Garden Find: 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe

While never having attained the popularity of the permanently collectible ’55-’57 Chevrolet, the previous generation, such as this 1951 Styline Deluxe, manages to make regular appearances on the webpages of Barn Finds. The lack of an original equipment V8 engine may have some impact on collectibility, or it could be its more dated appearance, but interest abounds nevertheless. So with that thought, let’s take a look at this old Pottsboro, Texas domiciled Chevy coupe. It’s available, here on eBay for a starting bid of $5,000. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

When I was a wee one, finding this vintage car, stored as such, was a common discovery. First of all, it was a lot younger, more like fifteen years old instead of 70, and basically just somebody’s worn-out daily driver. Scrap prices and the scrapping process, in general, were much different matters and a lot of locales didn’t have covenants or restrictions around keeping such a hulk, unregistered, on residential property.  I can recall a neighbor who owned a very stationary 1950 Pontiac that sat at the end of their driveway for years and was an absolute kid magnet – it had a lot of play value!

The 92 gross HP, 216 CI in-line six-cylinder engine looks frozen in time. It doesn’t appear to be operable, and the seller makes no mention as to whether it can be turned over. It’s curious, but the majority of these types of finds that I stumble across are minus their air cleaner assemblies. Is it really missing or has been removed in some attempt to start the engine? Unknown, but the carburetor should be covered up. Of course, you could make the argument at this point that it doesn’t really matter and you would probably be right. Fortunately, this Deluxe is not hampered by a Powerglide automatic transmission and is in possession of a three-speed manual gearbox.

The interior is rough! But then it’s just the interior with the biggest concern being the soundness of the floors. That item is unknown as a carpet of some sort has been overlayed. The front seat has an ill-fitting cover, the door cards and windlace are shredded, the headliner is missing but these are the normally encountered items that befall an outside car. The clock and radio have been removed and there is a roll of flexible steel pipe hanger under the dash – no idea what that is supposed to do. It’s safe to say that the interior will need a complete makeover.

It’s not said how long this Styline has been dormant and the Texas license plate is too faded to discern. The typically thick steel body panels are not showing outwards signs of rot but the underside may tell a different story. There is plenty of surface rust and peeling but the body panels are straight and aligned. The various trim pieces are still attached too, something that is not the case with other Chevies of this generation that I have reviewed. The bumpers, front and rear, appear to be unbumped but will need replating.

The listing suggests, “What you see is what you get but will be a beauty when restored. Everyone wants a two-door!” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that would be dependent upon the direction that the next owner decides to take. My guess would be a V8 conversion with an ensuing hot-rod vibe as a standard six-cylinder version of a ’51 Styleline, unless perfectly restored to original, isn’t going to generate much excitement. That’s my thought, what do you suggest?


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  1. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Oh I don’t know, $5000.00 seams a lot of money to lay out for this particular car. You can buy one in nice driving condition for less than $10k. I just took a quick look on the net to see, you can get a lot more car for this cash.
    God bless America

    Like 16
  2. Perjen Member

    looks like a 235 engine.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      If it is, it’s a swap, the 216 was the only engine available in a ’51 Styleline Deluxe.


      Like 3
      • Marty Parker

        ’51 Powerglide came from the factory with a 235.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Point taken but this isn’t a Powerglide equipped car, it has a manual transmission, and all of those used the 216 CI engine.


        Like 1
  3. Ken Carney

    Had a ’52 fordor with a 235 power glide in it.
    Great old car! Paid $10 for it in ’71. Didn’t
    take much to get the old girl cleaned up and
    running as she should either. Let my sister
    drive it to school when she got her license.
    All went fine til she spun a bearing trying to
    get it out of a snow bank while leaving school.
    I then swapped in a ’64 230 6 cylinder from my buddy’s stripped out Biscayne and in the end I
    wound up with a great old cruiser. That thing
    was so good that we even pulled an Airstream
    camper with it on a family vacay in ’72. I sold
    it to buy a ’60 El Camino off one my Mom’s
    friends. I saw the car again in 1986 while
    getting gas and couldn’t believe just how good
    it still looked after all that time. Seems the
    guy I sold it to passed it on to his younger
    brothers who had taken very good care of it
    over the years. The last brother must’ve
    owned it by then as the young man I saw
    getting into it couldn’t have been any more
    than 16. Try doing that with a modern car

    Like 12
  4. Jack M.
  5. Robert Pellow

    Chevrolet had a v8 in 1951? I thought they were all sixes.

    Like 2
    • Johnny C

      Nope, not ’til ’55. That 6 banger does look like a 235 that was swapped in as an up-grade. $5K seems a bit steep for this one… even if it has floors.

      Like 4
    • Gary

      The 265 came out in 55 but they did have a V8 back in the late teens or early twenties, I can’t remember which.


    I had a nice 52 coupe. Ran good with the 6cyl. and 3 on the tree. Had it repainted a dark blue. It was tan for the factory. Should have left it along.

    Like 2
  7. bobH Member

    Regarding the engine…. I’d like to see a post from someone that remembers their Chevy sixes better than I do. From the style of the valve cover, I don’t think that is either a 216 OR a 235. I’m thinking that is a later style valve cover, perhaps a 230/250, from about 63-up. What say the experts?

    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      Well I do remember these as my dad and one brother had one. This is not a pvc breathing engine so that dates it back some. The one picture isn’t really clear enough to tell for sure but it could be a 216 from what I can tell. Carburetor looks correct, valve cover I believe has been changed at one point.
      God bless America

  8. BR

    Why are air cleaners almost always removed?

    Like 1
  9. Stu

    Is it just me? I prefer the ’49 to ’54 Chevs to tri fives.

    Like 3
    • Gary

      It’s definitely not just you bro.

      Like 1
  10. Gary

    The 49-54 Chevs also make for the best lowriders.

  11. Andrew S Mace Member

    Arguably, this car would be worth a good bit more if it were a coupe. It’s not; rather, it’s a two-door sedan.

    Like 1
    • Gary

      Certainly a two door hardtop is more valuable than a two door sedan. Nonetheless it is a fine automobile.

  12. Patrick Gregston

    I had a 51. The parking lights were round- not these arrows. Am pretty sure this is a later year.
    In any case, there is a long way between this example and what you can get for $5K. It’s just the ask they started with imho.
    And other than the huge back seat, there isn’t a lot to recommend these. I mean I had mine in high school and it was better than any other vehicle other than those Ramblers with the reclining bench seats.

    • SubGothius

      My granddad had a well-worn ’51 Chevy business coupe as his daily commuter when I was a kid, and I definitely remember these arrow-shaped front parking/signal lights — in fact, that’s one of the details that immediately triggers my recognition of a ’51 Chevy “just like Granddad’s”.

      Seems like round parking/signal lights first appeared for ’53?

  13. Terrry

    This was two previous generations before the 55-57s, as the 53-54 Chevs were completely different from the 49-52’s.

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I know that, and while technically you are correct, my intention was to state the popularity of the ’55-’57 and separate them from those that preceded the famous tri-fives.


  14. Josue C Rodriguez

    The reason that the air filters needed to be removed was to get at the stuck butterfly.on the carburetor.

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