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Homepage. This page: A black & white photo of an early '50s V8 Ford sedan.

V8 Ford of the early 1950s.

Despite trawling the net, I've not found any photos that show a Customline with this style of side trim fitted. My guess was that it is a 1952 or 1953 "Fordor" version of the Customline. A close look at the front wing, or "fender", reveals the small Customline script, and V8 badge. Frank dropped me a line in 2009, and confirmed that it is a '52 Customline: "I can comfortably say that the car in the pix with the two ladies is not a 1953. The "propeller" center bar of the grille wrapped further around than the car shown. That puts this car as a 1952. However - there is no hood ornament on this car. The stock USA version had a T-bird type front ornament. The lack of such on this car makes me wonder if this is one of the non-American versions."
A Ford V8 Customline of the 1950s
The Customline was Ford's mid-range offering, above the entry-level Mainline but not as plush as the Crestline. The front grille changed on the launch of the '53 cars, differentiating it from the '52s, but sadly this photo only shows the side so I can't be 100% on the date of the car shown. Buyers of '52 Fords had the choice of cars powered either by a 3.5 litre OHV inline 6, or else the 3.9 litre sidevalve V8.
Of course it wasn't just in the US that Customlines proved to be a popular buy, Australia, as Hugh points out below, was also a strong market for these mid-size sedans...
"If you or your Dad owned one of these back in 50's Australia, you had definitely "made it" carwise. This was the top of the Ford range back then, sitting above the humbler Ford Zephyrs (and the occasional Zodiac), Consuls, Prefects and Anglias that most families drove. It's nearest rivals were the GM imported Chevys and Chrysler Australia's Plymouths and Dodges.
These cars tended to be imported from Canada, as British Commonwealth Preferential Duty was lower than that on US sourced cars. There were often slight differences between the US and Canadian models, and between the Canadian and Australian, which can make model identification difficult. However due to Australia's small population and limited market for these vehicles, the vehicle ranges offered were much more limited than their US or Canadian equivalents.
Back in 1953 the top Ford range consisted of the Ford Customline four door sedan, and the Ford Mainline utility (or pickup truck.) From 1955 the sedans were badged as Fairlanes, but I don't think the specs exactly equalled those of the more upmarket US Fairlane model. They were generally available with a choice of one 6 cylinder or one V8, again a more limited choice than in America. Our photographed car carries a V8 badge. 1953 was the last year of the redoubtable flathead V8, from the 1930's, the motor of choice of Kings, Presidents, bootleggers and gangsters (including Bonnie & Clyde).
The Australian built Ford Falcon replaced the Zephyr and Zodiac in 1960. Ford Canada continued to supply the Fairlanes until about 1965, when they were replaced by the popular Australian designed and built Fairlane, based on the longer wheelbase Falcon Wagon floorpan. These, and the upspec Ford LTD, were the aspirational Ford model for over 40 years, only being dumped from the range last year, much to the horror of thousands of grey haired business men and senior government officials."
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