Wednesday, June 11, 2014

1953 Ford is ridiculously original

On July 2, 1953, Edward Lamb from Greenville, Tenn., walked into Green County Motor Company with a used car trade-in and $627 cash, and drove away with a brand-new Ford Customline Fordor.  Edward’s Glacier Blue sedan may not have been the flashiest car on the block, but it commemorated Ford’s 50th-Anniversary.  Today, 61 years later, this amazing time capsule has only amassed 31,000 actual miles.  From top to bottom, this car is pristine, untouched, and absolutely original.  It may be the nicest, most honest old car I have ever seen.

1953 was the second year for Ford’s mid-level Customline trim level.  It obviously wasn’t a stripper, with high-quality seat material and tasteful chrome trim.  This particular car was then upgraded at the dealership with a clock, heater, accessory oil filter, and oil bath air cleaner.  Amazingly, all of these options are listed on the original invoice, which is still in the trunk, and all of these options are still present on the car.  It also has whitewall tires.  These were probably replaced sometime in the car’s life, but I’m pretty sure it came with whitewalls because the spare is original and it still has one.

Are there any modifications here that indicate the passage of time?  Very little, actually.  Someone added a pair of Blue Dots in the taillights somewhere along the way, and there is a 1982 Georgia inspection sticker in the windshield.  It also has some very lovely dual exhaust pipes with chrome tips.  And although overall the paint on this car is dead original, I think maybe the fender skirts were repainted a long time ago.  Those fender mirrors were period accessories as well.

I had the privilege of driving this car out to take these pictures.  Now I’ve driven a lot of old cars, but this one is different.  Most old cars demonstrate some kind of wear.  Even restored cars typically aren’t as good as they look.  But this Ford is as solid and tight as they come.  The doors thunked closed with the vault-like precision you might expect with a Rolls Royce.  The 110-hp, flathead V8 fires to life with barely a touch of the key.  The three-speed column shifter snicks into gear without the slightest indication of slop.  And the sound emanating from those chrome tips is nothing short of heavenly.

This old car is being sold at the Adesa Auction in Nashville right along with the off-lease cars and repossessions.  It’s really a fish out of water here.  I talked to the consigner, who indicated that it may have been in a movie, and indeed, there is some paperwork from 20th Century Fox from 1984 indicating that that was a possibility.  I couldn’t find it on IMCDB, though. I wanted to talk to the actual owner to get a little more of the back story, but the consigner didn’t want to reveal his name.

So even though I can’t tell you much about this car’s history, I can leave you with a few photos.  Just look at the details on this car.  The engine is still orange.  The chassis is still black.  The original lacquer paint is thin in a few places, but largely all there.  And all of it is exactly the same stuff that was applied at the factory more than 60 years ago.  Even if ’53 Ford sedans don’t excite you, you have to appreciate the lovely, untouched nature of this one.  See the pictures in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. Craig, though I am a Chevy guy, I remember the flathead V8 only had 110 horse power and not 210. I know because when I tried to race one with my Chevy 6, I still couldn't beat them. RogerG Grotewold Chevrolet Company, Larchwood, Iowa

  2. A mint '53 - remarkable. My first car was a '53 Customline Tudor, seafoam green with a dark green top. It was automatic, not manual, with the same flathead V8 as the Fordor featured here. It cost me 245 dollars at a dealer in Wichita, Kansas, in the fall of '62. A clean and comfortable car, and quite attractive, I thought. But it was slow and would have benefitted from a 12-volt battery and disc brakes. I remember the car fondly.

  3. This car would be a great big plus in my carport for sure.
    True survivors in this condition are very rare.
    I would love to own this car.