Form Over Function: 1954 Ford Crestliner Victoria

At one time, restoring cars was far more popular than it is now.  Having gone to the Antique Automobile Club of America car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a number of years in the nineties, I remember seeing acre after acre of restored cars from the very late 1800s all the way to the early 1970s.  The section for fifties cars was both amazing and enormous, as that was the hottest segment for collectors at that time.  I have heard that car counts for the show and the size of the swap meet have fallen a bit, and the reasons are two fold.  The first is that the internet pretty much eliminated the necessity for tracking parts down at swap meets.  The second is that the generations that restored so many of these cars are leaving us.  They are leaving behind cars like this 1954 Ford Crestliner Victoria, which is being offered here on craigslist in Frenchburg, Kentucky.  An older restoration, this beautiful Ford still has a lot of style for the $13,000 asking price.

I think we can all agree that the fifties were an incredible time in American history.  The post war economic boom, when we were really the only industrialized nation physically untouched by the war, combined with immense optimism, was reflected in the products produced during that time.  Automakers were taking chances with styling, engineering, and sales, and a number of fifties cars ended up being as iconic as the decade itself.  One of the more popular styling gimmicks of the period was that of pillarless hardtops.  Designed to give the driver that open, airy feel of a convertible, these vehicles were built without a center brace from the body to the roof.  Often, they were actually convertible bodies with hard tops placed upon them.

When building their fifties version, Ford resurrected the Victoria name from the Model A and early V-8 days.  While the 1951 Victoria was the first of this body type for Ford in the 1950s, the 1952 bodies were better designed to handle the stresses that the less supported roof had on the car.  While some argued that the design combined the worst of both a convertible and a regular sedan, customers ate them up.  After all, it seems that people prefer to endure hassles with a good looking car over being perfectly served by an ugly or stodgy one.  Ford’s Victorias reached their high point in the eyes of many with the 1955 Crown Victoria, but the models from 1951 through 1954 were beautiful in their own ways.

The car featured here is a 1954 Crestliner Victoria.  Crestliner was the high end trim line that ended up being called the Fairlane in 1955.  As you can see from the photos above, the car is an older restoration with a few flaws here and there.  Whoever restored the car worked to make the car as close to factory original as possible, and it shows in how well the car presents in the less than perfect pictures.  While these pictures do show some age related flaws and imperfections, it appears that the car was restored well, and still has a lot of life in it if you are looking for a useable driver level car.

Under the hood is the new for 1954 overhead valve “Y-block” V-8.  Having just 239 cubic inches of displacement in its first year, the engine produced 130 horsepower, a fair improvement over the previous Flathead.  As shown in the picture above, the engine compartment has been refinished to factory correct, except for the plastic inline fuel filter.  This was probably added because of fuel that has sat in the car for a long period of time gumming up the carburetor.  When you look at the overall cleanliness of this engine, especially the perfectly dressed look of the exhaust manifold, and combine that with the chipping paint, it would be a fair assumption that this car wasn’t driven much after the 1982 restoration, and probably went through a long period of dormancy before this sale.

With the attractive color combination of Cameo Coral for the body and White Sandstone for the top, this Victoria really stands out.  Combined with the black and white interior that still looks to be in good condition, the automatic transmission, and the strong V-8, this car would make a great addition to any collection.  A car like this would be perfect for multi day driving tours, or a long distance trip.  By 1954, Ford was producing a very modern car that is quite useable even today.  After a period of repairing the little things that pop up after a car has sat for a long period of time, this car would likely be very reliable and enjoyable.  This hardtop’s classic good looks would be the icing on the cake.  Everyone loves a good looking car, then and now.

Comments

  1. Tort Member

    Nice car in every way including the color and being a 2 dr. hardtop and a 54 is rare compared to the 55’s and 56’s. Chevy guy but I would love to have it in my garage.

  2. dirtyharry

    Ford did its very best to get market share. What a great find. You raised a great question: will anyone care about these in the future? It seems like the young people from today will be collecting old computers, electronic games and cell phones. With governments calling the end of gas autos (now on the horizon), I wonder if this will all be a lost art relegated to a museum.

    • Solosolo Ken Tilly Member

      I believe Dirty Harry is correct re the young people of today and their future collections etc. but unfortunately there are millions more collectable cars than there are museums so who knows where they are all going to end up once we are gone.

  3. Shelli Anne

    Beautiful car in every way, rather doubt it originally came with a clear plastic V.W. fuel filter !

    • Solosolo Ken Tilly Member

      Unfortunately Shelli Anne, with today’s modern petrol it is an absolute necessity to have a petrol filter, VW or otherwise, however, it could have been installed in a less conspicuous position.

      • Lonni93041

        I started burning Top Tier gasoline (usually Chevron) in my cars and bikes exclusively 17 years ago and never had a problem. Not a bit of crud in the float bowls or filters ever. Don’t know if it’s available everywhere but it’s pretty much the norm here in CA probably because of emissions. Actually we used to have some the filthiest gas in the eighties and nineties.

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Beautiful !! The fuel filter is aftermarket and highly recommended as stated above. I put them on everything I own powered by an engine.
    “can’t be drinkin” no bad gasoline”….lol

  5. Mark S

    Beautiful car I some times wonder why there isn’t a bigger following as this car is every bit as stylish as a tri five Chevy. I say this and I’m not even a Ford guy. As for what will happen to all these cars in the future I believe the restored ones will have a better chance of surviving than the ruff unrestored one. The thing is there was a time before computers when young guys were more focused on their car as both a daily driver and a pass time of doing your own work. The complexity of the modern car has killed the idea that you can fix it yourself so I believe that as why young guys are looking to other things for there pass time. Let’s face it keeping these old cars rolling isn’t cheep and with less and less people out there capable of working on cars themselves it stands to reason that this hobby is fading away. In the next few years my restoration will be complete and at that point I hope that I can get one of my kids to take an interest in it and will want to carry it on for another generation. If not it my well be the end of it after my time.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Well stated Mark.

  6. charlie Member

    A great car to enjoy the hobby in.

  7. Will Owen

    The ’54s were such an improvement over the previous lot, and not just because of the engine. Going from the kingpin front suspension to ball-joints made a huge difference in ride, handling and steering feel. I had put in plenty of miles (mostly very slow ones) driving a girlfriend’s ’53 over many, many miles of rural Oklahoma roads, navigating by way of the aptly-named “necker’s knob”, and keeping that sucker tracking right over uneven pavement in spite of certain random distractions was more than enough excuse to pull over for a while. A couple of years later I’m up in Alaska, driving with another girlfriend in a buddy’s ’54, and not only was the steering lighter and easier, the tracking over ripples and especially frost-heaves (not known in Oklahoma!) was a revelation. Sad to say that this was not a one-hand-driving sort of girlfriend, but the nicer car was some consolation.

  8. Jack Quantrill

    Coral and white was popular in the mid fifties. I even had a coral sweater!

  9. Joe

    This is one of the nicest ’54s I’ve seen in a long time & well worth the price!

  10. Loco Mikado

    A very nice car. And it doesn’t have that stupid front crossover exhaust system. I hated them.

  11. Brian M Member

    It looks like the restorer got 55 exhaust manifolds in order to have duals. The first factory duals from Ford were in 55 on the Fairlane, no duals at all in 54, which is why they had the weird crossover pipe at the front of the engine. In 55 they came out with a Y pipe under the car. Back in the 50’s you could tell a 6 from an 8 from the rear by the side that the tail pipe was on, 6 on the left and 8 on the right if I recall correctly. Of course much spelled V8 unless, like my friend Kenny M, you got a split manifold for your 6. His was a 51 Chevy convertible and sounded like a Jag.

  12. Darren

    Is this still available

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