In 1949, Ford beat GM and Chrysler to the punch with the first all-new post-war car design from the Big Three. Affectionately called the “shoebox,” the 1949 Ford boasted streamlined and thoroughly modern ponton styling with the distinct spinner grille motif that sustained the product line through 1951. Historians credit the car for saving Ford’s fortunes while also ushering in the modern streamline era in American car design. Under the skin was an all-new frame with coil-sprung, independent front suspension. Inline-six and V8 engines carried over mostly unchanged, producing 90 and 100 horsepower, respectively.
Body styles included the 2-door Club Coupe, “Fordor” sedan, Squire station wagon, and convertible. The handsome convertible was one of the best-selling soft tops in the country for 1951, with sales reaching 40,924 cars. Only available in top-line Custom DeLuxe trim, it was Ford’s flagship model, and despite being costly to design and build, it served as an image-maker for the company. It brought folks into Ford showrooms, even if they drove home in a basic Fordor sedan. As the top of the line, it came only with Ford’s 100-hp flathead V-8 as standard equipment. Convertibles featured a hydraulic power top for added convenience, operated via a switch located at the lower edge of the steering column just to the left of the steering wheel.
This lovely 1951 Custom DeLuxe convertible spent several years in a museum before being acquired by a noted Ford collector, who oversaw its refurbishment to factory standards. The orange-red Coral Flame color is unique to this body style and suits the lines wonderfully. Under the previous owner’s care, the flathead V8 engine was rebuilt completely by the late John Forsythe at Fremont Auto Parts in Fremont, Ohio, while his own shop rebuilt the transmission and clutch and fitted an overdrive. They also replaced the top and reupholstered the interior using correct two-tone fawn materials sourced from the Ford specialists, LeBaron-Bonney. The front seat is leather and the rear seat vinyl, which is accurate and just as the factory did it in 1951. Restorers also rewired the entire car, so that the power top works properly and ensuring this handsome Ford is a reliable and enjoyable driver.
The Coral Flame paintwork is in excellent overall condition, consistent with this being a high-quality, older restoration. The chrome trim is in fine order as well and includes original Custom DeLuxe window surrounds, as well as the hood ornament, bodyside trims, tail light spears, and 1951-only twin “spinner” grille. The comfortable and spacious interior features correct rubber floor mats, a factory AM radio, DeLuxe steering wheel, and excellent chrome fittings and trim. The quality detailing continues under the hood, with the 100-horsepower flathead painted the correct bronze color and adorned with authentic decals and labels.
Indeed, this is one of the previous owner’s favorite automobiles for taking out and using around town, and it has been maintained as a strong-running highway car. It would be delightful for the next owner on various AACA and VMCCA touring events, as well as for simple outings for ice cream on a summer evening.
Offers welcome and trades considered