True Barn Find! 1957 Ford Custom 300

1957 would be one of those years when Ford would outsell Chevrolet. For that model run, the difference would be more than 120,000 cars. The Custom 300 was one of four models offered and the 4-door sedan would sell more units than even a Fairlane 500 in that body style. This Ford was treated to a restoration about 20 years back but has sat dormant the last 15. The seller has gotten it to run again, but more work will be needed. Located in New Hyde Park, New York, bidding on the 300 here on eBay has yet to start at $4,500.

After a one-year absence, the Ford Custom returned for 1957 along with a new Custom 300 series. Both models were positioned below the Fairlane and Fairlane 500. The base Custom was the entry-level car whose primary customers were fleet buyers. The Custom 300 was a step up and intended for “value-conscious” customers. The Custom and Custom 300 replaced the Mainline and Customline names used the year before. The Custom 300 became the base model for 1958 but disappeared from the line-up by 1960. The 1957-59 models had all new styling which helped it beat Chevy which was reworked for 1957 and then went an entirely different design route the next year.

After receiving an extreme makeover in the early 2000s, this ’57 Custom 500 found itself exiled to a barn in 2006 due to a divorce (which must have been lengthy). Unfortunately, the barn had a dirt/mud floor and those are never any good for housing cars long-term. We get the impression the Ford was just recently rescued, and the seller has been able to get it to purr, but the fuel system is going to need some further attention to make sure the flow of gasoline is reliable. A tune-up was part of the nursing the car was given.

The body and paint may have largely survived the last 15 years, but there are some issues to be resolved. While the drip rails are said to be good, the ones on the driver’s side have developed some holes. Also, the driver’s side fender has some rust in its lower extremities and the lower rocker panel on the same side has been damaged due to the misplacement of a floor jack. We’re told the undercarriage is solid, but there’s a tiny hole in the trunk floor. The Ford’s chrome pieces seem to be okay.

Only than a small hole in the headliner and 15 years of dust, the interior seems to have held up well. The odometer reading is 77,000 miles but we don’t know how many were accumulated from the time of the restoration and when the car went silent. The seller describes this machine as a “good solid driver quality car that needs very little attention” and we’re inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. This Ford is powered by a 272 cubic inch V8 paired with a Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

Ford built 1.676 million cars for 1957 and nearly 195,000 were Custom 300s with four doors, just like the seller’s car. Even though Ford outsold Chevy that year, you don’t see nearly as many of these cars now compared to the Bow Ties. If the bidding doesn’t go crazy and there’s isn’t more rust than is apparent, perhaps this would be a cool ride for a newcomer to the vintage car scene.

Fast Finds


  1. Steve R

    It’s hard to trust an ad for a car that’s sat in a dirt floored “barn” for the last 15 years from a region know for vehicles with severe rust issues that doesn’t show detailed pictures of rust prone areas. This isn’t the most desirable or sought after model on the market, which means the buyer needs to be extra careful with their decision. Based on the asking prices for the other vehicles the seller currently has listed, I wouldn’t expect a bargain. Unless this is someone’s “dream car” it may be wise to keep looking for something that’s currently drivable and in better overall shape.

    Steve R

    Like 21
  2. local_sheriff

    I thought – according to the write-up from yesterday about the ’63 – that the 300 was a one year model only…? Or is it that this is a ‘Custom’ 300 that makes the whole difference?

    Like 5
    • Tracy

      I was thinking the same.

    • Rick

      The “Custom 300” was offered in 1957, 1958 and 1959.

      The 1963 “300” was a one year only model.

      Like 3
  3. Terrry

    This car could be good for someone who wants a 50s car on the (relative) cheap. I’d fix the holes in the roof and daily-drive the thing. Oh, the transmission is a Ford-O-Matic, not Cruise-O-Matic. The former being 2-speed while the latter, 3-speed. The 272 never came with the Cruise-O-Matic.

    Like 6
    • tiger66

      The Fordomatic of this vintage was a 3-speed that drove like a 2-speed most of the time. In Dr it started in second gear, but if you floored it, it started in first and upshifted to second and third. Or you could select Lo and it would start in first and stay there until you shifted to Dr, when it would shift to third. If you started in Lo, shifted to Dr and then immediately back to Lo it would shift to second and when you upshifted to Dr it would then shift to third.

      Cruise-O-Matic was basically the same but had an extra D position. D1 for normal driving had the first gear start like a typical 3 speed, while D2 had the the second gear start like the Fordomatic.

      There was no 2-speed Ford-O-Matic until the 1959 models. That was a new transmission and not the one in these earlier cars.

      Like 12
      • ADM

        My father had the Ford-O-Matic, in his new ’51 Ford V8 4 door. Later, we had the 2 speed, aluminum case Ford-O-Matic in our 1960 wagon, with the six, the only auto available. To say the car drove leisurely, was an understatement.

        Like 2
      • Bob C.

        Also, the Cruise-O-Matic didn’t come out until 1958.

        Like 3
  4. Ken Carney

    Gotta say it looks good for a ’57. My
    childhood memories of these cars were
    that many of them turned into rust buckets within 3 years of manufacture.
    Sad to say that most Ford products in
    the late ’50s were known for this malidy
    even though they may have been Ziebarted. I recall my aunt’s neighbor
    having one where the headlights rusted
    right out of the front fenders. Other than that, they were reliable cars that did their jobs until you drove one through a mud puddle and drowning the
    distributor. Sure wouldn’t mind having
    this one as a daily driver here in Florida
    though. At least I could wrap the distributor with a plastic bag to keep
    the car running!

    Like 4
    • Howard Kerr


      My father bought a new 60 Country Sedan with the 6 cylinder engine and automatic transmission and when he would talk about that car in later years he would admit he didn’t know enough about cars and it was one of his worst decisions, ever. He thought he was getting an economical family hauler, but that powertrain combination didn’t work very well in hilly, rural, Pennsylvania. He also didn’t practice preventative maintenance on his cars back then so that the 60 needed replacement quite early.

      Like 1
      • ADM

        My father took average care of our cars. Nothing special. Our’s was so slow, my father had it floored, going 30, over the bridges to Cape Cod. Amazingly, there was no rust or rot on it when my father finally sold it, in 1967.

        Like 1
  5. Rick

    Something is definitely out of whack in the under-hood photo. Take a look at the passenger side exhaust manifold. It looks as if someone has swapped in an earlier version that used the upper front crossover type exhaust system.

    Something doesn’t seem right about a lot with this car.

    Like 4
    • JoeBob

      Rick, I think you’re right. In high school, one of my friends drove one of these in the same colors (different interior colors) with a single exhaust and I seem to remember a crossover pipe running across the front of the engine.

      Like 1
      • Rick

        I owned a ’57 like this one, only it was dove gray and white. I bought it in 1976 with 24,000 miles from the original owner’s estate. It had the 272 V8 with single exhaust, but the outlet flanges were at the rear of the manifolds and the crossover was at the lower rear. Pretty much like what comes to mind when the word “crossover” is mentioned.

        Like 1
  6. Bob C.

    Hope Janet Leigh isn’t in the trunk.

    Like 4
  7. Ken Vrana

    My Dad was a Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealer in eastern Long Island from 1947 to about 1970. As a result we got 2 new cars every year and I’ll never forget that if you bought a car from a dealer in those days they’d give you a plastic replica right down to the colors on the car you purchased. I sure wish I had them now. I’ll also never for the first Cobra’s we got in. We couldn’t give them away. Because of our proximity to the Bridgehampton Race Track, visiting Ford teams would use my Dad’s shop to work on their cars the weekend of the race. Those were the days.

    Like 5
  8. charlie Member

    And starting the automatic was tricky since you had to find exactly the right place for the electrical connection to be made in Neutral or Park which involved turning the key with the right hand and jiggling the shift lever with the left crossing your arm over the wheel until you hit the right spot and it engaged.

    Like 3
    • Bob C.

      Sounds like the reach-around-the-steering-wheel-and-pull-the-shift-toward-you thing with many 1960s Fords.

  9. Maestro1

    This is a well, what the Hell, driver. It will give you lots of reliability, probably clean up all right, and in general be unique and not expensive. So write the
    check, give it what it needs, and drive it. One hint: If it doesn’t have Power Steering you might want to do something about that. You may want to ad things to it as you go along but if you live in a temperate climate leave it alone.

    Like 4
  10. Mike

    My first car was ’57 Custom 300 2dr post. No motor or trans. 14th birthday present from Dad. Mom was totally against that. Dad assured her I wouldn’t be driving it. Six months later, Dad caught me driving it. I put a 390/FMX in it out of a 68 LTD. That was back in ’77. MMM… Good times….

    Like 6
    • ADM

      Excellent. I think a 390, and a ’57 Ford are a great combination. A friend has one in his ’57 Fairlane. In ’77, I was bombing around in a ’73 Custom 500, ex-Massachusetts State Police cruiser, with the smogged up 460 “Interceptor” engine. But, I digress.

  11. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Wonder if the seller will be listing the Pontiac Fiero next to it? Otherwise, his eBay listings are HIGHLY entertaining, at the very least. The three Ice Cream/food trucks are great to see, but oddities that have gone beyond the project stage. Rough!

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