January 2023 - Judith Beaven's 1955 Ford Fairlane
Judith Beaven's 1955 Ford Fairlane
My 1955 Ford Fairlane is finally complete. We all know what a wonderful feeling that is to restore or modify something that brings you so much joy. But for some of us it is a joint effort. My husband Bob has enjoyed his collection of Fords his entire life. When he was a young boy and not able to drive yet, he was collecting car parts and hiding them in his parents storage shed. All he ever wanted to do was build cars. His first car at the age of 16 was a 1965 mustang. His second was a 1947 Ford F1 pickup which we still have in the family today. But his most loved, is his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria which we consider our “date car”. It is the one car I refuse to drive for that very reason. It still makes me feel like a young girl with my husband taking me out for the day and yes I have to sit in the middle of the bench seat near him. While his hand is on my knee my arm is holding his. He bought the car in his 20s and had it painted, changed the rims and a few other things so it would look like the 56 Crown Victoria in the movie American graffiti. It’s right at the beginning of the movie sitting in front of Mel’s Drive in.
Fast forward through the years of my husband building cars, and only God knows how many there have been. But his latest is my 1955 Ford Fairlane. Bob looked around and found it in Hemmings magazine. After a few phone calls I sent the gentleman a check and we had the car shipped home. The person I purchased the car from had purchased it out of an estate. You could tell the wife had a hard time letting the car go. The black leather seats had a light film of mold, and the car was very dusty inside. You could tell it sat for a very long time. I can understand that because I would be the same way with my husband’s cars. A wonderful memory of the man I love and who loved me as much as his cars.
The 55 had been “nosed and decked” by the original owner with a frame off restoration. It really was a beautiful car with a 351 Cleveland but not exactly what I had wanted. My husband said start looking for your parts if you want to modify the car. He is a firm believer that I should be getting my hands dirty as well as learning everything there is to know about my cars.
After many months I found the motor that I wanted. As a young girl I always hung around with all the gearheads in town and even started a couple of quarter mile races. How I just loved fast cars and always envied the guys that had them. I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 15 so looking for a four-speed big block wasn’t a concern of mine. I found a 1965, 427 cobra with dual quads. My husband had a lot of things to do to make it run perfectly but he is such a master mechanic I’m so proud of him. He never ceases to amaze me with what he can do and how much he knows. He is the go-to guy with all of his friends when they can’t figure things out. It amazes me to see him working on a motor and not even looking at what he’s doing while he’s talking to you. I saw him replacing my driveshaft and I think he looked at it twice.
I found an “old school” dual point distributor that we had rebuilt, along with many other parts. But I was very lucky to find everything I needed including the four-speed transmission. The car was already modified with a floor shift, and I found a nice hurst shifter I wanted to swap that out as well. So many parts but I wanted everything to be like it would’ve been back in the day for street racing.
My car was finished this summer and my husband wanted to leave the hood off, he was so proud of what he built! The dual quad set up is hard to set up properly but my husband did it himself and it runs perfectly. It is cold blooded and runs 1 to 1. It was hard finding the linkage so we had to make it up. I actually braised it myself. It was the first time I ever did even though I have soldered in my life and I have to say I got it on the second try. I finally have my race car that I always dreamed of having thanks to my wonderful husband.
Every year Tasca Ford has a very large car show. People come from everywhere just to show their cars. There were very expensive cobras from original ones to some with blowers on them. I entered my car never thinking that I would win a trophy. When the judges were walking around looking at all the cars I offered to start the car so he could hear my 427! He said, “no we heard you when you came in”!! My husband and I both laughed! Well surprisingly the last car to be called for a trophy was mine , I won my “class” and got to meet Bob Tasca Who handed me the trophy. My husband was so proud of the work that he did and of me too!
I think back many times of the gentleman that I never knew who loved this car with his wife by his side. And I hope that he sees the joy that it brought not only to me but to my husband. I hope when he looks down on his car he is happy knowing that it went to a very loving home. Most people wouldn’t understand how we love our cars except for another classic car owner.
Whenever my husband and I go to car shows I always follow him in. I met him at a car show and have always enjoyed driving my own cars. Now when I follow him in, in my 55 Ford Fairlane I do tend to leave a little rubber or do a little burn out while we’re leaving. When I catch up to him all I see is his index finger and him in his rearview mirror looking at me going no no no! I can’t help but laugh and I know that he is. He said he’s going to make one wall in my garage for my broken car parts and call it “Judy’s Wall Of Shame”. He’s a very funny man!
I could never thank my husband enough for the happiness that he brings me in so many wonderful ways.
Happy Anniversary Mr. Beaven.