Model Review: Danbury Mint 1950 Ford Crestliner

Reviewed and Photographed by Peter Brown

A step up from the workaday Ford tudor sedan, the Crestliner appealed to a more stylish, image-conscious buyer back in 1950. Danbury first came out with this image back in 2004, and at the time it was applauded for its wealth of high-tech features and operating parts. Even by today's standards it's a pretty impressive piece. The model was also remarkable for having been offered simultaneously in two different color schemes.

This 60th Anniversary Edition is distinguished by a small gold plaque underneath, and an all-new color. It's a straight repaint, and one that may have taken a few of us by surprise since the 1:1 car was only offered in the two color combinations already issued by DM. You could have either coronation red or sportsman green, combined with a black insert on each side, and a black textured vinyl roof. Ah, but good old Moe does his homework, and it turns out that in the Spring of 1950 a new color combination was added: Hawaiian Bronze and Wagon Tan, albeit with the same black vinyl roof. As I understand it, they didn't have vinyl back then as we know it today, and GM's Vicodec material didn't arrive until it appeared on the Cadillac Seville in 1957 or 1959 depending on who you talk to. Therefore, I'm not clear just what this material was, but it certainly did jazz up the car's appearance.

The two-tone paint on this model is flawless, with minutely scaled metallic flake in the upper body's Hawaiian Bronze finish. The "vinyl" roof material is beautifully detailed with a fine stippled pattern, and raised seams running fore and aft along each side of the roof. Fit of the hood, doors, and trunk is excellent. When viewed from above, the operating fuel filler door has a rather large gap at the top in the closed position, but this minor nit can be forgiven. Fender skirts are fixed, and they look it, but again this is a relatively minor complaint (perhaps we've been spoiled), and not something that prevents you from enjoying the image.

Note the separately cast outside door locks, the door handle guards, and fuel filler guard—all luxury touches intended to distinguish this from the working man's Ford. The Crestliner script is a decal, not a P-E script, but this is not an issue for me as it is for some. Beautifully executed chrome wheel covers mounted on body-colored rims complete the deluxe appearance, as does the chrome accent line which separates the two paint colors. Also, note the dual side mirrors, the wing window deflectors, the telescoping antenna, and the photo-etched wipers.

Out back we see the delicately scaled trunk hinges which actually operate, unlike the simulated ones on the '49 Tudor and the '41 Special Deluxe. There's no shortage of detail here, with reverse and tail lights in clear and translucent red plastic, mounted in chrome surrounds, and a separately cast Ford crest and "brow" over the license plate, complete with the chrome latch and light. The taillights have dark spots, but this isn't so bad compared to the same effect when seen on clear lenses.

Does the gas tank hang a bit low? I'm no expert, but it looks like it might. Frankly, I didn't notice until it was pointed out to me, so I won't deduct any points. It's too small an issue to concern me given the model's overall appearance. However, when I first saw the antenna I thought it was absurdly thick. That is, until I realized that it telescoped to almost three times its height. Not bad.

Check out the hood ornament. DM nailed this one, going so far as to include the clear "fin" sticking up at the leading edge. Details like this are what separate the real precision diecasts from the wannabes. In the close-up below you can clearly see the tiny Ford scripts on each wheel cover—just beautiful.

Putting aside the hammy hinges under the hood, I am taken with the wonderful detail of miniature labels, full plumbing and wiring, and the provision of a prop rod which folds down into a holder on the front of the radiator when not in use. Even the battery has extra details like the lettering on the side and the red painted terminals on top.

Open the doors, with their hidden hinges and snap-shut latches, and feast your eyes on a wonderful, two-tone tan interior. The dashboard has readable gauges, finely picked out buttons and controls, and you'll find carpets, floor mats, pedals, and even a headlight dimmer switch on the floor. Seating is nicely done in patterned fabric with leather side bolsters, and a button tuft in the seatbacks, which tilt forward up front. If you're not looking for them, you could almost miss the working sun visors tucked up against the headliner.

Door panels are covered in the same patterned fabric, along with matching vinyl and separately cast hardware. There's even a nicely done Ford crest just below the sill to remind the owner that they bought the top-of-the-line model.

Inside the trunk there's a realistic ribbed "rubber" floor mat, a removable spare, a jack, and a telescoping prop rod for the deck lid. They even simulated the rubber seal around the edge of the lid.

From any angle it's one smart looking automobile, and one tasty looking model. The best of the three available colors in this writer's opinion.

Check out the detail in the Ford crest—modeled after some 17th century coat of arms I believe. How do they do that? Just amazing. There's one up front on the nose too.

Headlight lenses are beautifully done, as are the blacked-out recesses between the chrome ribs at either side of the grille opening, just above the bumper, housing clear marker lights. The dots here seem appropriate, representing the tiny bulbs inside. Were it not for the magnification in this shot, you could be forgiven for missing the numeral 8 in the center of the grille. The little red dot is surely noticeable, though at first glance it looks like it might contain the letter H. The 8 of course stands for the flathead V-8 of which Ford was so proud.

Our resident Dearborn expert, Jay, noted the following idiosyncrasy: "…by 1950, Ford's stamping of the front quarter panel no longer required the separate piece that fits between the inside of the headlight bezel, the hood and the top of the grille bar. This was an ongoing modification as the new stampings were composed of one single unit. The old style front quarters are carried on in this image even tho it is considered incorrect on this 1950 and 1/2 Crestliner." As for me, I wouldn't have known the difference, and sometimes ignorance is bliss.

I rarely buy repaints, but this is one I just couldn't resist. I guess I'm a sucker for a great color scheme, and besides I didn't have either of the first two versions. That's what made me bite, but what made this one a keeper was all the fine details, including the trunk hinges and the textured roof with it's neatly tailored edges capped in chrome. Bravo DM, this is another one you can be proud of.