My first car…1953 Ford

I was just over 16 years old and itchin’ to have my very own car. I found a 1946 Ford sedan at a local used car lot but before I could return with my dad to buy it, it was gone. I was so disappointed.

A few days later I spotted this green 1953 Ford on the back row of the used car lot at Parkland Chevrolet in Asheville, N.C. The rear bumper was in the back seat with the end sticking out of the left rear window. Someone had removed it to do some minor body work on the right rear under the deck lid and tail light. The reddish primer in that area stood out like a sore thumb up against the pale green paint of the car.

I really wanted this car for one huge reason. My freind’s older brother delivered dry cleaning in a 1953 Ford panel truck equipped with a 300 six cylinder and three speed standard transmission. That dry cleaning truck would do about 55 in 2nd gear and “get rubber” in all three gears, that is if the clutch was adjusted just right. I knew the Ford 300 six was already legendary for being fast and dependable.

My dad came back later that day with me and the moment I started up Cox Ave I knew this was the car for me. At the first opportunity and out of earshot of my dad and the salesman, I speed shifted from low to 2nd gear and it did not disappoint me, the screeching of burning rubber was music to my ears.

I drove the ’53 for about 2 years. It was affectionately named “The green Mariah” by my friends. I abused that car about as much as any young boy can and it never used any oil, got great mileage, and was as dependable as they get. After trading it for a 1951 Ford convertible and then trading back again, I sold the car to a guy who worked for the legendary Banjo Matthews. The engine, just as it had been removed from the car, was installed into a dirt car which won the feature at Greenville Pickins Speedway the next Saturday night.

Of all the wheels I’ve owned the trusty 1953 Ford Mainline was one of the very best. If I could get my hands on a really good one I might just own another one.



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10 Responses to “My first car…1953 Ford”

  1. Rich Says:

    I had the same year car in 1963. I was in the Marines and stationed at Camp LeJuene, NC. A sergent had a car that he had warned me about. It overheated and it was only good for short trips. I had no plans to go long distances, so I took it for $75.00
    I decided to take it on a long trip to NY where a girlfriend lived. I got about 100 miles and the temperature needle rose to the top. I took the car out of gear and let it coast. I don’t know why I decided to do that, or why it worked. The needle dropped and it was good for another 100 miles.
    I made 22 trips to NY in that car with no problems. I still rember crushing a 20 pound messhall coffee can to cover the holes in the floorboards. I spilled about 30 pounds of baked beans on the passenger side floor while transporting them to a USMC Company Party at Onslow Beach. I scooped up the beans and put them back. The car had this odd odor every time that the heat went on. Remember the jute (horsehair) underneath the rubber mats. It must have sunk in.
    I married the girl from NY and the 1953 Ford had a lot to do with it. We are still together. I have fond memories of that car.

    I’ll bet yours had a V8 engine. They were known for running hot. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

    I really need to write some more on this blog, I have many more cars to remember.


  2. stuart Says:

    ive never heard of the ford mainline before and ive been involved with cars since the age of 9. me and my wife were driving down US 11 in tennessee and came upon what i thought was a ’56 ford coupe. turned out to be a 1953 ford mainline sitting on someones property with the right rear wheel missing and sitting on a cement block. the car is all there except for the 2bbl carb on the v8 motor and the radiator. the interior is in restorable shape, and the body has all the chrome on it, and the rear tail lights are there with no crackes in them. does anyone know if this would make a good restorable project vehicle that me and my wife can work on?

  3. Royce Says:


    It sounds like a project car to me! Good luck.


  4. 1953 Ford Car | Says:

    […] My first car…1953 Ford […]

  5. Warren Jones Says:

    In 1958 I bought a 53 Ford 4-door sedan, sea foam green. It must have been a ?model above the Mainline (Fairlane?) as it had chrome trim that your’s didn’t have. V-8 motor. One day it began to knock – top of a piston broke off and settled on topp of the piston. Went to the local junkyard and found a similar motor in an upside-down flivver. The junkman said the seller drove the car in here so we grabbed a torch and began cutting the motor loose. Set the whole engine compartment on fire – used hubcaps splashing water from rain-filled steel drums nearby. Finally got the motor out and installed in my car. Ran like a top, used no oil and got decent gas mileage. Used it for several more years in our early “:poor days”, as my wife calls that era. Last of the flatheads. Did not like the OHV eights so I went with GM until 1995, when I bought a Lincoln Town Car, just to give Henry another chance. They finally learned to build a good OHV 8! Ah, the good ol’ days of my youth. Cheers, JW in Dixie

  6. Gary Gifford Says:

    In ’53, there were the Mainline, the Customline and the Crestline. The flathead v8 was subject to overheating if the water was a bit low. That was before the water recovery systems. It needed overhaul by 50,000 miles. All cars in those days were marginal by today’s standards. Kids today don’t know how lucky they are.

  7. Otilia Says:

    “My first car1953 Ford | My Love Affair.

    …..with cars” was actually enjoyable and educational!
    Within modern world that is really difficult to carry out.
    Thank you, Maybell

  8. Donna paschal Says:

    The 1953 ford is gorgeous and I wish I had one just like it . My first car was a 1970 maverick but the 1953 is by far the most beautiful. I love cArs the older the better .kinda makes me wish I had grown up in the 60’s instead of the 70’s. odd, right

    • Royce Says:

      I was born in 1945 so I got to enjoy the 50’s, thru today’s cars. I was fascinated with cars as far back as I can remember. I don’t know all my cousins names but I can remember every car my dad owned from the time I was about 5 years old.

      Thanks for reading. I need to get back on this project and finish it.


      • Donna paschal Says:

        I’d love to see it finished. I can also name every car I’ve ever had. Anything from 1950’s to 1970 muscle cars , ESPmustangs r my fab..

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