In 1949 Ford took a big risk by completely redesigning their Ford line. The 1949 Ford was a completely new car that looked nothing like their previous cars. The 1951 Ford Crestliner that is the subject of this post was a direct evolution of the 1949 Ford.
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During this period of time, not only Ford but all of the North American car manufacturers were moving from pre-war designs to the new post-war cars. Not surprisingly, in 1950 Ford was caught without a pillarless or “hardtop” car that many of the other North American manufacturer’s had. As a result in mid-model year 195o, Ford came up with the Crestliner, which was a two-door sedan with many new trim features. Eventually, at the end of January 1951, Ford was able to introduce their new “hardtop” model, the Custom Victoria. With the addition of the Custom Victoria, Ford no longer needed the Crestliner and it was dropped from their line up, as a result, the 1951 Ford Crestliner shown below is from the last model year of the Crestliner.
1951 Ford Crestliner
While the overall body configuration of the 1951 Ford is the same as the 1949 model, the major difference is in the grill design. The 1949 grill has a single “spinner” design, while the 1951 Fords had a dual “spinner” design.
Note the Vinyl Roof on this 1951 Ford Crestliner
The special trim features for the Crestliner were two-tone side trim, special hubcaps, vinyl top, and upscale interior trim. Even with these features in 1951 Ford sold about 103,000 Custom Victorias at $1,925 compared to only 8,703 Crestliner despite selling for $330 less at $1,595. Clearly the customers preferred the hardtop styling of the Custom Victorias.
Vinyl tops, like that on this 1951 Crestliner, made this brief appearance in the 1950s and then re-appeared again in the mid-1960s.
This Particular 1951 Ford Crestliner Was Very Well Restored
In 1951 Fords were available with an overhead valve six-cylinder engine or the famous Flord “Flathead” V8 engine. The 239 cubic inch Flathead engine produced 100 horsepower which was only a few more horsepower than the six cylinder engine. The V8 emblem on the side of the Crestliner, just ahead of the rear, lets people know that there is a Flathead V8 in this car.
Note The Presence of Seat Belts in this Car
This particular car had a set of seat belts installed. I believe that these are aftermarket seat belts, because I don’t think that seat belts were available in Ford cars until about 1956. The particular 1951 Ford Crestliner had a 3-speed manual tranmission with a column mounted shifter. The original owner had selected this transmission despite Ford having introduced their three-speed “Ford-O-Matic” automatic transmission in this model year.
The Crestliner Interior Is Very Attractive
The “Magic Air” box seen in the area below the dash is a heater. This was a $58 option that had a 25% percent higher air flow. At first glance it appears to be an air conditioner, but it is actually a heater.
I found this car to be quite interesting with its early use of a vinyl roof. I also followed this car on the road for a few miles and it seemed to run very well.