Memories - Kutz 1955 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan

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When I was 16, my Dad bought me my first car, a 1955 Ford Custom Line Tudor for $200. I believe the year was 1963. The body needed work done to it, especially the rocker panels. So my Dad and I started working on it. Since we had to paint the car anyway, I took off the hood ornaments and scripts (Dad didn't object) and then broke out the J C Whitney catalog. From the catalog I purchased a tube grill, fender mirrors, full moon hub-caps, and adapter kit to put Oldsmobile bullet tail lights on the car (Dad didn't object).

Then one day I came home from school told my Dad someone at school is willing to trade his manual transmission for my automatic transmission, then I would have a three speed on the floor. (Dad objected I) Dad sat me down and explained, "When he started driving he shifted on the floor. Then they made It easier by shifting on the column. Then came the Cat's Nuts (Dad's way of saying really good I). You shift the pointer to R and go backwards, then shift the pointer to D and goes forward. And you dumb SOB you are going right back to the beginning." So I explained NO ONE wants a slush box, and a floor shift Is COOLI Well it worked, and Dad had let me use the garage. Some of my high school buddies came up to help me switch the transmissions. My Dad had a good friend that was a Ford mechanic and asked him to help us, and he did.

Truth be told, I never even got under the car during the switch. When they were finished I was one happy camper! Shortly after the switch, there was a problem. When trying to shift sometimes the transmission would lock up in first gear. I would then have to crawl under the car to pry the linkage to unlock (rain, sleet, snow and hail).

My best friend's Dad had a gas station/garage. I dropped my car off for state inspection while I was In school. When his Dad took it for a test drive it stuck for him too. He bent and adjusted the linkage and the problem was solved. Read more: Memories - Kutz 1955 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan

 

From Wild Custom to Stock: Placek's 1955 Sunliner

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The golf cart shown with our redone 1955 Sunliner was built in 1990 by Bob Haas in 1995. He sold it to a gent in Florida, and I traded my 1955 Ford with two front ends to the gent for the Club Car 1955 golf cart. It looks cool in the front of the 1955 Fairlane Sunliner that we just restored from a wild custom to stock.

This story really began in 1962, when at age 17, I bought a 1955 four-door Customline for $450. I worked off part of the money for 25 cent an hour at my family’s A & W Root Beer Drive-in in Sanford, FL. That car carried me 100,000 miles to Seminole High School, Orland Junior College, and Florida State University. Sold in 1968 for $165, I still miss it.

Over the years, I owned parts and cheap project cars. Then in 1999, I bought a rough-running, highly-customized 1955 Sunliner with a fair on a Sunliner was $2,224 and 49,966 were produced (far more than 1,999 Glasstops made in 1955). In 2000, another $2,500 worth of work for new intake, carb, exhaust, and wiring, and the car ran well. In January 2003, it was a Fomoco Times cover story. Yeah! It ran well until 2014. Then I undertook a cosmetic restoration to stock. It has a good-running Y-block 292 and 3-speed stick with overdrive, so little mechanical work was needed.Fortunately, the Sunliner had been heavily customized in 1958. I say “fortunately” for three reasons. First, the car would be driven very little, mainly to shows. The 85,570 odometer miles might be original. Second, the car would be kept inside, protecting it from the elements. Third, the car would be driven at least a couple of hundred miles per year, keeping the gas fresh and brake lines clean.

Read more: From Wild Custom to Stock: Placek's 1955 Sunliner
 

Calvin Stokes’ 1955 Fire Chief

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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)

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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

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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.

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Amey's 1956 Ford Mainline

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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.

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Mick and Dinah Moore's 1956 Police Car

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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
 

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