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.
Submited by: Philip Meek
Back in my high school days in Dallas, there were only three things that interested the guys- - football, girlfriends and cars, and not necessarily in that order. Concerning cars, one of the rich kids came to school in a gorgeous deep triple black Crown Victoria with red and white interior, sparkling chrome and shimmering stainless steel that festooned the chariot, dual rear antennas, fender skirts, “flipper caps” and a continental kit. The sound of the rumbling V8 with dual glass packs was pure music! It was love at first sight! However, it would be many moons until September 2013 before I fulfilled my high school dream and bought my 1955 Crown Victoria.
After negotiating on the phone for weeks and receiving lots of photos from the seller, we closed the deal. My brother, Gary, and I drove up to the Texas Panhandl e to bring the car back to Austin. I thought this would be a quick, relatively inexpensive restoration (wrong!) since it had a “new” paint job that was seven years old, but the car had never been reassembled or driven after painting. The car also had a new, correct ABC Interiors upholstery kit that was partially installed. Importantly, the body was in good shape with no rust.
We quickly determined that only a few parts to the mostly disassembled Crown Vic had been segregated, bagged and tagged. Almost all of the stainless trim, the bumpers and grille were off. Significantly, a large number of parts, fasteners of all types, etc., could not be located. After hours of searching, we found some of the missing parts interspersed unmarked in the garage among parts of several other cars that were being restored.
When it came time to load the car onto the trailer the real fun began. The engine was difficult to start and stopped repeatedly. The brakes and parking brake were stuck as a result of the car sitting idle for years. It was very difficult to move the car and drive it onto the trailer. But we finally finished the task and headed for Austin. Once home, I gave the car a thorough going-over. It became apparent that I had overestimated the condition of the car, and that it was going to take a lot more time and treasure to restore it to the level that I wanted. But I knew this car had good “bones” and would be beautiful when finished.
In 2009 five-years away from retirement I bought a 1956 Customline Victoria from one of my street rodder friends.
I figured this car would be a nice retirement project, plus I still had five years to gather parts and get everything else I needed bought and paid for.
Now for some of the car’s history . . . a many in a near by town started fixing it up, the engine and brakes were rebuilt but sadly he passed away before he got any further, after that the car sat outside for a while.
The mans widow gave the car to one of his friends, there to it sat outside. My friend bought it from him with thoughts of building it into a street machine with a blown small block Chevy, but he was too busy with other car projects, so he sold it to me, now its sitting in my show where it is nice and dry.
I started a frame off restoration in 2010, replacing quarter panels, inner and outer rocker panels, floors, rear trunk floor, tail pan and door bottoms.
By 2013 the body was solid again so I started the finish work, smoothing and black sanding the body.
March 2014 rolled around, I retired and the body was ready for paint. I painted the car in July 2015. I wanted to have a numbers matching car.
The Fifties were famous for automobiles with outrageous styling, extravagant use of chrome and all manner of fins evoking jet planes and rockets. Competition for customers in the explosive post WW II car market was fierce. An extensive array of fantastic style and power combinations were used to lure buyers into the showroom. But, in the competition for the carefree sports minded buyer none stood out like the 1956 Ford “Sunliner”. The “understated” Thunderbird inspired styling was “subdued” compared to the competition. Nevertheless, Ford was the hands down winner in the glitz and glitter department, leading the way with a bewitching assortment of color choices and combinations. Ford put buyers in a tropical mood offering 19 exotic pastel colored paints like Peacock Blue, Mandarin Orange, Golden Glow Yellow and Sunset Coral along with 14 tutone combinations coordinated with upholstery ensembles featuring new all vinyl tutone interiors.
Ken’s “southern” car was built at the Ford assembly plant in Dallas Texas and eventually found its way to Glencoe OK where it came into the possession of Robert Kuehn of Stanton NE. In February 2010 Ken purchased the car from Mr. Kuehn in relatively rust-free condition. He immediately commissioned Mr. Kuehn to undertake a complete bolt by bolt restoration to his exacting standards. After 15 months of painstaking work, minute attention to detail and using NOS (new old stock) parts installed with expert craftsmanship the car was brought back to showroom condition.
Although Ford made 58,147 Sunliners in 1956, over the years the harsh elements took their toll on these beautiful convertibles making them very hard to find. But, rare and beautiful don’t begin to describe this car. Resplendently finished in glowing Sunset Coral** over shimmering Raven Black paint the tutone scheme is beautifully separated by chrome side trim that starts at the taillight and curves up and over the front fender ending at the headlight bezel. The new for ’56 tutone vinyl interior matches the exterior theme.
Crown Victoria Association member #3068, Dean Held, from Oregon City, Oregon has just retired from Hyster-Yale Group on March 31, 2017 after an impressive combined 30 years of outstanding service with the company. Dean has been active in the club for many years.
Dean began his career with Hyster Company in 1962 immediately after graduating from the University of Idaho with his BS degree in Agricultural Engineering. Dean started out as a Test Engineer at the Hyster Proving Grounds in Portland, Oregon, where he spent the next 5 years. He next ran the Hyster Engineering Lab at Hyster’s original Portland, Oregon factory for 2 years. Then in 1968 he transitioned to the newly completed Hyster Technical Center as a Supervising Test Engineer. During the next decade he was responsible for the test and development programs for a vast range of Hyster product including: Hyster Big Trucks, Winches, Cranes and Compactors. During 1977 and 1978 he transferred to the then company-owned Hyster Sales dealership in Tigard, Oregon as the Product Service Manager.
In 1978 Dean took an opportunity outside the company with Lumber Systems, and then went on to run his own company constructing sawmills throughout the United States while based out of Idaho.
In 2003, Dean returned to Hyster Company to assist us with the development of a brand new 1 to 8 Ton product series just getting underway. He became the Prototype Truck Assembly Leader for the entire 1 to 8 Ton engine powered forklift truck program, organizing and fully stocking the facility to build 40 complete prototype forklift trucks.