Yesterday was Memorial Day, the holiday where we pay respects to the men and women who perished while serving the United States Armed Forces. Our Pick of the Day is a vehicle that was used by those selfless folks: a 1942 Ford ½-ton utility. It is for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Hobart, Indiana. (Click on the link to view the listing)
The first national observance of a day mourning military personnel was Decoration Day in 1868, though it initially honored only Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. Mass acceptance began during World War I as the holiday evolved into a day of remembrance for all members of the military. After World War II, it became known as Memorial Day, with Congress making it official in 1967.
When it comes to the crossroads of armed forces and automotive history, February 10, 1942, marked when automotive production ceased operations. From that point, automakers continued to build cars and trucks for the government while expanding their output with military hardware, though they had been handling military contracts before our entry in the war.
For those who already owned cars, resources for operation and upkeep would be severely limited, if not rationed. Even the speed limit was lowered to save fuel and extend the life of rubber. In addition, chromium was considered a strategic material in the time between the Pearl Harbor attack and February 10, so many automobiles built during that time featured painted trim instead of chrome and stainless steel.
Vehicles like this Ford ½-ton truck were still being produced after that February landmark, of course. Ford’s light-duty trucks were all-new for 1942, shedding the automotive styling that had previously been shared. Power choices included a four, six, or two V8s. This particular 1942 Ford ½-ton utility conversion was used by the Rossford (Ohio) Army Depot, which played a role as a distribution center for military vehicles during the war and, afterwards, was used for tool distribution and storage until it was decommissioned in 1963.
This truck has only seen 35,446 miles worth of pavement in its lifetime, and it’s begging for more from a caring enthusiast-slash-patriot. In fact, think of yourself more as a caretaker of American automotive and military history — for $28,500, we will salute you, plus you will never need to deal with ration stickers.