When it comes to bodies, these Fords were pretty stout. Rust problems do occur and there are a few trouble spots that can be costly to fix. The sills on the 1950-51 era cars have lots of rectangular holes hidden by the sill plates. If unprotected and the car was driven during harsh weather, trapped water can rot the rockers inside out. You might not even see the damage until you start your restoration tear down. Always check under the sill plates and inspect the holes with a bendable spotlight. The lower firewalls are prone to rusting as well. These can be easily inspected underneath. Check the area around the foot pedals especially on the '49-51 models as the covers around the pedals can let in moisture. Externally the main areas for rust tend to be wherever bright trim was attached to the body. Speaking of trim, many cars built from late 1951 to late 1952 had very thin chrome plating and wore prematurely due to Korean War materiel restrictions. One more area of concern is the metal below the hood hinges on the 49-51 models which had a metal shelf. Trapped leaves and water can rot out the upper cowl and connecting hood hinge supports. Rickety, uneven hood action is a good sign something is amiss.
Check under sill plates for rust and debris inside channels.
Floor pedal area is known for rust on early models.
The hood hinge metal support can rust away due to a metal shelf holding leaves and water.
The 1949-50 woodie station wagons were made using laminated elm wood blocks with maple veneers applied over the steel bodies. The practice was suppose to be dropped by 1951 and replaced with steel panels covered with a Di-Noc wood film transfer framed by real Maple blocks. This was Fords's attempt to give customers that woodie look without the headache of maintenance. Then the Korean War started and materiel restrictions applied by the government made Ford drop the wood transfer film over steel idea. Steel was declared a war resource material and wood paneled 1951 and 1952 wagons were made. The amount of wood used varied according to monthly allowances made by the government. Real wood vanished from Ford station wagons by mid 1953. This only demonstrates there were no steadfast ultimatums on manufacturing during that turbulent era.
Verification & Documentation: These cars were produced before VIN numbers were in use. Serial plates and casting numbers with date codes are as close as you'll get to determining original issue status. For Y-block heads, you're looking for a 6090 casting number followed by a three letter code cast between the exhaust ports above the spark plugs. A Y-engine block has a 6015 casting number and the application code is either found above the oil filter or near distributor and above the generator. Date codes are often next to a freeze plug on the block side. As mentioned before if the engine is installed in car, the only way to verify for sure will be during teardown due to the generator blocking the casting.
Serial numbers are located on dash panel under the hood or the upper right hand side of cowl under the hood from 1949-1951. In 1952 they are the right front body pillar. From 1953 to 1954 they are on the left front body pillar. The first digit is the engine size, the second digit is the year, the third & fourth digits are the assembly plant codes. The serial number and trim codes appear on the patent plate. If you are seeking a particular model or trim level, consult some reliable guides or club members familiar with your car. Sometimes the cars are built for special markets like taxi, airport or rental fleets and special paint and trim codes were used. Some like the 1953 Indy Pace Car are well known, with their SS Paint and Trim code indicating Pearl White Paint and Gold and White leather interior. Following this guide should help you find a fun, reliable Blue Oval machine.