Stylish Original: 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Sedan

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Even though the Korean War was at its height, and some materials were either scarce or apportioned by the government, car sales in 1951 were very strong and Chevrolet led all companies with its model-year production total of 1,250,803 units. Chevrolet remained America’s number one automaker.

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While four door sedans were always their biggest sellers, Chevy managed to move 262,933 Styleline Deluxe and another 76,566 Styleline Special two door sedans that year.

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Standard shift Chevvies were powered by the  216.5-cid solid-lifter “Stovebolt” six with a 6.6:1 compression ratio making 92 hp at 3,400 rpm for 1951. The hydraulic-lifter 235.5-cid version used in Powerglide-equipped cars had a 6.7:1 compression ratio and delivered 105 hp at 3,600 rpm.

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When I was growing up in the late fifties and early sixties, seeing used Chevvies like this one that is for sale here on craigslist in Austin, Texas was very common. After they served their original owners, they were often passed on to students and young families that could not afford newer cars. This example appears to have been an Austin car its whole life, and was likely driven by a U of T student, class of 1963.

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It looks like this car sat for a long time before the current owner got hold of it, with intentions to get it back on the road.

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As so often happens, this seller has other projects and not enough time, and that means a new owner will have a chance to bring this long suffering survivor back to life. With an asking price of $1,700, this car seems like a good starting point for whatever you’d like to do with it – anything from a full restoration to a rat rod or custom.

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And the seller just happens to own a hot rod shop and would be happy to do the work, as long as you are happy to pay him for it.

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Even though it’s a Texas car, and overall looks solid, the floors and trunk are rusted out and will need to be replaced. The seller says this is the result leaky seals, allowing water into the car.

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As you can see from the pictures, the interior is pretty much shot and will need to be completely done over.

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The body has a few dents, and seems to be missing its original side trim. Bumpers will need to be replated. Maybe that Korean War era chrome was not so good in the first place.

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The engine is complete but the seller says it’s locked up, and as you can see, it’s now partly disassembled.

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The transmission is said to shift into each gear. The brakes are not frozen and the car rolls, but there is no doubt that this is going to be a major project.

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While it’s not exactly a rare car, these pre-Tri-Five Chevrolets are becoming increasingly popular, and they are great looking cars that can be made into comfortable weekend cruisers, or even daily drivers for those of us who live in drier, warmer climates.

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The seller has a clear title in his name, but interestingly, says that it’s titled as a 1950 due to a clerical mistake long ago. It’s probably easier to just let it continue to be registered and titled as a 1950. Why not?

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If you are into cars of this era, this old Chevy seems like a pretty solid base for building something special and personal to your tastes. What would you do with this car if it was yours?

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Comments

  1. Coventrycat

    Love seeing the old window stickers and dealer badges on these.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Yeah, I used to think that dealer stickers and badges cluttered cars up but they can add to the appearance.

      • Marko

        Wow…Thar dealer was only 50 miles from where I live. I remember them too. Cool posting.

  2. Lee Hartman

    I never could understand why someone would advertise a car with a headlight missing. First impressions are everything, and sticking a bulb in that socket transforms a car that looks like a junker into a car that has project potential.

    That being said, I think it would be a great project. If I bought it, I’d go looking for a ’54 or later 235 or better yet a 261 truck engine. If I was really lucky, I might even find a 302 GMC!

    • Davnkatz Taylor

      Missing headlight is an EASY fix. Not so easy is the ready-to-fall-out floorboard. Her in Belton TX I recently “passed” on a very similar model in 100% better condition. Red with asking price $4500.00. Why did I “pass”? One whole fender and several other areas were “touched up” with a brush. No thanx

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    When I was a kid I hated this style of car. I always thought it looked like a giant jellybean. However, it grew on me through the years, especially when my own ’49 Styleline got pulled out of the barn. Easy to work on; reliable to a fault. Just don’t expect them to drive very fast. This one would be a worthwhile project but it would be a body-off restoration.

  4. Chuck

    I guess painting the wheels red was a good start on the restoration & then he realized what else it would need.

  5. JimmyinTEXAS

    17K for this one, when this driver is sub 8K, hummm, I wonder which one I would buy….
    http://www.uniquemankato.com/web/used/Chevrolet-Styleline-1951-Ham-Lake-Minnesota/29764328/

    • Doug

      Actually it’s $1700 not $17K

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        Damn my lying eyes… Thanks for setting me straight. lol, I think I would still be way ahead with the 8K one…

      • Speedy D

        All I see here is a $300 parts car -IF you can find any useable parts you need

  6. Andrew S. Mace Member

    The side trim isn’t “missing”; it was never there. It was the “De Luxe” models that had the side trim as well as bright trim around the windshield and other “enhancements” inside and out. But these “base level” cars are very cool and probably very rare!

  7. Woodie Man

    Well if the seller owns a shop and is passing the car on………..

  8. Randall

    Was this Fred Flintstones’ car?

  9. Rob T.

    So rare nowadays to see a Styleline Special……I’d almost forgotten that these used a three spoke steering wheel w/ a horn button, instead of a horn ring like used on the Styleline Deluxe. Cool!!

  10. Charles

    I stopped to look at a ’51 Fleetline Special four door maybe about 17-18 yrs. ago. Better shape overall & realized then just how rarely seen any of the special models are nowdays……Deluxe models? Sure! Special models? They seem to be damn near extinct. And that’s what makes them so neat……well, IMHO anyway. Ha Ha!😉

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