The Model T: A Centennial History by author Robert H. Casey. Also Model T Ford: The Car That Changed the World by Bruce McCalley.

ford model t engine photo

The Ford Model T four cylinder engine

1917 Ford Model T Touring Car Specifications

The 1917 Ford Model T was equipped with a 177 cubic inch four cylinder side valve engine delivering from 20-22 horsepower. The car could travel between 35 to 40 MPH with a top speed usually recognized as 45 MPH at about 1,800 RPM's.

The Model T was said to have attained 25 MPG.

It had a two-speed forward and reverse planetary transmission operated with pedal actuated bands rather than a clutch and sliding gear transmission.

The car had a hand crank for an engine starter. Brakes were not what we now consider to be brakes. Braking the car was performed by a contracting band on a drum in the transmission. There were hand-lever operated emergency mechanical brakes on the rear wheels, which were really only effective for parking the car.

The 1917 Ford Model T had a 100.0 inch wheelbase and an overall length of 134.00 inches. The car's width was 66.0 inches.

It's been said that approximately two-thirds of all Ford Model T production occurred from 1917 to 1925. The years 1917 through 1920 is considered the years that the Model T saw more changes.

1917 model t horns

The 1917 Model T horn

Collecting Ford Model T's

Ford Model T's can be seen in museums as well as in many auto shows around the country. Totally restored Model T's make fine exhibits. Their simplicity for one is very unique. The controls, the engine compartment and the undercarriage speak of just the necessities in an automobile. It seems like the automobile industry took their cue from the Ford Model T and expanded, improvised and experimented going forward with more complex and higher performing cars and trucks.

Prices for finely restored Model T's will vary by year and model and but most of the asking prices for those on sale appear as of this writing to be in the mid teens into the high $20,000 plus range. You may find a finely restored Model T Depot Hack at the higher end of this range.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

The Dazzling 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

A Wagon Builder Becomes Successful Automaker

An interesting note for automobile history is that Studebaker was the only nationally known wagon manufacturer to survive the transition from horses to motorized vehicles. Another interesting side note is that it was a Civil War surplus Studebaker wagon that was converted into the first chuckwagon in the late 1860's by Texas rancher Charles Goodnight.

1955 studebaker president speedster

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

The Studebaker President Line

After Packard acquired Studebaker in 1954, the President line was added as a new top-of-the-line model for Studebaker. The President was a good choice for Studebaker.

It was a good addition to the economy Champion and the mid-priced Commander lines. The President is of the 1950's was a revival of a model name that brought Studebaker excellent reviews back during the Great Depression years. As far back as 1928 the Studebaker President model won over 100 stock car records. In 1932 a special Studebaker President model came in third at Indianapolis.

studebaker speedster

1955 Studebaker Speedster

The Studebaker President Speedster

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster was one of those concept cars that acquired quite a bit of buyer enthusiasm when unveiled at an auto show.The Speedster is one of the most striking Studebakers of all time. Studebaker's goal with the Speedster was to build a five passenger sports car to compete against the Big Three automakers. This was the time that sports car enthusiasm was rising in the U.S. and U.S. automakers were attempting to make inroads against the European imports.

Fourteen cars were originally built, all hardtops, for exhibition purposes only. As mentioned above, with the overwhelming public acceptance, the model was put into limited production. The production vehicles had every part and feature included on the fourteen original show cars.

The car was added mid-year in 1955 and put into limited production. The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster was the company's entry into the sports car market and it was the highest priced model in the top tier President line. The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster sold new starting at about $3,250. This was a good $800 more than the cost of a standard President.

studebaker president speedster

A rear view of the Studebaker Speedster

The Studebaker President Speedster Styling

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster was a sleek and slippery coupe that really didn't look too much like the standard President model. The hood line was designed in a low and sleek Italian style. The Speedster was well equipped having as standard equipment just about everything Studebaker offered as optional on other models.

The mid 1950's was a creative period in automobile design and styling in many ways and Studebaker was no exception. For instance, standard two tone paint came in wild color choices like pink/black or lemon/lime. All Speedsters had either two or three tone paint jobs. Along with that Studebaker offered matching hand stitched quilted leather interiors. The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster appealed to the buyer seeking style rather than simply transportation. In a sense, this Studebaker model was built to make a statement.

The 55 Studebaker Speedster shared the chrome laden fish-lip front end styling which was a part of all 1955 Studebakers.

president speedster

President Speedster

1955 Studebaker President Speedster Specifications

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster had a 259 cubic inch over-head valve V-8 under the hood. The engine could deliver 185 horsepower.

The 1955 Studebaker Speedster offered the buyer a choice of automatic or overdrive transmissions, power steering and brakes and a four-barrel carburetor. The Speedster's "Passmaster" engine is identical with that of the standard President but with the addition of a dual exhaust system.

The Speedster's instruments are rounded in sports car style and are set in a panel of engine-turned stainless steel and includes a 160 mph speedometer and an 8,000 rpm tachometer.

The Speedster's wheelbase came in at 120.5 inches. It's overall length was 204.4 inches, width was 70.43 inches, height 57.3 inches, and it's weight was officially 3,301 lbs.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1955 Packard 400

The 1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner / Retractable Hardtop

On our Trips Into History site see the article The Studebaker National Museum

One of the more popular books regarding Studebaker automobiles is More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by author Thomas Bonsall.

55 studebaker speedster

55 Speedster

A Very Rare Collector Automobile

The Studebaker President Speedster was a limited production model and was only offered for one year. Needless to say it's a rare Studebaker and a milestone car and is quite popular among collectors. Most sources put total Speedster production at about 2,215 vehicles. Out of that number 1,795 vehicles were built in South Bend Indiana and 420 in the Los Angels / Vernon facility.

The Studebaker Speedster is a show winner and draws large crowds whenever it appears at an auto show. The Speedster was the only post war automobile that Studebaker built that came as fully equipped as a Cadillac.

There are many Studebaker clubs with chapters all around he U.S. A lot of information on these can be found at www.studebakerclubs.com

The Studebaker Speedster because of it's rarity and popularity will have solid asking prices if you do locate one for sale. Prices in the $50,000 to $70,000 range might be typical for a finely restored show quality model.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)