Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Henry Ford’s Fordlandia Was To Be Inhabited By 10,000 People To Secure A Source Of Cultivated Rubber For His Cars

Fordlândia is the name given of a district and its adjacent area in the city of Aveiro, in the Brazilian state of Pará. It is located on the east banks of the Tapajós river roughly 300 km south of the city of Santarém.

It was originally established by American industrialist Henry Ford in the Amazon Rainforest in 1928 as a prefabricated industrial town intended to be inhabited by 10 thousand people.

To enable Ford to secure a source of cultivated rubber for the automobile manufacturing operations of the Ford Motor Company in the United States.

Ford had negotiated a deal with the Brazilian government granting him a concession of 3,900 sq miles of land on the banks of the Rio Tapajós near the city of Santarém, Brazil, in exchange for a 9% share in the profits generated.

Ford’s project was ultimately a total failure and the city was abandoned in 1934.

The town was mostly deserted, with only 90 residents still living in the city until the late 2000's when it saw an increase of population, being home to around 2,000 people as of 2015.

In the 1920s, the Ford Company sought to elude British monopoly over the supply of rubber, mainly used for producing tires and other car parts.

Henry Ford looked for alternatives and a permanent place to establish a colony to produce rubber. Initially, Central America was considered.

However, information about the rubber trees in the Amazon was uncovered and this, along with other factors, caused a change of plans.

Negotiations between the Brazilian government started when the then-governor of the State of Pará, Dionísio Bentes, traveled to the United States to meet Henry Ford. An agreement was signed and the American industrialist received an area of about 2.5 million acres called “Boa Vista”.

The agreement exempted Ford from taxes to the exportation of goods produced in Brazil in exchange for 9% of the profits.

Work on the area began in 1926 by the company under the name Companhia Ford Industrial do Brasil and was immediately hindered by poor logistics and diseases that affected the workers who succumbed to yellow fever and malaria.

No roads were available in the area thus the area was only accessible by the Tapajós river.

The site was developed as a pre-planned community with different areas of the city being designated to the Brazilian workers and the American managers, who lived in the so called American Village.

Typical american houses were built, along with a hospital, school, library and hotel. The town also had a swimming pool, a playground and even a golf course.

In 1928, Ford Company sent two merchant ships – Lake Ormoc and Lake Farge – loaded with all the equipment the town could possibly require, from door knobs to the town’s Water tower. The town was then founded under the name Fordlândia.

Seeking workers, several offices were opened in the cities of Belém and Manaus, and with the promise of good wages people of the nearby states answered.

In lower temperatures the latex is concentrated in the lower areas of the tree, as the temperature rises during the day the latex spreads throughout the tree, making the tapping less effective.

Due to this, the typical journey of a rubber tapper began early in the morning, at around 5 am, ending at noon.

The plantation was divided into areas and each worker was assigned to a different area to prevent workers from tapping the same trees successively.
The town had a strict set of rules imposed by the managers. Alcohol, women, tobacco and even football were forbidden within the town, including inside the workers’ own homes.

Inspectors would go from house to house to check how organised the houses were and to enforce these rules.

The inhabitants circumvented these prohibitions by paddling out to merchant riverboats moored beyond town jurisdiction,often hiding contraband goods inside fruits like watermelons.

A small settlement was established 5 miles upstream on the “Island of Innocence” with bars, nightclubs and brothels.

The land was hilly, rocky and infertile.

None of Ford’s managers had the requisite knowledge of tropical agriculture.

In the wild, the rubber trees grow apart from each other as a protection mechanism against plagues and diseases, often growing close to bigger trees of other species for added support.

In Fordlândia, however, the trees were closely together in plantations, easy prey for tree blight, sauva ants, lace bugs, red spiders, and leaf caterpillars.

The workers on the plantations were given unfamiliar food, such as hamburgers and canned food, and forced to live in American-style housing.

Most disliked the way they were treated, being required to wear ID badges, and work through the middle of the day under the tropical sun – and would often refuse to work.

In 1930, the native workers grew tired of the American food and revolted in the town’s cafeteria. This became known as the Breaking Pans.

The rebels proceeded to cut the telegraph wires and chased away the managers and even the town’s cook into the jungle for a few days until the Brazilian Army arrived and the revolt ended. Agreements were then made on the type of food the workers would be served.

The government of Brazil was suspicious of any foreign investments, particularly in the northern Amazonian region, and offered little help. It wasn’t long before the numerous problems began to take a toll on the project and the decision was made to relocate.

Fordlândia was ultimately abandoned by the Ford Company in 1934, with the project being relocated downstream to Belterra, 28 miles south of the city of Santarém.

Where better conditions to grow rubber existed, but by 1945 synthetic rubber had been developed, reducing world demand for natural rubber.

Ford’s investment opportunity dried up overnight without producing any rubber for Ford’s tires, and the second town was also abandoned.

In 1945, Henry Ford’s grandson Henry Ford II sold the area comprising both towns back to the Brazilian government for a loss of over US$20 million ($208 million 2013 dollars).

In spite of the huge investment and numerous invitations, Henry Ford never visited either of his ill-fated towns.
Water tower and other building in Fordlandia, Brazil. source
Water tower and other building in Fordlandia, Brazil.
Between the 1950s and late 1970s, after being given back the rights to the lands, the Brazilian government, through its Ministry of Agriculture, installed several facilities in the area.

The houses that once belonged to Ford’s rubber tappers were then given to the families of the Ministry’s employees, whose some descendants still occupy to this day.

The town remained inhabited by roughly 90 people until the latter half of the 2000s.'

No basic services were offered in the area, with medical help only coming by boat in long intervals.
That changed when people looking for places to live decided to go back into the town, often claiming houses. The town, now a district of Aveiro, is home to nearly three thousand people as of 2015 and seeks emancipation.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1950 Ford Sport Sedan

In 1950 Ford introduced a new trim level to their lineup. It was meant to compete with Chevy’s new Bel Air and since Ford didn’t have the time to create a whole new car, they just had to update what they already had. So they slapped some new trim on their Custom Deluxe, added a unique two tone paint job, installed a vinyl top and called it the Crestliner Sport Sedan. It was really just a stopgap until the Victoria hit the market in ’51, so production was limited to just 1950. Seeing as it was purely cosmetic, it isn’t too hard to install the trim on a 2 door Custom Sedan, which is exactly what we have here. The seller’s father is a long time Ford collector and while restoring this Custom, decided to make it a Crestliner, so it was given a correct two tone paint job and all the correct trim was installed. It might not be a factory Crestliner, but no one would ever know seeing it on the street. You can find this clean Ford here on eBay in Thousand Oaks, California with a BIN of $9,700.

The Shoebox Fords, as these have come to be known, easily make it onto the list of America’s most iconic cars. The design is easily recognized by purists and hot rodders alike. Given the unique looks of the Crestliner, I’m actually surprised there aren’t more clones floating around. I imagine finding all the correct trim is difficult and expensive though, so that could explain it. Does anyone know if they are reproducing this trim or would you have to find a donor car to make a proper clone like this?

I know this car isn’t a survivor or even a real Crestliner, but it looks to be in amazing shape and these are just really cool cars. The 1950s were an interesting time in automotive history and while the Shoebox Fords are extremely well know, you don’t often hear about the Crestliner Sport Sedan! I’m not sure what makes these cars more sporty than their siblings, but the flathead V8 and 3 speed was quite sporty for the time. 1950-ford-custom-deluxe

What a great looking design and lovely car! I wouldn’t mind hitting the road in this one. I’ll admit though, I’d be happy to just own a base model ’50 with the flathead and the 3 speed. The two tone paint is cool and the trim really gives it a unique look, but the base car is good looking no matter what trim you slap on it. So how do you feel about this Crestliner clone? The asking price seems about right for a Custom Deluxe sedan, so would you leave it as is or would you rather have it in its original trim?

Source: barnfinds.com

1971 Ford Ranchero Country Squire

As the song goes, “…any man who knows where it’s at will drive a Ford Ranchero…” (if you want a good laugh, listen to it, I’ve linked to it before for you long time readers) I don’t know about that, but before this I wasn’t aware that Ford thought three better ideas were better than two! By combining the Country Squire and it’s fake wood trim and the Ranchero car-truck, you had this Ranchero Country Squire! This one is located in Spring City, Pennsylvania and is up for sale here on eBay. The buy it now price is $7,500 and lower offers are welcomed.


I’m pretty sure the beds on these were body color, so you’d want to change that if you wanted it to be original. I think I’d leave it alone and use the heck out of this vehicle, though. It’s got enough wear on it that I’m not worried about parking it occasionally at work, but not too much that I’m embarrassed to be seen in it!

Is that a dent behind the door in the middle of the woodgrain? I couldn’t tell for sure. The basis for this generation of Ranchero is my favorite generation of Torino, so I’m sold on the looks off the bat.

The seller has already replaced the floors, carpet, headliner and multiple other things, including a brand new set of tires. It doesn’t sound like you’ll need to do much if you just want to drive and use this car-truck. You could always choose to improve it as you went.

The seller tells us that this is a 351 Cleveland V8 and that it has been professionally restored. I’d really like to know how you restore an engine rather than rebuild it, but I’m being nitpicky. What do you think? I like it even though it will need some work. After all, if the seller is correct, there were only 2,595 of these rarities produced!

Source: barnfinds.com

1972 Ford Mustang Coupe


Frequently I see cars that are repainted on the outside, but worn out on the inside. This 1972 Ford Mustang coupe is just the opposite (I think) with what looks to be pretty decent original paint and decals on the outside, but a refurbished (note, I did not say restored) interior. The example of Ford’s largest pony car is available in Omaha, Nebraska and can be viewed here in the eBay listing where the opening bid is $6,900 and there is no reserve.

It’s nice to see this shot of original paint on the floors with very little corrosion. The seller does tell us there is some rust; I’ll get to that in a minute. The seller describes the car as a daily driver, which gives me high hopes for its reliability and general mechanical condition. In today’s world, it also means you at least have a shot at working air conditioning (it is present in the pictures, although nothing is said about its condition).

So what’s bad, Jamie?  I’ll tell you…there’s some rust starting to appear in the fender lips, quarter panels, and hood. Bummer! If this is a repaint, the course is pretty obvious; repair and refinish. If, however, this is the original paint, I suspect some of you would try to control it and keep the paint. I struggle with that course of action, but certainly understand and respect folks that do that.

On to the interior. The dash and console look remarkably good for a car with 111,111 miles (yes, I know that’s a bogus figure, but since they went six digits so will I). However, the seats have been upholstered similarly but not the same as the original pattern and material. How much does this matter to you? What surprises me about this is that factory replica upholstery kits are available from several sources like this one for less than $200! Oh well. As to the steering wheel–I’ll be the first one to tell you that I don’t like the standard 1972 Mustang steering wheel; it’s not sporting enough for me. And I’ll give them credit for sourcing a Mustang logo center cap. But I think I’d look a little harder for a wheel.

It’s a clean and original looking 302 2-barrel V8; nothing remarkable her, although it’s nice to see a belt on the air conditioning unit. So what do you think of this Mustang?

Source: barnfinds.com

1962 Thunderbird

Pristine show cars are great, but personally, I prefer my classic to be driver grade. I like actually being able to drive my classics without fear of a few chips, scratches or dings. If your car is a perfect show piece, you can’t just jump in it to make a quick run to the store. And that’s the beauty of this T-Bird, it looks great but you can jump in it and go without fear. Mechanically, it’s in perfect condition with just 68k miles, but the body and paint show regular wear and tear. It still looks great from a distance, but up close you’ll notice some imperfections, but that’s what makes it a great driver. You can find it here on eBay in Bucyrus, Ohio with a current bid of $3,500 and a BIN of $15k.

The seller has known this car for a few years now and for much of that time it’s been a daily driver. The 390 V8 is said to be in great condition and is extremely reliable, which is exactly what you want in a classic driver. I’ve owned plenty of classics that I worried each time whether they were going to start. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than getting stranded and having to call your significant other to come pick you up. Thankfully, these big Ford V8s are easy to work on and very durable, so as long as you maintain it, I’m sure this Bird won’t be leaving you stranded any time soon!

I haven’t look at one of these Thunderbird’s interiors for a while, I forgot how crazy they are on the inside. They were quite futuristic, with lots of curves, chrome and that awesome swing away steering wheel. I’m a fan of the design, but I’m not so sure about this color. It’s a bit much, but I’m sure it would grow on you the more time you spent behind the wheel.

One of these would make for a great daily driver! It’s luxurious, good looking and smooth to drive. This one is a nice example, but isn’t so nice you’ll want to keep it locked safely away in the garage. You could drive it daily and not have to worry about road rash. So would you enjoy having this as your daily driver?

Source: barnfinds.com

1970 Ford Torino GT


I did a double take at first because this 1970 Ford Torino GT seemed quite familiar to me. Credit the factory “laser stripe,” which must have been a popular feature, for my deja vu: we profiled a similar car back in June. Well, this example is indeed a different car, and it has those trick hideaway headlights everyone goes nuts for. You’ll find the Torino here on eBay where bidding is just under $5K with the reserve unmet.

This big-block equipped Torino is said to have belonged to an Air Force officer from new and remained in his family’s care ever since. I feel like throughout history, military personnel have always had excellent tastes in cars, no matter which country the vehicle hailed from. The Torino is a matching-numbers example and is said to fire right up, but the seller still recommends a thorough mechanical refresh before daily driving it.


The interior features “Ginger Knit Vinyl” which the seller says is in excellent condition. It’s probably acceptable for the age but I still see a fair amount of work needed inside. The other area of concern is the rear lower quarters, which are quite rusty, and the seller also references dings and dents incurred while the car was in storage. The dash pad looks to be in good shape and areas of polished trim still look shiny.


The 429 is a motor that should certainly deliver plenty of smiles when running smoothly, and is a nice match for a big cruiser like this Torino GT. About the only departure from originality are the hubcaps, and the seller indicates he may be able to track down the correct pieces. All told, this does look like a nicely presented driver with some bodywork needed, but it all depends on what the reserve is.

Source: barnfinds.com

1970 Ford Torino GT

It may be a little rough around the edges, but I think this could be a fun driver with a little work. The exterior is ratty, but the inside isn’t too bad and the 351 could be made to scream. Someone obviously started “working” on the car before parking it in 2008. It is drivable, but I would plan on addressing its needs soon. It’s located in Mahopac, New York and is listed here on eBay where bidding is currently at $3,700.

The light blue over bright blue color scheme actually isn’t too bad. That bench seat looks nice, but the velvet dash cover needs to go as does the custom speaker box in the trunk. Drop a new molded carpet in here and things probably wouldn’t be too bad.

There’s a two-barrel carburetor on top of that 351 right now, so I would suggest you source a four-barrel intake and carb right away. Later on you could add a cam, headers, and some better breathing heads. Then if you wanted to get real ambitious, you could stick a shift kit in the tranny and some new gears in the rear end. Checkout this scan of a Muscle Parts catalog for more ideas.

I really enjoyed my ’69 Torino, but always liked this body style. The rust appears to be minimal here so it could make a great restoration candidate. Personally, I would clean it up and focus on the mechanicals before dropping too much money into it. Most people start sanding the body before finding out how much a new paint job costs. It looks like that may have happened here, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Source: barnfinds.com