April 2021 - Jim Reagan's 1955 Crown Victoria
Submitted by: Ken Colbert, Ruffsdale, PA
My name is Ken Colbert, northeast region, CVA #2675. I'm a barber in Ruffsdale, PA. If that sounds familiar it may be because I've had several articles in FoMoCo Times through the years and I know a lot of the CVA members as well.
You may remember that I had an article in the August 2017 edition about me accidentally finding out the total history of my 56 Crown Victoria and an unknown owner who lives less than a mile away from me. A similar story ensues . . .
Many years ago a customer of mine, Jerry, after seeing all my 55 / 56 Ford stuff in the barber shop, told me he bought a 55 Crown Victoria from a junkyard two miles up the road – from a guy named Arnie and DROVE it home ( about 35 miles ) for $200! Now this was probably in the early sixties. Jerry was just 'crazy' about the 55 and 56 Crown Victoria's! It's all he talked about . . .
Eventually Jerry's income and health fell away. And although he was a mechanic by trade he never got the chance to make his car road worthy. It just sat beside his mobile home with a pick up load of misc. parts for the old Ford deteriorating away year after year. He almost had tears in his eyes telling me about it.
Then he came in one day and told me a man named John had been pestering him for the last few years to sell him the car. Jerry knew he would never be able to put her back on the road again so the last time John showed up at his door Jerry asked him how he wanted to restore the car. 'Back to original' was John's reply. Jerry pointed to the old parts rusting away and told John he could take the whole load for free. John turned and asked 'How much for the Crown'? Jerry said 'just take it too'. The natural reply was 'What's the catch?' Jerry replied 'Just take me for a ride when she's restored'. The car had a new owner.
Several years later I went to a car show and saw a drop dead gorgeous 55 Regency Purple and white Crown Victoria. The name on the owners card was 'John'. Sure enough it was him! We talked for a long time about our mutual friend Jerry. Shortly after that both Jerry and John disappeared from my life. But that's not the end of the story. Back to the barber shop . . .
Like Jerry, a new customer Jim admired all the Crown Victoria stuff he saw at the shop and quickly informed me he bought a 55 Crown in another state when he was in the service – he even gave me a black and white photo of it. When I asked what color it was he told me purple and white. Then he told me he eventually drove it back to Pennsylvania but sold soon after it to a guy named ARNIE . . .
BOOM! Jim bought it in another state, Jim sold it to Arnie, Arnie sold it to Jerry, Jerry ( gave ) it to John – same car! When I realized this I was asking everyone if they ever saw a purple and white 55 Crown Victoria at the local car shows. Lots of people saw it, and obviously remembered it, but hadn't seen it lately.
Enter Don and Amy Zinn, 55 pink and white Sunliner, CVA #7844. When I asked about John, Amy said he passed away. She also said the reason nobody had seen it is because his grandson, the new owner, isn't interested showing it, and wants to sell it. She didn't remember his name but knew the name of the business that he ran and also had the number! BINGO!
Footnote: Jim told his wife I knew the where-abouts of his old car and she secretly asked me to call her if I ever saw it again. She wanted to arrange for her husband to see the car. When I got the information she wanted I called and told Jim my wife wanted to talk to his wife about something – they didn't know each other. When his wife got on I gave her the scoop and Jim never suspected anything.
Jim showed up at my shop last week showing me some pictures. He said his son took him to this guy's shop ( John's grandson ) and he asked his unsuspecting Dad to wait in the car for him. After it was all set up he motioned for his Dad to come in. I don't know if his eyes or his pants were wet but after sixty-some years the reunion took place and attached are the photos to prove it. What a twist . . .