Price's 1955 Customline

by: Frank La Forge - Wichita, Ks.

Dick Price Jr. and his lovely wife Becky - (CVA#7327) have been CVA Members since December of 2006. Both Dick and Becky were born and raised right here in Wichita Kansas which is located in Lower Midwest Region of the CVA where Don Robertson is our representative.

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Dick began a 2 year build on his immaculate 1955 Customline in 2009. After a few months of work Dick had only one goal in mind and that was it must be finished by January 20th 2012 for the inaugural "Starbird-Devlin Cars for Charities" Rod and Custom show in Wichita Kansas. That mandate became a reality as this "Custom Customline's" interior was being finished literally as the car was being set up for that show as one of their 'Featured' automobiles. Dick Price Jr., who is President of Price Brothers Equipment Company here in Wichita Kansas, is on the board of the Starbird-Devlin Cars for Charities, which is a 501(c)3 charity benefitting Starkey Inc. and the ARC of Wichita, both programs designed to enrich the lives and to promote independence for individuals with intellectual disabilities. So, obviously it was imperative for this Cruiser to be in place at this "Wichita Tradition" of the newly named iconic and longest running indoor car show in the country under the new direction of Starbird-Devlin Rod & Custom Charities Car Show.

Before getting into the nuances of Dick's 'FRSTLUV' (as his specialized license plate shows) I need to give you a little background on the man who BLEEDS Ford Blue!

Dick Price Senior's father (Dick's grandfather) was an account who's failing eyesight was the beginning of 'Price Ford'. No longer able to see numbers as clearly as needed on a ledger he decided to begin selling Ford Model T's in 1916. Dick's father was an accomplished amateur golfer who had matches and held his own with the likes of Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Dick Price Sr. wanted to become a Pro golfer in the Forties. However, he was told by his father (Dicks Grandfather) that the game of golf was not exactly the way to raise a family and that he was going to sell cars - that was where the stable flow of money to support his family was going to come from. So, shortly after WW II 'Dick Price - Lincoln Mercury' was born and opened on the same block of South Topeka in Wichita Ks. as his father's 'Price Ford' was located. Ironically my own father purchased a brand new 1956 Custom Ranch Wagon from Price Ford in the same Diamond Blue as my '56 Sunliner.

Read more: Price's 1955 Customline
 

Thirty-Three Years in the Making: From Farm to Show

By Charles Justus

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The mid-fifties was a tough time for a sandy land farm family to live in North Texas. Our income depended on a good crop of peanuts, and that always depended on the amount of rain we got that season. A successful crop meant more food on the table and new clothes for school. I graduated from high school in 1957 and went on to become the first sibling in our family of 4 kids to graduate from college, North Texas State University.

During the late ‘40’s our mode of transportation for our family of 6 was a Chevrolet 1/2 ton farm truck. Back then we kids were small, but it sure got crowded with all of us sitting in the cab of that truck! As my brother and I got older, we were delegated to the back of the truck which was not much fun when it rained or snowed! I also had to use a farm truck for the few dates I went on back in the mid ‘50’s. I had no money or time, for more serious dating.

I began my college experience two years after graduating from high school. I used those two years to grow up some, help my dad on the farm, and decide if I really wanted to be a farmer the rest of my life. Two more years of farming was enough to let me know I wanted to go another direction in life, so I enrolled in college. That meant I needed a car real fast! My dad did not want me to buy a car with dual exhaust, so I found a 1955 Ford Fairlane, four-door Sedan with a 272 V8 engine. It had a Fordamatic transmission and the speedometer showed 43,000 (143,000) miles. The cost for my wonderful car was $1,000 in 1959. It became a “fix or repair daily”! I added another 100,000 miles on the car going back and forth to college in Denton, and then to my first teaching job as high school shop teacher in Frisco, Texas. When I had made enough money to purchase another more reliable car, I gave the ’55 to my sister. She drove it to work in Dallas for two years driving 100 miles each day. She sold my first car for $50.00 as the reverse was out on the car.

Now let’s fast forward to 1977, and I found myself visiting my wife’s folks on a farm in Central Texas. One day I pass an adjoining farm to the west and peeping out from among the farm implements, I barely recognize a 1955 Ford Fairlane because the top, a pine tree green, was rusty; and the body, Neptune green, was faded out. Inspecting the car closer, I discover it is a 4-door with 272 V Fordamatic, with 91,000 miles. The car would not run because the rear main bearing had turned in cap. It had set among the dairy farmer’s farm equipment for five years. The farmer was willing to sell the car to me for $55.00. It was then brought 200 miles north to Frisco.

The engine was professionally machined in 1980. The cylinders were bored to 0.030 over, turned shaft to 0 .010 for the rods, and turned mains to 0.020. A valve job and cam shaft bearings, etc. were professionally done by Bull Machine in McKinney. I also assembled the engine to specs.

Read more: Thirty-Three Years in the Making: From Farm to Show
 

A Work in Progress

Steve DeVito

As far back as I can remember I was fascinated by everything mechanical, especially cars. As a preteen I would gaze from the back seat at just about every car we passed, dreaming of one day owning one.

Dad gave me my first driving lesson at age 12 in his 47 Studebaker, on a dirt road in New Hampshire. Also, that year I began a paper route and during my first month I spotted an old car parked under a tarp in the rear of a customer’s house. It was a 31 Chevy sedan and he said I could have it for $5.00! I was thrilled and more so when Dad said I could buy it. We towed it one-mile home with a rope hitched to Dad's car and I did get it running.

The following year dad bought a 53 Ford and I received more driving lessons, on the same dirt road in New Hampshire.

Time passed, I acquired a 41 Plymouth and a 48 Chevy to play around with but neither stayed around until my 16th birthday. So I had to shop around and found a 55 Ford Mainline within my price range ($400.) Dad let me buy it since I had saved enough to pay for it plus one year’s worth of insurance.

I always had a gas station job until I got married but wasn't always able to work on my cars at the shop. Dad let me keep tools and car parts in his garage and in return I would keep his cars running and keep the garage clean enough to keep a car in it. I worked on quite a few cars there, including my 55 Ford. I used our old swing set and a chain hoist to change 2 engines and jacked cars up on the side of the street near the driveway, used bumper jacks, logs as jack stands. I removed and rebuilt trannys right there on the ground.

When I retired in 2004, those memories led me to buy a sedan like Dad's 53 and I still have it today. Mine however isn't a 4 door 6 banger like his. I’ve got a 2 door with a flathead V-8. Soon after buying the 53, I began to look for a 55 to replicate the first car I owned as a real legal driver. I found a few within my price range but they needed too much work. Sadly, I bought one but after getting it home found the frame rotted in 3 places. That killed my interest and I parted it out.

Finally, in 2015, I found a decent running 55 just 35 miles from me. The car was originally in Florida until the late 70s and considering it's been here in New England for over 30 years, the rot and rust weren't too bad. It is a Fairlane sedan, bit of an upgrade from my Mainline. Now it's a driver, mechanically sound and fun to drive. It is a work in progress and I may never get it completely done. That's OK cause my original 55 was never fully done either, between racing it and denting it a few times.

Now I enjoy my “new” car whenever I can at cruises and car shows. I'm slowly upgrading it to make it safer for longer trips to shows and events. It now has a small block F0RD V-8 with automatic overdrive and will soon have updated suspension and brakes to match.
Always a work in progress, I'll share the final chapter when and if I paint it Lavender top over deep (almost black) plum.

Steve DeVito

 

Mom’s Car 50 years and worth the wait.

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It seems everyone has a story about their ownership of a Ford so here is mine. In 1955 my father’s precision machine shop in Inglewood Ca. was doing well and he purchased a 1955 Ford Mountain Green Sunliner for my mother. He was a “ragtop man” and soon after the 56’s came out my dad purchased a new black Victoria for her and took back the Sunliner; I was 12 years old at that time. As time went on, I learned to drive in the Victoria and use it on dates. My normal way to school was hitching rides or driving a ‘49 pickup that dad had acquired for the shop and I could use for school and my job.

Dad had some pretty strict rules that I followed as I remember all his life. The first was “I was to never ever touch a car window” and the second, when I wanted to borrow moms car on a Saturday night I had to wash his first. This usually meant 2 cars on Saturday afternoon after I got off work; his and moms, as I couldn’t be seen in a dirty car. During my senior year of high school mom sold the Victoria and bought an Oldsmobile and the ‘55 Sunliner stayed in the family until 1964. I told myself someday I’d have a ‘56 Victoria.

Major things change our families lives and in late 1963 my dad past away in an accident. He had acquired many things which I could not keep but what I did I have cherished all my life. The main item for me was his 1939 Indian Sport Scout motorcycle which he had purchased in 1943.

Over the years I watched over my mother who never remarried; she lived to the wonderful age of 95 and died in June of 2011. During this time I married, had 2 children, and 5 grandchildren to boot and very understanding wife of so far 49 years. She tolerated me being a “car guy/gear head” as I could fix just about anything. She watch me drag race and pushed me off on the Bonneville Salt Flats until our son took over. She is in the infield to watch our son’s ½ mile dirt Super Stock car at Perris Auto Speedway scraping mud after wheel packing. Everyone should be so lucky. Read more: Mom’s Car 50 years and worth the wait.

 

My Happy Car

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The story begins. The doctor’s wife said - get that old car out of the garage so I can put my new car in the garage. The doctor had the old car towed over to Top Line Performance in Huntington Beach California, because the fuel pump was not working. My friend Mario called me and said, “I have a car at my shop that you may be interested in, and it is for sale.” I called the doctor and after checking with the wife, he bought the car. (Cash only) I paid for the fuel and have been driving the car for the last 10 years with no problems.

I was made aware of the Crown Victoria Association by a friend, Lon Argent, from Australia who visits our shop in Huntington Beach, CA. The 55 ford convertible is a daily driver. I go to Dukes restaurant on the pier every Thursday with my friends Ed and Morie. We have been doing this for 10 years. The top works great, but has only been up twice, as in sunny California we don't need to put the top up. I have changed it to 12 volt, added power brakes, and power steering. The chrome is not perfect and has some chips and fading in the paint, but it still goes to the local car shows. Everybody loves the color and styling, as it reminds them of the good old days in the 50's. I won my first award on April 25th, 2015 at the 28th Annual Seal Beach car show, for Best Original Tri Five.

You can't be anything but Happy, when you are driving a 55 Ford Convertible in California

Submitted by: Troy Stephens

 

 

Mayola's 1955 Crown Victoria

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About 1-1/2 years ago, a friends of mine took me to a dealer in Huntington Maryland. He knew I was looking for a 1955 Crown Victoria. The car was from Mount Jullet, Tennessee.

The car looked really nice. I took the dealers word that the car was in perfect condition. When he brought the car to my house on a roll back that is when I started out to check out the car and got a big surprise. I took about $5,000 to get the car in perfect shape, like I wanted.

In 2008 the car was completely restored off of the frame.

John & Shirley Mayola

 

 

Thomas' Miss Vicky

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It was 1961 and was just out of high school and I was ready to enter college which meant that I should start looking for my first car. My brother found a 56 Ford he thought I should go drive on a dealer lot just nine miles away in Sturgis, KY. What a find it was, 1956 Victoria two door hard top in Sunset coral and Black, 292 CI, water cooled automatic.

I was driving it when I met Kay in college. Kay and I were married in the spring of 1965 and in 2015 we celebrated our 50th anniversary That Vicky served me well until I traded if for a new car the day John Kennedy was killed.

Twenty years later, we still talked about how nice it would be to have another one. It was a real hot day in August of 1985 when I put an ad in the Prairie Farmer Magazine (Indiana Publication) looking for a 1956 Ford Victoria. We were living in Valparaiso, IN at the time. A truck driver from Ladoga IN called and said his 56 matched what I was looking for. Three days later, I drove it home and started the restoration process. I found a body shop owner operator that was willing to work on the Vicky in the evenings when I had time to work with him. He told me he was a crash rebuilder, but he was sure he could make the Vicky straight and fit properly and give it a paint job that would stand out for years and I was welcome to work with him even though I had very little knowledge of body work at the time. Over a four month period he and I were able to rebuild the body and he was able to paint it just a month before John Deere Company (my employer for 31 years) transferred me to PA.

Read more: Thomas' Miss Vicky
 

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