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

 

 

Bob Haas says It's Done!

Bob Haas Jan2020

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.

At the age of 74 I was slowing down and only worked in the garage a few hours a day. At that time, I told myself that I would not restore any more cars.

Then it happened. In June 2015 I was told about a 1956 Ford four-door hardtop. It was right here in my hometown of South Lyon, Michigan. I went to look at it, telling myself it won’t hurt to look.

Well, it does hurt to look. I purchased the car for $2,000 because it had power steering and a 312 engine. That alone was worth the price.

I got the car home and yes it was a Michigan rust-bucket. The car needed floors, fenders and rear quarters. Looking at the roof it had dents and rust holes. Since I do love a convertible, I decided to cut the roof off and make it a four-door convertible.

When I did the rockers, I used a heavy gauge metal for the inner rockers.

After working on the car for four years, THE CAR IS DONE! Although, I did not work on it in the winter because my wife and I spend that time in Florida.

The car looks like a convertible with the boot on the back and the pins above the windshield. All the doors open and close very well. Many people think that it was manufactured by Ford Motor Co.

Now I can say, “I am done restoring cars.”

Submitted by: Bob Haas

 

 

FoMoCo Times Editor visits the Old Northwest

 December2019CoverPhoto

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!

The first stop on our cruise was to the Triple XXX Drive-In for lunch and one of their fantastic floats. After eating the place out of food, we headed off on a scenic drive to Dennis Togstad’s place for a tour of his private car collection. Dennis’ yard was setup like a small 1950’s town with all kinds of memorabilia and absolutely beautiful cars. It was at this collection that I was first introduce to our member, Bruce Midlane. Bruce is a jokester and I knew that I liked him right away. If you know me, you know that I am an instigator and a jokester and so is Bruce.

Read more: FoMoCo Times Editor visits the Old Northwest
 

Verheire: A Love of 1956 Fords for Over 55 Years!

GeorgeVerheire 

 

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.

Read more: Verheire: A Love of 1956 Fords for Over 55 Years!
 

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