The Ford line of cars gained a new body for 1955 to keep up with surging Chevrolet, although it remained similar to the 1952 Ford underneath. The Mileage Maker straight-6 was bumped up to 223 CID (3.7 L) for 120 hp (89 kW) and the new-for-1954 Y-block V8 was now offered in two sizes: Standard Fords used a 272 CID (4.5 L) version with 162 hp (121 kW), but the large 292 CID (4.8 L) unit from the Thunderbird was also offered, boasting 193 hp (144 kW).
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Engine(s)||223 CID (3.7 L) OHV I6|
272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block V8
292 CID (4.8 L) T-bird V8
|Wheelbase||115.5 in (2934 mm)|
Apart from the engine changes, customers were sure to notice the new "Fairlane" top-line trim, while a new "Crown Victoria" style featured a chrome "basket handle" across the familiar (and continued) "Victoria" hardtop roof. The company now boasted three different rooflines, the tall two-pillar Mainline, Customline, and Fairlane, lower chrome-pillar Crown Victoria, and pillarless hardtop Victoria. The "Skyliner" acrylic glass roof was still offered, this time only on the Crown Victoria model.
The Fords introduced for 1955 also featured the panoramic windshields found on Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs the previous year. With this panoramic windshield the A-pillars have a vertical angle. this givers the driver more panoramic visibility.
For the first time, Ford offered seat belts as an option. Customers could also purchase their new cars with air conditioning. This system included a condenser unit in the trunk, plus a pair of air ducts in the trunk and clear tubes which run from the rear package shelf into the headliner, where one found the air ducts. The system was very costly and few units were sold.
In 1955 Ford first offered factory installed air conditioning which featured a front mounted evaporator with cold air discharge vents located on top of the dash on either side of the radio speaker. This design was carried over to the 1956 models with slightly different cold air vents in the sale location as on the 1955 models. The condenser was mounted in front of the radiator as in later cars.
The eggcrate grille featured on the 1955 cars was widened into a series of rectangles for 1956, but this subtle exterior change was nothing compared to Ford's adoption of a 12-volt electrical system across the line. The Crown Victoria Skyliner's sales were plummeting with just 603 made, and it would be replaced by a convertible the next year. A new addition at midyear was the "Town Victoria" 4-door hardtop model which, along with the new Customline 2-door hardtop, were meant to compete with the Chevrolet Bel Air.
The Lifeguard safety package — consisting of seat belts, a padded dashboard and a breakaway rearview mirror — was introduced. The option was a slow-seller. The optional air conditioner, which remained expensive and thus a slow seller, was totally revamped; the compressor was now housed beneath the hood and the cooling vents were moved to atop the dashboard.
- David L. Lewis (2005). 100 Years of Ford. Publications International. pp. 164–173. ISBN 0-7853-7988-6.
- "Generations: Ford Model T to Crown Victoria". http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=93327. Retrieved on August 21.