As the first new postwar models offered by Ford Motor Company, the redesigned 1949 passenger-car lineup was as crucial to its maker’s ongoing success as the pre-war Model A, Model T, and the revolutionary V-8 models of 1932. Breaking from tradition with fresh and modern styling that was lower and wider than before, the new-for-1949 Fords featured “envelope” styling with fully integrated fenders and a low, full-width grille delineated by neat chrome trim and punctuated by a faux jet intake at the center. Passenger space was good, with the new Fords built upon a new ladder frame offering a useful, yet rational 114-inch wheelbase.
Mechanical specifications were updated to match the new styling, with a new wishbone-type front suspension and longitudinal rear springs replacing the former solid front axles and transverse leaf springs. As before, both six-cylinder and V-8 engines were available. A three-speed manual was the sole transmission available for ’49, with overdrive optional. Standard and upscale Custom trim levels provided further distinction.
Upon their release at New York’s posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, they were the first all-new Ford models in more than a decade. Importantly, their introduction on June 10, 1948 preceded new-car introductions by archrivals Chrysler and General Motors, gaining valuable press coverage and positioning Ford as “the automaker to beat” in the increasingly expansive postwar era. The 1949 Ford models and their fresh, clean styling drew wide praise and put the warmed-over 1942 styling into the distant past while positioning Ford for the successes yet to come in the 1950s.
While the 1950 Ford passenger cars appeared little changed from their 1949 model-year counterparts, numerous welcome detail updates spurred advertisements heralding “50 improvements for ’50.” Updated trim distinguished the 1951 models, plus revised taillights, rear license-plate lights, and a completely new dash with instruments now repositioned directly in the driver’s line of sight.
Representing the top of Ford’s model range, this outstanding 1951 Ford Custom Deluxe Convertible is the product of a loving nut-and-bolt, body-off restoration performed to concours quality while in the care of a former Chief Judge of the Early Ford V8 Club of America. Finished in its original and delightfully appealing shade of Alpine Blue paint over a restored two-tone brown/tan leather interior including a restored fascia and instruments, the dashing Ford is exquisitely detailed inside and out with the finesse of a true marque expert in full evidence. Ample power comes from the legendary “Flathead” Ford V8 engine, in 100-horsepower 239 cubic-inch specification, paired with a 3-speed manual gearbox and optional overdrive. The engine, surrounding engine compartment, chassis, and trunk are all properly and attractively detailed, consistent with the rest of the vehicle. Other highlights include a factory pushbutton radio, heater/defroster, optional side mirrors, a Deluxe hood ornament, optional “three-rib” rear-fender skirts, and power-operated convertible top trimmed in high-quality Stayfast material.
Confirming the excellence of the restoration, the Ford has won numerous awards and accolades including a 2010 AACA Senior National First Prize and three Dearborn Awards achieved in Early Ford V8 Club judging. As one of just 8,703 Custom Deluxe Convertibles built, it is quite rare today in such wonderfully restored and presented, award-winning condition. A new matching spare and tools are included. Featuring robust V8 power, a flexible 3-speed manual transmission, and the cruising ease afforded by optional overdrive, this striking 1951 Ford Custom Deluxe Convertible is eminently ready for show exhibition and enjoyable drives along your favorite stretch of road with family and friends to share the wonderful experience.
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