1955 Ford

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Ford

1955 Ford Crown Victoria
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1955–1956
AssemblyCampbellfield, Victoria, Australia (Oceania only)
Predecessor1952 Ford
Successor1957 Ford
ClassFull-size Ford
Body style2-door sedan
4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
2-door coupe
2-door convertible
2-door station wagon
4-door station wagon
2-door sedan delivery
2-door coupe utility (Australia)
LayoutFR layout
Engine223 CID (3.7 L) OHV I6
272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block V8
292 CID (4.8 L) T-bird V8
Wheelbase115.5 in (2,934 mm)
 
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Ford

1955 Ford Crown Victoria
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1955–1956
AssemblyCampbellfield, Victoria, Australia (Oceania only)
Predecessor1952 Ford
Successor1957 Ford
ClassFull-size Ford
Body style2-door sedan
4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
2-door coupe
2-door convertible
2-door station wagon
4-door station wagon
2-door sedan delivery
2-door coupe utility (Australia)
LayoutFR layout
Engine223 CID (3.7 L) OHV I6
272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block V8
292 CID (4.8 L) T-bird V8
Wheelbase115.5 in (2,934 mm)

The Ford line of cars gained a new body for 1955 to keep up with surging Chevrolet, although it remained similar to the 1952 Ford underneath. The Mileage Maker I6 was bumped up to 223 CID (3.7 L) for 120 hp (89 kW) and the new-for-1954 Y-block V8 was now offered in two sizes: Standard Fords used a 272 CID (4.5 L) version with 162 hp (121 kW) with 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust or 182 hp with 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, but the large 292 CID (4.8 L) unit from the Thunderbird was also offered, boasting 193 hp (144 kW).

Contents

1955

1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon

Apart from the engine changes, customers were sure to notice the new Fairlane, which replaced the Crestline as the top trim level, while a new Crown Victoria-style featured a chrome "basket handle" across the familiar (and continued) "Victoria" hardtop roof, which originally appeared on the Mercury XM-800 concept car. This use of a styling feature to visually separate the front of the passenger compartment from the rear reappeared on the 1977-1979 Ford Thunderbird, the Ford Fairmont Futura and Mercury Zephyr Z-7 coupes. The company now boasted three different rooflines, the tall two-pillar Mainline, Customline, and Fairlane, lower chrome-pillar Crown Victoria, and pillarless hardtop Victoria. The "Skyliner" acrylic glass roof was still offered, this time only on the Crown Victoria model. New brakes were used 11-inch (280 mm) drums.[1] Also, Fords had a new frame with five cross members.[1]

The Fords introduced for 1955 also featured the panoramic windshields found on Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs the previous year. With this panoramic windshield the A-pillars have a vertical angle. this gives the driver more panoramic visibility.

For the first time, Ford offered seat belts as a dealer option (not factory installed, with instructions provided by a Service Bulletin).[2] Also new for 1955 was Ford's first factory installed air conditioner. This “Select Aire” option featured an integrated heater core and evaporator coil unit within the dash and cold air discharge vents located on top of the dash [3] on either side of the radio speaker. The "Select Aire" design was carried over to the 1956 models [4] with slightly different cold air vents in the same location as on the 1955 models. The condenser was mounted in front of the radiator as in later cars.

Station wagons were offered as a separate series for the first time in 1955.[5]:p 395 The Ranch Wagon and Custom Ranch Wagon were 2 door wagons whilst the Country Sedan and Country Squire models were 4 doors wagons, the latter featuring wooden appliqué side mouldings.[5]:pp 394-395

1956

1956 Ford Fairlane 2 door hardtop
1956 Ford Courier Sedan Delivery

The eggcrate grille featured on the 1955 cars was widened into a series of rectangles for 1956, but this subtle exterior change was nothing compared to Ford's adoption of a 12-volt electrical system across the line. The Crown Victoria Skyliner's sales were plummeting with just 603 made, and it would be replaced by a convertible the next year. A new addition at midyear was the "Town Victoria" 4-door hardtop model which, along with the new Customline 2-door hardtop, were meant to compete with the Chevrolet Bel Air. The Parklane, a Fairlane trimmed Tudor station wagon, was added to compete with the Chevrolet Nomad. Idiot lights for oil pressure and ammerter were standard.[6]

The Lifeguard safety package — consisting of seat belts, a padded dashboard, a deep-dish steering wheel, and a breakaway rearview mirror — was introduced.[7][8] The option was a slow-seller. The optional air conditioner, which remained expensive and thus a slow seller, was totally revamped; the compressor was now housed beneath the hood and the cooling vents were moved to atop the dashboard(it could not be ordered on the Thunderbird[7]).

Australian production

1958 Ford V8 Fordomatic
1958 Ford V8 Mainline Utility

The 1955 Ford was also produced by Ford Australia which offered it as a V8 Customline 4-door sedan and as a V8 Mainline 2-door coupe utility.[9]:pp 131-132 The latter body style was developed in Australia utilising an imported convertible chassis strengthened for load carrying.[9]:p 136 A limited number of Customline wagons was also built.[9]:p 137 Customlines and Mainlines received the 1956 US Ford facelift and then further makeovers in 1957 and 1958 with the final series utilizing the grille from 1955 Meteor of Canada.[9]:pp 131-132 By 1958 the Customline was being marketed as the Ford V8 Fordomatic when supplied with automatic transmission.[10] [11] Australian production ended the following year with the introduction of the 1959 US Ford which was locally produced in Custom 300, Fairlane 500 and Ranch Wagon models.[12]

References

  1. ^ a b "Directory Index: Ford/1955_Ford/1955_Ford_Foldout". Oldcarbrochures.com. http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1955_Ford/1955_Ford_Foldout/1955%20Ford%20Foldout-05.html. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  2. ^ 1955-1956 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Retrieved from auto.howstuffworks.com
  3. ^ Classic Car Air Conditioning of the 1950s![dead link] Retrieved from reviews.ebay.com on 16 February 2010
  4. ^ Ford’s new Select Aire Conditioner –1956 Ford Fairlane sales brochure, page 17 Retrieved from storm.oldcarmanualproject.com on 16 February 2010
  5. ^ a b John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, revised 4th edition.Krause Publications, Iola, WI, 2002
  6. ^ "Directory Index: Ford/1956 Ford/1956_Ford_Owners_Manual". Oldcarbrochures.com. http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1956%20Ford/1956_Ford_Owners_Manual/1956%20Ford%20Owners%20Manual-10.html. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  7. ^ a b Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5.
  8. ^ "Directory Index: Ford/1956 Ford/1956_Ford_Fairlane_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1956%20Ford/1956_Ford_Fairlane_Brochure/1956%20Ford%20Fairlane-06.html. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  9. ^ a b c d Norm Darwin, The History of Ford in Australia, Eddie Ord Publications, Newstead Vic 1986
  10. ^ Ford Customline, www.redbook.com.au Retrieved on 26 October 2012
  11. ^ Ford Motor Company of Australia advertisement for the 1958 Ford V8 Customline and Ford V8 Fordomatic, www.flickr.com Retrieved on 26 October 2012
  12. ^ The Australian 1959-60 Ford Fairlane, Restored Cars No 84, July 1990, page 5

Further reading

External links