Polished and pricey: These three stainless-steel Fords are up for auction
Built as advertising for a steel company, they’ll cross the block together, at no reserve, in September
Mention a stainless-steel car and most people think DeLorean, but it wasn’t the first. Starting in the 1930s, a few Fords were built of the futuristic material — and now three of them will go up for sale next September.
A 1936 Ford Deluxe Sedan, 1960 Ford Thunderbird, and 1967 Lincoln Continental convertible will be sold as a single consignment, at no reserve, by Worldwide Auctioneers at its 13th annual Auburn Auction in Auburn, Indiana.
The cars were a joint project between Ford and Allegheny Steel & Iron, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stainless steel had been around for a while, but Allegheny Steel & Iron received a patent in 1924 and became one of the first to use it commercially in the U.S., including for Ford Model A trim and in the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York.
To gain publicity for its relatively new product, Allegheny teamed with Ford to make three 1931 Model A sedans, one of which the steel company kept for its advertising. A few years later, Allegheny contracted the automaker to build six 1936 Fords, which it used as demonstration models into the 1940s.
Now named Allegheny Ludlum, the company went back to Ford in 1960 for two Thunderbirds. The hard steel quickly ruined the body dies, and they were the last cars stamped out before the switch to the all-new 1961 model. The final stainless cars were three 1966 Lincoln Continentals, two of which – including the auction car – were later updated with 1967 grilles.
According to Hemmings, Allegheny kept both Thunderbirds. It kept two Continentals and later bought back the third. It then supplied one of each to Cleveland’s Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. It sold all six 1936 Fords, but later bought back two. The Crawford Museum bought a third one, and one was donated to the Early Ford V8 Museum in Auburn. The fate of the two remaining ones is unknown.
Now known as ATI, the steel company is selling the cars due to COVID-related financial hardship. It will keep one Continental, and recently donated its other 1936 Ford to the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
The auction is scheduled for September 5. No estimates have been announced, but when one of the 1936 Fords went to auction in 2010, its owner turned down US$550,000 — and with three of them for sale, the sky could be the limit.
Driving.Ca – Jil Mcintosh