Calvin Stokes’ 1955 Fire Chief

cover stokes

I first saw this 1955 6 cyl. Fire Chief car in the parking lot at the 1990 CVA Convention in Dearborn. I fell in love with it. My son David had been on the local fire department for only a few months and my brother C.W., who was born the same day and my wife Shirley back on January 9, 1938, was on the same fire department. It was owned by Warren Fetzer.

I like what I saw, so I asked Warren if it was for sale. The answer was no. I was having a lot of health problems at that time and didn’t really need it. About a year and a half later I made a call to Warren. Still the answer was no. So, I started calling Warren every six months to check on him and the 1955 Fire Chief car. Then came the 1996 CVA Convention at Dearborn Inn. Now mind you this was 6 long years that I had bugged Warren. Shirley had drove two card to Dearborn. So we walk in to the doors there was a group of CVA members greeting us as usual the first day (or every day) of the Convention. Warren was in that group. He looked me in the eye and said yes. I guess he was tired of me calling him every six months. True, I had a garage full Because I had just bought a 19,5000 mile, all original, 1955 4 door Fairlane and a 1957 Red and White 2 door hardtop. But my answer was yes with one catch the car on soil at 11 McClardy Road. The deal was finished.

I have used the Fire Chief car for lots of special events, fund-raisers, weddings, real estate ads and 911 ceremonies every years since 2001 for the fire department on September 11th. It makes a wonderful parade car.

The first wedding was in the fall with the Fire Chief car in 2000. It was in the peak of fall colors about 25 miles out in the country to a beautiful outdoor wedding. When we left to the wedding to go the reception, I was told to take one hour to get the bride and groom to the reception. So away we went with the red lights flashing, as I knew all the roads. It was the county from my younger years of running alot faster because of a few factors of life and other reasons. The bride was wondering how a country boy knew so many back roads, so I invented a few shine stories.

Another great joy was when a young lady called me on a Friday, asking if I would be willing to bring the Fire Chief car to her step-fathers surprise retirement party from the Clarksville Fire Department. So Saturday morning I got out to clean the car good and in my driveway he rolls in to see me about some parts. He says, why are you cleaning it up. I said, It needs a good cleaning.

So the next day was the part from 2-5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, by 1:45 the Fire Chief was sitting on its place at the front door. All the firefighters that were on duty at the main station were there, plus a couple dozen off duty firemen and all the bigger wheels of the city. I was a real pleasure to have the 1955 Fire Chief car enjoyed by so many people. I knew most of the people that were attending the party. I had know the retiring assistance chief for years - we had played, rode bicycles, went to school, raced stock cars, drag raced and worked together in our younger years. Don’t forget baseball, I batted first and he followed with the hits.

I cannot express how much the CVA membership has meant to me over the years and much, much after this year.

Calvin C. Stokes

P.S. I have used 4 of my Ford’s 1954, two 1955’s and 1956 in a wedding since getting this years CVA Convention in Dayton, Ohio. This marks 519 wedding I have been in, some from or fashion

 

Our Hard Luck Story (With a Lot of Good Fortune)

demlow cover

Our trip to Dayton OH started out quite normal – about 100 miles out the engine seems to be losing power. Hot weather, right? Also hard starting as I stopped for fuel every couple hundred miles, but ….. hot weather, right? Got a little worse the further we drove. Too late to turn around as we are now over half way, almost thru Illinois. We had decided to spend the night in Danville. As we parked at the motel, the engine died, and two couples were standing close by and they came over and pushed us into a parking spot by the grass. As I walked around the car I found we were sitting by sprinkler heads so they helped us push the car out of that spot and under the canopy of the motel where the clerk said we could park our car. We got out our CVA roster to see if a local member might know of a mechanic/shop who might be able to look at it. Larry Cox was quite close and had time to check it out after 10:00 AM, but I wanted to be there by then. We found the name for Danny Calton, who knew of nobody in the area that he could recommend. So after some small talk and he knew where we were staying, he and his girlfriend (Emily) insisted on coming out and taking us out to dinner at the “Beef House” and what a treat it was. Had a very nice evening with them and when they dropped us back at the motel, we met a fellow standing close to our car who had heard of our woes from the desk clerk and wondered if he could be of assistance as he was a retired mechanic. Gene Prokop from Omaha came to our rescue. I explained what was happening with my limited knowledge as I don’t claim to be a mechanic but I have been around these cars all my life so I have enough knowledge to make me dangerous. I told him I was convinced it was a vacuum problem. He said perhaps but let’s look at your points first as it sounded to him like they were probably not opening properly. AND HE WAS RIGHT. So after adjusting them the engine fired right up and seemed to have some power back. What a great bunch of people we have met, but wait…. There is more. At breakfast Gene came over to me and any told me he had set my points at .0030 and it should have been .0016, but shouldn’t give us a problem for the rest of trip. Read more: Our Hard Luck Story (With a Lot of Good Fortune)

 

1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible

dargis cover

The 1956 Ford was basically a carryover of the ’55 model with different trim, but inside it was all-new.  Included was a completely restyled dashboard available with optional safety padding along with padded sunvisors and seat belts as part of a safety promotion.  Instead of a flat steering wheel the Ford used a new wheel with a 2.5-inch recessed center hub said to lessen injury to the driver in the event of a collision. Increased power was available from the 292 cubic inch Thunderbird Y-Block V8.  Thanks to higher compression and improved camshaft lift it broke the 200 horsepower mark, while a new 312 cubic inch Thunderbird Special V8 was added at mid-year for an additional 15 horsepower over the 292.  For ’56 Ford also upgraded to a new 12-volt electrical system, following Chevrolet’s lead in 1955.  Solidly built with clean, colourful styling and good performance the ’56 Ford sold well including its Fairlane convertible model with 58,147 built.  Today the ’56 Ford Victoria hardtops, Skyliners and Sunliner convertibles are solid collectable vehicles and while there are a good many still around their popularity has soared in the past decade.

Read more: 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible
 

Amey's 1956 Ford Mainline

amey 2015

January 2010, was the year the project started. My aunt found a 1956 Ford Mainline for sale. I didn’t know what it looked like until she showed me, but thinking it was in good shape for the year made the deal to bring her home on a cold, snowy day from Wayland, New York.

My aunt showed me black and white pictures of my grandmothers Ford that she had before I was around. Hers was pink and black, and I thought wouldn’t that be cool to paint it just like grandmas. Then changed the plans and decided on the blue and white.

She was plain as could be, we say the diamond in the rough though. She was straight six, with three on the tree. I couldn’t drive it, so we looked for something different to put in it. We got a 302, bored 30 over and an automatic transmission. My aunt Carol, and brother Brian rebuilt the motor, and my cousin Mike rebuilt the transmis-sion. My father, Harold was the electrician for this project. We replaced the suspension, tires and wheels, radiator, put a Holly four barrel carburetor on the motor along with lots of other things that needed replacing. My brother was the brains on changing the brackets to change the rear seat.

Read more: Amey's 1956 Ford Mainline
 

Mick and Dinah Moore's 1956 Police Car

mickmoore1

In the fall of 1955 I was riding my Schwinn Panther. While riding past my neighbors house (who was the town J.P.) I was able to check out the brand new 1956 Indiana State Police cars. I stopped for a closer look. One of the troopers left the J.P.’s office and he must have seen that I was interested and he took the time to point out the new features of the 1956 or maybe he just wanted to check out my Schwinn as it was decked out with all the accessories! In any case I never forgot that experience. After 3 years in the Army as an MP. I considered becoming a State Police officer until they sent a recruiter to interview me and explained the pay scale and that was the end of that! Fast forward to 1976 when Toby, Sandy, Dinah and I met and decided it was time for the 1955-56’s to be recognized.

Through the years I have owned several 1955-56 Crowns, Converts and pickups. Through the club I’ve made many friends and one of my close friends is Dick Snyder from Cloverdale, IN. In 1995 I explained my interest in restoring an Indiana State Police car. He being from Indiana knew what I was talking about. I told him I was looking for a 1956 two-door Mainliner preferably black with a gray interior, stick shift and no accessories. In less than a year Dick called and said “I bought you a car”. I asked him “What did you buy me?” He replied “Well what did you tell me you wanted.” He found a one owner 1956 Mainliner in Kansas. The only accessories were a heater and turn signals. Perfect. The car was painted green but I didn’t want to bring that up!

Read more: Mick and Dinah Moore's 1956 Police Car
 

Dorsey Still Cruising' in his '55, Living the dream in 2015

darsey1

In October 1954 I went to work for the railroad. I owned a 1954 ford. On a Saturday in 1955 I walked into the ford dealership in the little town of Baxley, Ga. There set a red and white 1955 Crown Victoria. I thought it was the most beautiful car I had ever saw. I had to have one.

Luck was with me. A man at the railroad owned a Tropical Rose and Snowshoe White one. He was going to join the military and if I would give him two hundred and fifty dollars and take up payments I could have it. Finally I had my dream car!

It had a high performance engine from the factory. It was a fast car. Car owners would come down from Atlanta, Georgia to race my 1955. It was also mentioned in a true life novel about fast cars and pretty women. One evening late I was heading out of town with a buddy of mine I had just looked down at the speedometer and I was running close to ninety miles an hour. When I looked up there was a pulp wood truck setting in the middle of the road with no lights. I hit the truck. My 55 caught a fire and my friend Howard McCloud whom I had just passed pulled us out saving our lives. My Crown Victoria was gone. I stayed in the hospital for over three weeks.

After the wreak I was in Jacksonville, Fla. I saw a Black and white one setting on a lot. I called the insurance company because the claim on the car was still pending. Three or four days later they called me back and told me to go pick it up. I drove it until the 1957 fords came out. I got married had a family, purchased a farm and built a house. Money got tight so I sold my 1957.

After a while I was in Brunswick, Ga. and I saw a Red and White 1955 on a used car lot. I scraped my money together with my daddy's help and purchased it. On down the road and a few miles later I now own two 55s. I purchased and restored a Tropical Rose and Snowshoe White to its original condition in 1994. Later on I also purchased a Sea Sprite Green Crown Vic with a 428
police interceptor bored 60 over with disc brakes.

I also own a 1959 Edsel Corsair which also happens to be my middle name. In my collection I have a 1963 Yz and 1964 Galaxie convertible as well other classic automobiles. But, My 1955s are the ones I truly treasure. With these exceptions my wife and family.

In Honor Of Our Daddy Hugh Edsel Darsey
Submitted By Daughters: Sheena & Teena

 

Smith: "Life Without a Ford? No Way!"

smith cover1

When I was fifteen years of age, I rode my red and white Western Flyer bicycle to the Wauchula Ford Dealership located in Wauchula, Flor-ida. The dealership had a red 1955 Ford Vic-toria 2-door hardtop on the turn table in their show room. I drooled over the prettiest Ford I had ever seen! I promised myself I would one day have one of those cars for my very own.

Six years later at age 21, I purchased my first 1955 Crown Victoria, black in color, for $750. I have the original bill of sale, from Harold Peeples Motor Sales, Ft. Meade, Fl. Same year I had “Vicky” painted Torch Red since my younger brother Robert lost control of the car on a wet road and went through a barb-wire fence, scratching the car all over the entire body. My promise I made at age 15 was now fulfilled. “Vicky” had a dealer option continental kit, one spot light and front grill guard when purchased.

Upon my marriage in December, 1962, I traded “Vicky” for a mobile home. Six months later my finances afforded me to buy “Vicky” back and drove it for another five years. In 1963, I purchased my second “Vicky”, a red and white 1955 Crown Vic. I was now the proud own-er of two Crown Victorias. I then traded the red and white “Vicky” to brother Robert for a 2 door '56 sedan.

In 1965, I became a deputy Sheriff and focused on law enforcement and put Fords on hold. With much regret, I sold my red 1955 Vicky in 1966 for $650.

Read more: Smith: "Life Without a Ford? No Way!"
 

Page 6 of 14