Dean Held's Retirement

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 Held Caricature

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.

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Meteor Found Many Years After Restoration and Sale

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Having an intense interest in Canadian cars owing to being raised in Buffalo, New York with a Canadian-born mother with family in Toronto, it was no coincidence that I saw many cars offered on both sides of the Canadian-US border as uniquely different from each other. I collected Meteor and Monarch brochures since I was young and never thought I would be owning one of these cars. The evening of February 5, 2006 made me a 1956 Meteor owner when I won the car in an on-line auction. After one calendar month of waiting, the transport rig pulled up in front of my house in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and the beauty was delivered.

I had never owned such a antique car before so was a greenhorn about getting its various issues resolved but while on my cardio walk a by chance meeting in a local park of a fellow Ford fanatic who was a member of a local car club, was almost immediately on the right track. Ted Valis owned 3 Shelby Mustangs and knew his way around such vehicles as well as getting me into the club with all its automotive-pertinent resources. At that point, I knew I was on the right track and a happy ending would materialize.

After connecting with some excellent car guys who knew their respective trades intimately, the car was as finished as I wanted it to be short of Concours restoration which would have short-circuited my wanting to take the car on the road.

In mid-August of this year, while cruising the internet, I received an email from my high school yearbook webmaster who created subsequent yearbooks after each reunion to include classmate updates. He indicated that a man who say my Meteor on the internet and who was certain it was formerly his car, wanted to be placed in contact with me.

This came about as a result of the posting of the yearbook pages on the internet as well as my subsequent interview during the cruise night in a nearby town by a local TV crew likewise being posted. As it developed, David Lane, the second owned of the car and who did the restoration in British Columbia was finally in touch. I had little information about the car prior to his contact and, as they say, provenance is all-important with antique cars. I now know the history of this car from the factory to the present time.

Dave told me that the original owners of the car were a couple who owned the next farm to his family in rural Langley, BC and he was enamored with the car almost at first sight as a youngster. As time went by, the man passed away and his widow, who had christened the car with the name “Madam Butterfly” had the car placed in their barn where it languished for about 10 years. When Dave approached the widow about purchasing the car, she told him he could have it if he resorted the car to something approaching a new one. Dave set to work and over time, did achieve the objective. He had, in the meantime, gotten married and after the car was finished, he and his bride, Amy used the car in their wedding party.

In 1999, he regretfully sold the car to an engineer from Delta, BC who was then transferred to Silicon Valley, California and who took the car with him down the Pacific coast. After only a year, he sold the car to a car-oriented family in nearby Woodland, CA who did some additional work on the car with his sone using the car as his daily driver to college.

The family owned the car until 2005 when they placed it on Ebay and subsequently sold it to a Fanish man living in Reno, Nevada who was in business of exporting muscle cars to Scandinavia who never titled in the car in his name. He received little interest on the car for export and thereupon placed the car on Ebay on January 29, 2006 with subsequent sale to me on February 5.

I joined the Crown Victoria Association shorty after my purchase of the car and found out from their chief judge based in Ontario, that the car had been built on December 22, 1955 in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant. The car is the top of the line Rideau series (equal to the Ford Fairlane) but came through without power accessories, but with the 292 c.i. engine linked to a Mercomatic (Fordomatic) transmission.

When David restored the car, it was subjected to a 0.030 overbording and I added a 1957 Ford 312 intake manifold topped with a new Holley 4150 carburetor to prevent fires with the result that the car gets up to 14 miles per gallon and has no starting, idling, or running issues. I also had the front cross member replaced as it was almost completely rusted out as well as new ball joints, motor mounts, suspension bushings, and tie rod ends installed. I later replaced the bias ply tires with radials which meant that I could not only keep the car on pavement but actually between the painted lines on the highway.

When Dave overhauled the engine, it has 82,093 miles on it and as it sits in my garage, shows 32,142 miles which means that the car has traveled only 114,235 miles since new. The best part of owning this car of me is that when I show up at a show, people scrutinize the chrome trim, grilled, and name script with puzzled looks since mos of them have never hear of a Meteor much less having ever seen one. The added value for me is this fact along with the assurance of finding mechanical parts easily and cheaply in most auto parts stores.

Also, the fun for me is to describe the history of Canada’s Ford products and their dealer network which was split as ours was with Ford dealers being separate entities from Lincoln-Mercury dealerships but with the Meteors (essentially Fords) and Monarchs (essentially Mercurys) added to the equation, the dealers were Ford-Monarch, and Mercury-Lincoln-Meteor thereby offering a low and medium priced car in all dealerships only one of which would be found in smaller Canadian towns. All Lincolns were imported from the U.S. while Mercury trucks were badge-engineered Fords found in the M-L-M dealership affording them a full line of vehicles. these Meteors and Monarchs were independent marques and in no way related to Mercury Monarchs (badge-engineered Ford Granadas of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s) or Mercury Meteors which were rebadged intermediate-sized Ford Fairlanes from the early 1960’s.

By Phil van Leeuwen

 

Moreau's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria Custom

dale moreau

In the summer of ’09, I was between hot rods and keeping a daily watch on HotRodHotLine.com, when I saw this really beautiful ’55 Ford Crown Victoria for sale in the Dallas, Texas area.  A quick look at my mileage plus put me in the SW of the U.S. in a matter of days.  Arriving at the owner’s home, I saw the car under a carport, and knew I had to use my poker face on this one, because it was going to a new home.  Owner/builder James Moore in Arlington, Texas had done a very nice job of not only building a stout car mechanically, but had done just the right amount of do-dad removal to make a nice mild custom.  He had started with a local unrestored original ’55 Ford Crown, and totally took it apart for a rotisserie build.  The chassis was upgraded with 5.0 fuel injected Mustang power backed by a Ford AOD transmission and 8” Ford rear axle with tall gears.

Granada dropped spindles and power disc brakes round out the front with KYB shocks.  After I purchased the car, it went to Rich Hoak, just outside of Portland, for a power rack and pinion steering unit consisting of a ’89-’93 Chevy rack utilizing a FATMAN cross member.  Rich also made one off sway bars for the front and rear.  The car now tracks like a Mustang, changing the attitude a ton from the stock ride. I also spent a day with Mitch Kim of Portland. He is a master pin striper, and a winner of the VonDutch award given at the Grand National Roadster Show. With the body stripped, and the holes filled left by the ornament removal, James sprayed it with Competition Orange and Alabaster White base coat/clear coat paint.  The trunk is opened with an electric switch backed by a mechanical pull inside, and two speed electric wipers rounding out the upgrades from stock. Besides restoring all the stainless, and adding new pieces where needed, James placed extra gauges in the dash for oil pressure and water temp. He also added the original NOS ’65 Mustang air conditioning under the dash and installed ’56 Ford taillights.   Rolling on original steel wheels and white wall tires from Diamond Back, the Vicki headed for Fort Worth, Texas to Fuller’s Auto Upholstery for a matching custom interior. When I bought the car back in 2016, it returned with 15” Murac ll wheels and P205/60 R-15 and P215/65 R15 Pirelli tires. 

My plan is to return it to that look. I am really glad I had the opportunity to have this car back in my 1940 garage. It just barely fits, but it is home again.  Having started in ’61 with a custom ’55 Ford Tudor in Massachusetts as my first car, it is only fitting that I do a little time travel and have another ’55 Ford.

Dale Moreau

Portland, OR

 

Mike Novak-Smith's 1956 Ford Sunliner

Submitted by Mike Novak-Smith

mike novak smith March 1

My long term interest in mid-1950’s Fords stems from growing up with these cars as my parents liked Ford products. My dad was in sales for the Johnson Wax Company and was supplied a steady stream of company cars which he was allowed to select, and were mostly Fords.

My parents purchased a 1956 Sunliner convertible from Hertz Rental Cars in 1958 when I was 1 year old. They had owned several British sports cars such a MG TD and a Triumph TR2, but decided that they needed a bigger car for a family. The Sunliner was purchased to have a fun car that would carry more passengers than the small sports cars.

The car that my parents had a 312 V8, automatic transmission, power steering, and a radio.

The car was used by my parents daily until the late 60’s and finally in 1971 it was sold for $125.00! This was a California car with no rust, everything worked, and had about 60,000 miles. It was just an old car at the time with not much value to it. Compare the 1971 sales price to the current cost to re-chrome the front turn signal housings at a cost of $800.00. Prices have gone up.

My interest in the cars continued and finally in 2008 I decided to take the time and money to purchase a Sunliner myself.

Even though I am located in Southern California, often referred the car capital, finding a Sunliner to buy locally proved to be difficult. Finally I found a car in Hemmings that was located in Boston. I hired a car inspector and then made the purchase and had the car shipped to my home in Riverside, California. The car came with a 292 V8, automatic transmission, power steering, and a radio and heater. The car was the same colors as the one I grew up with which was Fiesta Red and Colonial white.

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Ron & Patti's "PRTILDY" From a Little Rag Doll to a Queen

 Submitted by: Ron & Patti Lokay, Northampton, PA

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Back in 1996 my wife Patti and I decided to purchase a classic car. We had a difference of opinion about what we wanted to buy. I, myself, wanted a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria while Patti was looking forward to buying a '55 Ford Sunliner. Saturday evening came and we decided to go to Macungie, PA. where The Wheels of Time Car Club was holding their monthly cruise. Strolling along we didn't see any Crowns for sale but Patti spotted a red and white Sunliner and on the front seat laid a sign, ' For Sale '. To be honest I did not pay much attention to that car because I wanted a Crown but that wasn't what was going on in Patti's head. We left the park and went home.

Monday morning came and I called a friend of mine, Tommy, who owned a motorcycle shop and he told me about a customer of his that not only had a Crown Glass top but also a Sunliner and one of them was for sale, but he didn't know which. He gave me the man's phone number, I called and made an appointment to see the cars. Well Tommy was right but the man was in no way interested in selling the Crown but the Sunliner was up for grabs. To my amazement, it was the Macungie '55. I brought my friend Bill, a very knowledgeable car guy with me, to access the vehicle. We looked it over, I took it for a test drive and found some problems with the car. We left and on the drive home Bill and I discussed the car and what we had found wrong, Bill suggested I bypass this Sunliner but I thought I owed it to Patti to at least let her look at the car. I should have taken Bill's advice, Tuesday morning came and with Patti in tow, we went to Rich's house to see the Sunliner. To my wife, it was instant love, to me, it was a nightmare about to happen. We could not come to terms on the money and as we were leaving I asked Patti what did she want to do. She asked if I still wanted a Crown and I replied that I would wait it out if this was the car that she really wanted. Well, unfortunately for me, that was the wrong question and answer for she turned around, went back into the house and plunked down the money and we were now the owners of a 1955 Torch Red/Snowshoe White Fairlane Sunliner convertible. 

The following Saturday evening after getting a friend to put an inspection sticker and tags on her, we attended a car show and PRTLDY, as she would get to be known, won her first trophy. The Sunliner's paint was not bad, Torch Red & Snowshoe White in color she looked decent. Her interior was another story however. It was custom made and didn't have any arm rests, not too bad. It would have to do because she had mechanical problems that needed attention first. The suspension, ball joints and other stuff had to be replaced. The steering wheel bearing was rusted fast and had to be redone etc. Rather than go through the entire 20 year rebuild of PRTILDY, by year, I'll just tell you all that has been done.

Read more: Ron & Patti's "PRTILDY" From a Little Rag Doll to a Queen
 

A “Sunny” Story

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For some time now whenever I encounter a classic car, I can’t help but wonder, “what if these cars could talk”. The knowledge of their past would not only be invaluable but entertaining as well. That is certainly the case with my 1955 Ford Sunliner. You see even though the car can’t talk, I know its previous owner of 48 years, Mr. Bob Nolan of Elyria, Ohio.

In 1968 this car had reached the point of no longer being useful to its owners. The car had followed the path from being a beautiful, new convertible with its first owners to resting beside an outbuilding waiting to be scrapped. Also in 1968 Bob Nolan was looking to buy a 1955 Ford Sunliner Convertible. As fate would have it, while attending a party at a friend’s house Bob saw this car. It was setting beside that outbuilding under a security light. The front fenders, hood, grill assembly and radiator were gone, leaving the engine exposed. The top had been badly damaged due to someone thinking they could put the top down while driving the car at speed. The original front seat had been replaced with bucket seats and the engine and Fordomatic transmission were both badly in need of repair; essentially a “totaled vehicle”. Upon asking about the car, Bob was told that the “junk man” was coming the next day to take the car away. Read more: A “Sunny” Story

 

Dad's Fifty-Five

Submitted by: Steven Sobotta

Growing up in Wisconsin I don’t remember a time when dad didn’t talk about his Fifty-Five. I knew the story, from an early age, of how he’d come to own it, how he’d spent the entirety of his savings account in 1963 to buy it, and how grandma had pitched a fit.

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It was part of my upbringing to be able to identify any old Ford (actually any old car, but of course Fords were the priority) that we might pass on the road or at a show. The times when I’d get it wrong, dad would give me the business and I didn’t like it one bit. So when I’d come home, I’d comb through my collection of car books until I found the car in question and memorize the cosmetic markings specific to the year in question waiting for the chance to show dad what I’d learned. I never received a report card, but dad hasn’t had to correct me in quite a few years.

As the years went on I learned one indisputable fact, there has NEVER been and NEVER will be a more beautiful car than a red and white 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria. You all are invited to try and change his mind.

Like many, dad’s dream of one day treating the carriage that he and mom had first dated in to a full frame-off restoration took a backseat to day-to-day life. Mom and he helped get my sister and I through our bachelor degrees, paid off the house and of course kept food on the table and saved for the future. Over the years we’d pick up NOS parts at swap meets and talk about what had become our shared, but all but dead, dream.

I don’t think my dream to one day surprise my dad with a fully restored car is unique to me, but I never thought I’d actually get the chance to actually live any part of that dream.

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