July 2016 - Mom’s Car 50 years and worth the wait.
It seems everyone has a story about their ownership of a Ford so here is mine. In 1955 my father’s precision machine shop in Inglewood Ca. was doing well and he purchased a 1955 Ford Mountain Green Sunliner for my mother. He was a “ragtop man” and soon after the 56’s came out my dad purchased a new black Victoria for her and took back the Sunliner; I was 12 years old at that time. As time went on, I learned to drive in the Victoria and use it on dates. My normal way to school was hitching rides or driving a ‘49 pickup that dad had acquired for the shop and I could use for school and my job.
Dad had some pretty strict rules that I followed as I remember all his life. The first was “I was to never ever touch a car window” and the second, when I wanted to borrow moms car on a Saturday night I had to wash his first. This usually meant 2 cars on Saturday afternoon after I got off work; his and moms, as I couldn’t be seen in a dirty car. During my senior year of high school mom sold the Victoria and bought an Oldsmobile and the ‘55 Sunliner stayed in the family until 1964. I told myself someday I’d have a ‘56 Victoria.
Major things change our families lives and in late 1963 my dad past away in an accident. He had acquired many things which I could not keep but what I did I have cherished all my life. The main item for me was his 1939 Indian Sport Scout motorcycle which he had purchased in 1943.
Over the years I watched over my mother who never remarried; she lived to the wonderful age of 95 and died in June of 2011. During this time I married, had 2 children, and 5 grandchildren to boot and very understanding wife of so far 49 years. She tolerated me being a “car guy/gear head” as I could fix just about anything. She watch me drag race and pushed me off on the Bonneville Salt Flats until our son took over. She is in the infield to watch our son’s ½ mile dirt Super Stock car at Perris Auto Speedway scraping mud after wheel packing. Everyone should be so lucky.
After Mom died, my wife knew of my love of ‘56 Ford Victoria’s and asked if I finally was go to find one as she liked them as a teenager growing up too. In December of 2011 I found one we liked in Arizona and started working on acquiring it. A “dealer” owned the car and had purchased from the man who had restored it over a 12 year time span. A disc with all the photos and receipts came with the car and it was a true frame off restoration.
In 1996-2000 I restored the 1939 Indian and showed across the country in AMCA judging knew what was expected with “perfection” and never wanted to be a part of that again. I wanted a Victoria that was done well but not every nut and bolt needed to be original to make me happy. The one I found met this in spades. The underside was just as good as the top even two-tone. Many minor items needed to be fixed or finished and this fit me just fine. I was just about to retire from the power utility business and the Ford became my tinkers dream. All the little things were fixed (headlight switch, ignition switch, cooling, radio, power steering leaks, heater controls, and mirrors) by me and some chromed plating was done.
Being a Land Speed racer and Bonneville 200 MPH Club member I just could not keep my hands off the Y-block which had been overhauled along with the restoration of the car. Seeing a photo of Curtis Turner’s ‘56 Sunliner, which won the NASCAR convertible season, its large red air cleaner caught my eye, and I needed to know more.
After acquiring a Ford Purolator air cleaner in 2014 that had been used in the 1956 NASCAR season I decided to find as many parts to the High Power Kit that was offered as a dealer installed option in 1956 for law enforcement and racing. Due to some problems in finding some parts and information I took a few liberties with lines, linkage and brackets but over all I am very happy with the result. The shocker of course is the large red air cleaner with 2 wing nuts on top; when the hood is open it always needs an explanation. A ’56 Victoria with dual quads is not something you see every day. Mileage is down a little from the single 4 barrel but that’s not why you do things like this.
I drive the car every weekend sometimes the wife comes along as long a lunch/dinner is involved and it is always a hit. Trophies are nice but the compliments are and “their Ford stories” the best. Even though this one is Peacock Blue and Colonial White and not Black I feel I have my Mom’s car and my Dad’s bike which is more than a 71 year old guy can ask. I, like most of you hear, “is it for sale” and you can guess my answer.
J.D. and Jean Tone
Fountain Valley, CA