1947 Ford Sportsman Convertible

In the wake of World War II, the automotive industry witnessed the birth of an icon: the Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible. This model emerged from the creative minds at Ford, spearheaded by Henry Ford II, designer Bob Gregorie, and head illustrator Ross Cousins. The initial inspiration came from a nostalgic piece of Henry Ford II's youth—a wood-bodied Model A roadster. Seeking to recapture this essence, the team embarked on creating a "halo car" for Ford dealerships, a vehicle that, while not mass-produced, would draw in customers and showcase Ford's pinnacle of craftsmanship.

The Sportsman was manufactured at the Iron Mountain plant in Michigan, employing standard convertible body shells augmented with sedan delivery fenders and taillights. The exterior was a testament to fine craftsmanship, featuring panels of the finest maple, birch, and mahogany, each carved from solid wood. The attention to detail extended to the interiors as well, with seats adorned in genuine leather facings, available in tan or red, and complemented by French stitching. The car boasted a power top and power windows, including rear quarter panes—a luxury at the time.

Production of the Sportsman was limited to the years 1946 and 1947, with a few models retitled and sold in 1948. Priced $500 above the standard convertible, it was a luxury item, offering a style and quality that rivaled the top-end models from competitors like GM and Chrysler. Despite its limited run, the Sportsman left a lasting impact, with a total of 3,629 units built over three years, including 205 Mercurys exclusive to 1946.

Design-wise, the Sportsman was a harmonious blend of practicality and luxury. The car was structurally steel, differentiating it from competitors like Chrysler's Town and Country, which used structurally wood body panels. This design choice ensured durability, as the doors were less prone to sagging over time. The vehicle incorporated the rear fenders from a 1941 sedan delivery model, facilitating easier wood fitment. The power hydraulic window system was a feature borrowed from the Lincoln Continental, adding a touch of elegance and convenience.

The 1947 model offered here, one of fewer than 100 examples believed to have survived, is a well-preserved older restoration. The woodwork is of very good quality inside and out with a light patina to the finish. The fenders and hood are attractively finished in Tucson Tan which is in good overall condition, with a few minor imperfections noted. Matching wheels which have hand-painted red pinstripes for added style are fitted with Super Deluxe wheel covers and trim rings and fitted with new Firestone wide whitewall tires. Chrome and brightwork are in very nice condition and the engine bay is well detailed and fitted with period-correct decals, wiring, and hoses. Installed options include period correct fog lights, bumper guards, radio, and a factory heater.

The interior of the Sportsman was a work of art, featuring an Art Deco-inspired dash in mahogany, accented with handsome color-keyed trim. Every aspect of its design was aimed at showcasing Ford's ability to produce a premium model. It served as a flagship vehicle, not just in terms of luxury and aesthetics, but as a symbol of Ford's innovation and commitment to excellence in the post-war era. The tidy interior is fitted with correct red leather upholstery with tan carpets bound in red, and a new tan Hartz cloth convertible top and boot have recently been fitted.  The engine compartment is very well detailed and this car is fitted with a Columbia two-speed rear axle, giving it longer legs for highway cruising.

A timeless design coupled with a low survival rate has made the Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible one of the most sought-after of the great woodies, as well as one of the most collectable post-war Fords, and this example is made all the more appealing by its well-maintained older restoration. In essence, the Ford Sportsman Convertible was more than just a car; it was a statement piece, a testament to Ford's vision and craftsmanship in an era of renewed hope and progress.


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Stock number 7588

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