The Color Purple

            Nate Ingram likes the color purple. Taking one look at his classic 1949 Ford Custom will tell you that.
            “I bought it back in 1995,” Nate said. “It’s a 1949 with a 1950 grill.” When asked how much of the car is original he grinned and said, “The motor.”
The motor in question is the iconic Ford flathead V 8. The engine was introduced in 1932 and was used in Fords until 1953. Beyond that, it was used by auto makers around the world, from France to the Soviet Union to Brazil and was in use in a French military truck produced by Simca as late as 1990. While other luxury automakers at the time were using multivalued engines in a V configuration, cars for the general population generally used a straight four or six cylinders. The Ford flathead was the first V 8 designed and built for the general car buying public.
While the original 1932 flathead pushed 221 horses, Nate’s Custom is powered by the 239 horse power model that was introduced in 1939. Despite some flatheads having issues with cooling and a propensity to crack blocks, Nate’s is still running strong.
“I drive it a lot,” he said. “In fact I just got back from driving it to Gatlinberg.”
Beyond the flathead V 8 and the three speed transmission, Nate has done a lot of work to his car, including a new interior and new floor boards. He also has installed a Mellow Tone exhaust system. “I just love the way it sounds,” he said with a smile.
As for the color, Nate admits that it isn’t exactly period correct. “It’s a ‘90s Chrysler metal flake purple,” he said. He chose it because he just likes the color. “And it makes the car stand out.” That it does.


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