Y Blocks in Australia

contributed by Lon Argent


Sorry no Y blocks yet. Customlines (4 door sedans only sold in Australia) & Mainlines Ute (more on that later) Still had side valve V8’s & king pin front ends. Ford Australia made Mainlines coupe utilities (commonly know in Australia as utes from 1949 to 1959) We have had sedan based Utes /pick-ups/ranchero’s since 1934 all of which used small rear quarter windows. Also Ford made factory roadster Utes from 1935 to 1937.


The first year of the famous Y BLOCK, Customlines (4-door body only) & Mainlines sold in Australia. Mainline utes were mounted on a North American Sunliner chassis from 1955 to 1959 (not real sure on Mainline chassis from 1949 to 1954). The rear body section was unique to Australia; the front half was the same as the US models. Also new for the 1955’s were the ball joint front ends, still 6 volt & only 3 speed manual trans (3 on the tree) 2BBL-3 bolt Holley carb was available. 16inch wheels 4.1 to-1 diffs with heavy duty rear springs. Brakes were slightly wider then sedans (2 & quarter inch wide) also rear axles had 19 splines rather then the 17 spline axles as on sedans, also larger wheel bearings were used on rear end. “Poverty pack” was standard on Mainlines, (no radio, heater & only one sunvisor). Most roads in out back Australia were still dirt in the 1950’s and Mainlines became popular because of their ample ground clearance. Rated to carry 1500 lbs (as near as I know) it soon became evident that there carrying capacity could be doubled because of the massive centre X member. As per normal most of these Utes had a very hard life on the farm. Finding a mint example these days is a little hard but there are still a few good ones surfacing now & then. Dash is the same as US 55 models only in RHD (right hand drive form)


Once again 4 door Customlines & Mainline Utes were the only available models. First year for 12 volts system also first year for automatic transmission option, Early 56 models still used 2BBL- 3 bolt Holley, late 56 used 4 bolt auto lite/Holley. Still used 1955 US dash & this was the last year that Australia kept up with same year models.


This is where its starts to get interesting. 1957 Australian Customlines (these were still a 55 US body with 56 grill) were sold with 56 US Fairlane side trim, still used 55 dash, a large V8 badge was mounted in the middle of the grill ( I don’t know if this was an Australian ideal or left over badge from north America)
There were no North American 57 models sold in Australia.


More interesting info. The 1958 Fords were affectionately know as the (star) model, this was due to the 55 Canadian Ford Meteor Niagara grill use with the large star in the centre, it also had 1956 Canadian Ford Meteor Rodieu side moulding. Finally a new dash????? very simular to the 1956 US dash. Automatic transmission was denoted by “ Fordomatic” script. Manual transmission still used “Customline” script. Even today manual “star” models are rare as most were sold as automatics. 292 cu in was also introduced this year. Mainline Utes had swage line pressed into rear quarters & tailgate. Once again US 58 models not sold in Australia.


Star model customline still sold in early 59. Late 59 were the introduction of the “tank” model Fairlane. Same as US models sold in Custom 300 & Fairlane 500 series. Four door sedan models only sold in Australia. Ranch Wagon did come later on but no Ranchero, only available with 332 FE motors NO Y-BLOCKS. First year of the legendary 9 in rear end. Y blocks were available in “F series trucks” up until 1964.

Lon Argent.