71k Original Miles: 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe

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This 1951 Chevrolet Styline Deluxe is a very attractive car with a claimed 71,000 original miles on its odometer. It presents well and has only accumulated 1,000 miles on its freshly rebuilt motor. It will need very little to push the car to the next level, but even as it currently stands, there is no doubt that it would attract plenty of admiring glances wherever it goes. The time has come for this classic, which is located in Bordentown, New Jersey, to head off to a new home. That is why you will find it listed for sale here on eBay, where the bidding has reached $9,700. The good news? The reserve is now met, so the new home would seem to be just around the corner. I have to take the opportunity to say thank you to Barn Finder Ikey H for referring the Styleline through to us.

This Styleline looks to have led quite a sheltered life. It was originally purchased from a dealership in Moorestown, New Jersey. It is now 69-years-old, and it has spent its entire life within Burlington County, New Jersey. It would appear that the current owner purchased the Chevy around 20-years-ago, and it has remained garaged ever since. He does say that he believes that this was the case with the car through its entire life, and this would help to explain why it has managed to remain completely rust-free. It is a car with a slight air of mystery about it. The Dusk Gray Poly paint looks absolutely stunning, with no signs of any obvious significant flaws. Therein lies the mystery. The owner refers to the Styleline as being all original, and in my mind, that would tend to signify that it has never received a repaint. Now, I’m not willing to cast any doubts over that claim, but if it is true, then that paint isn’t just stunning but is close to amazing. It has an impressive shine and depth of color to it, and if the car has been stored in ideal conditions, then the claim would certainly be conceivable. The trim and chrome also have a wonderful shine, and apart from some minor damage to the trim just forward of the rear wheel arch on the passenger side, it does appear to be free of significant problems. Even the damaged piece doesn’t actually present any immediate dramas, as you need to get down on your hands and knees to be able to spot it.

Opening the doors of the Chevrolet exposes another little mystery for us to consider. Inquiring minds want to know exactly what lies beneath the aftermarket slip-covers that have been fitted to the seats. Are they there to protect the original upholstery, or are they hiding something that is less than pretty? If the upholstery is in good condition, then it does seem a real shame to hide the seats under covers that I would struggle to call attractive. With the rest of the car presenting so well, this is just wrong. At the end of the day, even if the seat covers are toast, then it isn’t the end of the world. Reproduction covers in the correct material, color, and pattern are readily available, and a full set will cost the next owner around $550…if they are indeed required. The other item that is showing its age is the wheel. It is showing a lot of wear, but it isn’t beyond restoration. The wheel also raises another question in my mind. Is it just me, or does there seem to be more wear present than you would expect on a car with a genuine 71,000 miles showing on its odometer? Just a thought. Otherwise, the rest of the trim looks to be in very nice condition and would seem to want for nothing.

Under the hood, we find the 92hp version of the 216.5ci 6-cylinder engine, and in this case, it is hooked to a 3-speed manual transmission. The engine selection for the Styleline is one of those quirky areas in the history of General Motors. There were two different engines available in the 1951 Styleline, but they were specific to the transmission that you chose. Those buyers who chose a manual received the same motor as is fitted to this car. Buyers who ticked the box beside the 2-speed Powerglide option received a 235ci engine, producing 105hp. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Give me the smaller engine and the manual transmission any day. The Chevy obviously hasn’t seen a lot of recent use. The engine does look remarkably crisp and clean. This is easy to understand because it has only accumulated 1,000 miles since it underwent a full rebuild. Mind you, that rebuild was performed 10-years-ago! You certainly couldn’t accuse this owner of wearing-out his classic. The owner claims that the Chevy is very reliable, which all sounds very reassuring for the next owner. As an added bonus, the owner is including a reasonable collection of parts with the car. If you do happen to buy the Styleline, don’t be too worried about where you are going to store the parts, because the cabinet that currently houses them is also included in the deal!

The listing for this 1951 Styleline Deluxe describes the vehicle as a good car for a first-time collector looking to enter the classic car scene. That does seem to be a fair sort of assessment, because, on face value, it really looks like it won’t take a lot of time or money to transform the car from the really nice example that it currently is, through to something pretty stunning. The majority of the work required would seem to revolve around the finer details of the interior trim and finish. Get that right, and the next owner should be left with a car that will stand out in a crowd…and will do it for all of the right reasons.

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    I know, you hear my stories on Packard this and Packard that, but if I’m not mistaken, our own geomechs has a car like this, only a ’49(?) My “Packard” grandpa had some money, plus my grandma had a good job, the original “dinks”, as it were, but my other grandpa, my dad’s dad, was a poor man, no real career, grandma had a p/t job at Boston Store, THEY, and many like them, bought a ’51 Chevy. I think it was his 1st new car. It was HALF the cost of a Packard, yet, it took Americans, that couldn’t quite afford Packards( or Caddy’s, or Lincolns) to everywhere beyond. The 1st car I remember riding in from the other grandpa, was his ’51 Chevy 4 door, and I’m sure I’m not alone with that story.

    Like 3
    • PatrickM

      Howard, you are not alone…almost. My parents had a ’51 Chevy 4 door. It was the third car I remember riding in. 1st was a ’38 Plymouth 4 door, second was a ’46 Chevy 4 door, then the ’51. My parents always had very practical cars and Dad did a lot of work on them when it was necessary. Dad also got a ’47 Chevy 2 door fastback for a while. That’s another story. I would love to have this. But, alas, my wallet just keeps me in this chair.

      Like 0
      • PatrickM

        My wallet said, again, “I don’t care if it is only two states away. Just sit tight. This one is out of your price range.” Well, dang it, anyway. I live in Maryland.

        Like 0
  2. Irocz28

    My first car in high school. Two door sedan with 6 cylinder and Powerglide trans. Paid 75 dollars for it. Drove it everywhere. Even had factory installed fender skirts!

    Like 3
  3. RayT

    My first Daily Driver — my father wouldn’t let me drive his Healey to school! — was a ’50 DeLuxe “Sport Coupe.” It had belonged to my grandfather, and had been painted pea-soup green by Earl Scheib at some point.

    It was a pretty decent old beast, if you don’t count the sticking shift linkage (which, IIRC, would leave you in first gear until you manually wiggled the linkage around under the hood) and the noisy rear axle (which we replaced with a junkyard part). A Pep Boys seat cover hid the torn original fabric quite nicely.

    Later, it went off to the scrapyard after my sister ran it for a while without oil…. I feel a little nostalgic about Chevys of this vintage, but not enough to own one again.

    Like 1
    • Elmer P

      My first was a green ‘50 also. I paid $85 and it was a rust bucket. It had the same quirk with the shift linkage. Open the hood and jiggle it around so you could get out of low gear! Those were the days!

      Like 0
  4. Dennis

    I have a 51 Styleline in my garage and the steering wheel wear looks exactly the same except that mine shows cracks from being a southwest car and a lot less garaging. My odometer shows 91,000 which I believe to be actual mileage.

    Like 1
  5. Bear

    Damn nice looking car! :-)
    Hard to find a rust-free example like this anywhere, especially in the northeast!
    Someone needs to snap this one up & drive it! (y)

    Like 3
  6. normadesmond

    The door cards (is that what you call them?) are redone. Way too clean.

    Like 1
  7. geomechs geomechsMember

    Chevy got a lot of mileage out of its basic family transportation. When I was a kid they were still oozing out of every corner. Well, maybe the well-to-do bought an Olds or a Buick, or crossed the fence and bought a Chrysler. But the mainstay out west was a Chevy, or a Ford, or a Plymouth. These cars were parked on half of the driveways in town well into the 60s…

    Like 2
  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I saw one like this not far from where I live. It had recently been restored. It was a little out of my price range. But it looked like something I could’ve driven had I been given the opportunity to do so. :)

    Like 1
  9. Joe Machado

    Drivers DMV test, 52 Styline 4 door. Two tone blue.
    Those of you traveling, I got a major surprise.
    In my truck n trailer, Camaro inside.
    All states I went thru were no issues with the govt control of the population, only entering Florida from Calif, I was asked if we were in New Jersey, New York, etc, in the last month that we would be quarantined.
    What have I missed?
    Leavin Destin for Tallahassee now.
    Head to Calif after I load the 72 Valiant Sunday on Monday. Unload in Phoenix.

    Like 1
  10. dave brennan

    Oddly, the earlier story about the Nash said it was a Nash quirk that assigned a specific engine to a specific transmission in the same car

    Like 2
  11. dave brennan

    Would like to have this car as it’s the same age as I am. Not to mention that it is and pretty nice looking shape and reasonably close to me

    Like 2
  12. JP

    My dad had a few of these ’50 – ’52 Chevys & they were great family cars back in the day!

    Like 1
  13. 4spdBernie 4spdbernie

    Also has nice rust-free quarter cards, and all the body card gaps look even, obviously never any accident damage.

    Like 0
  14. SquareLeft

    First, I have to say that I’m a bit prejudiced, as I own a ’51 Special Business Coupe. These are great old cars – easy to both work on and find parts for. Growing up, our only family car from 1953 to 1963 was a 1951 Fleetline (aero) 2-door sedan. Several years ago, I decided to try to find one in ‘driver’ condition. Something to take to cruise-ins and maybe the occasional car show. I found one on ebay not-too-far from where we lived – and at a decent price. The seller told me that it had no rust. Yeah, right! When I got to his house, the car was parked in a nice garage with a concrete floor. A creeper and a trouble-light were next to it. He said “No one believes the no-rust part of the ad, so now I’m prepared to let potential buyers look for themselves.” This car wasn’t the Fleetline that I was looking for – and it was green, not blue like our old car; but it was in such good condition that I couldn’t pass up the deal. I have several older cars, but the ’51 is like a trip back to my childhood every time I drive it. It’s definitely not original, but I don’t care. People who grew up in the ‘50s are drawn to it every time I drive it. I also have a ‘Kermit the Frog’ toy mounted on a hollow tube that I put over the antenna when I show it – the little ones all love that!

    One other comment about the 216/3-speed vs. the 235/Glide. The 235s have hydraulic lifters – one less thing to have to adjust! The 235s were still ‘dipper’ engines in ’51 and ’52 but went to full pressure lubrication in ’53.

    My ’51: https://sites.google.com/site/davezgarage/the-cars-trucks-and-trailers/1951-chevrolet-special-business-coupe

    Like 1
  15. TimM

    This car is truely stunning for an original paint car!! I would just about kill to see the seats under that seat cover just to make sure there as nice as the rest of the car!! Totally amazing that this car has spent its whole life with out a hint of rust in New Jersey aka the ice coast!! I would be proud to own a car of this quality and wouldn’t do a thing to it!! Just drive the tires off it!!!

    Like 1
  16. SubGothius

    When I was a wee lad in the ’70s, my Granddad had “the old Chevy”, a ’51 business coupe. It was pea-soup green, as far as I could tell from what was left of the original paint, had an outrigger left-turn signal light (no right signal) added to the fender that he activated with a toggle switch in the dash, and an ignition so worn he’d amuse me by taking the key out while it was still running at a stoplight and unlock the glovebox for me. A curious choice of commuter car for the State Superintendent of Curricula to drive to work.

    Like 0
  17. Fred Alexander

    I had a 51 Chev 2 dr 30.000 mi. that I got from a farmer for $50.00 back in 62. So to start hand strip the brushed on grey paint – – – apparently that was to brighten up the faded paint – hand sanding and blocking the dings on the body. – – Hours and Hours of laborious pueas r

    (I;ll bet this one has had a good quality repaint- checking around rubber moldings etc. will tell the story – unless it was disassembled to repaint. Check around the windshield rubber etc. that’ll tell the story.
    Next – rebuild the engine – Babbitt bearings took specialized machining etc. which my journeyman mechanic professional re-builder did. Split the manifold and installed dual exhaust straight pipes – – -that lasted a week until the police shut me down and I installed new Smitty Blue Bottles that I soaked with oil – still mega loud.
    Next to the body shop – frenched head lights, 51 DeSoto Grille and tail lights, custom mixed light green paint with lots fine metal flake added and an extra gallon for the future is there was a “Happening”
    Out of the body shop and custom rolled and pleated green and off white Naugahyde upholstered seats rear package tray,door panels,loop pile carpets, add arm rests, working clock and radio.
    I couldn’t afford to do the head liner so we did the old trick of paint the head liner with white.took four coats but looked great for a temporary fix
    So, I got laid off and had to give my complete derivable 40 Ford pick up (next project) to the upholsterer – – – bad mistake looking back now as I got a good paying job a couple of weeks later.
    It was a great looking custom of the day – – until I blew up the engine racing on the highway to Regina on a quiet Sunday morning,
    Sold it in one day and bought my 1957 Pontiac Laurentian 2 dr HT (Sport Coupe)
    I did like that 51 Chevy and it was in a couple of car shows but the headliner paint job was a determinant to being in the trophy run.
    Lots of trophy s (dust collectors) would come a few years later.

    Like 0
  18. Mark

    I one of my bucket list cars. The 49-51 Chevy design to me is as iconic as the tri-fives and as such, open to so many hot rod variations. To me keeping them stock with a second set of wheels to swap out from time to time is the way to go.
    These originals are few and far between. Someone is going to get one nice car.

    Like 0

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