Virgin Vicky: 1951 Ford Hardtop

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Thanks to reader Allan H for calling our attention to this great looking 1951 Ford Victoria hardtop for sale here on craigslist in Canby, near Portland, Oregon.

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Ford’s Vicky was their attempt to compete with Chevy’s Bel Air, and 1951 was the first year for this style and nameplate, and it was a big hit for Ford, outselling the Bel Air right away. It probably did not hurt that Ford still had the V8 advantage over the Chevy. If you wanted to go fast, Chevy was simply not an option that year.

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Two tone paint schemes were common on these cars and this one looks great with red body and black top. The Victoria body style was available only in the Custom V8 line, and over 110,000 of these were manufactured in 1951.

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While 1951 was the first year for the Ford-o-Matic automatic transmission, this particular Vicky features the good old fashioned 3 speed with overdrive.

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Still, it is not often that we will see one in original unrestored condition as good as this one looks. According to the seller, it was parked in a barn in 1968 and has no rust. The engine will turn over but the seller has not tried to start it.

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A set of tune up parts are evidently going with the car, though they are not installed.

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The carburetor has been rebuilt. The clutch is rebuilt with a new throw out bearing. It also has new wheel cylinders, front and rear and new rear brakes. I can’t tell for certain but the tires look new too.

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Apparently the glass is good too. And at least in the pictures, the chrome looks good too. Why was this car parked? Who took care of it during the last 47 years?

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Not mentioned in the ad, but pictured, the interior looks remarkably good. Seat belts are a welcome addition. Does one of our knowledgeable readers know whether the seat covers are original material?

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Overall, this car appears to be a very solid starting point for a restoration or a mechanical refresh and keep the body and paint as is. While quite a bit of necessary work has already been done, there is the question of whether the engine will run, and in addition, it’s highly likely that a buyer will need to plan on doing some electrical work, as the 65 year old wiring may not be reliable for everyday use. I have to wonder why the seller is not continuing with the work to get the car back on the road. Maybe there is more here than meets the eye?

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I am sure Barn Finds readers will weigh in on the asking price of $7,500. Hagerty’s says the average value for this car is $18,000. If that is accurate, given this car’s condition, the price does not seem crazy. Maybe a buyer can do some negotiating since the car does not run, and there are quite a few unknowns here. But if the body and frame are as rust-free as they appear to be, even if the engine needs a rebuild, this sure seems like a car worth working on. It is good looking even as is, and it’s got to come with a great story too.

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Comments

  1. JW

    Cool when I was born in 1953 I was brought home from the hospital in one of these, Dad traded it in on a new 56 Chevy. Too little to remember anything about the car but stories and pictures mom had showed me later.

  2. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Seems like a pretty nice find! Considering no rust or excessive wear!

  3. RON

    Wow This a great find and a most reasonable price Havn’t seen one this solid in quite awhile. Too bad it is so far away. Don’t think it will sit long.!!!!

  4. Paul R.

    Clean the fuel tank, change the fluids, add a hot battery and the car should run. Add a front seat cover and drive it with a weekend of tinkering.

  5. Charles

    This is great find! Nice model, complete, with no rust. One could call this a survivor, however if I could buy this one, I would restore it to original as built condition.

    Maybe add some wide whitewalls, OE wheel covers, and fender skirts!

  6. joeinthousandoaks

    3 speed much better than Fordamatic

  7. Vince Habel

    These made the 51 Crestliner quite rare.

  8. Matt Tritt

    I agree. This is something even I would buy if I lived closer, but let me ask this: Since it has a rebuilt carb, clutch, brakes and new plugs (from the photo), why hasn’t he tried to even start it?? You don’t put money and effort into something and then chicken out when it comes to hitting the starter button, do you?

    • David Wilk Member

      Matt – I was wondering the same thing. If I was really a buyer for this car, I would ask the seller directly. Hopefully would get an honest answer. But I would just plan for a complete engine rebuild as part of my budget. Anytime a car has sat for almost 50 years, rebuilding the engine seems most logical to assume.
      David

  9. erikj

    Cool car, not to far from me.Tempted to sell my 68 vette for this one

  10. Healeydays

    Nice little coach needing just a little loving. I can see this car coming down the road on cruise night.

  11. Andrew Minney

    Clean it, fettle it make the seats tidy and just drive it as is. If it was nearer to me I’d buy it and I’m not s Ford ma!

  12. Gerry

    This has to be ,in my opinion, one of the best barn finds I’ve seen.A rare model ford Vic,all there, unmolested,a relatively easy car to restore. It doesn’t matter if it won’t start. This ford is straight forward basic with parts available.

  13. Al Member

    Learned to drive stick in one of these. Shift had been converted to floor shift so I kept looking down to make sure I shifted correctly. Had some interesting situations develope! LOL

  14. Ed P

    Beautiful!!!! No major body work here. The engine is a question, but that can be fixed. Parts for Ford flatheads are plentiful as are support groups.

  15. Jim Marshall

    My first car in 1956 was a 51 Ford convertible. I always likes these Victoria models and this one appears to be a good buy. I would completely restore it. My 51 was the exact duplicate of this one.

  16. Jim Norman

    It’s gone. I wonder if the seller realized he was sitting on a car worth far more than he was asking, or if some lucky buyer scored big. I learned to drive on the family car, a ’50 Ford Tudor V8 with overdrive, and in 1961 an aunt gave my parents her old car — a ’51 v8 convertible, which I loved despite the fact that it had the Fordomatic trans. In 1965, rather than do an engine overhaul for two cylinders with low compression, my father sold it to a kid who wanted to fix it, for $175. The kid’s father was furious and demanded his son’s money back. I secretly hoped my father would cave, but he stuck to his guns — a deal was a deal — and that was the last we heard of it.

  17. Randy B

    My first car was a twin to this one with the exception of a Fordomatic transmission. Mine had a cracked block when I paid $100.00 for it in 1959 so a 52 Merc was installed in it’s place.
    The seats upholstery looks to be original type. Memories of my car come wafting back as I look at this one. I can almost smell the interior of mine as it was. Drove it for almost two years before trading up for a very fast 56 Ford Fairlane two door post. Installed a 59 Interceptor 352 and a 3 speed converted to a floor shift, lowered …………. on and on untill college forced a sale.

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