It sounds like the carb was flooded. The guy and site you need is:
Ford Carburetor Forum. Carbs rule!!!!
A fella there, Mr. Bill White, knows his stuff. The carb looks like it's an Autolite 4100; Mr. White will be able to tell you more. It's not a hard carb to rebuild at all.
Have you had any trouble lately with performance decreasing/stumbling increasing, even just slightly? Did the whitish smoke ever clear away? Upon first start up was the smoke black at all? I think you may have a stuck float that's feeding the carb too much gas and it's leaked down into the manifold. when you started it the excess is blowing upward into the valleys of the air cleaner area. A rebuild is a good idea, and make sure you set those floats. Change your oil and clean the plugs if you can.
Good luck and post for Mr. White