Ford Division in North America is mining vehicle icons of the past as it recasts its future car lineup.
On Sunday, the Ford Forty-Nine concept car arrived at the show with J Mays, company design chief, at the wheel.
The company will measure reaction to the show car in a bid to determine production feasibility.
"The '49 Ford was an icon of the Ford brand in the same way the Thunderbird is an icon,'' said Martin Inglis, head of the Ford brand in North America.
"We will see what spark is created when we put it out there.''
The Ford Forty-Nine is based on the rear-wheel-drive 2002 Thunderbird platform, Inglis said.
The concept bears a chrome "Powered by Thunderbird'' badge on the side fender.
The Forty-Nine's engine is Thunderbird's 3.9-liter, dual overhead cam, 32-valve V-8.
"It is quite feasible to do it if we so desire,'' Inglis said about producing the Forty-Nine.
Design chief Mays is trying to invigorate the Ford Division car lineup in North America by producing a stable of cars that invoke passion in consumers.
Ford wants to crate "a new sense of design and personality for the Ford brand,'' said Jac Nasser, Ford CEO.
The original '49 Ford reached customers emotionally, Nasser said.
The first all-new postwar Ford design, the car generated 1.3 million orders before it officially went on sale. Mays' concept car harkens back to the custom car designs from the 1950s.
"The car you see here takes some of its looks but a great deal of its emotions from the original '49 Ford,'' Mays said.
"There are other influences: The 1955 Crown Victoria in the roof line. And somewhere buried in there are Ghia concepts of the mid '50s.''
The black concept coupe has a glass upper body. Chrome wraps the greenhouse.
The interior gauges are reminiscent of the production '49 and the hot rods of the era.