Rare Ride: 1955 Ford Courier Sedan Delivery

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Pampano Beach, Florida is where this super cool ride is located. This is a 1955 Ford Courier Sedan Delivery and it’s listed on eBay where there are seven days left to get your bids in and line up your preferred shipper. The current bid is just under $1,500, and of course the reserve isn’t met. This is one sweet rod.

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This is a rare beast and it actually looks pretty good. No, it looks very good! I have no clue how much bodywork will be involved here, I’m guessing that this car is loaded with filler, it’s just too rust-free-looking for being 59-years old. And, it looks a little wrinkly and uneven and.. weird in a few spots. The seller says that it came from a very hot country (not a clue) so there is basically no heating system installed, ever, since it was new, in some other country that apparently is hot. That split tailgate is super cool!

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We’ve probably all done a bit of bodywork and in looking at this car it probably wouldn’t take a ton of work to make it look good and flip it for a profit, if that’s what a person was in to. Well, scratch that, if you look beyond the decent outer body you’ll see where most of your time and money will be spent. But, even with that, if the reserve is low enough a person could theoretically throw $30,000 into this car and still make a healthy profit. Of course, if you bring it into a restoration shop you’re not going to get it back in perfect condition for $30,000 so you’ll have to do a lot of the work yourself.

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We all know that this car will never be restored back to original specs. Some cars just lend themselves to be restomods for the rest of their lives. Any Willys coupe, of course. A Henry J? Forget it. A bathtub Nash? HA, give me a break; all restomods. A sedan delivery is in the same camp. And, there is not one thing wrong with that, I’m just stating the obvious. I can see the appeal for this car to become a gumball-colored custom, it just has that cool shape and persona about it. The interior will, of course, need as much work as the exterior will, but other than welding on the floors and maybe some roof/headliner work, hopefully it won’t be a money pit.

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This is the original engine, Ford’s Y-block 272 V8 that would have had around 160 hp. It looks good in there, obviously it’s been out and has at least been painted, but no word on if it’s been rebuilt or not. Supposedly this is a running car, but just enough to get it on a trailer; although the brakes all work and under the front end of the car it looks pretty good to me, just from looking at this one photo. Is anyone else a fan of these sedan delivery vehicles? I think they’re cool as heck.

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Comments

  1. Larry K

    Bondo asside, I like the paint scheme. “It has a certain ” I don’t know what”

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      “je ne sais quoi”?

  2. Jon

    Cool.. Have never seen one before…. Heck yeah…. put a big block ford in it with an eight stack induction system….

  3. RicK

    where are the Courier script emblems that go on the sides?

    • Jon

      Rick,
      Well possibly someone was doing a mild shave and an haircut to it and thought it would look better with the emblems removed….

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      The ad says it has been imported from another country. Maybe they didn’t have script emblems. Maybe.

  4. mike young

    Rear door should be one piece. Unlike the wagon.

    • Jon

      Special factory build ????

    • Ronnie Gentry

      May came from Bearville tx.

    • PatrickM

      Mike, ..Absolutely! This car has been pieced back together. Good luck to the new owner getting everything to fit up right

  5. JW

    Cool and much more rare than the Chevy versions of deliveries. You are correct this has resto-mod written all over it.

  6. jcs

    The Courier Sedan Delivery was a Ranch Wagon (base model station wagon) without the side windows and rear seat. Mike is correct – it was only offered with a one piece “side door” style door in the rear, not a station wagon rear door. If you look, you will notice that all of the badges on the car are missing. There should be Ford emblems on the hood and the station wagon back door along with V-8 emblems and script Courier on the front fenders. Also, the rear lift station wagon window should have a handle on it to open from the outside. In addition, the car has a 3 speed floor shift which the seller lists as “original”. Ford has not offered a 3 speed floor shift in a passenger car since the late 30’s, except for the T Bird. The seller mentioned that the car was from a hot country. I wonder if these differences are because this was an export model.

  7. Skip

    The “car” I learned to drive in was my dad’s ’52 Ford Sedan-delivery. Looked a lot like this ’55 but was one of the early ones with automatic transmission.

    Chapel of the Roses Funeral Home in Odessa, TX had an unusual ’55 Ford sedan-delivery ambulance. Among other things, it was a fast runner. It came with a 6-volt system, but the first owners replaced the 6-volt battery with an 8-volt Jeep battery, which allowed the warning lights to be brighter. The only downside was that the big Q siren was 12-volt; so putting only 8-volts to it only got the siren to just past half-speed. But that truck remained in service until the funeral home ceased ambulance service and then shut down completely c.1967. I worked just a few blocks away at Rix Funeral Home. Paul Rix was one of Chapel’s original owners when it opened in 1951. Paul and the late Riley Parr were partners, but they never got along well, so Paul backed out as an active partner, going back to his original place that he had opened in the late ’30s. However, Paul kept a small interest in the place. Riley sold his interest in the place, while remaining onboard as funeral director. In 1962 Paul built a new place just a few blocks from Chapel of the Roses, and I went to work for Paul in 1963, when I started to school at Odessa College. To call Paul “thrifty” would be an understatement. He spent no more than absolutely necessary on his ambulances. When I started there we had a ’58 Chevy wagon and his original ’56 Ford wagon. But when Paul opened his new place he sold his interest in Chapel, ending up with Chapel’s relatively new ’59 Pontiac station wagon ambulance. That retired the ’56 Ford and made the ’58 Chevy back up. Now in Odessa we had a rotation system on city-oriented (from fire or police dispatch) calls which was for a month. With three funeral homes in the rotation, we would be on call for the city every three months.

    In Nov. of 1963 we were on call. One Wed. morning very early an explosion occurred at a gas plant NW of Odessa to which Chapel had responded their three ambulances. They were contracted for emergency services with the oil co. that ran the plant. Three patients, all critically burned, were transported. About mid-morning we were called by the ER requesting that we send an ambulance over because the three burn victims, still in surgery, would be airlifted to a burn center in Galveston, some 500 mil away. So for the transport to the airport, one ambulance each from the funeral homes was brought in. Paul sent two of our men in our 1960 Cadillac hearse/ambulance combo, leaving Paul and me to cover ambulance calls. We got a call on another burn victim, this one from an apt. incident, and Paul and I transported to the ER. We were met by our other crew who told us that we needed to switch vehicles because the transfers to the airport would be full Code 3, and our Caddie had no lights or siren. So everything was quiet for a bit, but just after lunch we got called on a vehicle accident right next to the central fire station. Paul and I ran the call in the old ’58 Chevy since the Pontiac was tied up still. As we approached the scene we noticed Chapel’s old ’55 Ford sitting in the intersection. Paul had a sour look on his face and say, “Well, hell, looks like they beat us.” But then I noticed a big dent in the Ford’s right front fender and told Paul that they were the wreck. Paul couldn’t help but chuckle. Because all of the first out ambulances were tied up on the pending transport to the airport, we were all running backup units: hence Chapel’s run in the old Ford. They were crossing an intersection against a red light when they were hit. The ambulances warning lights were all working properly as was the siren, so the guy who hit the ambulance was ticketed.

    Despite the crash, the old ’55 went back into service when it came out of the body shop. It remained in service as third ambulance until the place changed hands around 1965; but was retained by the new owners. It was still equipped and running when the funeral home shut its doors permanently in 1967. The two primary ambulances were sold to a then-new private ambulance service, Baker Ambulance, which would become Odessa’s primary ambulance service until the early ’70s. The old ’55 Ford was not part of the sale to Baker, and to this day, no one knows where the old Ford went. It was still equipped when the funeral home closed, so speculation was that a nearby volunteer fire dept. may have gotten it. Regardless, I would’ve loved to have grabbed it myself!

    • Lion

      Love your story, Skip. I moved to a small city in “72 and became friends with one of the local funeral directors. There were 2 funeral homes and both ran ambulances but I cannot remember what they were. Anyway, there was no smart ideas like on call, so these two businesses used to race to accident scenes. It was nuts.
      But I wanted to say that after a separate ambulance business was set up, a unit on a run with lights and siren was hit in an intersection and the ambulance driver got the ticket. Where I live, and I think across Canada, this is the law. An emergence vehicle cannot run a light or stop sign until checking that it is safe to do so.

  8. jcs

    By the way, total production for the ’55 Courier was around 13,000 rather than “less than 1,000”.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Maybe the Venezuelan ’55 Couriers weren’t counted in the U.S.production numbers, since it could have been made in Brazil or even Venezuela. Maybe.

    • John

      Courier 78A Sedan Delivery….7,754 produced .
      via Ford Pickup Red Book.

  9. WLB

    What about the speedometer, is that export or SVO?

  10. jcs

    WLB, you’re right – the speedometer is in kilometers per hour (200) rather than MPH. Hadn’t noticed that first time around.

    • GB Fisher

      also, the tag says “Venezuela”

  11. terry

    Gasser. Leave the body alone.

  12. G 1

    My dad drove one of these when they were new for a job he had. It had only a driver bucket set. When I rode with him, he would pile up bundles of news papers for me to sit on.

  13. Ck

    I was at a swap meet in Mansfield Ma about 3 years ago.There was a 57 chevy sedan delivery done up like a gasser for sale for 13K. It had a metal flake paint job and a blower stickin through the hood.This thing was BAD ACE .It also had a back seat.Acording to the guy that owned it the back seat was a option only available in 57,thought it was kinda kool. I tried to swap my 70 Elcamino SS for it (thats how kool it was) But the guy wanted no part of that deal .If I would have had 13k that day that car would be in my barn for sure.

  14. Rolf Poncho 455

    Cool wagon !!

    • PatrickM

      Golf Poncho 455, sorry, but this is not a wagon. It is a sedan delivery. Related to wagons, but not one.

  15. Jaime Andrade

    http://www.milanuncios.com/venta-de-coches-clasicos/ford-ranch-wagon-186974000.htm

    Have a look at this. A little far from your contry, it was used as a hearse back in the day.

  16. Skip

    Lion: I loved your comment about the two funeral homes trying to beat each others. Reminds me of what happened in Odessa back in the ’60s. Two of the three funeral homes: Rix and Chapel of the Roses were heavy competitors. Hubbard-Kelly could’ve cared less! What was funny was that two of the radio stations got involved in the competition between Rix and Chapel. Bob Robin who was news director at KECK was friends with a guy at Rix, while Rick Reynolds from KOSA had friends at Chapel. Whenever there was a bad wreck in those days, both stations would cut in with live reports. KECK always made it sound like Rix ran all the ambulance calls in town, while KOSA did the opposite. That went on until Rix exited its ambulance service late in 1966. Chapel continued until 1967. In the meantime a private ambulance co., the first ever in Odessa, opened c.1965, and they just laughed at the antics between Rix and Chapel.

    Talk about competition, though, my late great aunt often told a story from the late ’30s. She and my great uncle lived on a farm in Grayson County, TX. There was an inter-urban bus line that ran near their neighborhood, and one day two of the buses collided, injuring a large number of passengers. Auntie said that she had heard the collision and thought it was an explosion! Presently she heard the sound of sirens coming up her road, so she walked to the fence and saw two ambulances, both competitors, running side by side hollering at each other as they passed her place. She always thought that was humorous. But several years later she was involved in a bus wreck near Ft. Worth and was badly injured. She said what scared everyone on the bus was seeing multiple ambulances approaching from different directions, looking like they were all on a collision course. She said that she had thought to herself, “If this damned wreck hasn’t killed us, those ambulance idiots are going to.”

  17. Lion

    Good stories, Skip. I won’t mention the names of the competitors here cause one couple are our good friends. They were losing the battle because of unscrupulous tactics of the more established funeral service, like going into nursing homes and somehow getting their business name on the old person’s chart. They also conducted funerals for people who had already prepaid to our friends place. Completely unethical. This small city was growing and there was plenty of old folks so if they would have cooperated they would have both done well and our friends would have stayed here. But, almost bankrupt they got out , left town and eventually retired with millions, so hey, worked out for them.

    • Skip

      Hi Lion: Just noticed where you had replied sometime back. What you said about unethical funeral operations isn’t all that unusual. At one time a particular funeral home I know also was the only ambulance service in the town they served for several years until the local FD took over as EMS. Among other things, they ran one-man units, which was still legal in TX at the time, and literally took their time getting to the scene and/or ER because they figured they’d get more money from a deceased patient rather than a live one. At one time they used C.B.s to talk between their office and the ambulances. They seemed to think that they had a “private channel” that no one else could hear. One time the owner told the ambulance driver not to turn on the oxygen for the patient until payment was received because they hadn’t paid the last time he was transported. And even in a disaster situation they begrudged outlying ambulances that responded to help. Our standby service had bought an older ambulance from a private co. in the town close to the one where these people operated. One of our people who was from that town happened to be there in that ambulance when a plane crash occurred well north of town. The aircraft belonged to an oil co. out of Denver and was just heading back home. It was first thought that at least 25 people were onboard, but turned out that those people had disembarked, so it was only the pilot and copilot onboard. Downside regardless of how you looked at it was that there’s no way that the funeral home could’ve handled the situation with just the two ambulances they ran; so our guy responded to the crash. When he arrived, the owner’s son of the funeral home started screaming and hollering about the other ambulance being there…and from what I heard…threw an actual stomping fit. Talk about throwing professionalism out the window…! As I said, all that ended when the F.D. took over……..thank goodness!

      • Lion

        We could probably go on all day, Skip. As mentioned before the funeral homes here also ran ambulances and I heard tails of them racing to accident scenes, even during snow storms, creating more danger on the highways. Then the two owners actually got into some fisticuffs right in the emergancy entrance of the hospital I worked in. That was about 30 years ago and the funeral and ambulance services are good here now but health care has gone down hill.

  18. chad

    how can “the Spanish one” (C link) still have such good paint?

  19. Bob

    Notice the trailer hitch & homemade bumper, fabricated rear lower shock mounts, heavy duty rear springs; a workhorse, maybe a farm vehicle. Also the front lower control arms – looks like one is round tube, the other square. Fixed with whatever was handy. the workmanship looks safe & durable, but pretty far from OEM.
    How the hell does a valve cover get dented?

  20. PatrickM

    This gets a full resto!! New mill for me!! Beef up the frame, media blast, paint, interior, etc. All it takes is a little $$$

  21. Skip

    Yeah…Lion, looks like we’ve both been in it enough years to have seen and heard anything that could happen. Something you’d find interesting is a video compiled by longtime PCS member Steve Loftin in Oklahoma. The video is compiled from footage taken by a news photographer in Corpus Christi from 1962-72. The footage is taken from vehicle accidents during that time period. The interesting parts of the video include the wide variety of vehicles used as ambulances in that time period, from station wagons and coaches to Suburbans. The footage ends just prior to the time that vans and modular would’ve come into play. Most interesting is the level of care, or lack of it, provided by ambulance personnel back then. A lot of that was no surprise, as I’ve been in it since the age of 15 (1960), so I’ve seen it all come and go. However, what really caught my attention was seeing a motorcycle cop doing CPR in the middle of an intersection of an accident scene. Now..that’s something you don’t see nowadays because most cops would consider that a liability issue. Enjoy the weekend!

  22. Ford Doctor

    In 1956 Ford made 1808 Couriers.
    55 May have been less than a thousand.
    57 Courier jumped way up with big conpanies like Ma Bell ordering them for their fleets.
    The 13,000 quantity was probably all Ranch wagons.

  23. lardog

    Does any one know anything about this courier ?Iit is a 78a code the side window is what has me baffled it was done professionally not in someone backyard

  24. Tom Bell

    Great potential here. Sedan deliveries are rare and far too many get cut up for “resto-mods, etc. when they should be preserved in their original state.

  25. Bink

    I had a 55 Courier. Used it as a pit car back in my drag racing days. Switched the dash to a 56. Liked it better and went 12 volt. I took the door off the back and put a station wagon set up on. Things were easily available back then All fit well. Goosed up a 312 and stuck it in. It had come with an I-block six. Looks like the barn find might have had a factory tailgate, but not as nice as the station wagon ones we had here. It was a fun vehicle, I wish I still had it!

  26. Doug

    I currently own the ’55 Sedan Delivery that started this ‘conversation’. I bought it in Ohio and it came back to Indiana without the engine. Not sure where that went, but the original carburetor was in the back. Yes, it did come without a heater and the factory 200 kmh speedometer is very likely factory. The original front seat was welded in as a back seat and some buckets were put in front. The three speed on the floor may or may not be attached to original transmission (I think it is), but the shifter installation was definitely not factory. Along with the heavy home made rear bumper, there is a burglar alarm switch on the left front fender…hard telling, for sure, WHAT was hauled with this car. The rear ambulance style, swing left, cargo door was cut by someone to make it similar to the station wagon clamshell door. As much as it wasn’t really a good idea, whoever did it, did likely better than I could have. However, the home interior door hinges welded to the door frame are pretty much a giveaway…and no latches or handles on the doors, either. The body has a thick substance attached to most of the metal. Not sure if bondo where not even needed or if some sort of very thick paint of a sort. It does look a lot like much of it was done any other way than sprayed. I’m not sure I’m ever going to really get fired up about it, but if I do, was going to leave rear door as is and also leave the speedometer (and probably the burglar alarm switch) just for the curiosity and conversation that goes with. I did order new side window and vent glass and also have front fender lower repair sections and both side rear quarter repair panels. Have all for complete front end and bumper trim and rear bumper, all good. I have about $3200 in it, but would sell it for around that price, if interested. If not sold, when it warms up, might get started on it and once I get started, will at least make a respectable rat rod.

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