I now move on to my next car in the series of my personal collection of scale models. The car I am describing today was part of the campaign started by Ford to beat Chevrolet in the 1950s. The marketing campaign was called the “Ford Blitz”. But the result was something else. Instead of making a big dent on the sales of General Motors, this campaign hit the smaller independent car makers like Studebaker, American Motors and Kaiser-Willys leading to the decline of these companies.
Though Ford and General Motors were in a constant fight for a share of the pie comprising the “Popular Price” automobiles; as far as the specialty and niche models like convertibles, hard tops and station wagons were concerned; there was not much competition as Ford always outsold GM in these segments. One of the cars contributing to this victory was the Ford Crestline Sunliner. A top end car manufactured and sold by Ford from 1952 to 1954. This cars was the most popular mass produced convertible of its time. Ford sold around 1.2 million cars in the year 1953 of these 40,861 were the convertible “Sunliners”. These were large powerful and luxurious cars made and sold by Ford.
The Crestline Sunliner was sold with all the bells and whistles a prosperous and growing economy like America demanded. It had power windows, power seats and power brakes. It was endowed with copious amounts of chrome which was extremely popular in the USA of the 1950s. The modern day obsession – jet aircraft – had already started influencing car designs in the early 1950s, though the extravagant wings had not made their presence felt till now. The tail lamps were inspired by the jet and were aptly called the “Jet Ray” tail lights.
1953 was also the golden jubilee year of Ford, having been in the business of car manufacturing since 1903. By this time 70% of all Fords sold in the USA were offered with large block V-8 engines. The Crestline was the top end Ford on offer in 1953. The Crestline was replaced by the Fairlane which remained in production till 1970. Ford offered the Crestline in various body shapes as follows: –
- 4-door sedan.
- 4-door station wagon.
- 2-door convertible.
- 2-door hardtop.
The Ford Crestline Sunliner was powered by a 3,923 cc (239.4 Cu-inch) naturally aspirated V-8 petrol engine. Each of the 8 cylinders breathed through two overhead valves each. These engines produced 110 BHP of power at 3,800 rpm. As far as torque is concerned, the Ford V-8 produced 266 N-m (196 ft-lb) at a lowly 2,000 rpm. All the power and torque from the engine placed in the front was transferred to the live rear axle through a three speed manual gearbox.
This engine could push the 5,024 mm (197.8″) long, 1,867 mm (73.5″) wide and 1,542 mm (60.7″) tall car weighing in at 1,590 Kg (3,510 lbs) to a top speed of 137 km/h (85 mph). Thanks to substantial torque available at low rpms, the car could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 17.2 seconds, 0-60 mph was achieved a second earlier in 16 seconds. In case you decided to go drag racing, a very popular sport in the USA, the stock Crestliner Sunliner could cover the quarter mile in 20.4 seconds reaching a speed of 107 km/h (67 mph) when brakes were applied.
The Sunliner was also offered with a 3-speed automatic gearbox called the “Fordomatic” and a 4-speed gearbox called the the V-8 Overdrive. The figures for these cars were as follows: –
- Fordomatic: –
- 0-100 km/h – 19.2 seconds
- 0-60 mph – 17.8 seconds
- Quarter mile – 21.3 seconds
- Overdrive: –
- 0-100 km/h – 17.1 seconds
- 0-60 mph – 15.9 seconds
- Quarter mile – 20.4 seconds
I am a submariner mechanical engineer. I served the Indian Navy for 21 years. I am extremely passionate about means of mechanical transport developed by humans that include automobiles, trains, ships, submarines and aircraft. I am particularly passionate about cars and want to share this exciting world with all the people.