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Ford Customline: 1956

Dearborn, Michigan. "1956 Ford Customline Fordor Sedan in Meadowmist Green." A stylish suburbanite and her toothpaste-toned transport. Color transparency from the Ford Motor Co. photographic archives. View full size.

Dearborn, Michigan. "1956 Ford Customline Fordor Sedan in Meadowmist Green." A stylish suburbanite and her toothpaste-toned transport. Color transparency from the Ford Motor Co. photographic archives. View full size.

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Where oh, where

I would guess this to be somewhere around the Golfview Area of Dearborn; north of Michigan between Telegraph and Evergreen based on homes like the one below. There are a lot of new ones scattered among others like this; the one in the Ford photo could be long gone. Ford Engineering is across Michigan from this area, too.

This is not my beautiful coat.

That coat says David Byrne to me.

Still Disappointed

I took Born Too Late's challenge and have looked at every 334 house number in Dearborn and can't find this house. Looking in surrounding towns also. Anyone else have any luck with this?

Try driving with the windows down

I must be getting old, because I didn't give the driver's kerchief a second look or thought. When I was a kid in the 70's, on a long hot summer's drive my mother (born 1925) always wore a kerchief because we had no air conditioning, so the windows would be at least partly open. As the present owner of an MGB convertible, my wife sometimes does the same.

I'm disappointed

No one has posted a modern Google Street View of the house. Calling all Shorpysleuths --

Perfect Circle

Love the handbag! Ideal for delivering a ... pie?

RE: "Thing" on head

That's a common headscarf worn by everyone's mom, grandmom or sister back then to keep your hair from blowing in your eyes while the window was open so you could flick your ashes and look cool. Also used to cover your hair curlers to you could be out and about until you got ready for your hot Saturday night date.

Department store men's section scene

Yep honey, this one is just about right for you. You're still growing.

Brand identity

You could tell that it was a Ford from a half-mile away. I know I'm getting old, but there are so many cars and SUVs today that I can't identify at all unless I get close enough to see the logo.


The headwear is more properly called a kerchief rather than a scarf. Kerchiefs were very common in the 1950s. All the teenaged girls wore them.

World's best chimney sweep?

Inside the chimney looks unusually clean. You can see the white mortar even. Did they ever light the fire?

That jacket

Just ... that jacket.

Fashion forward

Like davidk, I hardly noticed the car for the clothing. I'm in favor of the red dress and oversized circular olive handbag -- red and khaki being one of my favorite combinations -- but the oxblood pumps confuse me. Not sure what the stylist was going for but it seems to miss the proverbial mark. Also, were I asked, I would have counseled the pretty model to lose her ten-year-old sister's red plastic headband.

As for the headwear sported by the driver, that's less a fashion statement than straight-up don't-blow-my-bouffant strategy. When I was a kid, my own mother was seldom seen without a scarf (occasionally over curlers, more often over the coif) out of doors. Of course her brunette tresses were assiduously Aqua-Netted but it was like, belt and suspenders. When riding (she didn't drive until the '70s, when she was in her thirties) the windows had to be partially down in both the front and back seats, because there was so much smoking going on. Keeping every hair in place was job one.

My first Ford

was a 1952 convertible, light blue.

Left-Wing Issues

In the days when air-conditioning was a rarity, the windwing seen on this Ford was necessary to protect the driver from a blast of slipstream wind coming through an open window. But there was no avoiding the ubiquitous "trucker's tan" that invariably resulted when an uncovered left arm rested on the window sill.

Maybe it's just the photograph

But that sure looks like a matte finish, which I didn't think existed until much later.

[Enamel paints of the kind used by Ford were not very glossy. - Dave]

How's Your Reception?

Aaah, what every suburban American's rooftop looked like before cable!

Keep Your Hair

in place with a stylish yellow scarf. Both my grandparents and my mom in her younger days wore scarves to keep their time consuming hairdos in place.

Ford family in progress

The Ford was my in-laws' first new car, in two-door version, white over blue. I've included the Dad-snapped slide, from summer 1956, taken at 13505 Burt Road, Detroit.

Thing on head

I suspect that it was a fashion thing that didn't last. However I remember seeing women wearing something similar in order to hold things like pin curls or hair rollers in place for a later comb out.

I had a sportcoat like that once.

I was 9, and Mom wanted it to last until I was 12.

I complain about the current fashion in men's suits, which are too small. In the 1950s, men's suits was too large. My motto: happiness lies in the middle.

That's how I lived back then

We had a ranch house with awnings and a Ford in the driveway. Only ours was a '54.

Product Planning

"I think for next year, we should make it longer, lower, wider".

... resulting in my father needing to shim out the garage door.

Thing on head

I am distracted by the clothing in this shot. Nice car, great color, but there’s a lot going on here with the humans. Specifically, I want to know what is the purpose of that cloth on the driver’s head. Functional headband? Covering something up? Fashion? Sometimes I feel just like a dumb boy.

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