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.
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.