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Fordor Sedan with Overdrive: 1954 Ford Customline

1954 Ford Customline

Looking over the 1954 Ford brochure, the Customlines fit nicely between the Mainline (base model) and the Crestline (top model), offering some upscale features without being too ostentatious. This diamond in the rough that was last licensed in 1971 is located near Portland, Oregon and is offered here on Craigslist for only $1000.

Fod Customline Brochure

When the “extra comfort of foam-rubber cushioned seats” makes the brochure, you know we’re not talking about modern levels of comfort! Ford did want to make note of the bright metal trim, which appears to be more tasteful than the path Detroit styling was about to take.

Ford Customline

If Ford held true to their brochure, this Crestline is not wearing an original color scheme, although remnants of the blue paint throughout indicate that it may be original; perhaps a later owner added the cream to highlight the trim lines. In any case, it would be an attractive color combination if restored. The seller states that it sat in a horse barn from 1971 until 1985, and then spent until 2014 parked under a tree.

Ford Customline Project

According to the ad, the body is “excellent.” That’s not exactly the term I would use, but it does appear relatively solid, while floors and trunk are said to have rust or holes. For some reason, the passenger front door is stuck. A little internet searching revealed that the original dealership, McRoberts Ford in Gresham, OR is still in business, although they have changed their name to Gresham Ford.

Ford Customline Interior

All four original wheel covers are in the interior, which is in poor shape, but is probably original given the claimed 38k miles. The car is described as being 99% complete, I’ve frequently wondered whether that is component count, weight, parts cost or what? At least most major components are there, and even the chrome looks complete.

Ford Customline Trunk

The seller points out that the trunk was filled with hay, courtesy of rats! The strange pattern of rust on the spare wheel has me worried a little, although maybe the rats just piled wet hay on one side of the wheel. The bias-ply spare reminds me how far tire technology has come!

Ford Customline Engine

I’m happy to report that the original-looking engine turns over and isn’t frozen. If it is the original engine, it’s a 223 cubic inch inline 6, sporting 115 horsepower when new. The idea of an older sedan painted in the pretty blue on the firewall has a lot of appeals to me, but this one would certainly take a lot of work! Let us know what you think in the comments below.


  1. Alan (Michigan)

    This era of Ford does absolutely nothing for me…. Unless it was a cop car, then I might think Broderick Crawford, and go with it.
    The other car companies managed a better style somehow, one which has a more lasting appeal. Ford got it back in ’57, IMO. This body leaves me cold.

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    • Chuck

      I believe Brodrick Crawford drove two door Buick hardtops.
      My first car was a 54 Ford Convertible that my dad gave me for my 16’th birthday, but I agree that the 57’s had the better style.

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      • Alan (Michigan)

        Well I’ll be darned. All I can find is images of the Buicks, with a couple of Dodges thrown in. Faulty memory, I guess. Must have been Ford cop cars in some other show, or maybe just in my head?

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    • MikeH

      I thought the 52-54 Fords were way better looking than the Plymouths and Chevys of the era. It wasn’t until 55 that they caught up.

      Like 1
  2. Rene

    I would definitely take a closer look, if I were in the market for a classic car. From the pictures above it looks solid.

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  3. fred

    Some of the independent makers at the time, such as Kaiser, ran rings around Detroit when it came to four door styling. Case in point, my own ’51 shown here (now put away for the winter).Last night I saw one of those many classic car buying/selling shows and the subject was a ’54 Crestline. It was nearly as rough as the one here. He purchased it for $1800, did a quickie paint job and seat covers, got it running and supposedly sold it for $13K. Looked like a $5000 car to me.

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  4. fred

    Some of the independent makers at the time, such as Kaiser, ran rings around Detroit when it came to four door styling. Case in point, my own ’51 shown here (now put away for the winter).Last night I saw one of those many classic car buying/selling shows and the subject was a ’54 Crestline. It was nearly as rough as the one here. He purchased it for $1800, did a quickie paint job and seat covers, got it running and supposedly sold it for $13K. To me, it looked like a $5000 car.

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    • MikeH

      The pic didn’t come through–at least on my screen. I can’t figure out how to post pics here either. Love the late Kaisers.

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  5. fred

    Photo referenced above- unable to delete duplicate post

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  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    The Ford shoebox from ’52 to ’54, I love ’em to death. This one’s a little rusty but nothing that can’t be fixed without too much effort; lots of patch panels/floor pans available. Now those wheel covers! I seem to remember aftermarket being over $100.00 each. Good shape; polish them and use them. Those boots on the heater/fresh air ducts have a tendency to disintegrate. The originals on my car took over 50 years and the aftermarket ones took less than a year. I bought a pair of rubber boots off the boot rack at Big R and cut them up to make new fresh air ‘boots;’ less money and they’re holding up very well. I’m sorry, I hate engine fumes getting into the interior of the car and if the aftermarket replacements don’t hold up, rubber galoshes fill the gap. The replacement boot from the heater motor is steadily shrinking so I see another trip to Big R. I might add that I’ve gone to a lot of car events and I’ve seen cracking boots and some even fabricated/patched with black duct tape; my boots have got CLASS!

    I still have a problem with a straight six in a Ford. Whenever I open up the hood of a car that vintage, I expect to see a V-8. Nothing wrong with the six though. If I didn’t already have a ’54 Fordor, I’d be looking at this one.

    Like 0
    • Woodie Man


      I think “shoebox” refers to the body style that immediately preceded this from ’49 to ’51.

      Kind of looks like this Ford was marinating in water a while. If memory serves me the spare sits in the fenderwell…………..must of been some water in the trunk

      Like 0
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Woodie. You’re quite right about that. The ’52-’54 (and even to ’56) models have been referred to as the ‘later’ shoebox. Since I have a ’54 myself, I just group them all together. Nice ’50 in the photo.

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  7. 1998redwagon

    yawn. these have never done anything for me. that should be good news for those who like ’em – less competition!

    Like 0
  8. Dan h

    It rains allot in Oregon……

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  9. Leo

    Never been a fan of this era of car but this one looks pretty solid for a restoration. I question sometimes if the costs of a restoration on this era of car ever really makes sense as market values just arent there. To me, its one of those areas where you find the best original, running, operative, and driving example you can find. Then just maintain it. And enjoy it.

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  10. TuckerTorpedo

    Guys, let’s not forget that this thing, besides being a six cylinder, has four doors- those are two big strikes in my book. It deserves to be rescued, but for me it’s pretty low on the food chain. Too many more appealing projects out there, not enough time. Somebody else needs to step up and make that happen.

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  11. Doug

    “Shoe box” reference goes all the way through the ’56’ since it was the same build shell starting with the ’49’. Ford just changed fenders, trunks, hoods, and grilles. And I love em too. I first learned to drive in a new ’54’ Ranch Wagon w/ stick, my dad’s co. car. Our family car was a new Hudson Hornet, Roman Bronze and cream, w/ auto tranny and windows. Beautiful car (in my subjective opinion of course)

    And those full wheel covers on this “54” I believe are from a “55”. I bought a pair from our local Ford dealer for my “50” Shoe box when I was in High School. And Tucker’s right about the V8 thing. “54” was their first year for the OH valve and any decent Ford wouldn’t be caught without one. :-)

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  12. Barry

    I have to disagree with those that think Fords had no style until 1957. Back in 1964 I bought a 1956 Ford Victoria just like this. And although it might be just nostalgia for my youth I still think it is a darn nice looking car.

    Like 1

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