Pete1 11 14 DSC 0169r

In Like Fin: The Ford X-51

Today, we dig into our archives.  Did we mention we have archives?  Yup – files full of automotive goodness just waiting to meet you.

Let us introduce you to the the Ford X-51, which was featured most recently in the Petersen’s Fins: Form without Function exhibit.  We must have visited that exhibit eight times before it closed – there was so much to see, and so much to learn!  As the Petersen’s curators explain, “Ron Courtney, an auto shop employee in McMinville, Oregon, built this X-51 during the mid-1950s.

Preferring to call his work ‘restyling’ rather than ‘customizing’ he sectioned the body five inches, shaved the door handles and exterior trim, and modified the front fenders to accept 1956 Oldsmobile headlights.


But the most prominent modification was the vehicle’s extremely large fins and custom taillights.


The X-51 was powered by a 256-cubic inch Chevrolet equipped with a McCulloch supercharger.

Click to Close

Photo Credit

It received several awards at the 1957 Portland Roadster Show and appeared on the cover of Hot Rod magazine, which dubbed it ‘the Ford of the future.'”


Photo Credit

Hot Rod magazine wasn’t the only one to catch on to this finned beauty.  Car Craft featured the X-51 seven months earlier, in March of 1958.  Space age styling for the ‘fifty Ford?  Beam me up, X-51!

More Stories
BCC16 DSC 9656r
Benedict Castle Concours – Automotive Beauty