Ever wonder how some cars are seemingly forgotten, while others are seen on a near-regular basis? We’re not talking about a comparison between a 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS and a 1925 Flint; this is aimed directly at cars from the early Fifties. Bet you a mortgage payment you’ve seen more 1951 Ford Deluxe Fordors than 1951 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe sedans. Perhaps that’s a loaded comparison, especially as the Windsor was aimed directly at Lincoln, Hudson and Packard in 1951 rather than Ford.
The Windsor Deluxe was added to the Chrysler lineup in 1951, offered in six body configurations on two chassis, including this standard wheelbase (125.5 inches) six-passenger sedan. This example was discovered for sale in the car corral at the 2009 Devereaux-Kaiser Car Show in Sarasota, Florida, this past January. The seller offered its history uncontaminated by details: “One family owned California car, black plate. Original interior.”
We didn’t see any black plates on display, but we did take notice of the interior’s condition: visibly original, yet in a well preserved state. No threadbare seat cushions, no tears around door handles, no unraveled stitching, and very faint water stains on select door panels. The listed 55,000 miles seemed accurate as well. Clearly, the Fluid-Matic automatic transmission was in place, which was a standard feature (optional on the base Windsor) that backed the seller-advertised–and factory-installed–“Spitfire High Compression Six.”
But those who gathered around this Deluxe opted to focus their attention on the exterior, best described as simply stunning. Even though there was no mention of what appeared to us to be relatively new paint, the seller declared that over $10,000 was spent on new chrome. Overall appearance was aided by a fresh set of wide whitewall tires and wheel covers with a reflection you could shave in. Other advertised fixes included a rebuilt brake system and radiator, and the engine had received a “valve job,” leading us to wonder what else was done to the assembled block?
Recent market value suggests that $10,500 is a high assessment for a condition #1 example, whereas a condition #3 is closer to $7,500. A quick search online and in Hemmings Motor News didn’t result in any hits, suggesting that of the combined 1951-1952 four-door production of 75,513 units, few remain, never mind come up for sale. Factoring in the chrome bill–heck, even NOS wheel covers are fetching $90 each–rebuilds, parts and overall condition, we’d say this was a good buy waiting to happen.
1951 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe
Asking price: $9,950 o.b.o.
Known issues: None, visually.
Pluses: Fresh chrome, paint and recently rebuilt brakes and radiator
Why buy? Do the math. As mentioned, $10,000 in chrome, at least $3,000 in labor and materials for a paint job that looks better than Krylon, another $1,000 for brake parts, head work and radiator repair (and miscellaneous parts), not to mention the base price of the car all this work was done to. A great, unusual car that fits six, and all you have to do is get in and turn the key.
Original list price: $2,628
Value today: $9,000 (Condition #2)