1951 Ford Victoria Hardtop - $34,900
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This one was supremely well restored by a flathead Ford expert, it has won every award such a car can win, and after a handful of magazine appearances and book photo shoots, it has mellowed into flat-out the nicest ‘50s Ford we’ve ever seen.

The 1951 Ford Victoria could very well be the best Ford of the 1950s. Sure, there are a lot of great ‘50s Fords, including the Thunderbird and the Retractables, but this lovely 1951 Ford Victoria gets everything exactly right. Smooth flathead V8, beautiful good looks, practical space, comfortable road manners, and bulletproof reliability. Styling that perfectly blends the rounded sensibilities of the 1940s with the chrome and hardtop styling of the ‘50s, without going overboard like they would later in the decade. If you like your cars to look good without shouting, the ’51 Ford is about as good as it gets. Better still, this one was supremely well restored by a flathead Ford expert, it has won every award such a car can win, and after a handful of magazine appearances and book photo shoots, it has mellowed into flat-out the nicest ‘50s Ford we’ve ever seen.

You know that guy whose car is so nice that it always cleans up at shows? That’s the guy who restored this Victoria. He bought this car in 1981 and had the restoration finished in 1986, at which point it started collecting trophies by the truckload. Two years later, everyone was getting tired of it winning all the awards, so he retired it from competition but it was used for multiple magazine and book photo shoots, including the book "Cars of the Fifties," "100 Years of the Automobile," and on the cover of "Collectable Automobile" magazine in February 1988. Then, in 1989, it was parked for the winter and not seen again until spring 2020.

For a restoration approaching its 35th birthday, this car is flat-out extraordinary. It's easy to see why it won all those awards. It shows just about 43,000 original miles and starting with an ultra-clean original car makes great results like this possible. Victorias were only available in three color combinations, with this car's Greenbriar and Sea Green combination arguably being the most attractive. The paint is lacquer but it's holding up superbly with no checking or cracking and only the most minor signs of age and there's a wonderful shine that looks perfectly appropriate on the '50s Ford. One of the perks of a restoration of this vintage is that few reproduction parts existed at the time, and as a result all the chrome and stainless trim is original or NOS so it fits together beautifully. You should hear the doors close on this car!

The lovely green interior was restored using two yards of NOS fabric found at a yard sale, and yes, it's 100% correct. Everything is restored to a very high standard and it all works: gauges, radio, courtesy lights, and the clock ticks away reliably. This car is equipped with a 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive, and the overdrive works properly including the kick-down feature. We've found that 2nd gear+overdrive is great around town, offering the ease of an automatic transmission and easy cruising from the smooth V8. Check out the beautiful headliner, which required three tries to get right, and the neatly finished trunk which has a custom-fitted mat over the original rubber piece for protection.

Last week, I had a visitor in the shop who was interested in "Just an old car I can enjoy" and I showed him this Ford. I told him how beautifully a properly tuned flathead runs and he asked to hear it. I simply reached in and turned the key and let it crank for about three seconds. My visitor said, "It didn't catch." Then I opened the hood, and there was the copper-colored 239 cubic inch flathead V8 ticking away almost silently, the soft wooshing of the fan blades generating most of the noise. The fellow who restored it is a master flathead mechanic and after he disinterred this Ford from storage, he replaced both water pumps, installed a new gas tank, rebuilt the original fuel pump and carburetor, and changed all the fluids. The brakes were also serviced with new wheel cylinders and rebuilding the master cylinder, and four new Firestone wide whites were installed. It obviously starts easily, idles beautifully, and drives superbly.

There's a suppleness to the suspension that is unusual in restored old cars, the engine's torque pulls the Ford around effortlessly. The transmission shifts cleanly with light clutch action and no chatter, and thanks to the overdrive, the 4.11 gears in back make it peppy but a comfortable cruiser at 65 MPH. Steering is effortless and it tracks straight, even on bias-ply tires, and don’t start thinking you need disc brakes to be safe, because the binders on this handsome Ford are strong enough to detach your retinas. Check out how ultra-clean the floors and rockers are, too—that’s what you get when you start with good base stock. A reproduction exhaust system has that soft flathead purr and it was refinished in a dark gray to keep it out of sight under the car. Factory wheels were painted to match the bodywork and fitted with correct hubcaps and trim rings, and wrapped in fresh 6.70-15 Firestone wide whites. Lovely!

If you know flathead Fords, you know how great they can be. For a low-cost car, it feels expensive and precisely built, and the quality of the restoration--despite its age--makes it one of the best we've ever seen. And have no fear of using this car as intended, because the guy restored it remains flat-out the best flathead mechanic I've ever known and this is his pride and joy which he has owned for 40 years. A wonderful car in every way and the asking price is still a fraction of the cost of restoration, even in 1986 dollars.

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1951 Ford Victoria Hardtop
Price: $34,900
Stock Number: 117102
Odometer Reading: 42,913
VIN: B1DA129571
Engine: 239 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed manual + overdrive
Gear Ratio: 4.1100000000000003
Wheelbase: 114 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 6.70-15 Firestone wide whitewalls
Exterior Color: Sea Island Green over Greenbriar Green
Interior Color: Green and white cloth and vinyl
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