1951 Ford Custom
For the 1949 model year, Ford spent $72 million on this car's design and engineering. Ten million man-hours went into the development of this car, the first truly new automobile from Ford following World War II. It signaled a new direction for Ford and, in fact, the entire automotive industry. The era of pontoon fenders and high-riding automobiles was over, and Ford broke out of the gate with a smaller, stunningly stylish car that blended militaristic themes with slab-sided functionality. In the first year of production, Ford managed to rack up $177 million in profit. Over the first three days of its introduction, 28.2 million American servicemen, housewives, plumbers and businessmen went to see the new Ford in the showroom. Ford would be ecstatic to see half that number today. For 1950, Ford didn't really mess with success. While it boasted “50 improvements for '50,” the car was essentially unchanged, with the exception of chrome trim addition and subtraction, unless you count the inclusion of a recessed fuel filler neck as a substantial improvement.
For consignment, known as a “shoebox” sedan, a Custom that retains its original exterior and interior look, but has had the benefit of a body off restoration in 2007. A nicely presenting car, and a fine example of Ford's postwar production.
Seeing this straight steel paneled rounded design car in beautifully applied Maroon, we can harken back to simpler times. Paint is good overall with some small chips and areas of slight overspray. Chrome bumpers show minimal wear and trim and badging is all good with a little wear also. A new stylized Ford crest of red, white, and blue cloisonné replaced the block lettering found on the hood of the 1949's. Nicely done window surrounds are seen all around even on the split windshield. Also, I'd be remiss if I left out the super deco front hood ornament which was designed to emulate the sleek lines of this aerodynamic car. Red steel wheels with “F” logo moon caps are on all 4 corners.
A swing of the doors and we are transported back in time to 1950, with red broadcloth and white vinyl combination door panels. These are smattered with a maroon lower panel and armrest A split bench sits upfront, and has red broadcloth with tiny white square pattern stitched in the field of red. A white vinyl bolster surrounds the bench, and this is all seated within a gray metal tub. The rear bench emulates the front bench and is in very clean condition. A gray two-tone dash and dash top sports all the correct gauges and these are embedded within a chromed mesh metal dash front. The word “Custom” is in your grandmother's handwriting and has slight rust where it is mounted to the mesh. A shout to the original steering wheel with its inverted chevron center and half round horn ring. Headliner is fairly tight, and in bow stitched form, in gray fabric. Nice red carpeting covers the floors and has been neatly kept. Looking into the trunk it has been fully carpeted and is very clean and organized, which is a nice attention to detail not oft completed.
Lifting the hood, we are met with a consigner stated original and beautifully restored 239ci V8. A single 2-barrel carburetor sits atop, and the transmission is a 3-speed manual with overdrive and is also original to the car. Interestingly the overdrive is actuated with a pull lever under the steering wheel. Gold paint is on the block, hoses are all new, and engine bay is corrosion free and looking almost like new! Noted is the electrical system which has been upgraded to 12V.
During the body off restoration time was taken to pay attention to the frame and undercarriage, and it was certainly worth it. All black no surface rust, great sturdy floorpans, and rockers. No oil leaks are seen, and looking around we note coil spring front suspension, and semi-elliptic springs on the rear. Drum brakes are all around. Cherry bomb dual exhausts give this car a throaty sound.
Starts quickly, drove effortlessly, and brakes were nice and grabby. Not a speed record breaker, but not meant to be, just a smooth cruiser. All seemed to work interior control wise, and the seats were comfortable, with the pedals perfectly placed.
Overall very nice example with a few tips and dulling, overspray but I'm being picky. A well completed body off restoration, and we have an interesting “shoebox” meant to live in early 50's suburbia.
MP-Memphis, TN Assy Plant
150183-Sequential Unit Number