Bill & Linda Huffman's '56 Customline Victoria

Billy Linda Huffman

Since we have been members of CVA we hadn't seen a Custom line Victoria on the cover of the Fomoco Times until Tom & Susan Witham in April of 2020. (Nice Car). So, here's our story of our Blue Vic.

We are Billy and Linda Huffman of Middle Tennessee.

We have been Chevy people for years owning 1955,56, and 57's and the last one was a 1950 Chevy Belair.

Two years ago in April, while in Pigeon Forge Tennessee at a car show, we spied Blue Vic. A 1956 Ford Custom line Victoria and it was for sale. It caught our eye with it's beautiful blue and white exterior and gorgeous blue and white upholstery. We fell in (I want it), not I love it. There were a lot of cars for sale that year so we continued looking around but couldn't get Blue Vic off our minds. Needless to say, we went back for the second look. We didn't take any money with us for we weren't planning on buying a car. We called the owner and had him come down and talk to us about it. Billy wanted to test drive it. The car belonged to a classic car dealer. He called Blue Vic a Custom line 300. He didn't realize it is a Custom line Victoria. We knew that it was a 2 door Custom line and didn't realize they only made around 33,000 of these cars according to our research. Billy test drove the car and made him an offer. We told him we didn't bring any money but if he would take a check, we would buy it. He thought about it for a while then accepted our offer.

We take our Motorhome to these shows and camp in Pigeon Forge so l (Linda) had to drive Blue Vic home about 225 miles. Wouldn't you know it poured down rain all the way home and it still has vacuum wipers. I (Linda) drove it fast enough to keep the windshield pretty clear so I could see to drive.

We got home and examined the tires. Billy said you know those tires are 17 years old. They looked newer with no cracks or wear. I told Billy I would never drive another car he buys until he checks the tires. There were a few times I know I was doing 70 miles an hour.

Billy has learned a few things about Blue Vic. It has a 302 HO engine from the 80' s and a C-6 Transmission.

Billy had the engine and transmission gone through and redone. The rear end was replaced with a 1957 Ford 9 inch with 3.10 gears. We are in the process of installing power brakes. He has already installed power steering.

Blue Vic gets a lot of thumbs up and complements. We enjoy the magazine we get and looking at all the beautiful Fords. We hope to see you all someday at a show. We want to Thank Don Stickler for telling us about CVA.

Billy & Linda Huffman

 

A Canadian's Love for the '56 Ford

july2020 cover photo

Submitted by Bernard and Jo-Eane McKay, Prince George, BC

My career as a car guy goes back to my high school years. In 1962, at age 15, my grade ten class took a trip from our school in New Westminster BC to Seattle Washington along the newly competed Interstate 5. Some of my classmates were pointing at the new Chevy II s and a few Corvettes. I was looking for Ford and Oldsmobiles. My Dad had owned a 1951 Olds Rocket 88 when I was 13 years old and that car and its V-8 motor impressed me. Around that time, I saw my first 1956 Crown Victoria and that would be my favorite car from that point on.

I was one of the few guys at our school to not only have a driver's license but also a car to drive. By 1965 I was illegally drag racing on my local 'drag strip' most Friday and Saturday nights. In the course of 18 months I went through 5 cars. The rear ends (side gears) would break on the '55 and '56 Fords. I was at the stage of life, 18 years old, when I 'thought 'I knew everything but actually knew nothing. That usually points to a career in politics.

I was getting good at working on Y blocks and re-built a 272 complete with¾ race cam. The best Y block I ever owned was out of a 1957 Monarch Turnpike Cruiser. By 1957 the 312 was improved enough that the rear seal didn't leak and even the automatic transmission real seal didn't leak. The 312 had the most horsepower and really spun the wheels of my '55 two door post.

Read more: A Canadian's Love for the '56 Ford
 

The Bill Wright 1956 Ford Crown Victoria

june 2020 cover photo

I met Bill in the summer of 2017. I was acquainted with Kenny Frye and he knew I was looking to replace a ‘56 Crown I owned for over 30 years but had to sell it in 2007.

Kenny knew of Bill’s car and that it was NOT for sale but he got Bill’s phone number for me anyway. I called Bill and he invited me to come and see the car. I told him about the car I had and he said he had also owned his car for over 30 years. That first visit lasted over two hours and was not the last. We became friends, I visited Bill several times along with my two brothers, Rex and Robert.

We would go out for lunch and he would always have a side trip planned of places of interest around where he lived near Asheboro, North Carolina. In 2018 Bill was bitten by a tick and never fully recovered from the side effects. Bill told me if his health didn’t improve and the Crown was sold he wanted to sell it to me because having owned one he knew I would drive it, show it and take care of it, the same as he had. He sold the car to me in the Fall of 2018. My brothers and I continued to visit Bill for day trips into 2019. Then I got a call from Kenny telling me that Bill had died. News I did not want to hear.

Bill showed this car extensively and had seventy or more trophies, mostly from AACA sanctioned shows. Many of them were First Place Awards. The car has several AACA Badges, one being an “AACA Seniors National First Prize Winner”. Bill also attended two CVA conventions. One was in 1993 in Charlotte, North Carolina where he got a First Place in the ‘56 Steeltop Display Class. He also got a Third Place at the 2002 Convention in Roanoke, Virginia. I competed in an AACA Event after I purchased the car and got a First Place Award. When I called Bill and told him about it, his comment was “... that car is used to First Place”. I treasure this car and will always treasure the memories of the good times shared with Bill Wright.

Hugh Worrell
Sanford, North Carolina

 

 

Leroy's Convertible by Rich & Lisa Calzada

May2020Cover

My story, I believe, is different than most of you. My father didn’t have a 1956 Ford; in fact, neither he nor my mom even had drivers’ licenses. They lived most of their lives in New York City. I didn’t have a 1956 Ford in high school or grew up wanting one. Truth is I was actually a fan of Chevy’s growing up. I graduated high school in 1975, so these Fords weren’t really popular with the people I knew. My love for this car came many years later and 3000 miles away.

In 1956 a young man by the name of Leroy Johnson bought this Pine Ridge/ Meadowmist Green Sunliner in Salinas, Ca. He got married in 1960 to Wanda and they had Lisa in 1961 and Chuck in 1964. He told me once that in the 60’s, he went to trade the Sunliner in for a new Galaxie and the salesman at the dealership told him he would give him $100 to take it home. They didn’t want it. So…… that’s what he did. The car was kept and after a while was just parked in the garage. In 1972, when they moved into their new house in the Prunedale area of Monterey County, California the car came too. It was parked in that garage, where it sat for years.

My journey to California went like this. My brother, John, married a girl from the Monterey Peninsula, Jeanne, while in the Air Force, and then settled there after getting out. I moved there in 1978, at age 21. Early in 1979 I got a job with Ma Bell in Monterey, then, early in 1980 I got a transfer to Salinas. I actually worked with my future mother-in-law; who also worked for the phone company. Not long after that I met my future wife Lisa, who, you guessed it, worked for the phone company too.

The first time she took me to her house is where I first saw the 56.

It was in 1981, when I went to the house and the car was in the garage. I don’t remember ever seeing a Sunliner. I fell in love with it right away; I believe that this body style is one of the most beautiful cars ever built. There were some modifications done. The hood ornament had been removed and the hole filled. The trunk lock and badges removed and the holes filled with a “popper” installed to open the trunk. The car was lowered by blocks and there were several other small modifications made to the interior as well. All of these things were done in the late 50’s and early 60’s. The engine had been rebuilt and bored .30 over sometime then also. Of course it was dirty, the top was down and the whole inside of the car was filled with boxes. It was a mess.

Lisa and I were married in June of 1982. When we went to visit the in-laws, I would clean up the car and work on some little issues to pass my time. Now I was able to see all the issues it had. The convertible top was completely gone, one of the convertible top arms, on the passenger side of the car, was broke, interior was worn, dried paint on the carpet, bent up spot lights and the driver door would not latch. One good thing was the original 292 still started!

Leroy knew I was interested in the car so, sometime in 1983; the proposition was made that “whoever gave him his first grandchild would get the Sunliner”. Lisa’s brother at this time was only 19, not married and living at home.

July of 1984 my first son was born and soon after that my father-in-law delivered on his proposition. I really thought he was joking but I think he was just tired of the car in his garage. So, we moved it to mine. I couldn’t believe it!

I went to work cleaning it all up. I was able to find a replacement arm for the top from an ad in Hemmings. I bought a new top from JC Whitney and put that all on. I worked on the driver door until I got it to latch, did a few other things like the brakes and fixed the few electrical issues it had.

After that I got it registered and started cruising! It was so great. I added seat belts to the back seat so I could take, by now, my two boys for rides.

In 1987 we were able to buy the house and 5 acres next to the in-laws. The convertible was back near where I first saw it. Read more: Leroy's Convertible by Rich & Lisa Calzada

 

Thomas Witham's 1956 Customline Victoria

Thomas Witham Cover

On July 17th 1986 my wife Susan and I had the pleasure of purchasing a 1956 Customline Victoria that we discovered in a local newspaper ad. Our collector car journey began with seeking a car from my wife’s year of birth (1955) and were in hope of finding a Crown Victoria in our price range. Along the way I found a ’55 Chevy Bel Air 2 door hardtop which Susan nixed immediately as it burped antifreeze in our driveway when I brought it home to show her. After I missed a nice ’55 Fairlane 2dr sedan in a car corral at a local car show I was starting to get discouraged until that fateful ad appeared. At that time I had never realized that Ford had made a Customline 2dr hardtop having seen many 2dr and 4dr sedans. I was about to get an education when I went to see the car which was parked in a gas station lot in North Andover, MA about 20 minutes from our Atkinson NH home.

Not only was it a Customline Victoria, it was a 223 6 cylinder 3 on the tree with overdrive, manual steering and all. It had just been driven from southern California to Massachusetts the previous fall by its (at the time) current owner and spent the winter in a cozy garage for the usual long New England winter. Since it was a California car from new it had absolutely no rust on it (to this day the entire underbody is original and looks like a 3 year old car’s chassis) something not seen in New England. After a test drive and determining a few things that had to be addressed, I made an offer to purchase the Vicky. After a month of back-and-forths my offer was accepted and the red and white Vicky became ours.

Read more: Thomas Witham's 1956 Customline Victoria
 

Leroy Kutz's Homemade Wooden Gas Pumps

Leroy Kutz Gas Pump

I’ve been looking for an old gas pump for some time, but never found one in MY price range (cheap).

Then one day my neighbor gave me a catalog for making crafts for yard ornaments, bird houses etc. The catalog was from “The Windfield Collection”, www.windfieldcollection.com, if you’re interested.

In the catalog I found a picture of an old gas pump, to be made of wood. Since I was a cabinet maker before working in a steel mill, I thought it might be a good winter project! So, I called the company and ordered the gas pump blueprint, hose, decals, transfer paper and plexiglass. Then I waited for Winter!

When the weather turned cold, I went to the lumber yard and bought 1 x 4‘s, 1 x 8 ‘s, 2 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s, 2 x 12’s, dowels, one sheet of ¾” plywood, and one sheet ¼” plywood.

Now I am ready to start. Of course, I also needed paint, glue, and screws. The material cost me around $330. Not as cheap as I thought it would be! But it will keep me from boredom. And not being in Alice’s hair!

Read more: Leroy Kutz's Homemade Wooden Gas Pumps
 

Norman Horn's 1956 Crown Victoria

Cover Photo Feb 2020

The year was 1952. The Ford dealer in our small town, Hiawatha, KS, got a 2-door station wagon in. Dad traded our Henry J in on it that day. We had a Frazer, Kaiser and our ’51 Henry J as Dad worked for the Kaiser/Frazer dealer in our hometown after he got out of the Army. Now we owned a Ford; maroon with cream paint around the windows, 2-door, 6-cylinder, 3 speed on the column and overdrive. It took us on our summer vacations, sometimes in the mountains of Colorado in which there were time that we weren’t too sure that we would make it to the next peak. I remember Dad driving it backwards out of campgrounds more than once to get the gears low enough.

In 1956 the folks traded the ’52, that as a kid I thought we would have forever, in on a 1956 Ford; a 2-tone green Town Sedan - V8, automatic with power steering, power breaks, air conditioning, white wall tires, full wheel covers and skirts.

I was 15 and just got my driver’s license; Dad was working two jobs as most people did at the time, and some still do. Mom was working during the day and going to secretarial school in the evening in a town 40 miles away two nights a week. Dad was busy and Mom didn’t like to drive so I drove Mom to her classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. While she was in class I would go to a movie. It came down to me being the only one that drove the ’56. As an added bonus, the guy my dad worked for part time had a red and white ’56 Ford Victoria that was left at our place in town every so often and I had to drop it off out at the farm.

Fast forward to when I got out of the Army, I ordered a 1966 Mustang that I had until after I met and married this fantastic girl named Sharon. To better accommodate our family, we bought a 1968 Ford, but after a couple of years, I mentioned to Sharon that I’d like to get a ’56 Ford. A few weeks later her dad found one in Nebraska and she bought it for me. The motor needed to be replaced so her dad found a ’54 motor and with some modification, in it went. Me, not knowing anything about a car, except where the key went, didn’t get that one fixed up so I sold it after a couple of years.

Over the many years that followed we looked at a lot of ‘56’s. In 1981 I looked at a ’56 Crown in Kansas City, Kansas and almost bought it but just wasn’t sure.

In the summer of 1982, Sharon and I were talking about vacation options and ’56 Fords came to mind. I was looking through a Hemmings Motor News and saw an ad for someone working on ‘55/’56 Fords. Sharon called Ernie Blumenthal and he told her there was a club for ’54, ’55 and ’56 Fords AND they were meeting in just two weeks in Kentucky. I immediately ran to work and requested the time off, two weeks later we were in Kentucky!

Two weeks after we got back to Kansas, we were fortunate to meet with Anne Purucker to purchase a car from her, becoming the proud owners of a black and white 1956 Crown Victoria. Our daughter, Kandy, was less impressed, having me drop her off at least two blocks from school in the “old” car. It didn’t take too long to bring her over to our way of thinking - not too many years later she was always in a hurry to borrow the car!

That Crown Vic is the one we still own and enjoy. The added bonus that came along with the car are all of the wonderful friends we have made over the years in our CVA Family.

Submitted by Norman Horn, Kingman, Arizona

 

 

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