June 2023 - Wes Koch’s “Vicky”
Wes Koch's "Vicky"
Submitted by Wes Koch, Floyds Knob, Indiana
I have been a "car nut" most of my life! When I was just a young man (I'm 84 today) the 1956 Ford Victoria was always my most desired car so at the age of 18, while working for Vissing Buick in Jeffersonville, IN, with a little money in my pocket, I bought my dream car, a black 1956 Ford Victoria ... three on the tree! I was so proud of this brand-new car after purchasing junk cars that my buddies and I would fix up in a friend's garage or under a shade tree. I drove this car from Indiana to Virginia to visit my sister who had just given birth to my first nephew! However, after about eight months of car payments of approximately $55 or $65 per month, I knew it was too much for that 18-year-old kid and I sold her!
After selling my first Vicky, I decided to start street racing. Beginning in 1957, I bought a 1954 Ford Club Cp. I put a 312 cu. In. Mercury engine in it with an Isky cam and kit, polished intake and exhaust ports, aluminum fly wheel and three Stromberg 97 carbs, and installed caps on the exhaust. I tore up many Trannys until two of my co-workers and I built the first-floor shifter! I had never had or seen one before and it worked great! Working in a machine shop made that possible. When we had very competitive weekends coming up, I would install my 4:11 rear with the spiders welded. This was my ‘57 Chevy Getter! I had lots of fun with this car driving to Indiana University to see my girlfriend who later became my wife of 57 years!
I have had many automobiles throughout my life from NHRA Super Stock cars to many street rods! For several years I battled the NHRA sports car class with four different corvettes over a 10-year period then went to Ford with a (number 8 of 50) 1968½ COBRA Jet. I campaigned that car for approximately 1 ½ years with little success. My local competition, Bob Glidden, at tracks within 200 miles, was factory backed, had more money and was a better driver. I then went to a ‘69 Camaro for the next 3 years that I set a national class record with at Bowling Green, KY!
Besides my family, cars have been #1 in my life, and I still enjoy working on these cars from my "Man Cave" in Floyds Knobs, IN.
Several years ago, after I retired, I had the desire to start looking again for a 1956 Ford Victoria. In 2017, I found my current "Vicky" in Hemings Motor News and sought out to purchase it. The car was in British Columbia, Canada so it became my mission for about a year to purchase her. The owner was only the second owner and he had bought the car at auction from McLeod's Auction in Kirkland, Washington in 1988 with only 21,861 original miles! The owner was extremely helpful in getting this Vicky out of Canada and he took her by trailer to Seattle, Washington for shipment to me in Indiana.
The original owner of this car was from Palo Alto, California and had purchased the car from Towne Motor Company in Redwood City, CA in December 1955 for the price of $3,227. That price included 292 Cubic Inch, Ford-O-Matic, heater, wheel covers, turn indicator, power steering, back up lights, tinted glass, white sidewall tires, safety kit, two-toned paint and one side mirror. Radio Delete. The car was originally an all-black car, and the owner had the top painted white for the big price of $19.35! All the original paperwork, including the sales invoice to paint the top, was included with my purchase of Vicky!
My "Vicky" was delivered to my garage on January 12, 2018. After receiving her, sight unseen, I was very satisfied with the condition, it was 100% what the owner said, "an excellent car". When "Vicky" rolled off the truck, she still only had 25,222 miles! WOW! ... 62 years old and only 25,222 miles!
After about two years of "tinkering," which included removing all the trim, bumpers, and a professional paint job; my buddy polished all the trim, and I changed all the rubber under the hood; replaced the radiator with a new aluminum radiator, re-chromed the bumpers and replaced trunk and door seals. I had the power steering components rebuilt by a well-known CVA Member, Tom Ripplinger, who did an excellent job! The interior of the car is 100% original, except for new door sill plates. I added seat belts, an outside mirror on the passenger side, and had the automatic transmission rebuilt to fix the leaks! The spare tire has never been on the ground, and it does not appear that the jack has ever been used! The four original wheels and tires are still with this Vicky. I installed WheelSmith wire wheels, (I have skirts for this Vicky but like to see the wire wheels!). A lot of cleaning was done under the hood and all over and new Thunderbird Valve Covers were added. Today, my 1956 Ford Victoria has 25,527 original miles!
This car has won "Best of Show" three times out, including "Best Ford" at the New Albany, IN Harvest Homecoming Show. In 2022 and 2023 my Vicky was indoors at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, KY and had many lookers. In 2023 the car was in the WheelSmith booth to show off her beautiful wire wheels!
This is the second time this Vicky has been featured in FOMOCO Times. It shared the cover in October 2006 after winning "Best of Show" at the 2006 Crown Victoria Association (CVA) show! I certainly haven't seen all the ‘56 Victorias in the country, but I must believe this Vicky is one of the BEST original cars!
Today, I have several other vehicles in my collection and at the age of eighty-four, looking to see what might be next ... THAT MAY NOT BE MUCH!