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Affordable Family Cruiser: 1951 Ford Custom


Here’s another “shoebox” Ford for you. This one has had any mechanical gremlins exorcised and is ready for some summer cruising! It’s located in Snohomish, Washington and is offered for sale here on eBay, where the buy it now is $6,950 but lower offers are welcomed.


While the exterior looks pretty good in these distance shots, it’s certainly not perfect. For example, there’s some body damage below the driver’s side tailight that is not visible in this shot. I do like the red wheels/wide white look! Those are new Coker tires as well.


Thankfully, it appears we have an honest seller here, who included close ups of several areas. The front and rear bumpers look to be in far better shape chrome-wise than some of the trim. I’m guessing they were rechromed at some point. I’m sure the paint isn’t original, but I’m guessing it’s a pretty old repaint and looks to have the right level of “old car look” to be appropriate for a classic family cruiser. Oh, one more thing–make sure the blue dots are legal in your state–I don’t think they are in North Carolina. Luckily, there are plenty of lenses and even complete units available here.


Here’s another shot to show the differences between the nice plated pieces and the ones that are cosmetically challenged.


The seats have been covered with period covers; the seller thinks they need help underneath, but honestly I’m fine with the covers. How about you? Anyone know if the different color in here means the car was a different color originally, or if they were all this color inside? The ones I saw online were all body color, but I couldn’t find confirmation anywhere that was the case for all cars.


With a 226 cubic inch inline six, this is the 95 horsepower model (the V8 only had 100 horsepower) and although we don’t see much of it, the seller says it purrs.


On the other hand, the transmission and overdrive have just been overhauled at a cost of $3,500 (!)


The seller also states other work was recently done, including the rear end being serviced with new axle seals, a new clutch, fuel tank and brake system.  How would you like to be the next person to be cruising in style in this shoebox?


  1. Kincer Dave

    That’s a very nice old classic that you could drive and fix as time and funds allow, I wouldn’t mind having it myself.

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  2. Mike

    Nice old cruiser, wish Momma would let me buy it, but like I have said in the past, I have to sell something to get more, or built a bigger garage!!!!!!

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  3. RayT Member

    My guess is the paint’s not original, though a very thorough job. Judging by the dash and door cards, it was metallic blue in the beginning. I would want to see it in that color again….

    But that wouldn’t stop me from taking it on! A simple, basic and classy car. Yeah, the “dice” would have to go, though.

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  4. Rich

    This is a heck of a deal! I was never a huge fan of these but I would daily this in a heartbeat.

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  5. David

    Great writeup Jamie! What a wonderful find,both the car and the ad. Isn’t it great when sellers provide such detailed information and pictures of their cars? I too would love to own it, but my dear wife says my next car must be comfortable to sleep in. After thirty some years sleeping indoors I think I rather prefer my bed. There’s a 1951 Crestliner (fancy sheobox) in the museum collection that I drive for events (factory vinyl top!) and it’s a wonderful old cruiser.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks, David — did it show that much that I’d love to have this one? That’s a beautiful car!

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  6. Walt

    Keep the dice and add a few bobbing heads in the Back ! ! Seriously a nice looking
    Car at a decent price. I’m not a Ford guy, but this looks like a good deal, esp if all
    the said work has been done, plus the wiggle room on the asking price. but I really
    don’t know the going market price for these shoeboxes now. Flatheads are holding
    their own now I think ? ?

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  7. DrinkinGasoline

    My ’51 Merc’s 109hp flatty was a great engine aside the occasional summer vapor lock. In the beginning, aluminum foil around the fuel line did the trick until I installed a frame mounted 6v electric fuel pump to maintain pressure. I did the same with My ’49 DeSoto. With an over-sized radiator and the pump, she’ll run all day at higher temps.

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  8. DrinkinGasoline

    Keep the bluedots and drop the rear about 3″, add fender skirts and dual exhaust with 3″ echo cans spitting out the rear. 5 1/2″ twin Unity spotlights turned down and headlight visors. I might even seek out a set of front and rear bumper over-riders. Oh yeah..KEEP THE DICE !
    (sings: I wa,wa,wa,wa, wonnnder ….why…. she went awayyy….
    my little runaway….a run,run,run,run,runaway !)

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    • Walt

      105 Octane. I am a retired A&P mechanic back when you actually worked
      on plane engines when they arrived from long flights. We serviced a lot of different
      planes and engines during the Vietnam war. R&R flights coming into Honolulu.
      One of the nice bonuses was getting to sample the different octane fuels in our
      car engines. The best was 105 used on the DC 4’s. Really nice gas.

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  9. Louie

    My father has a 51 Ford and dash and door panels are that same color.His is also black.

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    • Betsy

      Yes, the 51’s all had that army blue green dash. Mine has the aqua door panels but the exterior is seafoam. Seats were reupholstered a long time ago in grey /green plaid so I added light grey carpet, seatbelts, and headliner.

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