Gilbertson's Family 1955 Ford Customline

sept2019 coverphoto

I have been a member of the CVA for many years. However, I haven't written a story for the newsletter in quite some time. I did contribute to the October 1995 issue and in that story told quite a bit about my passion for these cars. Also, in February of 1998 my 1955 Customline was on the cover.

It seems that all of my life I have been crazy about cars. I was born in October of 1950 so at Christmas time in 1954 I had just turned 4 years old. Even at that young age I still have clear memories of our family buying a brand new 1955 Ford Customline 4 door sedan. I remember the salesman coming to our house and taking us for a ride. I remember there being no ash tray in the center of the back of the front seat. The dealer replaced it but it was always gray and never matched the interior of the car which was green. Years later my father told me that he had originally ordered the car in tan (Buckskin Brown) with a white roof. It seems that the dealership which was Bennett Ford in Bayonne, NJ had gotten the identical car in Sea Sprite Green and offered it to us. My folks wanted a two-tone car so they accepted this car on the condition that the roof would be painted dark green (Pinetree Green). Looking back at it I really think that the green looked so much better. It’s interesting since I have noticed that the combination we had was not offered by the factory. The dark green roof only came with Neptune Green. I guess at that time it didn't make much difference as the dealer did whatever it took to make the customer happy. The car was a 6 cylinder with a three-speed stick. It had a radio, heater and a clock that was wound manually. It also had whitewall tires. It came with wheel covers but my folks wanted the standard hubcaps to they got switched out. I remember distinctly that the glove compartment door had a V8 insignia on it. I guess the V8s outnumbered the 6s by so much that it was just a matter of habit. Although they did get the callout on the front fender correct! I remember the next time I saw the car was in my grandmothers’ garage where my father kept his car. I opened the door and instead of the 50 Studebaker there was this brand-new Ford!

We went many places in that car and I became infatuated with Fords. I had the Post Serial F&F mold cars that I still have a collection of along with a number of 1950s Ford Promo Cars. A neighbor of ours worked for Bennett Ford and used to take me to the dealership regularly. I remember the 57s being in the showroom and I also remember him taking me to the dealership on a Sunday morning to see three 58 Fords that were under covers as they were not released yet. That was a real big deal at the time.

Read more: Gilbertson's Family 1955 Ford Customline

Joe and Marcy Sandella - 50 Years of Marriage and Fords

joe sandella

On August 2, 2019, Marcy and I celebrated 50 years of marriage. During that entire time, Marcy (really Marceline) gets credit for her patience while I chase parts, spend money, and get greasy in the garage. Here is the latest adventure which she supported. In February 2016, I bought our 1956 Victoria from an Arkansas seller on eBay for $28,000. Friend Butch Forte and I drove a trailer down to Gravette, Arkansas to get it, and drive straight back to North Haven, Connecticut, non-stop, to bring it home. It was done to a good standard, but I wanted better. So, a repaint, new interior, new rubber, new brakes, rebuilt motor and transmission were done, to the tune of $18,000. I also installed a new windshield, replated bumpers, Diamondback radials, and glass packs. CVA member Hal Bailey of Savona, NY sold me the missing bumper jack. I lowered the car two inches and added Dodge Lancer wheel covers. I kept one of the 10 Commandments for Car Collectors: “Thee shall not tell thy wife the cost of the latest restoration; at least, not all at one time.” I am 76 and Marcie is 72…but she looks younger than her years. Look at how neatly she fits in the trunk of our Victoria!

Much credit belongs to my expert friend, Jim Donroe, who was meticulous in doing upgrades on mechanical restorations. All was done in a little over a year. Then in 2018, I took the car to the Adirondacks Nationals with 6,000 cars competing. Our car was voted “One of the Top 50”, and it will be in the Winners Circle this year. It is always driven, never trailered. Our ’56 also took 1st Place at the Booth Memorial Show, Time Machine Car Show, and the Quinnipiac Auto Show.

Marcy also has culinary skills. She makes wonderful jams and jellies—more than we can eat. So, we sometimes sell them at car shows. And that’s how we got to meet Jim Rock and Jay Baptista last year at a Dedham, Massachusetts car show. In the trunk of our Victoria we had Marcy’s jams and jellies for sale. Jim and Jay came along and drooled on my rear fender. I thought they just liked the car. No! It was the jams and jellies. They asked how much for one, and I told them. Then they asked how much for all the jams and jellies in the trunk! A deal was struck, and all of Jim’s and Jay’s friends got Marcy’s jellies for Christmas last year.

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An Interview with Mason and Connie Compton

June2019 MasonCompton

-Can you tell me your background and how you got into classic cars? Where do you live in the county?

My husband, Mason, is a car enthusiast. He always worked on vehicles and loved detailing vehicles as well. Mason is from a large West Virginia family. His brothers and friends enjoyed NASCAR and classic cars. From this, you got to join them so I have learned to love it too.

We bought our first classic vehicle which was a 1993 Ford Lightning about year 1999 and we had this truck about 10 years. It was the first Lightning that Ford made and they only made a limited amount of these vehicles. We started attending the Cruise In at the Miami Township Kroger’s across from Meijer’s. We were approached by Doug Wimberly of the F100 Ford Club to use our truck for driver’s introductions at the first NASCAR Truck Race at Kentucky Motor Speedway in year 2000. Doug lined us up by year of vehicle. We had the pleasure of driver, Mike Skinner in our truck. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet the Ford drivers (Joey Logano, Rick Crawford, Jon Wood, Dorsey Schrader, and Jeremy Mayfield). We were hooked.

We sold our truck in 2006 and purchased a 1979 Cobra 351 Mustang. We updated about everything on this vehicle and painted it twice over an 11-year period. It was a hot rod for sure. Mason entered this car in many car shows and won numerous trophies. Jack Roush loved this car and signed it for us.

We enjoy attending Cruise Ins versus Car Shows. Main reason you meet so many wonderful people all over the country and build a great network of people to find parts for your vehicles.

Read more: An Interview with Mason and Connie Compton

Chasing the 1956 with Sharon and Late Arrival at the Hot Springs

craig seyfried cover may2019

In 2006 a good friend of mine went to the Tri-State Auto Swap Meet in Denver, Colorado. The swap meet is held in the Western Stock Show Complex the first weekend in February off of Interstate 70. As we walked through the complex looking at the vendor booths filled with tons of parts we came upon a booth with a poster board with pictures of things for sale. There was a pictures of a 1956 Ford Customline four-door sedan. My friend and I studied the picture for a few minutes then continued looking for anything au-tomotive that we could purchase four our projects. All too soon it was time to head back to Colorado Springs. On the way back home we both wondered why we had not talked to the guy with the poster and picture of the 1856 Ford and got his phone number. Oh well to late now.

A year passed by and Sharon, John and I went to the swap meet. There was the same poster board with the picture of the 1956 Ford. We stopped and talked to Bill about the Ford. He said that the car was located in Colby, Kansas where he lived. We got his phone number and said maybe we will come look at it at a later date.

Another year passed by and now the year was 2008. My late friend John Williams saw the poster board and lo and behold the Ford was still for sale.

On the way back home I decided to give Bill a call if his phone number could be found in my drawer of stuff. Luck was with me as I found Bill’s number and gave him a call. He said that the car was still for sale and to come take a look at it. A week or two went by and Sharon wanted to go to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs on Saturday. No way, lets go look at the 1956 Ford in Colby, Kansas. Sharon said ok, and we hopped in her Subaru wagon and made our way to Colby.

Bill had the car outside in his storage barn when we arrived. He said, take it for a ride. Sharon got in and we took it for a short ride. It performed well, trany shifted great and it had a really nice feel to it. The odometer read 37,895 miles and the paint appeared to be in the original Bermuda Blue which had some minor dings and dents. Just some garage rash from being stored and no visible rust. How much do you want for it? He named his price and we would have to think about it.

Next week a call was made and we decided that we wanted it. We wanted to look at it again so we made the rip again and took some down payment money. No Hot Springs trip yet maybe later. After paying Bill the down payment we said we would be back in a few weeks to pay the rest of the money and drive it back to Colorado Springs. Still, no Hot Springs trip.

One more final trip to Colby in Sharon’s Subaru. Sharon followed me back home, a 200 mile trip with no problems and the Ford ran great.

The CVA Convention was going to be in Branson, Missouri. We had a great time driving the 1956 to the convention. What a great place to have a CVA get together. We entered the original judged class and won first place.

On the way back home Sharon wanted to drive. Pleas hold the speed down to 65 mph and keep a steady foot on the accelerator. Half wa across Kan-sas Sharon started to giggle. What are you giggling about? The speedometer was a zero. Who know how fast we were going, probably 80 mph or so because Sharon has a lead foot.

The years passed by and we drop the 1956 to Tin-ley Park, Illinois and Bettendorf, Iowa. Still in between trips to CVA Convention no trips to Hot Springs.

Sharon’s health started to deteriorate in 2016. Parkinsonism, dementia and numerous other health problems. Being a caregiver is a full time job. Sharon could no longer read, knit, answer the phone, or turn the TV on or off. Unfortunately, Sharon never made it to Hot Springs as she passed away October 30, 2018. Sharon is now in Heaven soaking up the hot springs when her deceased son, her mother and her sister and her health is renewed and she has a beautiful smile.

Submitted by
Craig Seyfried,
Canon City, Colorado



Beach's Great-Looking Truck Had Cracked-in-Half Frame Rails

Ron Beach F100

I came across my great-looking F100 truck 13 years ago. I found it nearby in East Lakeland, Florida. This is a short-bed step side, had been in a barn for about 20 years and it cleaned up quite nice, done up in red paint with a solid body. Just $4,000 and it was mine, all mine. That makes the seventh Ford truck which I now own.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I am retired now, with 70 years of age looking me in the eye. But I worked all my life as a boiler maker, Local 433. I traveled all over the country on various industrial jobs. However, I was born and raised in Plant City, and have always lived here.
Annette and I have a total of 16 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. So I have to keep on buying Ford trucks so I will have one for each of them. Fortunately, many of them live in Florida, so they won’t need to be driven too far. We even see our relatives and friends every week. Every Saturday morning about 15 of us meet for breakfast at Snell Grove restaurant. Sometimes they even help me fix my trucks! Now back to my F100.

After I bought the truck, I researched its history and discovered that it was originally purchased new in 1954 by a farmer from Orlando, Florida. The farmer then moved to Kansas City, Kansas and titled it there. After a few years he moved back to Florida and titled it there. The farmer and the truck got old. The truck was parked in a barn for 20 years and the farmer was parked in the local cemetery.

When I got the truck, I drove it “as is” for a while before I decided to restore it, body off frame. I got a shock. Behind the engine compartment, the frame was broke in two, both sides at the cab mounts. Frame mount rivets were all that was holding the frame in place. Anyway, I reinforced and welded the frame back together. Now I can guess why that happened. The truck has had a hard life. Hint: it had two sets of overload springs on the rear. If this truck could talk it would surely tell some good stories. The truck still has its original 239 c.i. engine and a three-speed transmission. The odometer shows 169,000 miles. I have turned every nut, bolt, and screw on this truck. If you need technical help on your old F100, call me on my cell phone 813-679-1110. I notice that CVA does not have tech advisors for Ford trucks, so I will be glad to help.

I changed the color from factory red to black and platinum--#98 in the Ford Ranger color code (a Ford which I also own). On the bed floor, I put red cypress and four layers of clear coat. The entire interior is outfitted with original factory components. I did put in all new glass and rubber.

I want to give thanks to Dennis Carpenter, LMC, G&G, National Parts Depo, and Mid-Fifties Parts. I recently put a set of wide white tires on it. I enjoy the thumbs-up when I have it out driving. I now have $16,000 in the truck: $4,000 to purchase, and $12,000 to restore. My side kick Pete the Aussie (an Australian shepherd) enjoyed cruising with me. Funny that the truck turned out the same color as the dog. Pete the Aussie passed away about two years ago and I really miss him. So now I have Cody the Aussie to cruise with.

My brother told me that the reason I have so many trucks is because they took all of mine away when I was a child. Anyway, the neighbors don’t complain because they are all housed in my barn and garages. Since I finished the F100, I have started restoration of a 1931 Ford coupe. It will be original, not rodded. Some say that any old fool can restore a car, but it takes a real man to chop one up. I disagree with that. I say that it takes a real man to keep seven Ford trucks running and then go and tackle a rusty 88-year-old Ford coupe.

I have been a CVA member for 12 years, but I have never owned a mid-50’s Ford car. I plan to find one and restore it—right after I finish the 1931 Ford coupe!

Ron & Annette Beach
Plant City, Florida


55 Sunliner waited 17 years to be beautiful again

Ron Ashcraft Cover

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.

Back to my new project, my 55 Sunliner, every car has a story, all parts located have a story as well. My story started one day going through Ebay looking for a Sunliner Project and I found this 1955 Ford Sunliner. This car was stripped down to a body, Frame, And Broke up Motor with an automatic, fenders and hood from a different 55 Ford car, no interior or anything else. Prefect Right? The car was an Arizona Car with minimal Rust, and I love the hunt for parts, so all was good. I placed a good bid and lost the car to someone else in Idaho. Oh well. I kept looking and in about three months this car was back on Ebay, so I called and talked to the new owner and asked him what's wrong with this car that you are getting rid of it so fast. He was great to work with, he told me he had bought this car to hotrod it up, but his buddies said that it was too valuable to mess up, so he was going to sell it. We went over the car in great detail and I decided to bid again, and I lost the bid in the last minute so now I'm discouraged about this car and just quit looking. Fast forward about a year I got an email from the winning bidder of that Sunliner and he asked me to call him and he was another CVA guy. So, I did, and he wanted to know if I was still interested in the Sunliner that I had bid on. My first Question was what the heck is wrong with this car everyone that buys it wants to sell it. He sent me many pictures and answered all of my questions. Number one question is why you are selling this car. He bought this car and had planned to use his Moms 1955 Ford crown Victoria for parts to restore the sunliner, the problem was that his 55 Crown was bought brand new by his mom and again his buddies talked him into restoring his moms Crown. So now the Sunliner is mine. The car was shipped to me from Georgia, around Texas and California, Montana then my house in Washington state From my first bid on Ebay in Arizona the car traveled over 6,000 miles, first it went to Idaho then Georgia and then back to our house in Battle Ground Washington and it didn't even run or operate in any fashion. And finally, it was in my garage now and the parts search was on, Ebay, internet, swap meets, friends and under rocks or any adds and dead ends. After about a year or so my job of 34 years went away. I was a operations manager for a large steel pipe manufacturer. I was in charge of the tubular division. So now with the job out of the way I can really get some work done on my Sunliner . I took a year off of work, just to get my head going in the right direction. After that year I took a job as a project manager at a construction company and they wanted me to run their safety program also. This was a great place to work, much smaller company then my last job and it only had about 150 employees. The only problem it was in construction that means 12 hours every day, but the pay was great so it all worked out great except no time to work on my Sunliner ,so that's why I put this project on hold until I retired in 2014. Then we traveled around in our motor home for a couple of years to warmer winters. I built a new shop for this project and then The last couple of years has been dedicated to restoring the Sunliner. Dealing with body shops paint and upholstery.

1955 Ford Sunliner was originally built and restored to these specs. Regatta Blue on the lower part and Snow shoe white on top section, light blue and medium Blue upholstery, Light metallic and medium blue metallic paint on interior trim.272 Y Block with2 speed automatic. the car came with factory power seat, power windows and power brakes. Every nut and bolt, frame off restoration. The first thing I did when it was finished, I took My 92-year-old mother for a ride. In 1958 My mother drove a nice 55 Ford Fairlane and a couple years later upgraded to a sweet 1956 Ford Vicky.

Many thanks to my wife for letting me spend countless hours on this project and never once complain about the cost of each step.

Thanks to: Concourse parts, Larrys Thunderbirds, Bob Burgess, Toby Gorny FRPS, Fomoco Times ads many CVA members especially Ray Bayles of British Columbia Canada lots of help and input. My great body man and painter Dave's Painting Vancouver WA and all the great work done by Dave's upholster in Brush Prairie WA.

Submitted by Ron Ashcraft


Gramps 1955

Gramps55 Cover

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.

I had told Scott what I wanted, and he didn't let me down. The sound is exactly what I was looking for and it runs perfect.

Disc brakes were added all the way around - a must! There was not enough vacuum, so we added an electric vacuum pump and aluminum radiator.

We finished the interior with a custom headliner and did the trunk as well. We added keystone mags and two sizes bigger tires.

Read more: Gramps 1955

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