The Ellwood Mesa in Goleta is an open space where The Restaurant Gal and I frequently go for walks. If you have explored this area you know it is a natural setting except for one thing: a rusty old car that fell into a ravine many decades ago. I contacted my friend Preston Marx III, who knows the history of just about every car ever made, and asked him to identify the lonely automobile. Here are the results of his analysis:

The basic ID was easy: it’s a 55-56 Ford. The harder part was to identify which year and which model. The main differences were only in chrome trim. This rusty car has none left but there is part of a tail light. Also, there is an ABSENCE of chrome molding holes on the front fenders.

So the answer is: 1956 Ford Customline Tudor Sedan.

The hardest part was telling a 55 from a 56. They have identical bodies, at least as rust buckets. The taillight on the 55 is more plain. From the picture you sent, this taillight has more of a star pattern – hence 56. The car appears to have two doors, and has no molding holes on the back or front fenders, which eliminates the Victoria, Fairlane and Skyliner models. It also has a “post” behind the door extending to the roof. This eliminates “hardtop convertibles” which were really just hardtops, not actual convertibles.

rusty car3

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7 Responses to OFF TOPIC

  1. Scott says:

    CSI: Crash Scene Investigation.

  2. Christine says:

    Super curious about the “hardtop convertible” part which I can’t find more info about via Google. Perhaps the hardtop assembly could be lifted off the car? Maybe Preston could reply here? Nifty post, John!

  3. Jim says:

    Back in that era the only hardtop convertible was the ’57-’59 Ford Skyliner which actually retracted into the trunk portion of the car. The roof of the car pictured here could not be lifted off of the car. Cars without window posts were commonly called hardtops and ones with posts were called sedans.

  4. Preston Marx Jr. says:

    It’s art now! Save the car! I agree with the ID.

    Regarding hardtop convertibles, they were not convertibles. They were popular in the 1950s and were simply cars without a B pillar. For example the iconic 1957 Chevy Bel-Air was available in a ‘hard top convertible’. All brands had them, usually as the top of the line model. Search ‘1957 Bel-Air hardtop convertible’ for images.

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