Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Rest assured, that's not a type-o in the headline of our ad. Although a select few may be familiar with the Ford Crestline, fewer still have ever heard of the 'Crest-liner' a 2- door sports sedan made for only two years after the war. Introduced in 1950 with a unique two-tone paint scheme, it was intended to compete against the popular Chevrolet Bel Airs and Plymouth Belvederes of the world. A delayed model introduction in the latter half of 1950 was followed up by slow sales in 1951 and consequently the Crestliner never got a fair shot (only 26,304 were ever made), quickly to be discontinued in favor of subsequent models like the Crestline and Victoria. It's a darn shame indeed, because cars like this 1951 Ford Cresliner Tudor represent the peak of post-war Art Deco design, and we rarely get the chance to lay our eyes on these gorgeous 'forgotten' cars.
Even though it was initially envisioned as a volume car and priced to sell to the common masses, the 1951 Crestliner looks like a much more expensive machine. Lots of work went into restoring this car several years ago, and with decades of sound preservation it retains its period look, particularly with the unique vinyl roof and gorgeous brightwork found throughout the exterior. The two-tone paint, which from our studies of Ford's 1951 color chart appears to be Polynesian Brown over Dark Brown (or thereabouts), looks fantastic rendered in modern paint (a relative term in that this finish is certainly older, but not likely the original shade), making it look far shinier and upscale than was possible in 1951. So, with that age come signs of use and age acquired through the years, although it's obvious this car has always been very well cared for and presents like a strong driver quality sled in good condition today. The clean, smooth flanks of the car could easily be boring, but the shape was ground-breaking at the time, ushering in the modern era with hood, fenders, quarters, and deck lid all neatly integrated into a gorgeous package. Lots of chrome and stainless, particularly the heavy front bumper and grille with 'dual bullet' design, definitely added to the 1950s appeal and gave the car an upscale look. All of the bright work is shiny, clean, and nicely maintained, particularly the grille and trademark rear quarter trim that leads to the taillights, a Ford styling feature for years. The hood ornaments were left in place, as were the bumper guards up front and the fender skirts in the rear, meaning this Crestliner is decked out with every exterior option available in 1951, and we absolutely love its grand display.
The understated yet beautifully designed interior is comfortable and ready to hit the road, with two-tone vinyl in the original patterns adorning the seats and door panels. The wide front bench shows few very few signs of use, while the rear shows hardly any wear at all, and both are adorned with vertical stripes, heavy-duty piping, and button accents on the seat covers. The door panels were upholstered to match, with a nice combination of the exterior paints on the window sill, striking light-colored accents, and a stylish slash of chrome on the bottom that matches the handles. All the original instrumentation is complete, with a big speedometer front and center with auxiliary dials and controls in a mesh-like insert that covers most of the dash, and please take a moment to note the cool round indicator needle on the speedo itself. A Magic Air heater box was restored and attached under the dash right where it belongs, and there's an original AM radio in the center of the dash that amazingly still works. Three-on-the-tree shifting retains a period feel, so getting behind the wheel delivers an authentic experience that's further augmented by the rare overdrive unit in tow. That dual-ring steering wheel is a precursor to some of the absolute beauties Ford would design in the future, and the surprisingly sizable trunk features a correct rubber mat and full-sized matching spare tire and jack set.
Traditional power comes from a dressed-to-stock 239 inch Flathead 8BA V8 that's very likely the car's original powerplant. Other than the Optima battery, everything is bone-stock under the hood, from the 2-barrel carburetor and oil bath air cleaner up top, to the massive generator in front and Flathead cylinder heads at the flanks. Lots of goldish-brown paint and proper details make it an engine bay you'll enjoy showing off, and a weekend spent cleaning things up would easily kick things up a notch if trophy hunting is the goal. Headers feed a stock exhaust system with a chambered muffler underneath, so it purrs and cackles in proper flathead fashion, exiting underneath the rear chrome bumper. The undercarriage isn't detailed, but it shows off an incredibly solid frame and floorpans, and with air shocks out back, you can carry friends and their gear without hammering the rear bumper
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