I wrote an article about my friend and co-worker, Dean Held’s retirement last year and published it in the club newsletter. Now it is my turn. On June 30, 2018, I retired from Hyster-Yale Group after 43 years. I retired as the engineering manager of engine systems for my company which designs and builds forklift trucks. It was a great career for a car guy like myself. I had always been interested in how things worked when I went to Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, Oregon and then to Portland State University graduating in 1975 with a mechanical engineering degree. I had a ’56 Ford Sunliner convertible that I rebuilt with the help of my Dad and brother. I drove it throughout high school. At the end of my senior year (1971), I found a ’55 Ford Sunliner convertible and bought it, as it was a more solid car (less rust) than my ’56. I sold the ’56 Sunliner at that point, of course regretting it immediately. I wrote about the ’55 Sunliner in a previous club article. I still have it and have owned it now for 47 years. My wish had always been to someday have a Crown Victoria and I wanted a Skyliner, though I didn’t think that it would be possible to find one that I could afford. On April Fool’s Day, 1978, I saw a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria Skyliner for sale in the local Oregonian newspaper in a wrecking yard in Sherwood, Oregon a small town outside of Portland. Even though it was in rough shape with lots of rust, I bought it, telling my wife, Kim, that we could part it out to recoup our investment if we had to. I knew that I did not want to part it out, but it would need everything and I had never done such a complete restoration of a car before. It needed to have the body removed from the frame and stripped. In the first 3 years of ownership of the Crown, I worked pretty hard on the car, removing the body with the help of 8 friends, lifting it off and putting it on another friend’s trailer for the trip to Redi-Strip. I sandblasted the frame and suspension components in the driveway of our house and found a used 272 engine to rebuild to replace the engine in the car that had a cracked block. The project proceeded well, completing the chassis rebuild and drivetrain installation and even showing the completed chassis in a local car show in the Fall of 1980.
The 1955 Ford Crown Victoria glass top from Issaquah, Washington.
After many years of searching for a "restorable" glass top, I finally got a good lead from a fellow club member, who lives in Spokane, Washington. Another period of time went by, about two years, before I was able to make contact with the owner to view and eventually purchase the car in late 2010, I became only the fourth "proud" owner of the car. It had been described as a "driver". The car was in excellent "original" condition with virtually no rust, the only problem for me was that the car was red and white in colour, I'm not a red car guy, so that would have to change. My plan was to build a car unique to my vision of what I wanted, so the journey "restoration" began.
The car was moved to Post Falls, Idaho where a fellow club member started to work on the car. Some parts were traded, including a nine Ford rear end with large brake drums and a steel crank 292 block, for parts from the car that were not planned to be used in the rebuild. The work was mostly disassembly and putting together a list of replacement and other parts necessary for the job. The rebuild was started on the car including some initial body alignment and metal prepping, some mechanical assembly with new parts, was done on the front end along with some powder coating and frame painting. The stainless trim and chrome trim was sent out to be refinished. The 292 cubic inch steel crank engine was sent away to be worked on by another club member.
The suspension chosen was dropped spindles and disc brakes on the front and large "station wagon" drums and shoes mounted on a rebuilt nine inch Ford rear end that was mounted on dropped springs. Heavy duty front and rear sway bars were to be put on and the brake system was to be serviced with a new polished aluminum master cylinder and proportioning valves for matching up the discs and drums installed.
The engine block chosen was a C2AE casting and was bored and strokered to 343 cubic inches, the 471 casting big valve heads had larger stainless valves installed and were reworked, ported and polished and installed on the engine. The engine has a polished aluminum Elgin water pump, high pressure chrome Carter fuel pump, Mallory MSD ignition system, chrome single wire alternator, new finned aluminum.
"Thunderbird" valve covers. The polished aluminum ceramic coated intake manifold has two 1405 Edelbrock four barrel carbs on it, housed by a finned polished aluminum "bonnet", which is fed by a rebuilt polished SN 93 Paxton supercharger. The valley cover is also finned aluminum. Custom made aluminum ceramic coated headers flow into dual exhaust 2 ¼ inch pipe feeding special stainless
"Patriot" mufflers with electrically controlled cut-out valves running to special double wall stainless exhaust tips that fit into "eyebrows" built into the rear bumper. For improved starting the engine has a gear reduction high torque starter.
Jackie’s ’54 Ford Mainline is all dressed out as a top-of-the-line Crestline, and more. This black and white beauty is motivated by its original 239 Y-Block with 3-speed overdrive. He bought it six years ago for $5,400 from a guy who said he was “getting too old for an old Ford”. (The guy was 61, so if he was “too old”, what does that make the rest of us?) Jackie is from Betterton, MD on the Chesapeake Bay, and he is a retired patrol boat captain. His boat was 45 feet long. Jackie has put an additional $10,000 into his ’54 to make it stand out and run better.
The ’54 now has laker pipes, skirts, ’54 Mercury spears on the sides, Ford emblems on the tail lights and C pillars, added stainless around the windows, and NOS all metal visor, stainless hockey stick trim on the fender bottoms and rockers, chromed headlight buckets, upholstered trunk, and more. Mechanically, Jackie added a 12 volt Mungrel electrics and bolt-right-on ’68 Mustang with drum brakes and dual master cylinder. Jackie would also like to own a ’55 or ’56 Crown Vic or Sunliner so watch these pages for his next ride.
As told to Paul Placek
Bob Jadick’s ’56 Ford Victoria is S-M-O-O-T-H. Bob’s car is Egg Plant Metallic and Lavender Pearl with a “fire and lace” paint job on the roof—how many of you have ever seen that? It is mostly shaved and dechromed. Not only are the bumper guards removed, but every bumper bolt head is gone. The hood bird and the door handles and locks are shaved, as are the Ford emblems and trunk lock.
But shaved does not mean plain. It has also been restyled. First, the original Ford front bumper is gone, and was replaced with a 1959 Ford TBird bumper which was sliced and diced and replated. Also, the headlight buckets were replaced with 1955 Oldsmobile buckets, which are slightly peaked at the top. To match the buckets, the tops of the front fenders are peaked to match.
The 1955 Pontiac Chiefton side stainless fit right on the ’56 Victoria with no modification needed. As did the 1955 Merc Wagon tail lights.
Coker wide white radials with 1957 Caddy wheel covers roll it down the road—note the Ford crest in the wheel covers.
When I was ten years old my oldest brother bought a pretty brand new black ‘55 Ford Crown Victoria with a red and white interior. I instantly fell in love and swore that when I grew up I was going to have a car like his. He kept his 55 for only a year because he got married and they felt they couldn’t afford to keep it. I was devastated!
I didn’t have a car of my own when I was in high school so I learned to drive in my Dad’s “plain” 55 Ford Custom and drove it to my job after school. After graduating I worked to save some more money to put down on a car hoping to find my dream car. I kept searching the paper looking and finally found one listed and convinced my Dad to go with me to see it. The car was at a car lot surrounded by other used cars but as we crossed the street I spotted it. It was sparkling and twinkling from all that shiny black paint and beautiful chrome – just what I always wanted!!! The interior was a faded pink and white so therefore that black beauty became a “she”. She was pretty rough and had lots of miles for only being 8 years old. You could see daylight through back seat floorboards and had lots of bondo on both quarter panels. We started the car and she sounded like pure heaven! A nice loud, low rumble from worn out glass pacs. My Dad tried to convince me not to buy it; he thought it had been through too much and wasn’t worth the money ($495). I said I just had to have her because I did fall in love at first sight.
Well, needless to say, I did buy her even though the car had definitely been in an accident and also apparently had a fire since the gas tank had been replaced with a smaller tank (found out the hard way by running out of gas since the gas gauge didn’t work). The car had both 6-volt and 12-volt wiring. Boy did that 6-volt starter whine with a 12-volt battery (the starter did last for about 8 years though). When my oldest brother saw her he immediately wanted to buy her from me. I said no way since he had had a brand new one and didn’t keep it and I told him that I would never sell my car.
By Don and Bev Locke
While the majority of CVA members live in colder climates and are putting their cars down for a winter’s nap, we in Arizona enjoy driving our cars and going to car shows and parades from October through May. Beverly and I have the opportunity to show “Vic” almost every weekend and enjoy meeting people who share our love of old cars. We have become more selective over the years and generally try to participate in car shows that raise funds for worthy local charitable organizations.
Since 2005, we have attended local car shows at least monthly. During that time, we have made many friends, most of whom have cars that are NOT Fords! We have come to the conclusion that there are not many 54-56 Fords in our area. During the multiple January car auctions (Barrett Jackson, Russo Steele, Silver and Biltmore) more than 400 cars gather at the weekly, longest continuously operated free show in Arizona at Scottsdale Pavilions McDonalds restaurant. We have won tickets to Russo Steele and $100 favorite car prizes at this amazing Arizona extravaganza. Quite a happening! If you are in our wonderful state for a winter break, try to spend a few hours on a Saturday at Indian Bend and the 101 freeway; it is a car lover’s paradise.
My 1956 Ford Victoria is my dream come true. This black beauty is a 2-door hardtop with a rare P code, 312 cu. and three on the tree with overdrive.
As a young man, I had a similar 1956 Vicky, but when I joined the Army in 1967 I sold it as I began a new journey in my life. When I was discharged from the Army, I went back to remodeling and building homes with my dad. And I was busy working and raising my family through the year, but after retirement, I made it my goal to find a nice 1956 Vicky again.
It took a couple of years, but I finally found the one 75 miles north of me. It only had 61,200 miles on it and had been repainted in the early nineties. Once I got it home, I wet sanded and buffed it.
I drove it that summer doing changes a little at a time. I put all new coil and leaf springs and also gas shocks. I wasn’t really satisfied with the way it was running so in the fall, I had the 312 motor completely rebuilt. The board out .030 over and put in a midrange Isky Cam for the rumble sound. Had the motor painted and put on the dyno machine for tuning, it’s 8 pulls (220 hp) and 300 ft. lbs. of torg. Next put in Pertronix 2 ignition and coil, no more points. I also cleaned and painted the engine bay and put in all new bushing, hoses, belts, cables and 6 blade fan.
Once the motor was all put back together, it ran “great” even made the 2 glass packs sound better.
To make it ride even better I purchased Kelsey Hass wire wheels with 2-1/2” white wall radial tires. This improved the ride even better.
My wife and I ride through upstate New York and Vermont with all the hills, so I put power disc brakes and seat belts in our car.
When we are at car shows, people always ask me about the curb feelers, they call them antennas!! I have received many awards when participating at car shows, but the real joy is having my teenage car again.
The CVA club members has been so helpful in guiding me to the best places to get parts. I look forward to this summer to meeting some of the club members.
I always had a soft spot for a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. I finally found my car on Hemming’s Website. The owner of the car told me it was supposed to be a National Crown Winner in 1992 and 1993. I wanted a car that I could drive, and one that looked nice.
The car was purchased in Louisiana. I decided to purchase the car sight unseen! The pictures that were sent looked great. A lesson was learned - never buy a car without looking at it first hand. My wife call the car a bad nightmare.
We had to redo the engine, transmission, rear end suspension, brakes, etc. We started dismantling everything. Even the body needed work. I had it in the body shop for a year. Needless to say, it cost a fortune.
I am pleased with how it looked now and have received many compliments on the car. Even thought, I probably won’t get the price I put into the restoration of the car, I am going to enjoy driving it and taking it to car show. The good news is that my wife is still married to me and goes along to the car show with me.
I am also the owner of a 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix that was restored, and I enjoy going to car shows with my friends with this car too.
Each year, I get the opportunity to visit a couple of Regional Meets and write about my experiences at each one. This past year, I had the privilege of visiting Dick Rath’s Upper Midwest Regional Meet. It was held in Sioux Falls, ND. Living in Northwest Ohio, it was about a 14-hour drive to get there. The adventures that I faced on the trip there should have been an indicator of the awesome adventures that I would face the rest of the trip.
Thursday, after work, my buddy Roger and I started to make the trip to Sioux Falls. We made it to the east side of Chicago and decided to stay overnight there. Roger woke up early the next morning and decided to go get some coffee. He got lost on the way back up to the room. He forgot which room we were in and wandered the halls trying his key on different doors. He finally went to the front desk and inquired what room we were in. Well, they had my last name spelled wrong, so it took a while for them to find out which room we were in. This gave me some extra time to sleep in. After Roger showed back up, I took the opportunity to laugh at him and offered to hang a sign around his neck with his contact information.
We got around and left the hotel began the trek through Wisconsin and Minnesota. As we were almost through Minnesota, we noticed an exit sign that said that Kiester was just a few miles off I-90. No way could it have been the town from the Preparation H commercial. We crossed into North Dakota and arrived in Sioux Falls just before dinner time. The evening was lovely, and it was good to see those members that I had met at past National Conventions. The many cars were lined up in the lot and made for a very colorful display. I asked around and was told that Kiester, Minnesota was indeed the town that the commercial was filmed in.
Saturday started with a car show at the American Legion. The city’s local car club was invited to join us. Later that night, we returned to the American Legion for an absolutely fantastic buffet dinner. After dinner, friends met in the hotel lot and the conversation flowed. The day was very fun.
Editor’s Note: James and Sandra Pope are new members. Welcome to the Club!
James Pope recently restored a 1955 Ford Victoria that he purchased from the original owner, Ray Welch. Ray was the owner of “Roy’s Gulf) at the corner of Mint Street and Summit Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This car has special meaning for James because he remembers the day it was bought. It was around Christmas of 1954. His dad had purchased one like it at the same time. You could often see the two cars parked together at ‘Roy’s Gulf’. James’ dad worked across the street from the station.
After being parked in the garage at home for forty years, it has finally been restored. It has had some extensive body and paint work completed, as well as a complete new interior kit that we purchased from Mac’s. It has a 272-automatic engine that has 74,000 original miles.
James has taken it to two car shows and is looking forward to many more!
Submitted by Sandra Pope, Charlotte, NC
Sometime in November and December 2011 my wife and I were eating in a Subway restaurant in Russellville, Alabama after church one Sunday with some friends. My friend Dale said to me Royce your are a Ford man I know here there is a Crown Vic that I think you could buy. Dale had purchased a 1957 Chevrolet from this man. I owned a 1956 Ford Club Sedan at the time a driver but a pretty nice driver. I asked if the Crown Vic had been restored and he said it was in the process. I told Dale if the man ever mentioned selling the Crown Vic let me know and I would go look at the car.
About the middle of February 2012 Dale told me the man was ready to sell. Dale set up the meeting and he and I went to look at the car. The car was located in a shop near Haleyville, Alabama. What I found was a 1955 Crown Vic that had a frame off rebuild started a very nice solid body with the mo-tor, transmission and rear end rebuilt and installed. The frame had been cleaned and painted and the body set back down on the frame. The mane that owned the car had been collecting parts since 1988. He told me he had the parts to build this car to fac-tory specs for any option available on these cars. I listened to the engine run and looked at all his parts which included bout three sets of stainless for this car all polished and wrapped in about three layers of newspaper. I asked the man what his best price was on the car and he told me and then said before he would take less he would dig a hole and bury the car and parts in his back yard. After thinking about it overnite and talking with a couple of people about the car I agreed to purchase the car and parts.