What is it?

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Last week’s photo showed a 1954 Ford. That’s the only information we asked of you, but for the record, it was a Sunliner convertible. Chosen randomly from the correct guesses was the name of Marvin Clevenger, of Belvedere, who identified the 1954 Ford and added:

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What is it?  SPECIAL
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What is it?

“I had ’52 ’53, ’54, ’55, ’56. I had 17 Ford (products). Only one bad one, a Mercury Grand Marquis. It was as bad as a Chevrolet – low mileage because it stayed in the garage.”

Clevenger wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the Ford were:

AIKEN: Don Cook said his first car was a 1954 Ford two-door sedan. He lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where the winters were nasty.

Also from Aiken, Raymond Richards and Rita M. Davis.

AUGUSTA: Walker Mobley Jr. wrote: “This week’s photo is of a 1954 Ford. I can’t tell the model from the picture. The ’54 Fords had the first overhead valve V-8 engine (at least in the passenger cars); trucks may have been different or earlier. That engine was known as the Y-Block V-8 at 130 horsepower, or so advertised.

“The body lines of the ’54 were the last of that body design that started with the ’52 model year. The ’55 and ’56 design was different as was that of the ’57 and ’58.

“Keep these puzzles coming. With the older cars, you could tell what they were. Not so easy with some of today’s models.”

Willie Thomas identified the 1954 Ford and said his brother had a ’53.

Dr. Dalton Brannen wrote: “The 1952-1954s were similar in style with changes in the grille and taillights primarily. The 1954 is important because it was the first year of the accessory ‘bubbletops’, which was a Plexiglas roof above the front seat. This was the precursor of the now ubiquitous moon roof. This option was also available for the next two years on Fords.”

Lowell Fritsche said: My buddy had a 1954 Ford. I was driving Chevrolets. We were at each other’s throats – Ford and Chevrolet.”

Craig Kerins wrote: “This is a 1954 Ford. It was very similar to the ‘53, but there are minor changes in the grille.”

CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “My father probably could have identified this one right off, because he and my mother had an early-1950s Ford soon after they were married. It is difficult, at least for me, just from the grille shot to tell which trim level this one is – Mainline, Customline or Crestline.

“We have family pictures of my older sister, me, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles during what appears to be an Easter egg hunt for us kids. In the background is that Ford. Everyone is, of course, dressed in their finest Easter garb, including the girls and women with their Easter bonnets.

“A 1954 Ford sales brochure touts its new suspended pedals, thus ‘eliminating drafty floorboards,’ and ‘key-turn start,’ Now that push-button starting is slowly creeping in to nearly all price points today, I wonder how long it will be before a sales brochure or TV ad is once again (if ever) touting ‘key-turn start’?”

EVANS: Jim Williamson said he used to own a 1954 Ford and, now 80, challenged other retired people who have owned a number of cars to take part in the quiz.

Larry Heath wrote: “There was only one size auto offered in the early ’50s. There was a variety of models available all based on the same-size platform. The engines offered were an in-line six and a new overhead-valve V-8 first offered in 1954. In those days, options normally consisted of whitewall tires, full-size hubcaps and a radio. Other options were available, but we did not see that many in my small Georgia town.

“While I was in high school, the family car was a 1953 Ford, which was very similar to the 1954. It had the flathead V-8, however, and automatic transmission. The engine and transmission proved to be troublesome over time. My memories of that particular car are not so good.”

Wayne Wilke wrote: “The spinner-nosed grille gives it away as an early ’50s Ford. The ’54 styling was very similar to the ’53’s but the big news was a new 239-cubic-inch overhead-valve ‘Y-block’ V-8 with 130 horsepower. The three models were Mainline, Customline and Crestline. The Crestline Skyliner two-door hardtop, which had a front roof made of transparent plastic, was introduced in 1954. New car prices ranged from $1,548 to $ 2,415.”

Bill Harding wrote: “For the 1954 model year, Ford finally replaced its flathead V-8 (which had been in production since 1932) with the overhead-valve ‘Y-block’ 239-cubic-inch V-8. Although the new engine was supposed to be greatly superior to the flathead, it quickly turned out to be prone to wiping the lobes off its camshafts because of oiling problems.

“The bodies were mildly restyled 1953s,which themselves had been mildly restyled 1952s. Over six model years, the Y-block eventually grew to its maximum 312 cubic inches but wasn’t considered a successful design, especially when compared with Chevy’s 1955 V-8, which has been in production ever since, and has grown from its original 265 cubic inches up to 427.

“The ’54 Ford could be had with any of three transmissions: a three-speed manual, three-speed with overdrive or two-speed Ford-O-Matic.”

HEPHZIBAH: John Williams knew it was a 1954 by the grille design.

KEYSVILLE, GA.: Glenn Widner wrote: “The 1954 Ford has a distinctive grille, different from the ’52 and ’53, as is the side trim. What you can’t see is a completely new V-8 for 1954. It is the first overhead valve engine in a Ford. The new engine was still 239 cubic inches, the same as the 1953 flathead.

“New for 1954 was what Ford called a Special Police Interceptor Unit. It was a 256-cubic-inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor making 160 horsepower, compared with 130 horsepower for the 239. This engine had dual exhaust and was for ‘Official Use Only,’ meaning police departments only, according to my 1954 Ford Shop Manual.

“The suspension was much improved, with ball joints instead of kingpins. I have a 1954 Ford Tudor with a V-8, three-speed transmission with overdrive, dual exhaust and hardened valve seats for unleaded gas.”

LOUISVILLE, GA.: Robert L. Holbert wrote: “The car is a 1954 Ford Customline or Crestline model. The latter came in five body styles and offered power steering, brakes and windows. It also offered a power front bench seat, all of which had only been offered on luxury cars at that date. Pretty fancy for a Ford.”

MARTINEZ: Cheryl Cook wrote: “Looks like a 1954 Ford Crown Victoria? We’ve had our share of old Fords over the years, but no Crown Victoria.”

Christopher C. March Sr. wrote: “This week’s automobile is a 1954 Ford; not sure if it is a Customline, Crestline, Sunliner, Skyliner or a Victoria. The one thing I am sure about is that it is a 1954 Ford.”

Jim Muraski wrote: “This week’s vehicle is a 1954 Ford Crestliner. My Grandpa John had one of these when I was a little kid.”

Lloyd B. Schnuck wrote: “A 1954 Ford, the first year for the 239-cubic-inch OHV V-8 engine.”

NORTH AUGUSTA: Erich Prahl said: “We had one in Kansas in 1958.”

George Jones knew it because he has worked on cars pretty much all his life.

Ted Wasserlein wrote: “This is a 1954 Ford Crestline. The big news that year was the all-new engine, an overhead-valve V-8 (Ford marketers called it a Y-8) which replaced the old flathead V-8 that had been around since 1932.”

PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson

TRENTON, S.C.: Eugene Dobbs Jr.

WARRENVILLE: James Covar

WATKINSVILLE, GA.: Joe Arp wrote: “This week’s What Is It? appears to be a 1954 Ford Crown Victoria – a beautiful classic!”

NO CITY LISTED: Willie Tucker wrote: “It is a 1954 Crestline Ford two- door hardtop, or 1954 Ford Customline two-door, or 1954 Ford Skyline two-door sunroof. In all aspects, it’s a 1954 Ford.”

Also, Rick Farris and Gene Wilson.

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST

Can you tell us the year and make of this vintage vehicle? If you know what it is, call (706) 823-3419 or send an e-mail to glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

Please tell us your name and telephone number and the city you live in. It helps if you spell your name for us so we can include your response along with everybody else’s.

You have until midnight Tuesday to respond. A winner will be chosen randomly. Thank you.

– Glynn Moore, staff writer


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