This is an interesting slice of history…
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has announced the donation of a 1932 Ford Model B. The rare pre-war American car has been kept in the same family since it was purchased new by Delbert McKinney. It will now reside in the museum for all to see on display in Washington, D.C.
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Launching at the early stages of the Great Depression, the Ford Model B was a departure from the ubiquitous Model T. Featuring more creature comforts, including a smoother ride thanks to a more advanced chassis, it was a luxury cruiser for those who wanted to travel in style without paying the prices asked for more premium brands. Some have attributed its short production run to the fact it was relatively expensive.
Delbert McKinney saved up his wages earned at Pullman Porter and proudly purchased this ’32 Ford Model B. The family has honored his legacy by keeping the automobile in fantastic condition. Now, they want the public in general to appreciate the legacy, especially considering this is a prime example of how a black man was able to achieve the middle-class dream while living amidst discrimination in the early 20th Century. A car back then guaranteed more comfortable travel versus the segregated conditions on buses and trains, as well as the incidents of violence blacks sometimes faced while on public transit.
Apart from that, any well-preserved Model B is a rarity these days. Many were chopped up and turned into hot rods long ago, so to find one in such original condition is fantastic. For the McKinney family, the Ford represented freedom on so many levels. Not only did they use it to run errands and go to work, it was a pleasure ride for weekend getaways they might not have been able to enjoy otherwise.
This yet again proves the integral part the automobile has played in shaping the United States as well as much of the world in the last century. It’s no wonder so many feel affectionate toward the vehicles which liberated us from cramped, slow transportation methods.
Image: San Antonio Current