As for Jim and Martha’s Sunliner, in addition to being a member of CTKC, and CTCI, membership in the Crown Victoria Association of Brian, Ohio provided invaluable resources in the successful repair of their 1955 Ford Sunliner. My repair efforts for our Sunliner began with a call to the Crown Victoria Association (CVA). Mr. Toby Gorny provided not only moral support but a list of extremely knowledgeable individuals to contact in regard to saving our classic. Mr. Mike Beckwith of Richmond, Ohio; Mr. Don Stickler of Salisbury, North Carolina; Mr. Norbert Doll, Glencoe, Oklahoma, proved to be invaluable contacts for me and I will be forever grateful for their help. I would like to mention the most important person who assisted me in this car’s repair effort, Martha Dillenschneider. When Martha said, “I do” to the question, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband”, she had no idea that 50 years later she would spend a week in a Ford Expedition traveling over 4,000 miles acquiring repair part for a classic car. Martha’s efforts and support greatly helped to save another classic car. Did I say the cars were repaired and back on the road? YES!!! They haven’t been “rotisserie” restored, but anyone would be hard pressed to find any evidence of the accident. They are again, BEAUTIFUL!!!!

As an aside, I’d like to mention a couple more things - seat belts and insurance. Personally, I’m one of those guys that believes in keeping a car very close to how it came out of the factory. Therefore, I resist modifying my cars from being stock factory as much as possible. In the time period that our cars were produced, styling took precedence over safety. Most people considered seat belts unattractive and/or a nuisance. That being said, fortunately I had installed seat belts in our Sunliner as a Christmas gift for Martha a couple of seasons back thinking that even though a thoughtful gift, their installation and protection would never be required. Those seat belts and some LUCK shielded Martha and me from some very serious injuries. As for insurance, I believe an insurance company that specializes in classic car coverage and has a good reputation in the insurance industry would be a wise choice for any classic car owner. Further, know this; the repair cost of a classic car could possibly exceed its market value. The repair shops for classics are diminishing as time goes on, creating an imbalance of supply and demand in regard to time and money required in an insurance claim. Do not underinsure your classic. Many of classic car insurance companies provide guidelines to adequate coverage for your classic. Don’t try to save a few bucks by not purchasing a GOOD insurance policy from a GOOD insurance company.

As this story was being written, the question was pondered as to what motivated the people responsible for the saving of these cars. Wouldn’t it have been easier to “cash out” and let the cars go to an uncertain fate? Wouldn’t it have been easier to have avoided the time and expense required to succeed in this repair effort? Wouldn’t it have been easier to attempt to forget the entire incident and move on? There were those who commented to these ideas. But to those of us who value the history of our great Country, the companies and people who produced these cars, one can easily appreciate their memory and efforts that benefited all. For me it feels good to have succeeded; to have pulled this one off; to have won. I’ll bet there are others that feel the same way.

To my fellow CVA members and classic car enthusiasts, find comfort in the decision to belong to our and other car clubs. We enjoy the pleasure of owning our classic cars and the fellowship and support of other like-minded individuals.

I’ll conclude this writing as it began; definition: FORGE; #3, transitive verb: to form or bring into being especially by an expenditure of effort. I believe this applies to this repair journey that began September 7, 2019 as a mutual club affiliation, and because of an expenditure of effort, became a “FORGED FRIENDSHIP”. Or in the spirit of light-heartedness “FORDged” Friendships? You can decide.

Submitted by: Jim Dillenschneider