☰ MENU

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage


Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

BUYERS' GUIDE

Classic Car Buyer's Guide:
1949-1954 Fords — Page 2

Radios are scarce in every model year and it is always good to have a car with this option. Power steering is also rare and shows up more often in the 1953-54 models. Other goodies to find include a dash clock, heater and in 1954 you might find a Victoria with power windows. You must remember that features we take for granted were either unavailable or very costly back then. A car with power steering, radio, tinted glass and some fancy chrome trim was considered pretty loaded. A car with power windows and seats was hot stuff and usually found on a Victoria, Sunliner or Skyliner model.

A radio with heater was well equipped for 1951.

A radio with heater was well equipped for 1951.


Power steering and brakes were available in 1953.

Power steering and brakes were available in 1953.


You're doing well if you have a radio, V8 overdrive with mid or premium level trim. Some may wish to go the other way and pick up a business man's coupe with heater, radio deletes and either stuff a big bore Y-block in there or modify the Flathead for performance. Enough of these cars were made to satisfy most buyer's wishes. The most desirable models are going to be Skyliners, Sunliners, V8 two doors, Country Squire station wagons and V8 business coupes. With the old school and rat rod trend catching on, even the basic two door sedans are popular to work with.

The 1950 convertible has it all including skirts, bumper guards and appletons.

The 1950 convertible has it all including skirts, bumper guards and appletons.


Things to Look Out for: These cars were solid and well engineered. There are a few caveats to consider when buying. You might encounter an early production '49 that feels loose with squeaks, rattles and groans from the body. Most of these cars have been restored or revamped at least once so replacement bushings usually take care of this issue. Manual steering cars may have a slight shimmy at low speed, indicating a need for a new idler arm or at worst, a steering box rebuild. One item you may encounter on unrestored '49s is the troublesome front suspension which is known for not holding an alignment. By 1950 the front suspension was changed and improved. The Fordomatic transmissions are good units when rebuilt and using modern oil. If you have a barn find car or survivor with old A type oil in it, you'll want to check for slipping gears as varnish is a problem with old style fluids. Once redone with Dexron 2, they are good for 100,000 miles. Many owners found the 6-volt wiring a pain and have done conversions. You might want to get an upgraded kit to install if your system looks liked it was patched together and spliced up. None of these are deal killers, but they are valid negotiating points.

When it comes to engines, the Flathead is reliable but quite old fashioned. Rebuilding a worn out engine can get expensive due to specialty parts such as main bearings, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft. It shouldn't be much of an issue if you plan to just get it on the road to drive since you can use many different pieces from different cars. The Y-block 239 V8 had hot rod pieces available right from the start and a few are being made today. One problem you might encounter is a noisy valve train due to blocked oil return holes in the cylinder heads. Regular maintenance would prevent this being an issue. The noisy tappets however are just due to loose tolerances. A new set should be an improvement. The original Y-blocks used a cross over pipe connecting the exhaust manifolds up front. This caused lots of burned arms for mechanics and it's common to see dual exhaust manifolds to avoid the entire cumbersome arrangement. Early carbs were prone to leakage and it's common to see later era carbs on the cars.

60,000 miles barn find flathead in a 1952 Ford.

60,000 miles barn find flathead in a 1952 Ford.


Nowadays it'll be hard finding a car with the correct engine in it. It was very common to swap out a 239 for 292 or a T bird 312. Since it is externally the same block, you have no easy clues to identify the displacement. Ford didn't stamp VIN numbers on the engines back then so a date code check is your best way to verify authenticity. Many owners considered a big bore increase an upgrade and figure it's worth a premium. The only sure way to tell a 292 from a 312 is to pull off the oil pan and check the main bearing cap stamps. Those were engine specific. Most buyers looking for a street machine are content with a period correct Y-block with appropriate 312 carb, intake and dress up items. With the hot rod and retro street machine fans, these engines are used as a starting point for custom build ups and correct items aren't as important.

data-matched-content-ui-type="image_card_stacked" data-matched-content-rows-num="4,2" data-matched-content-columns-num="1,4" data-ad-format="autorelaxed">