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Does a 51 automatic transmission have an ignition lock?

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  • Does a 51 automatic transmission have an ignition lock?

    Hi All -
    I recently purchased a 1951 4-Dr Champion parts car with an automatic transmission. I will be moving the car this weekend, but didn't think to see if I could get it into neutral without a key. Does the '51 have an ignition lock so it can't be moved from park unless the key is turned?

    BTW, it has been sitting since 1963 and the current owner doesn't have the keys. What are my options for getting the wheels to turn if the ignition does lock the transmission in park? Is there a way to override the ignition? Or is the best option to pull the drive shaft?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Warning 6 Volt POSITIVE Ground!

    No Ignition Lock, NO steering lock, I think that foolishness started in the 1980's?

    After you have safely gotten it home, go to this helpful bunch of "What to do" tips from our Homepage under Technical Tips, Specs and Data:

    And when all fluids are checked and these items are followed, you can:

    Just run a hot wire from (-) Batt. post to the (-) Post on the Coil (Positive Grounded 6 Volt batt.)

    Check for Gearshift in "PARK", give it a squirt of Gas, touch a wire to the (-) Batt. Post and touch the other end to the small "Start" Terminal on the Solenoid, and FIRE her up!

    UPDATE: Yes there were a few Ford Products way back in the late 40's that had a Steering Column Lock, only to be soon discontinued.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 01-17-2011, 03:09 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967


    • #3
      I had a 1948 Mercury that had a steering wheel lock and you had to have a key to unlock it.

      [QUOTE=StudeRich;519180][B][COLOR="blue"]No Ignition Lock, NO steering lock, I think that foolishness started in the 1980's?


      • #4
        Your car came with a lock out switch that prevented it from being started in gear, but you can steer the car or slip it into neutral w/o the key being turned on or even in the ignition.


        • #5
          How are you moving it? And how far? If you have to flat tow or dolly it, you probably should disconnect the driveshaft at the rear and tie it off to the side.
          D 'N Q RACE ENGINES


          • #6
            I think what you're experiencing is the infamous Detroit Gear Parking Pawl problem and the shift lever appears to be locked. In actuality, it's stuck. The geometry of the shift lever actuating the park function is a bit different than modern cars and the pawl can get jammed in the drum gear by the linkage. If the car is not on an incline you can help by rocking it back and forth, but pressure from the drum is not holding it. You have to give the shift lever a good pull, even to the extent you think you may bend the linkage ......and you might even do that.
            40 years is a long time to be sitting like that. Get yourself a Manual, so you can see where the problem is.
            64 GT Hawk (K7)
            1970 Avanti (R3)


            • #7
              I'm moving it about 30 miles on a flat trailer behind a pickup. I do have a set of '51 manuals but they refer to the automatic transmission supplement which I don't that available? Is there just one as I found on a website or are there multiple?

              BTW, I was hoping to slip it into neutral to get it on/off the trailer. The other reasons for hoping I could slip it into neutral is I live in MN and we've had a bunch of snow (not to mention it is going to be in the single digits on Saturday) - going to be digging the car out of snow up to its windows currently...would rather not have to lay under the car in snow and cold to remove the drive shaft but will if I need to.

              Thanks for all the advise,


              • #8
                Maybe I've missed something but I don't think Brad indicated the shifter didn't work or that the park pawl was stuck. Rich indicated all that safety lock stuff was a later contrivance. No key necessary; don't even need to have your foot on the brake to shift.
                Brad Johnson,
                SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
                '56 Sky Hawk in process