I have been playing around and restoring 1954, 1955 and 1956 Fords since 1982. That is when I purchased my 1954 Sunliner. It is a duplicate of my car that I owned in high school. I still own this car.
Over the years I have restored many 1955 and 1956 Fords. Most of them have been convertibles. All the cars that I have worked on were rust buckets. Never have I had a chance to work on a rust-free car.
I purchased a 1956 Ford convertible at the Carlisle swap meet. Other club members that were with me could not believe that I would buy a junk car as it was.
One of the 1955 Ford convertibles that I restored was a body-off restoration.
I produced a video of it while I was working on it and have sold many of the tapes on the internet and to other club members. The video was seven hours in length. The restoration took me two years to complete as I do all my own work when restoring a car.
Submitted By Travis Sheaffer
Picture it. Seattle. Labor Day weekend 2019. Your humble mild-mannered (ha ha!) reporter lands in Seattle on a flight from Motown. I was there to attend a Regional Meet. I landed in Seattle on Friday, August 30th and picked up my rental vehicle. I found the highway driving around Seattle to be not too bad. Of course, if you have ever driven in New York City or Chicago, everywhere else is not too bad. I arrived at the hotel about dinner time and I managed to find a nice local restaurant to quench my dinner time hunger pains and then settled in to combat the jet lag.
Saturday morning, I was up and on the move in search of a story. The meet started off that day with everyone meeting at Dennis Barci’s house. Dennis and his wife are awesome people! I looked around for familiar faces and lo and behold I saw Brian Kelly there. Brian had driven his classic car all the way from British Columbia to the Lexington, Kentucky National Convention. We first met on the phone so I could guide him into Lexington from the Columbus, Ohio area. I believe I told him to get the heck out of Columbus as soon as he could, or he may get swarmed by Dirty Buckeyes (Go Blue!)
We toured Dennis’ shop and then we hopped into the vehicles for a cruise. I rode with Brian and we had an awesome conversation along the way. If you ever need to know anything about forestry or plant life, Brian is your guy!
I met my husband George in 1986 and he was passionate about 1956 Ford cars and trucks then and had been for some time. His first car as the son of a farm family was a ’56 Ford and the joy he received from owning that car fired his passion. There are stories in the farming community of when George outran the cops with his beloved car on occasion.
A motorbike accident in 1973 left George in a wheelchair, but that never did slow him down much. He still farmed, worked as an Occupational Therapist at a local Brain Injury Hospital in Ponoka AB and continued to accumulate and work on his 1956 cars…..always buying……never selling. So, as a result there are a few ’56 Fords still sitting on our farm
In 2009 we acquired this 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner convertible from Westward Auto Inc in Westlock AB. The previous owner had purchased it from eastern Canada. He said he drove it to Post Falls Idaho for a CVA convention putting on 750 miles and it never missed a beat. It has a 292 motor, automatic transmission, dual chrome OSRV mirrors, rear mount deck, antenna, continental kit, white wall tires.
Being in a wheelchair, George had to install hand controls in the car, which is easily done, in about 15 or 20 minutes and you are ready to go. We took the Sunliner (in trailer) to Penticton BC for the Annual CVA Meet a few years ago. What a wonderful weekend we had. We have taken it to car shows and cruises in our area and also in the Ponoka Rodeo Parade on several occasions.
Over the years, George has gained a vast knowledge of 1956 Fords and loves to share that knowledge chatting with fellow car lovers. His favourite car magazines, which he has received for many years are the Fomoco Times and Old Autos, (a Canadian Newspaper for the Enthusiast).
In the last few years George’s health has not allowed us to be as active with the association and the Sunliner has been stored in its trailer for safe keeping. But George’s love of the 1956 Fords still goes on and has prevailed for over 55 years!
Ponoka AB Canada
I have been a member of the CVA for many years. However, I haven't written a story for the newsletter in quite some time. I did contribute to the October 1995 issue and in that story told quite a bit about my passion for these cars. Also, in February of 1998 my 1955 Customline was on the cover.
It seems that all of my life I have been crazy about cars. I was born in October of 1950 so at Christmas time in 1954 I had just turned 4 years old. Even at that young age I still have clear memories of our family buying a brand new 1955 Ford Customline 4 door sedan. I remember the salesman coming to our house and taking us for a ride. I remember there being no ash tray in the center of the back of the front seat. The dealer replaced it but it was always gray and never matched the interior of the car which was green. Years later my father told me that he had originally ordered the car in tan (Buckskin Brown) with a white roof. It seems that the dealership which was Bennett Ford in Bayonne, NJ had gotten the identical car in Sea Sprite Green and offered it to us. My folks wanted a two-tone car so they accepted this car on the condition that the roof would be painted dark green (Pinetree Green). Looking back at it I really think that the green looked so much better. It’s interesting since I have noticed that the combination we had was not offered by the factory. The dark green roof only came with Neptune Green. I guess at that time it didn't make much difference as the dealer did whatever it took to make the customer happy. The car was a 6 cylinder with a three-speed stick. It had a radio, heater and a clock that was wound manually. It also had whitewall tires. It came with wheel covers but my folks wanted the standard hubcaps to they got switched out. I remember distinctly that the glove compartment door had a V8 insignia on it. I guess the V8s outnumbered the 6s by so much that it was just a matter of habit. Although they did get the callout on the front fender correct! I remember the next time I saw the car was in my grandmothers’ garage where my father kept his car. I opened the door and instead of the 50 Studebaker there was this brand-new Ford!
On August 2, 2019, Marcy and I celebrated 50 years of marriage. During that entire time, Marcy (really Marceline) gets credit for her patience while I chase parts, spend money, and get greasy in the garage. Here is the latest adventure which she supported. In February 2016, I bought our 1956 Victoria from an Arkansas seller on eBay for $28,000. Friend Butch Forte and I drove a trailer down to Gravette, Arkansas to get it, and drive straight back to North Haven, Connecticut, non-stop, to bring it home. It was done to a good standard, but I wanted better. So, a repaint, new interior, new rubber, new brakes, rebuilt motor and transmission were done, to the tune of $18,000. I also installed a new windshield, replated bumpers, Diamondback radials, and glass packs. CVA member Hal Bailey of Savona, NY sold me the missing bumper jack. I lowered the car two inches and added Dodge Lancer wheel covers. I kept one of the 10 Commandments for Car Collectors: “Thee shall not tell thy wife the cost of the latest restoration; at least, not all at one time.” I am 76 and Marcie is 72…but she looks younger than her years. Look at how neatly she fits in the trunk of our Victoria!
Much credit belongs to my expert friend, Jim Donroe, who was meticulous in doing upgrades on mechanical restorations. All was done in a little over a year. Then in 2018, I took the car to the Adirondacks Nationals with 6,000 cars competing. Our car was voted “One of the Top 50”, and it will be in the Winners Circle this year. It is always driven, never trailered. Our ’56 also took 1st Place at the Booth Memorial Show, Time Machine Car Show, and the Quinnipiac Auto Show.
-Can you tell me your background and how you got into classic cars? Where do you live in the county?
My husband, Mason, is a car enthusiast. He always worked on vehicles and loved detailing vehicles as well. Mason is from a large West Virginia family. His brothers and friends enjoyed NASCAR and classic cars. From this, you got to join them so I have learned to love it too.
We bought our first classic vehicle which was a 1993 Ford Lightning about year 1999 and we had this truck about 10 years. It was the first Lightning that Ford made and they only made a limited amount of these vehicles. We started attending the Cruise In at the Miami Township Kroger’s across from Meijer’s. We were approached by Doug Wimberly of the F100 Ford Club to use our truck for driver’s introductions at the first NASCAR Truck Race at Kentucky Motor Speedway in year 2000. Doug lined us up by year of vehicle. We had the pleasure of driver, Mike Skinner in our truck. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet the Ford drivers (Joey Logano, Rick Crawford, Jon Wood, Dorsey Schrader, and Jeremy Mayfield). We were hooked.
We sold our truck in 2006 and purchased a 1979 Cobra 351 Mustang. We updated about everything on this vehicle and painted it twice over an 11-year period. It was a hot rod for sure. Mason entered this car in many car shows and won numerous trophies. Jack Roush loved this car and signed it for us.
We enjoy attending Cruise Ins versus Car Shows. Main reason you meet so many wonderful people all over the country and build a great network of people to find parts for your vehicles.
In 2006 a good friend of mine went to the Tri-State Auto Swap Meet in Denver, Colorado. The swap meet is held in the Western Stock Show Complex the first weekend in February off of Interstate 70. As we walked through the complex looking at the vendor booths filled with tons of parts we came upon a booth with a poster board with pictures of things for sale. There was a pictures of a 1956 Ford Customline four-door sedan. My friend and I studied the picture for a few minutes then continued looking for anything au-tomotive that we could purchase four our projects. All too soon it was time to head back to Colorado Springs. On the way back home we both wondered why we had not talked to the guy with the poster and picture of the 1856 Ford and got his phone number. Oh well to late now.
A year passed by and Sharon, John and I went to the swap meet. There was the same poster board with the picture of the 1956 Ford. We stopped and talked to Bill about the Ford. He said that the car was located in Colby, Kansas where he lived. We got his phone number and said maybe we will come look at it at a later date.
Another year passed by and now the year was 2008. My late friend John Williams saw the poster board and lo and behold the Ford was still for sale.
I came across my great-looking F100 truck 13 years ago. I found it nearby in East Lakeland, Florida. This is a short-bed step side, had been in a barn for about 20 years and it cleaned up quite nice, done up in red paint with a solid body. Just $4,000 and it was mine, all mine. That makes the seventh Ford truck which I now own.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I am retired now, with 70 years of age looking me in the eye. But I worked all my life as a boiler maker, Local 433. I traveled all over the country on various industrial jobs. However, I was born and raised in Plant City, and have always lived here.
Annette and I have a total of 16 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. So I have to keep on buying Ford trucks so I will have one for each of them. Fortunately, many of them live in Florida, so they won’t need to be driven too far. We even see our relatives and friends every week. Every Saturday morning about 15 of us meet for breakfast at Snell Grove restaurant. Sometimes they even help me fix my trucks! Now back to my F100.
After I bought the truck, I researched its history and discovered that it was originally purchased new in 1954 by a farmer from Orlando, Florida. The farmer then moved to Kansas City, Kansas and titled it there. After a few years he moved back to Florida and titled it there. The farmer and the truck got old. The truck was parked in a barn for 20 years and the farmer was parked in the local cemetery.
This poor old ford waited a long time but finally got its turn after 17 years of waiting in the corner of my garage. Luckily my wife is very understanding to let this project sit in the garage while we had to park out in the weather.
Lets back up a few years, in the mid 50's to the late 60's my late father would buy a new car every year or at least every other year so that meant that I got to go to the Ford dealership and check out all of the new models every year. A time that my dad and I spent together some of the best times. I cherished those times a lot. I still can't go to a dealership without flashbacks of the beautiful cars and special times with my father. That love of the some of those old Fords has always been with me. Each old Ford I have ever had I know my dad is right there with me, working on an old Ford but mostly when I go for a ride in my 1955 Ford Sunliner and the pipes sound off, I can see that big smile on my Father's face.
When I bought this Sunliner, I had a nice 55 Ford Crown Victoria, Regency Purple and snow shoe white Paint That I had restored, But because I had limited garage space I decided that I would sell The Crown so I advertised in the Fomoco Times and fellow member Sam Battaglea Of El Cajon Ca. bought the car. Sam wanted to drive the car home From Washington state to southern California 1,300 miles, It was in March and there was snow in the mountains on the main highways and this car had all new glass and paint upholstery everything was new or refurbished, I hated to see this car go through all of that so I offered to pay to have the car shipped but Sam was a pretty sharp guy and He had it all figured out, He would stay on the windy coast roads with many small towns to go through and stay out of the mountains where the bad weather was, some of those elevations were over 4000'. It was a good plan, they made it just fine and had a great trip. The only trouble they had was with the wipers. I had installed a new electric wiper motor and it failed for some reason. Sam finished the trip using Rainex. I have found out that all of these CVA Members are pretty sharp individuals. They can fix most anything and know where to find the parts to fix just about anything. Proud to part of a group like this. I have met many good friends through the CVA.
Submitted by John and Sharon Schroepfer
It all started one day in May of 2008. My wife, Sharon, and I were on our Harley Davidson riding to Mukwonago, Wisconsin to see our son-in-law. I happened to notice an old blue and white Ford ‘55 or ‘56 Crown, sitting way off the road, by a farm. I said to my wife to look at the old Ford. I just loved the old cars .... So much class and beauty. A few weeks later, making the same trip to Mukwonago I saw the Ford sitting in the same spot. I said to my wife, "I wonder if that car is for sale" and we turned around. Two days later, we owned the ‘55 Crown Vic! She looked great from 500 yards, but she needed a lot of work. The longer I had her the more I found how much work was needed. We drove her for about a year then decided to get serious.
I didn't want the usual Crown Vic and no numbers matched anyway.
I pulled the skirts off. A new paint job was really needed and some body work. ... of course. We installed new rear side windows. The body mounts were bad so made new ones. I got the car sitting level. I guess this is where I should mention that I was very fortunate to meet, in my opinion, the best mechanic and lover of old cars. He owns a lot of them. Scott Bochef is his name and he is very knowledgeable about classic cars as well as all the new "plastic" ones. The engine is a 302 and I installed a nice cam-2-4 barrels, headers, 2 ½ inch exhaust, and some shorty mufflers to give me a great sound.
Owned By Bill & Jody Garay
In my (Bill's) earlier days I enjoyed modifying a 57' Chevy to street rod form and later a new 1968 Roadrunner became the cruiser. Like many have experienced, family life brought about a change to daily drivers. Calendar advancement meant empty nester, retirement and time again for car fun!
Restarted with a 34' Ford Pro-Street 5-window coupe and have lots of fun, but can't travel. The little two-seater has no room for luggage, being tubbed with fuel cell and battery consuming the trunk and only 4" of space behind the seats. So a second car was in order.
While inclined to follow the path of many and revive those earlier days by getting another car like the one I started with, I witnessed tri-five Chevys everywhere at cruise-ins and shows - but few Fords. The few seen were typically standard models, manufactured in large quantity. I wanted something different, that would stand out and also look sleek/more modern. Saw a Crown Victoria at a large show and that was it; big, roomy, huge trunk, sleek with a lower roof line than the non-Victoria models, loads of stainless, and only produced in small quantity for two years.
After finding a 1955 Crown Victoria with a good body, but otherwise needing much attention, I decided to modernize it while retaining originality, but no resto-mod look; instead an unconventional "restoration". Performance and reliability became key elements of the plan. So the outside and inside were restored to near original. The outside exceptions included the bumper guards left off when re-chroming and wider rims and (radial) tires. Suspension/tire changes lowered the car two inches.