1952 - 1956
|Straight 6 and V8
|3.9 - 4.8 liter
|to 193 bhp (144 kW)
|3 spd. man and auto
Immediately following the war most
manufacturers, understandably, continued with the manufacture
of designs dating back to the previous decade.
Ford’s first and much anticipated new model line up arrived
in 1949, however the 1952 revision, while based heavily
on the 1949 design, heralded a new design direction.
Immediately evident was the use of a one-piece windshield,
although the introduction of the straight 6 “Mileage
Maker” was arguably an even bigger advance
in technological innovation.
Joining the 3.9 liter “Flathead” V8
(110 hp / 82 kW), the new 6 introduced an overhead
valve arrangement, and while slighly down in cubic
capacity to the engine it replaced (3.5 vs. 3.7 liters),
the new engine boasted more power, more torque and,
best of all, better fuel consumption.
The model line-up
was changed in an attempt to clearly identify the
model placement of each. The base model was now called
the mid-level the “Customline”, and the
top of the range model known as the “Crestline”,
which included the Sunliner convertible, Victoria
hardtop and Country Squire wagon.
The interior featured
what Ford referred to as a “flight style” control
panel, with new pedals suspended from below the dash.
The grille sported a single center "bullet" surrounded
by a chrome ring as well as "jet intake" corner
In 1953 Ford introduced power steering and
power assisted brakes across the range, options previously
reserved to the more up-market Mercury’s and
Lincoln’s. The center grille bullet lost its
ring and was now flanked by vertical black stripes,
while the corner markers were plain rectangular lights
rather than the circular "intakes".
All 1953 Fords featured commemorative steering wheels
marking the company's 50th anniversary. William Clay
Ford paced the Indianapolis 500 in a Sunliner convertible
with a dummy Continental tire kit. This was also
the last year for real wood trim on the Country Squire
The long-lived Flathead V8 engine
was replaced in 1954 by an overhead valve “Y
Block” unit, marking the end of an era. This
engine produced 130 hp (97 kW), and was
fitted with a 2-barrel carburetor, however there
was a Holley four barrel carby made available to
law enforcement agencies, and this bumped up the
performance of the Y Block V8 to an impressive
160 hp (119 kW).
Another new addition
was the "Victoria Skyliner" sedan, which
featured an acrylic glass panel over the front
half of the roof. A snap-in sunshade was a desirable
option. The woody Country Squire wagon now used
artificial fiberglass panels to bring about a reduced
manufacturing cost, however it remained the most-expensive
Ford. Two more desirable options were offered for
the first time in 1954: power windows and a four-way
In 1955 Ford again updated the range,
something required if they were to continue to
compete with Chevrolet. The underpinnings were
pretty much taken from the ’52
Ford’s, however the wonderful “Mileage
Maker” straight 6 engine was bumped up to 223 ci
(3.7 liters) for 120 hp (89 kW) and
the new-for-1954 Y-block V8 was now offered in two
sizes: Standard Fords used a 272 ci (4.5 liter)
version with 162 hp (121 kW), but the large
292 ci (4.8 liter) unit from the Thunderbird
was also offered, boasting 193 hp (144 kW).
Apart from the engine changes, customers were sure to notice
the new "Fairlane" top-line trim, while
a new "Crown Victoria" style
featured a chrome "basket handle" across the familiar (and continued) "Victoria" hardtop
roof. The company now boasted three different rooflines, the tall two-pillar
Mainline, Customline, and Fairlane, lower chrome-pillar Crown Victoria, and
pillarless hardtop Victoria.
The "Skyliner" acrylic glass roof was
still offered, this time only on the Crown Victoria model. For the first time,
Ford customers could purchase their new cars with air conditioning. The system
included a condenser unit in the trunk, plus a pair of air ducts in the trunk
and clear tubes which run from the rear package shelf into the headliner, where
one found the air ducts. The system was very costly and few units were sold.
The egg-crate grille featured on the 1955 cars was widened into a series of rectangles
for 1956, but this subtle exterior change was nothing compared to Ford's adoption
of a 12-volt electrical system across the line. The Crown Victoria Skyliner's
sales were plummeting with just 603 made, and it would be replaced by a convertible
the next year. A new addition at midyear was the "Town Victoria" 4-door
hardtop model which, along with the new Customline 2-door hardtop, were meant
to compete with the Chevrolet Bel Air. For Australian's however, the lineup
was restricted to the four-door sedan, locally designed Mainline utility
and station wagon.