Sunday, June 25, 2017

sermon later

To go up early this afternoon, like it or lump it, today's post the text of this morning's sermon. Meantime, though I've somehow managed to delete it, a friend sent me a picture of one of my all time favorite cars, a 1949 Cadillac Series 62 sedan, 

so it's an early moment to reminisce about cars I loved and lusted. 

Posted here before, one day in the late 1940s, as I sat in a chair of Ralph Sorrentino's Barber Shop on downtown Harrison Avenue, a man pulled up and stopped outside to show a new car. He was a salesman at Lloyd Pontiac Cadillac, and the car was a brand new Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special sedan.

From barber chairs we gawked, and someone asked him the price of the car. "Fifty hundred fifty dollars," he shouted and we gawked a moment longer as he drove on off. Flashy and unaffordably expensive, it was a honey, a beauty, shiny black with white sidewall tires.

Except for the practiced or obsessed eye, the Cadillacs for 1948 and 1949 were near identical. Same body. Subtle change to the front grill and the way it wrapped around the front corner of the car just above the bumper. 

The real difference was under the hood: concluding long years of flat head V8 motors with the 1948 model year, the 1949 Cadillac featured a brand new ohv V8. Overhead valve, or valve in head, ** supposedly superior, though I remember going from our 1942 Chevrolet with its ohv six to our new 1948 Dodge with flathead six, that the Dodge motor was quieter. 

Anyway - -

General Motors did an odd thing with their large body senior cars for 1948 and 1949. For 1946 and 1947, Cadillac, Buick Super and Roadmaster, and Oldsmobile 98 continued their identical pre-war 1942 body style, again my obsessed eye saw the differences, but they were the same. 

For some reason, GM introduced their brilliant new postwar body design on the 1948 Cadillac and 1948 Olds, but for Buick not until the next year, 1949 Buick. The differences were significant, completely new styles from the pre-war, streamlined, curved windshield instead of flat, and on and on. But under the hood, the change-year was different. While Buick continued their proud valve in head Buick Eight for several more years (not changing from ohv straight eight ending 1952 to ohv V8 starting 1953), Cadillac changed engines from flat head V8 ending 1948 to ohv V8 beginning 1949; and Olds 98 changed engines from flat head straight eight ending 1948 to ohv V8 beginning 1949. We still didn't have power steering, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, air bags; but we still and always had R&H and WSW.  

As their spiritual director, my adoring readers have been anxious to receive this information.


** An overhead valve engine (OHV engine) is an engine in which the valves are placed in the cylinder head. This was an improvement over the older flathead engine, where the valves were placed in the block next to the piston. ... Lifters or tappets are located in the engineblock between the camshaft and pushrods. (pinched online, thanks)

radio & heater and white sidewall tires, an American oddity from about the 1920s through into at least the 1980s cars

red: 1948 Cadillac Series 61 sedan
green and cream: 1949 Cadillac Series 62 sedan
red: 1948 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special sedan
blue: 1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special sedan
blue and cream 1946 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special (WSW not available immediately postwar, but quickly back in fashion)

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