1953 Ford Customline Club Coupe - SOLD
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A car like this Customline reminds us of just how they’re supposed to be, even after all these years.

If you’re the sort of collector who grades a car on its cosmetic perfection, then perhaps this wonderful 1953 Ford Customline isn’t the right fit for you. But for those who cherish original cars, machines that have been shepherded through time by one caretaker after another who treated the car as something special, then it’s a very special find indeed. To those who prefer original cars, cosmetic blemishes and signs of use are not demerits, but rather badges of honor indicating that the car does, indeed, operate as a transportation appliance. That is, after all, what cars were designed to do. The feel of an original car can’t be replicated by a restoration, I don’t care how good your shop might be—they’re just not as good as the factory. That intangible feeling of solidity, smoothness, and mechanical precision that most original, unrestored cars demonstrate is often erased by restoration, not replicated, and that’s really a shame. Drive an original car without worrying about cosmetics and you’ll find that a whole new world of mechanical wonder is opened to you.

That seems like a lot of words for a humble car, but this lovely two-tone green Ford exhibits all that’s great about unrestored cars. Sure, it’s got a grimy chassis and engine bay, there is some dirt inside, and the paint has some orange peel that’s a result of a respray sometime in its past, but the way it goes down the road makes it feel precise and well-built. It’s easy to forget after decades of use just how these cars felt when they were new—many of us tend to cut them too much slack, figuring that since they’re old, they were built by guys who didn’t know what they were doing. Not true! Good old cars run and drive surprisingly well and it’s only because there are so few truly good cars that we’ve lost sight of how they should be. A car like this Customline reminds us of just how they’re supposed to be, even after all these years.

Yes, this car has been repainted, but they used the original Pinehurst Green on the top and darker Sherwood green on the bodywork, and that's just how it came from the factory in 1953. Workmanship is very good, with a nice shine and good attention to detail, and if you really want to take this car up a notch, giving it a professional cut and buff would make it sparkle. 1953 was the final year of flathead production, and the bodywork looked sleek and modern, much more so than the frumpy cars from Brand X across town. The two-door club coupe has great proportions and was one of the most popular body styles for obvious reasons, and the lighter top only helps with the long, low look. Gaps are quite good and with just 44,000 original miles, it hasn't been abused, disassembled, wrecked, or rusty, so the doors close with the precise-sound that is hard to restore back into a car that's been taken apart. Ford took it easy on the chrome and stainless, but the parts that are on this car are in excellent shape, with those long spears on the sides showing minimal dings and the big, wide grille up front showing definite echoes of the famous bullet nose from 1949. Details like the hood ornament, dual outside mirrors, and jet-inspired taillights are a glimpse into Ford's styling direction for the next 15 years.

The absolutely beautiful interior is 100% original, and it shows you that this car really has led an easy life. The patterned cloth has a very funky '50s vibe to it and the lack of wrinkles, splits, or even any notable wear is really remarkable. On the other hand, this car was in storage for many years and subsequently treated as something special, so maybe it's not so surprising after all. The cushions underneath are firm and in typical Ford fashion, there are durable rubber mats on the floors that should outlast us all. The tri-tone door panels are beautifully trimmed with only light wear where a driver's arm might rest and the headliner is excellent. All the controls, gauges, and lights are operational save for the clock, and the big, simple steering wheel makes you feel like you're at the helm of something substantial. The car does have an optional radio, but it's a factory radio delete car, with the original block-off plate still in the center of the dash—that's kind of cool. If there are any demerits, there is some light discoloration at the base of the front passenger's lower seat cushion, although we don't know what caused it or when it happened. The trunk is currently trimmed in green carpet, but you'll note that the original rubber mat is still underneath, and it includes a matching fifth wheel and tire assembly along with a factory jack.

1953 was the final year for Ford's venerable flathead V8, with the biggest one available in a Ford being the 239 cubic inch unit seen here. It has never been out of the car, only serviced over the years, and aside from some missing engine enamel, it's in fantastic condition. We drew the line at merely cleaning it up rather than restoring it or painting anything, so you can see just how well-preserved it is. And quite honestly, the way this one runs means that you shouldn't have to worry about taking it apart for decades to come. Thanks to consistent and conscientious maintenance by V8 enthusiasts over the past 15 years or so, it's in top mechanical condition, snapping to life with a quick touch of the starter button and just a little choke. The carburetor and fuel pump have been rebuilt and there are new Ford script hoses with correct clamps up top. A factory generator still makes the electricity and a heavy-duty oil bath air cleaner makes sure it stays healthy. It's equipped with an accessory oil filter over on the driver's side, but there are no real deviations from original spec aside from maybe a few nuts and bolts. Thanks to a wide torque curve, it feels peppy out on the open road and at idle, it's so quiet that you're tempted to hit the starter button a second time—don't worry, you don't need it. A good-running flathead is a joy and this one gets it exactly right.

Obviously the undercarriage isn't going to be shiny and perfect, but it also remains completely solid and issue-free save from the usual grease and grime. The 2-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission is a great choice because it offers a set of 3.90 gears to make it punchy around town but comfortable on the highway at 65 MPH, and it shifts properly. The suspension is supple the way only original cars seem to be able to deliver, and there's a remarkable lack of squeaks and rattles in this old car. The exhaust is more recent and has a nice V8 burble that's quiet enough to go unnoticed at speed and the brakes remain firm and confidence-inspiring. And don't worry about the lack of power steering, because even with those fresh wide whitewall radials, it only takes a light touch on the wheel to guide this handsome Ford down the road.

Is this a perfect car? Absolutely not. Is it a show car? Maybe, because originality is becoming more and more appealing to today's more sophisticated hobbyists who appreciate old cars as more than some shiny garage art. This beautiful Ford is a time machine, a step into the past that proves not only were the cars terrific, but that you can have a high-quality machine for not a lot of cash. There are plenty of entry-level cars out there, but this one delivers a degree of authenticity that you rarely find at this price range. Take a look, take a drive, then let's talk about why originality matters. Call today!

Vehicle: 1953 Ford Customline Club Coupe
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 214065
Mileage: 43,485
VIN: B3UG147844
Engine: 239 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.9
Wheelbase: 115 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 205/75/15 whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Pinehurst Green over Sherwood Green
Interior Color: Green cloth and vinyl
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