Royce & Rebecca Massey’s 1955 Crown Vic

 Royce Massey Cover

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.

At the time one of my sons had an empty warehouse in Tuscumbia, Alabama and he agreed to let me finish restoring the car in his ware-house. Dale took his trailer and hauled the bod for me and I took my 16 foot flatbed trailer and hauled all the parts. There were tons of extra parts, motors, transmissions, etc this was late February 2012. All the sheet metal had been primed so I started cleaning those up painting the inter fender wells and getting the car to a rolling body.

Around the first of June 2012 I talked a man into painting the car. The man I purchased from was go-ing to paint the car red and white his favorite colors. The vin plate showed the car had been Sea Sprite Green and White originally. I decided to paint it back to the original color. the car went into the paint shop around the middle of June 2012 and I picked it up in November 2012. Base-Clear paint was used and the body was taken down to bare metal and built up from there.

Around the first of December 2012 my brother Jerry Massey and I started putting the car back together. We worked about two days a week around four hours each day. All we had to go on of how to put the car to-gether was a 1955 Shop Manual which helped a lot. My brother was an electrician and he restored all the electrical circuits and everything works like it should. We had very few major obstacles in restoring the car and the man I purchased from was accurate I had to purchase very few parts for the car in most cases I had extra parts. I did order a interior kit from LaBaron Bonney that fit and looks like the original interior. We finished restoring the car in about June 2014. Since that time I have enjoyed driving, showing and admiring the car.

Royce Massey
Spruce Pine, AL



“Sweet Caroline”: My 1955 Ford Crown Victoria


philmeek nov2017

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.  

Read more: “Sweet Caroline”: My 1955 Ford Crown Victoria

Orban's 1956 Customline Victoria

tom orban

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.

It has a 272 engine with 3-speed stick, Fiesta Red and Colonial White exterior, but the interior was an ugly two-tone gray!! That had to go!!

So I installed a Lebaron Bonney red and white interior kit. The car was finished late 2015.

We started driving it in 2016. Now let's talk about working out the buds and other horror stories, after we started driving her she developed an oil leak, I thought it was the value covers, but it turned out to be the New oil sending unit. I replaced it and the leak stopped.

When I pulled the pan to fix this I found out the “rebuilt” engine probably wasn’t done right, the oil pan had about 1/2 inch of sludge in it, the bottoms of the pistons looked like they had been sprayed with chocolate syrup. There were however new rod and main bearings. I fixed the seal and that leak stopped.

Read more: Orban's 1956 Customline Victoria

Nagel's 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible

Nagel Cover August 2017

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.

Read more: Nagel's 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible

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.

Read more: Dean Held's Retirement

Meteor Found Many Years After Restoration and Sale

 vanLeeuwen cover

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, 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


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