1952 To 1954 Series Ford Crestlines

The 1953 Ford Crestline Victoria was very much like the 1952 model. During this series, the 1954 model would have the most changes and this was right before the newly designed series of Fords were unveiled.

1953 Ford Crestline Victoria
1953 Ford Crestline Victoria


The year 1954 was the first year that Ford Motor offered the Y Block V-8 engine.The Y-Block got it’s name because if you look at the engine block from the front it’s shaped like the letter “Y“. It’s said that a particular carburetor available to law enforcement agencies for t Y-Block V-8 engine increased horsepower from 130 to 160.

Another first for the 1954 Ford line was the introduction of the Ford Sunliner, part of the top tier Crestline models, with it’s tinted  plexiglass insert on the roof.This unique model was available only on the pillar-less hardtops. These plexiglass inserts were offered to buyers on the Sunliner until 1957.

New Styling for the 1952 to 1954 Series Fords

Aside from the new Y Block engine and the sporty Sunliner model, the 1953 Fords like the Victoria model featured here still had styling that pointed back to 1952. The 1952 through 1954 series of Fords replaced the 1949 to 1951 models. The models that came out in 1949 represented the first big design change since the end of World War Two. Everything prior to 1949 looked very much like the 1941/42 models.

1953 Ford Victoria
1953 Ford Victoria

Ford actually beat Chevrolet by one full year with their new 1952 look. This is how fierce the competition between Ford and Chevrolet had become. Neither company wanted to be “out redesigned”.

In general you would say the new design for the 1952 through 1954 models were more modern looking yet they still had design features from the previous 1949 to 1951 series.. They would never go on to have the appeal that the totally redesigned 1955 through 1957 Ford’s had but they were a surely a big advance and represent a typical mid 1950’s mainstream automobile.

The 1953 Ford cars and the entire 1952 to 1954 series had a more filled out appearance as well as a one inch longer wheelbase. This series also had curved one piece windshields which was probably the first change everybody noticed, taller fenders, a new dashboard and about two inches longer in overall length. The new dashboard that Ford created was said, by Ford, to be flight styled.

This goes along with the rocket and/or aircraft theme that was so prevalent during the latter half of the 1950’s. This theme was responsible for all of the fins built into auto bodies during the late 1950’s. Another few examples of this theme are the Olds Rocket 88 and the Powerglide transmission.

53 Ford Crestline Rear Continental spare tire
53 Ford Crestline Rear Continental spare tire

The 1953 Ford models had subtle changes from 1952. These included a simpler grille and a bit different trim work on the sides. Prices for 1953 were pretty much the same as in 1952.

1953 Fords were produced in three overall models. The lower base unit was the Mainline, the middle models were the Customlines and the top tier models were the Crestlines. Prior to 1952 the Crestlines had been the Crestliners and were also Ford’s top tier model.

The 1953 Ford Victoria was among the Crestline offerings.

1953 Ford Victoria Specifications

The engine offered in the 1953 Crestline Victoria was a 239 cubic inch V-8 delivering 108 horsepower.

1953 Ford Crestline front grille design
1953 Ford Crestline front grille design

Big engine changes happened in the last series year, 1954, as described below.

Engines available with the 1954 Ford Victoria included the Y-Block Overhead 3.9 liter Valve V-8 with 239.4 cubic inch displacement and the six cylinder with 222.9 cubic inch displacement. The V-8 delivered 130 horsepower and the six cylinder 115 horsepower. The Y-Block engine was an advancement over the flathead engine and delivered about twenty-five more horsepower. The six cylinder engine, which was the standard engine, was considered quite economical averaging about 25 MPG, a decent mileage rating even today.

Transmissions offered in 1953 included a three speed manual, a four speed manual and a Ford-O-Matic  automatic. The Ford-O-Matic was Ford’s first fully automatic transmission and a big improvement to their earlier models. The Ford-O-Matic  came out in 1950.

Ford Motor came out with an entirely new front suspension system on the 1954’s called the angle-poised ball-joint. The car’s rear suspension was live-axle, longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs and hydraulic tube shocks.

Brakes on the 1953 Fords were what they had been previously, four wheel drum.

Dimensions for the 1953 ford Crestline Victoria were as follows. The overall length was 198.3 inches. The car’s width was 73.5 inches wide and the wheelbase was 115.5 inches.

Ford Crestline side trim
Ford Crestline side trim

1953 Ford Crestlines like the Victoria model shown here had a long list of available options. These included power steering, power brakes,  power windows, an automatic transmission, a power front seat, tinted glass and deluxe wheel covers. The spare tire on the rear of the automobile was a dealer installed option that year. The Continental like spare tire added a lot to the car’s overall look. Made it look a bit more sporty.

1953 Ford Motor Company Production Numbers

By all measures Ford Motor Company had a decent 1953 model year. Figures available show total vehicle production coming in at 1,247,500 units. Total Crestline models in 1953 were 180,000 units. Out of this, 1953 Ford Victoria hard top production came in at 128,300 units. Chevrolet total production for the 1953 model year topped Ford with 1,346,400 vehicles built. Plymouth and Buick were a distant third and fourth. During the 1954 model year Ford would top Chevrolet in total production although their numbers were very close.

The new car price range for 1953 Crestline models ranged all the way from about $1,700 to $2,300 depending on model and options.

Below are links to a few more mid 1950’s vehicles on AutoMuseumOnline you may find interesting…

The 1954 Chevy Bel Air

1954 Pontiac Star Chief

1953 Chrysler Windsor


1954 Ford Crestline Auction Prices

The price range is going to be fairly wide depending on the model, options included, engine type and degree of restoration. Auction prices for Crestline sedans, as of this writing, can range from $17,000 to the $30,000 range. Convertible Ford Crestlines can see much more in the neighborhood of the $40,000 to $50,000 plus range. All of these prices would be for a fully restored vehicle in fine condition. We see a 1953 Crestline Coupe, not restored, in the $12,000 asking range.

1953 Ford Crestline Victoria dashboard
1953 Ford Crestline Victoria dashboard

We also see 1953 Ford Crestliner Convertibles priced in the mid $20,000 range. On average you would see prices for 1954 Ford Crestline models in the $16,000 to $25,000 range, again, with Crestline Sunliner Convertibles getting the high dollars.

The year 1953 was the second to the last for the 1952 to 1954 styling and beginning in 1955 we started to see rear fins come out. Auction asking prices for the 1955 Fords appear to be about $5,000 more in general than the 1953 and 1954 models. Again, everything depends on condition, exact model and how many original parts are still on the vehicle.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)