November 16, 2013

Mike Berry: Separating the wheat from the chaff online

They say that once something appears on the internet, it never really goes away.

They say that once something appears on the internet, it never really goes away.

I believe it, without a doubt, since I am still getting inquiries about my 1949 Ford Club Coupe that I sold about four years ago. I always ask where they saw the ad and, invariably, it popped up in a search engine somewhere online.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I once again found in my inbox the remarkable story of a 1947 Ford pickup being bought by the Ford Motor Company for $800,000, plus a brand new F-350 dually pickup. I’ve been reading about this deal for the last couple of years, at least.

It seems this was an ultra-rare, one of only 35 pickups that came with a “factory installed McCulloch water cooled supercharger, special carburetor, and special very low profile air cleaner … Edmunds finned aluminum heads, Fenton cast iron headers (and) factory dual exhaust.” The article came complete with a bunch of photos showing all the cool “factory features.”

And there were all kinds of details about the original owner buying it in Canada and handing it down to his son, who did the restoration and apparently scored big by selling it back to Ford, after a “team of Ford museum employees” authenticated the vehicle.

Unfortunately, the story turns out to be about as phony as a three-dollar bill. Why would Ford have spent money putting a supercharger and aftermarket heads and headers on a farm truck shortly after World War II and then only build 35 of them? No market for extra-fast bale haulers in the Great White North?

The truck, as pictured, is equipped with a modern air cleaner and blue-dot tail lights, among other give-aways. It’s clearly a story that got out of hand, as evidenced by the writer apologizing for being duped on several chat sites.

The really sad thing is that it takes away from the really great stories, like the amazing jet-black ’47 Ford pickup that Morrie Soderberg of Salina restored to exactly the way his grandpa bought it brand-new. There was no need to make up stories about the truck, unusual because it is powered by the original flathead 6, not a V-8, engine, and because it still has the emergency hedge wood soft plug that his grandfather whittled from a fence post by hand when the factory original failed.

You just have to wonder if some of these fantastic stories are being driven by the insane high prices being paid on televised auctions. Next time you come across one on the internet, just remember — I have a great ’49 Ford coupe for sale (NOT!).

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