September 2014 - Herb Challberg's 1954 Ford Customline
In 1964, I purchased my first car, a 1954 Ford Customline 2 door sedan. The car was familiar to me because it was driven by a friend of my brother. The driver's older brother had driven it before him and modified it by replacing the original 6 cylinder engine with a younger Y-block V-8 with a 4 barrel carburetor, converted the 3 speed OD transmission to shift on the floor, and added a dual exhaust system.
While those brothers modified and drove the car, their father who had taken delivery of the new 1954 Ford on February 16, 1954 at Burnham Motors Inc. in Beloit, Wisconsin retained ownership. When I took ownership of the car, I became the second
owner, but the fourth driver.
As I drove it for the next four years, I continued to change, modify, and repair. Chrome vvheels, bucket seats, and a 4 speed transmission were among mid-60's changes. Although my style of driving mandated some mechanical repairs, there was no body work caused by accidents on my account. Recent restoration work revealed body repair from a minor accident or two prior to my ownership.
Temporary storage in my mom's garage in 1968 became long term. Those of us labeled "baby boomers" can identify with what happens next: marriage, military service, babies, family living, children's school activities, and so on. My path differs from many in that no matter how many activities and location changes, I was able to keep that first car. Not only did I keep it, luckily it was always stored in an enclosed garage with a concrete floor.
After bringing the car to Minnesota from Illinois in 1978, it remained garaged in a Minneapolis suburb for 32 years. Restoration began shortly after moving to our current residence in Cambridge, MN in 2009 with garage space dedicated to that purpose. The following list is partial both in description of the car and suppliers, services, and individuals involved, but should give readers a " flavor." My hope is that it brings back memories of the mid-60's as a period street machine.
- 1957 Mercury 312 ci Y-block
- Stock "G" heads and valves with Isky retainers and hardened exhaust seats
- Isky RPM 300 camshaft
- Holley Street Avenger 570 CFM carb.
- Melling oil pump
- Airtex mechanical fuel pump
- Pertronix solid state ignition with 40,000 v coil
- Auto City Classic polished aluminum radiator with 2/1- 1/8" cores
- Yestertech Tri-Y style custom headers with 2 1/4" collector
- Custom built 2 W' exhaust with H pipe
- Headers & exhaust system ceramic coated
- Flowmaster stainless Delta 50 mufflers
- Tremec M7003Z 5 speed manual
- Jon Mummert T5Y adapter
- Hurst shifter
- 1958 Ford 9"
- 3.50 gears with limited slip
- Front: rebuilt stock Ford OE
- Rear: rebuilt stock Ford 5 leaf with custom additional 6th leaf
- Removable custom made "old school" 42" traction bars
- Front: Auto City Classic - Granada style disc conversion \Vith dual master, 11" drilled and slotted rotors, and proportioning valve.
- Rear: New 1958 Ford OE style 10 W' drums
Wheels & Tires:
- Motorspot/Truespoke custom chrome 15x6 with original Ford .. "dog dish" caps
- Front & Rear: BF Goodrich P225x70Rl5 radial T/A
- Front: 1964 Pontiac GTO bucket seats with custom built floor mounting brackets
- Rear: Original Ford back bench
- Console/cupbolder: custom built from modified Chevrolet lmpala Arm Rest
- Colors: burgundy with contrasting parchment, oxblood caiix=t and mats
- 5 sets of maroon Juliano's se.at belts
- Original gauges and lights converted to 12v neg. ground
- Original radio converted to 12v solid state AM/FM 4 speaker stereo with aux. inputs
- Original electric clock converted to 12v quartz
- Sunpro SST 802R tachometer
- Custom built wiring harness with modem mini fuse panel under dash
- Vacuum windshield wipers converted to 2 speed electrical
- Dakota Digital electronic speed control
- Original color scheme of Sandalwood Tan over Lancer Maroon metallic applied in modern PPG acrylic urethane and clear coat
- Hood ornament removed
- 53 Ford tail light lenses with blue dots