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What price (concours) glory? $33,000, for a 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner in Austin

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1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner. Photos courtesy Mecum Auctions.

To win concours d’elegance gold, one must be prepared to spend whatever it takes to achieve automotive perfection, or so says conventional wisdom. Last weekend in Austin, Texas, one bidder put a price on that, paying a fee-inclusive $33,000 for a restored 1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner described as a “multiple concours winner.”

1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner

The Crestline topped Ford’s product range from 1952 through 1954, and the automaker proudly proclaimed, “You can pay more, but you can’t buy better.” By 1954, standard equipment on Crestline models included automatic interior courtesy lighting, full carpeting, stainless steel window moldings, stainless steel trim, and a hydraulically operated top on Sunliner convertible models. Popular options included a heater ($44), Magic Air heater and defroster ($70), electric clock ($15), radio ($88), windshield washers (10), Master-Guide power steering ($134) and Swift Sure power brakes ($45). On all Crestline models except the Country Squire station wagon, power windows were also an available option.

1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner

In 1954, power came from a either a Mileage Maker six, fed by a single one-barrel carburetor and rated at 115 horsepower, or the optional V-8, which produced 130 horsepower. A three-speed manual transmission was the base choice for either engine, while both overdrive and the Ford-O-Matic transmission remained optional extras.

1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner

The example sold in Austin came with the optional Y-block V-8 and the Day and Night demonstrator hood, built in limited numbers for dealers to show off the new overhead-valve eight-cylinder engine. Other options on the car included windshield washers, AM radio, electric clock, heater and rear fender skirts, and at some point in the car’s life a Continental kit was also added.

1954 Ford Crestline Sunliner

Details of exactly what awards were earned in concours competition, and where those victories took place, were surely handed down to the car’s new owner, along with the original owner’s manual and photographs documenting the car’s restoration. While $33,000 isn’t inexpensive, it is roughly the average price of a new family sedan, proving that even at higher levels of competition, the hobby need not be stratospherically expensive.

1965 Sunbeam Tiger restomod

1965 Sunbeam Tiger restomod.

Lots in the top-10 in Austin included a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, which sold for $440,000; a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Silver Arrow, which sold for $245,000; a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger restomod, which sold for $142,500; a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette restomod, which sold for $130,000; a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, which sold for $130,000; a 1954 Ford F100 pickup restomod, which sold for $120,000; a 1994 Porsche 911 RS coupe, which sold for $115,000; a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL roadster, which sold for $105,000; a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, which sold for $102,500; and a 1955 Chevrolet 210 restomod, which sold for $100,000.

1952 Chevrolet Deluxe

1952 Chevrolet Deluxe.

More affordable lots included a 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, which sold for $3,000; a 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe, which sold for $4,750; a 1982 GMC Jimmy, which sold for $5,500; a 1978 BMW 320i, which sold for $5,500; a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, which sold for $6,000; a 1954 Chevrolet 210, which sold for $6,000; a 1967 Cadillac Calais, which sold for $6,500; a 1973 Jeep CJ-5, which sold for $6,500; a 1924 Ford Model T pickup, which sold for $6,500; and a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, which sold for $7,250.

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