August 2013 - Hibbert's 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria Coupe
I am the 3rd Australian owner of the Victoria, the importer being the first; it was sold to another, then to me in a weathered but running condition. It was registered it on ‘CH’ plates & my Family drove it ‘as was’ for about a year.
It was a low mileage California USA Ford evidenced by the minimal corrosion to the body & virtually none to the chassis & running gear. The body rust was confined to 45% of one side rocker, front fender lower trailing panel areas & the rear beaver panel at both sides. Nothing else of significance was found. Also, there was minor denting of the roof panel … An easy fix.
The prime consideration was that the Fairlane needed to be as complete & original as possible. It was equipped with 4-way electric front seat, heater, and radio with 2 Military bands, all instruments & exterior Stainless trim.
I then commenced the 3 ½ year full ‘body-off’ restoration. NOTHING was overlooked. The chassis frame completely stripped, de-greased, sand blasted & painted in ‘Chassis Black’. The Thunderbird 292 ‘Y’ block engine only needed a top end overhaul including the camshaft oiling improvement, a transmission overhaul & servicing, all brakes & chassis/running gear, radiator, heating system, all electrics (first year of 12 volt system), with all new or restored components. The engine was painted in factory colors.
I restored ALL fastenings to original factory finish, all seals & rubber components, new windscreen & side glass, all stainless window frames & trims highly polished & all chrome components repaired & triple re-chromed. The complete body was bead blasted; rust repaired using all steel pieces (NO FILLER), set on a rotisserie & fully painted in the factory original colors of Peacock Blue & Colonial White, red primer finish to the under body & all interior/inner door/hood/boot surfaces fully finished in Colonial White.
The wheel arches/inner fender liners etc are finished in satin ‘Chassis Black’. The front drum brakes were replaced in favor of Ford XW/XY discs C/W a vacuum booster piped & mounted at the original factory option position within the engine bay. A front anti-sway bar from a Tank Fairlane fitted along with all 4 gas filled shock absorbers. Refurbished & reset rear springs.
A transmission cooler was mounted between the front chassis rails & piped to the radiator. The Fairlane does a lot of slow speed cruising on events & has also proved to suffer no overheating, even during a 38 degree fast run.
There are so many other restoration items I could mention but suffice to say that once starting, it is difficult to ignore anything that should be attended to. Unattended small items can ‘take-the-shine’ off the end result. Ignoring the minor parts tend to remind one of an uncompleted restoration!
I had reserved the Vic Roads registration identification plates “VICCY”.
It includes the slogan “VICTORIA”. … That suits the Ford perfectly!
I have fully restored many Ford cars but this was the most satisfying. I believe every restoration serves to ‘lift’ ones standard to perfection.
Overall, it was a very rewarding experience ending with an understanding & full knowledge of every component & its function. Knowing that it is thoroughly restored is comforting & results in a safe reliable touring Ford.