Released in 2009, the movie titled ‘Road, Movie’ featured a vintage Ford truck in an important role. Directed by Dev Benegal, the movie, shooted in Rajasthan, depicts Vishnu (played by Abhay Deol) as a young man who is bored with life. To escape from his father’s hair oil business, he finds himself the 1.5-tonne Ford and volunteers to drive it to a museum in Samudrapur, a town by the sea where some one has bought it. Vishnu finds it adventurous. Setting off across the harsh terrain of Rajasthan he picks up a young tea-stall boy on the way. The boy is on a look out for better life in a city not far. Vishu also picks up a voluble mechanic (played by Satish Kaushik) who wants to attend a local fair and a gypsy woman.

Painted in a shade of azure blue, the truck, proves hardly reliable. Showing its age, with its body faded and tattered at the edges, the truck, much to Vishnu’s surprise, houses a movie projector and is actually a moving talkies (touring cinema van). The discovery for Vishnu comes in the form of an eccentric collection of films and two forty-year-old film projectors. Trading their release with a corrupt cop who likes to watch blue films, Vishnu and those who have joined him, roam the desert in search of water and an elusive fair. Waylaid by corrupt cops and a notorious water lord, Vishnu’s journey proves transformative. He discovers life, love and laughter, the 1947 truck a die-hard companion.

Sans any history of manufacture in India, either pre-Independence or post-Independence, being assembled in India, the 1947 Ford truck is very likely to be an import. It could have come to India as a army 4×4. A look at the truck in the movie, and it is heavily modified under the skin. Especially in terms of the powertrain; this example is fitted with a later year Dodge diesel engine most likely. The original 100 hp flatbed V8 gasoline engine has been replaced by a diesel unit. That does not take the charm away from the way it looks however. With the V8 flatbed gasoline engine providing power to the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox in its heydays, this Ford truck was considered to be highly robust. It featured a reinforced steel chassis. With its head light design fondly described as ‘freestanding’, the truck came with a multi-leaf spring suspension (and hydraulic shock absorbers) at the front and rear. Over its half-tonne and one-tonne siblings, the 1.5-tonne truck featured bigger diameter Wheels, which made it necessary for the fenders to have larger wheel openings.

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