I had finished restoring a '55 Ford Courier sedan delivery wagon in 2000. It was a shell on a frame when I picked it up in 1996.
Needless to say it was gruelling work just finding all the right peices to assemble a 223 I-block six mileagemaker with a Ford-O-Matic. But finding a gas tank was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I found few junkyards that still had 55 wagons, but they wouldn't touch them and wouldn't let you pull them yourself. I found a place called Andrews in Hemmings motor News that sold gas tanks. With little choice left I bought one from them for around $250. When I received it, I nearly cried. It was the biggest pile of pitted rust and dents I ever saw in one spot. I worked on it for days feverishly trying to make it look halfway decent. The bottom of the tank had been caved in badly, so that the sending unit float would not be able to reach its true bottom, thus always leaving you to guess if you had any gas in the tank. I did not attempt to cut the tank in halves to remedy this, hoping I could find a better tank later. The goal now was to just get my project running.
I left the wagon sit in mothballs at the beginning of 2009 with a full tank of ethanol gas. I have lately noticed a smell of gas when entering the garage and discoverered the tank was leaking thru a rusthole at the bottom of the tank. I drained the tank and dumped the gas into 5-gallon cans which I tranferred to my '55 sedan. It is still driven daily. Now searching again for something better, here is what I have found:
Several Repro suppliers have been offering new tanks for a few years now, but not for the wagon models.
Auto City Classic inc located in Isanti, Minnesota offers the '52 - '56 ford wagon gas tank. It is supposedly a zinc-plated metal fabricated duplicate of the original for $399.00 not including shipping cost.
Rock Valley antique Auto parts In Stillman Valley, Illinois keeps old tanks for use as templates to fabricate custom tanks. Their tanks will not look like original, but offer custom options such as integral fuel pump or non-standard sending units, etc. Their price $800.00 not incl shipping.
I am hoping that many other repro suppliers will jump on the bandwagon and offer wagon tanks and increase competition, hopefully lowering prices.