Story of the Week

Posted: 07.18.2016
1954 was a great year for Ford design and sales
By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection


The year 1954 was a great year in sales for the Ford Motor Company and its line of passenger cars.

The big news, however, was the introduction of Ford’s overhead valve V-8 engine sporting 130 horse power. The new innovation replaced the old flathead engine.

In 1954, Ford added several new models to its current line of cars, and the auto giant introduced the new models to the public on Jan. 6 of that year. American motorists at the time were very happy with the 1954 Ford model line although the body designs were a re-styled version of the 1952 and 1953 Ford models.

 

The models that were available to the public were the beautifully made Mainline, Customline and the popular Crestline series manufactured in 14 body styles. The lowest priced car of the three Ford lines was the Mainline with four body styles and eight models that offered all of the styling and engineering features that had distinguished Ford from the rest of the auto industry.

The 1954 Ford Crestline Victoria was also a popular vehicle that introduced a new stylish roof line design. However, one of the most talked about Ford products for 1954, was the great looking design of the Crestline Skyliner models. The Skyliner models offered a transparent plastic top that many had enjoyed but consumers complained about the interior temperature of the car during the summer months.

 

The Skyliner sold for $2,245 which in those days was a lot of money. The company went on to sell more than 13,000 models. The models were first introduced and shown at the Ford Rotunda in Dearborn, Michigan. The advertising campaign for Ford in 1954 called the Skyliner models “The Glamour Gal of the ’54 Season.”

Today 1954 Ford Skyliner models are very collectible and can demand a huge collector’s price tag for the Ford enthusiast or collector. The 1954 Ford convertible models were also very popular as well with the public. Those models were called the Crestline Sunliner convertible which sold for $2,245.

 

Ford also offered many great and distinctive station wagon models. The models that were available were the Ranch wagons along with the Mainline and Customline models and Country Squire and Country sedan which were the top of the line models for 1954. For the Ford interiors in 1954, Ford had offered the Astra-Dial control Panel. The Astra-Dial panel was mounted on top of the control panel at eyelevel for easier reading and greater safety for the driver.

On color choices for 1954 Ford models, the consumer had a choice of thirteen solid exterior colors and thirteen two-tone combinations were available that year. For example, the consumer could order great looking colors like Glacier Blue, Cameo Coral or Sandalwood Tan, which were all popular colors for 1954. Twenty-three upholstery combinations including broadcloth vinyl’s along with woven plastics were offered for the consumer market as well.

 

The 1954 Ford models had set the standard in design and new ideas for the buying public. Ford had called its new line of Ford products the “Ford Fashion Leaders for ‘54.”

In conclusion, Ford models will always be a part of our automotive history especially the new Skyliner hardtop that offered a tinted, see through Plexiglas roof that helped to boost Ford's image as a great style leader.


A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for contributing this story to the MotorCities Story of the Week Program. 

For further information on photos please visit http://www.detroitpubliclibrary.org/ or email nahc@detroitpubliclibrary.org. Please do not republish the story and/or photographs without permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area. (Bibliography: Geshelin, Joseph. “Ford adopts overhead valves.” Automotive Industries January 1, 1954; Smith, Ware Edmund. “Twenty Eight Models fourteen basic body styles,” Ford Times, January 1954-Ford Motor Company-Dearborn, Michigan; Dammann, H. George. “Illustrated History of Ford” Crestline Publishing 1970.)


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