For the 1949 model year, the Custom nameplate was used for the top trim level in Ford's range of automobiles. It was part of the completely new redesign of Ford cars after the war. In 1950, it had a 114-inch wheelbase and was 196.8 inches long. For 1950 the name was changed to Custom Deluxe and then to Customline for 1952 when it moved to the midrange position between the new Mainline and Crestline models. The Custom name returned for the 1957 model year along with a new Custom 300 series, these two models sitting below the Fairlane and Fairlane 500. The Custom 300 became the base model for 1958, but was dropped from the range for 1960.
The Custom name reappeared again for 1964 and the Custom 500 nameplate made its debut the same year. While the Custom 500 was a slight step up, the Custom was again the stripped, no-frills trim level of the full-sized Fords. Most Customs were sold to police and taxi fleets during the 1960s, although anyone who wanted basic, no-frills transportation with the convenience of a full-sized car could purchase one.
The Ford Custom and Custom 500 nameplates were dropped after the 1972 model year, although the Custom 500 was revived in 1975 and sold primarily to taxi, police, and fire fleet customers.
Ford Custom 300
Ford produced a Custom 300 model from 1957 to 1959, this being the lower-middle range series above the bargain-priced Custom series in its first year and the base trim level for the final two years.
Ford Custom 500
The Ford Custom 500 is a car model name that was used by the Ford Motor Company both in the United States and Canada from 1964 to 1978. It usually came equipped with a small block V8 engine (289 cid in the early years, up to 351 by the mid- to late-1970s).
- Wheelbase = 119"
- Length = 210"<
- Width = 77.4"
- Turning radius = 41 ft.
- Frame = Perimeter frame with five crossmembers
- Brake = 11"
The Custom 500 nameplate represented a slightly better trimmed version of the low-priced, economy models of Ford's full-sized car range, which also included the Ford Galaxie 500 and LTD. Most customers of this model purchased them for taxi and police fleets, although the car appealed to many private customers who wanted a no frills automobile with a lot of seating room and the power of a V-8 engine. The name survived in Canada until 1981 on a low priced version of the then current Ford LTD.
A brown 1971 Custom 500 4-door sedan with a blue interior, equipped with a 429 Police Interceptor/Cobra Jet engine and black steel wheels with Cooper Tire Wide Runner Polyglas tires, appeared in the 1973 Burt Reynolds film White Lightning and is perhaps the most famous Custom 500 ever. Unusually, scenes of the movie depict the cars (several were wrecked during filming, including the barge jumping scene) with either a manual or automatic transmissions.
Police Forces ordered up many 1974–1978 Custom 500 (POLICE PACKAGES), motors ranged from 351M's to 460 Police Interceptors.
Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78. This makes it the tenth best selling automobile platform in history.
The Ford Custom was also produced in Australia from 1949 to 1952, offered as the Fordor and the Utility. The former was a 4-door sedan and the latter a 2-door coupe utility developed by Ford Australia. Australian content on the locally produced Custom had reached 80% by 1950.
The 1959 model North American Custom 300 was also produced by Ford Australia from September 1959. Offered only as a four-door sedan and only with a 332 cu in (5.4 L) V8 engine, it was given a mild makeover in late 1960 which included the grille design from the 1959 Canadian Meteor. The facelifted model continued in production through to 1962.