THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1954 Ford Customline two-door sedan owned by Thomas Nasca
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: With more than 670,000 built, the 1954 Customline series was a hugely popular family car for Ford. Slotted between the upper-level Crestline and the entry-level Mainline, it could be ordered in two- or four-door sedan and station wagon models, or as a hardtop club coupe. Some automotive historians claim the design was the basis for Russia’s 1956 GAZ-21 Volga sedan. Nasca’s ride carries the optional original 130-horsepower V-8 engine and has been mildly customized with special teal paint, a new interior and 12-volt electrical system (versus the original six-volt). The exterior features dual exhausts, side pipes (known to hot rodders as “lake pipes”), custom wheel covers and pinstriping accents.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT: Since 2013
WHERE HE FOUND IT: He found it advertised in a vintage car magazine and bought it from an Alpine, New Jersey owner, who rented cars for films and television.
CONDITION: “I bought the car as it is,” says Nasca. “The car is in excellent condition, restored inside and out. I have replaced some of the chrome and cleaned up the engine compartment. The car is garaged when it's not at a show or taken out for a spin. Parts are easy to obtain, some right at local parts stores. I was told the car came from California and on the trunk is written ‘California Dreaming.’”
TIPS FOR OWNERS: “If you want a classic car you should try to buy one that is already done, unless you are an excellent mechanic,” he advises. “You can always make changes to suit your taste.”
VALUE: Nasca estimates his Ford is worth about $15,000. The NADA Guides puts a “high retail” value of $13,627 on a similar unmodified car with the V-8 engine.
THE BOTTOM LINE: “I love the Fords of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s,” he says. “When I drive the car, people wave and give the ‘thumbs up,’ especially the older folks.”