Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Kind of Classic

I picked this one up sometime last winter at the Scott Antique Market. 

There were actually two of them in a box of stuff, on a dealer's table that looked like someone emptied out a house with a shovel and a few boxes.  These were the only two pencils in all those boxes (and I looked).  One example had a barrel that was a little worse for wear, and the other had a nice barrel but was missing the top.  Each had an $8 sticker on it, which I thought was a little steep, but since there's a neat story behind it, I switched the cap over to the one with the nicer barrel and took both up to the owner of the booth to chat.

"I took the cap off of the beat up one and put it on this one instead.  Is that OK?" I asked.

He glared at me.  "Well then, you aren't getting any discount," he snapped.

OK buddy, I'm thinking to myself.  Most guys wouldn't even have told you what they were doing what I just did.  I'm trying to be nice and honest here and there's no reason to bite my head off.  Besides, with all this crap on your table, I'm surprised you even knew that you HAD these, let alone whether it was the good one or the bad oen that had the cap. And another thing, you . . . you . . .

Fortunately, all that came out of my mouth was "thank you," so I walked away with the pencil.

It's an Autopoint of the advertising variety, and there's some curious spots on one side:

"Cloud Mist Grey," "Folkstone Grey," "Lyon Blue," "Yosemite Green," "Mandarin Maroon . . ." and "Black."  Pretty catchy names, except of course that last one. 

The other side of the barrel explains a bit what this is all about:

"Ford De Luxe Colors."  At times like this, it's handy to have a brain cluttered with useless information, like a garage full of junk and spare parts that I keep "because I might need them someday."  See, ever since I was a kid, I've had a fascination for old cars, and I used to read books about them hours at a time. 

One of my favorites is a book by Tad Burness called "American Car Spotters Bible 1940-1980."  There's nearly 800 pages of pictures and specifications for classic cars in that book, which is designed to help you recognize the year, make and model of a car as it passes you going down the road. And I thought I even remembered him having paint samples and names in there.

So I pulled out my trusty Bible (the Car Spotters variety), and there, on page 388, were pictures of the 1940 Ford De Luxe, complete with paint samples in Folkstone Gray, Cloud Mist Grey, Mandaran Maroon, Lyon Blue and Yosemite Green. Incidentally, there were also Acadia Green, Garnet Maroon, Sahara Tan, Como Blue and Cotswold Grey.

Interestingly, black isn’t shown – strange for a company whose founder, Henry Ford, once said during the Model T age, "They can have any color they want, as long as it’s black."

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