Hot-Rod Potential? 1949 Ford Tudor

It is said that the 1949 Ford is the car that saved the company. Prior to ’49, Ford, like many other car companies, were still working off of pre-war designs.  This was the model that introduced integrated fenders and took streamlining down to a commodity car level. And now, seventy-one years later, these ’49 models (and their very similar ’50 & ’51 successors) are still a pretty common sight like this Tudor model, located in Chino, California and available here on eBay for a current bid of $1,525; two bids tendered so far.

The styling differences between ’49 and ’48 were so dramatic that other than the powerplant under the hood, there seemed to be no lineage. Even my parsimonious father who purchased a brand new ’47 Ford traded it on a ’49 as soon as they were available (he paid about $1,600, I have the receipt around here someplace). This is round two for this particular example, the seller states that the deal with the previous buyer fell through. This Tudor has been sitting for a while and, according to the seller, is now a restoration candidate. It was parked fifteen years ago and has been sitting indoors for the last six. Hmmm, basic math tells me it was sitting, not indoors, for nine years. That said, the primered body looks good, it’s straight and the images reveal no signs of rust-through. The listing is light on detail so you have to go with what you can see or make an inquiry if you want more information. There is some missing trim but that’s about it.

The interior is pretty well gutted so it will need work. The seller tells us that the front seat was stolen and is missing. I don’t know a lot about the hierarchy of car thievery, fortunately, but a front seat seems like an odd car part to steal. Whatever the case, that will need to be replaced. The image that is available of the floors presents pans that appear to be sound – always a good thing to find. The dash looks mostly intact but cosmetic things like the windlace etc. are kaput.

Under the hood is a 226 CI, in-line six-cylinder engine (I was hoping for the hold-over flat-head V8) that is good for 95 HP (only five less than the V8). It is basically one of those “ran when parked” deals though the actual wording is, “It was driven until the time it was stored 15 years ago. Do not know that much more.” I take that to mean no, it is not running. The engine does look complete however so maybe it can be coaxed back to life. When running, gear changes were handled by a three-speed manual transmission.

I am a big supporter of originality and keeping a car in the same state as it was designed and built. I’m going to veer a bit off of the road with this one – I’m thinking hot-rod, tastefully of course. It’s not odd with a ’49-’51 Ford, that’s what happened to many of them by the late ’50s and this one seems a natural for that direction. Yank the boat-anchor six and go for it! It appears to be a really sound candidate for just such an endeavor don’t you think? Lay it on me, this one’s cheap – what would you do with it?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    You KNOW someone is going to say “SBC!!!”🙄

    However, it’s a tough choice as these are still pretty common around here-full restoration or Coyote motor w/ 6 spd and the required suspension/brakes/etc.?

    There was the twin to this one in a detached garage of an elderly recluse widow living near here. They’d bought it new, the motor “went south” after 3 months of driving, they took it back to the dealership who replaced it but THAT one went bad too so her husband got mad and parked it in the garage where they left it. When I first saw it It’d the car had been in the garage 36 years and was in good shape insofar as I could see.
    The widow died 8 years later and it was her grandnephews inheritance-he loaded it on a trailer and went home to CA..

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Just whisper the part about the SBC, Nevada. The walls have ears…

    • Jost

      How about a flatty?

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I really do like the ’49 Fords; the shoebox style brought in a completely different concept which has stayed with me for most of my life. I definitely wouldn’t kick this one off my driveway.

    I still do a double-take whenever I look into the engine bay of this vintage of Ford and see a six; it just seems like it doesn’t belong there. Out west there were very few 6-bangers (I’m sure I could count them on one hand) from ’46 to ’60. The first one I encountered was a ’51 Ford F1 that the contractor (from Cutbank) that helped Dad build his cabin (back in ’64) on the St. Mary Lake.

    I’ll never forget that one because the fuel pump conked out and he left it over Memorial Day weekend. He came back to find that the truck had been stripped to the cab shell, bare frame and engine block (The reservation is NOT a good place to leave a vehicle or even build a cabin). Interestingly enough, he found everything that was missing spread between three salvage yards between Cutbank, Shelby, and Choteau. I hear rumors that he got it (the truck) back together (and running) but never saw it again.

  3. FordGuy1972

    This is the car that saved Ford though the ’49s were plagued with development problems, including dust and water leaks, a lot of squeaks and rattles, and faulty front suspension geometry not to mention poor fit and finish. The ’49-’51 Fords are still popular and this one looks like a good project. It would be nice to see it restored to original specs, there are enough that have been hot rodded. It’s a blank slate as-is so it wouldn’t surprise me if the new owner goes the modified route.

  4. Bob C.

    I think the 49 to 51 Fords were more advanced in styling than rival Chevy and Plymouths in those years. Under the hood, well, not much so.

  5. Don H

    I’d have to stay with the flathead 6,try and find some hippo parts ,don’t no if there were many made for a Ford flathead 6,could at least have a split manifold made for it with duels👀

  6. Chris M.

    Huge hot rod potential!! What a gem! So many ways you can go with this car. Even if you left it alone and got it roadworthy it’s a win. For me it’s simply a warmed up 239 flathead with an oxblood red leather interior. Nothing more.

  7. Tom Bell

    Cutting this one up to build a “hot rod” is trashing another piece of automotive history. Enough have been butchered already–do the right thing: restore correctly or clean it up, make it safe, preserve and drive it.

    • Chris M.

      Yawn. It’s not a super rare production model.

      • John S.

        Ex-actly! And don’t butcher it, re-style it & make it look better. A finely executed custom will bring more cash on investment than a boring restoration… every… single… time!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I think a restoration with a few period accessories works out pretty well. Even a 4-door makes an impression…

  8. Ken Cwrney

    V-8 cars are a dime a dozen, but a 6 cylinder? Now that’s a horse of a different color! This one should be saved
    and be put back on the road in its original
    form. However, gentlemen, there is a part
    of me that says add a vintage Cadillac 331 V-8 to have some real fun with this car. Andy Graniatelli and his brothers became quite well known for their Fordillac conversions in the late ’40s and
    their GRANCOR operation converted quite
    a few of of these into early day sleepers.
    If my memory serves me, I think Robert
    Mitchum drove such a car at the beginning of the movie Thunder Road. If
    that’s true, then Hollywood is guilty of
    destroying a piece of automotive history.
    But the closest I’ll ever get to owning a
    car like that now would be to go to a hobby store, buy a model kit, and build it.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      As far as the model kits are concerned, I’m with you. I have (2) diecast ’49s: a coupe and a woodie. I can barely afford them…

  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    My best image of the ’49s is my friend’s bright red convertible with a full white interior. Box stock flathead, 3 on the tree, etc. Cleanest design of the line as they started making fussy changes until they got to the ’53… which they started making fussy changes to in ’54. Must be the same designer that GM probably hired to do the ’58 Buick and Olds.

  10. Jay E.

    This is the best looking airplane style front grill ever produced. Radial engine, cowl, prop, wings and even landing gear (bumperettes). At some point I’m going to have a complete one on my wall.

  11. L Member

    Had a ’50 Ford (given to me by an uncle) when I got my driver’s license in CT in the mid ’60’s. V8, 3 on the tree with overdrive. Engine was reliable as all get out. When my friends newer cars with that fancy automatic choke gizmo would sit there in the winter while their engines cranked and cranked I would just get in my ’50, pull out the choke knob, turn the ignition switch to ON, press the starter button, and “vroooom!”. Driving off in the snow and ice was another issue – that 4.10:1 rear end was not the most traction-friendly setup.

  12. John S.

    This is an early ’49 based on the lack of a rib on the rear bumper. Very hard to find a smooth version. The hinges on the rear deck lid and the front turn signal / park lights set the ’49 apart from the ’50. This is a solid looking start to any direction the new owner would care to go. Though the text states it looks good in primer, I suspect we’re looking at dulled factory grey paint that, I.M.O., looks great & could be gently buffed up a little. If I had the time & room, I’d dive onto this little gem… it’s priced right! I had a navy blue version of this car back in the 80’s that I customized, performing my 1st top-chop. The sedan lends itself to a real smooth look when mildly chopped, like 2-1/2 / 3 inches. A nice 302, 4-speed & highway gears along with a modest lowering would suit me just fine. Nose it, deck it, skirts & twin Porter steel packs along with some baby spot-lights… Stock restored interior… oh yeah!! By the way I have a mint stainless hood strip if anyone’s interested.

  13. Dave

    What kind of a person steals a seat?! Well, it ain’t original no more. Hot rod it.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      You beat me to the question. Really, how hard up can a person be???

      • Chris M.

        Ever get tired of standing?

  14. L Member

    “What kind of a person steals a seat?” Live anywhere near DC?*

    Re the car – flathead V8’s have a wonderful sound. Almost as nice as the Buick Fireball straight 8 of the same era.

    *I apologize to the moderators for the political reference. But the opening was soooooooo wide!

  15. Chuck Simons

    Not onme mention in the article of the history of the 49-51 Fords. They were based on the 47 Stude design, Ford even went so far as to buying several Champions to dissect.

    • bone

      If thats true , I have to say they did a great job with it- the Studebaker was pretty ugly IMO

    • dr fine

      It was a rejected 1946 Studebaker design.

  16. Joe Haska

    Love the comments, a car like this brings out, history, folk lore and just no common sense and factor in fantasy, like no regard for money, amount of work, and what would it be worth, but its fun to dream. Reality these cars running with better bones can be found all day long for 8 to 12K. It would take that much to make this car worth that!

  17. John Calabro

    In 1949 my 26 year old Dad bought the first car ever owned in our family,a Fordor – he hot married and drove it round trip from Brooklyn to to Miami on his honeymoon.

    I have the sales slip showing that he paid $8.00 for the optional heater.

    If this car were closer and/or I was a little younger, I’d buy it and paint it black.

  18. John Calabro

    My Dad and his brand new 49 Fordor.

    • Del

      Thats a great pic John. was it a 2 or 4 door ?

      • John Calabro

        4 Door – I think it’s a 1950 – still a beauty!

  19. Del Gray

    This is crying out to be Lead Sled.

    Chopped and channeled.

    428 with an automatic. With A/C

    Mopar A body buckets. Tuck and roll interior.

    State of Art sound system.

    Metal flake blue paint.

  20. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Sister in law bought one with V8. She drove it a few years while working for ma bell. I was very young but I remember the car was grey exterior with red interior. She traded it in on a 58 Ford 4 door wagon.
    God bless America

  21. Midnightflyer

    That picture that John Calabro sent in is a 1950

  22. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    SOLD-$1525!!! Somebody got a terrific deal on a classic Ford.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.