The 1951 Ford Custom Victoria was Ford's first hardtop, offered only in V-8 guise. It appeared in the last year of the 1949 styling generation -- and a bit late at that. Still, the Custom Victoria proved immensely popular, outselling Chevrolet's Bel Air by about 7,000 units this year.

The 1951 Ford Custom Victoria hardtop coupe, part of the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria line
1951 Ford Custom Victoria hardtop coupe.
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The pillarless superstructure was styled by Gordon M. Buehrig, of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg fame, who had come to Dearborn after leaving the Loewy team at Studebaker. Despite exceptionally clean lines, a relatively posh interior, and good performance from the reliable flathead V-8, the first Victoria used to be somewhat overlooked by collectors, but in the last decade has become more desired.

A plus for this top-line model was the debut of Ford's optional self-shift Ford-O-Matic this year, giving it an advantage over Chevy's two-speed Powerglide. Enthusiasts will probably prefer the overdrive gearbox.

Pluses of the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria:

  • Decent performance from the sturdy V-8 engine
  • Historical significance
  • One of the best-looking 1949-1951 Fords
  • Reasonable parts supplies
  • Decent performance from the sturdy V-8 engine

Minuses of the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria:

  • Individual trim pieces hard to find
  • Not a true hardtop
  • Still no automatic

Production of the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria:
110,286

Specifications of the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria:
Wheelbase, inches: 114.0
Length, inches: 197.3

Weight, pounds: 3,188

Price, new
: $1,925 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1951 Ford Custom Victoria:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
sv V-8
239.4 cid
100
1951

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