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The photo above is a replica of the classic Cobra sports car. The car in this photo was built in this garage in the mountains of West Virginia from a Factory Five roadster kit. It is featured in my primary American cars web site, which I launched in the fall of 2014. I have been so busy making a living and building other Great American web sites that I haven't worked on the cars site in over three years. When I tried to update that site, I ran into one of the issues that makes me crazy about computers and web site technology: my software has changed so much, that I can't edit that site. I will have to rebuild it from the ground up. So for now … I am building this new site to put new content on line.
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I got my first car in 1963. It was a '56 Ford with a big engine and an unfortunate color scheme: Pink and White. And it was my first true love.

So the other day I was driving down the main drag in my town when I saw this car at gas station. A 1956 Ford Fairlane with the same color scheme. I had to stop and introduce myself to the owner, who fortunately was still there after I had time to turn around and head back to the station. Johnny, the owner, very graciously let me take pictures with the only camera I had with me … an iPhone. My Ford was a plain Fairlane hard top convertible It wasn't a convertible, but there was no frame between the side windows, so when they were rolled down, it was very open. Johnnie's classic ford (right) is the Crown Victoria, similar to more plain model, with a lot of extra chrome and a rear deck for the spare. The Crown Victoria was upscaled in a few other ways, too.

When I was 17, pink and white did not seem like the right colors for a guy wanting to be macho, so I painted the car gray… with a paint brush. I wasn't breaking any actual laws at the time, but true classic car enthusiasts understand the value of original colors and would certainly judge my paint job to be a crime. Ford offered that color scheme only in its '55 and '56 models.

In 1963, a '56 Ford was not a classic; it was just an old car. Today, 7 or 8 years does not make a car seem old, but in the '50s and '60s, the styling changed every year. The '57 Ford looked very different. So a '56 Ford represents just a moment in American history, a moment that was unique, memorable, and wonderful.

Those of us old enough to remember the 1950's and early '60s remember that it was the "Jet Age," the age of great American modern. The '56 Ford with its clean, bold lines, the chrome V stripe on the side and its jet airplane hood ornament, fit right it. It was also a time when cars had no shame in sporting huge V-8 engines. I worked at a Mobile station in the summer of '65. Gas was 29.9 cents a gallon.
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© 2018 Phil Dickinson
P.O. Box 4195, Middletown, RI 02842

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This site is part of the American Tribute Online project. It is not a commercial site, and it is not associated with any museum or other organization. The purpose of the project is to celebrate our American heritage and provide an online resource for showcasing the America that we can all be proud of.
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