Check out the 2024 Crown Victoria Association National Convention Website 

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Cover Stories

John Riordon Cover Jan2024

Submitted by Kevin Riordon, London, Ontario

Three years prior to the first convention and one after I entered this world, my dad purchased this 1956 Ford Crown Victoria Glasstop. My dad bought, sold, and restored many ‘55/’56 Fords and Mercs throughout the years, but this car came home and never left. Despite the attempts of many, the answer was always “it’s not for sale”. Many times, throughout the years my dad would say “I’m going to be buried in that car” (sorry dad but that didn’t happen).

After joining the CVA my mom and dad drove this car to the very first convention held Aug 10-12th 1979 in Rockton, Illinois, after which they drove it to numerous conventions. One of the most memorable being Charlotte, North Carolina and going around Charlotte Motor Speedway with my dad. We were told to stay with the pace car, but on the last lap dad said, “should we pass” and I of course said “yes!!”. And with that dad pulled higher up the banked track and past the pace car we went, well needless to say the track officials were not impressed, but dad laughed, and I was grinning from ear to ear, both of us knowing that was a memory implanted forever.

In 1987 mom and dad along with help of CVA member Steve Kidd they hosted the first Canadian CVA Regional Meet in Waterloo, Ontario. Dad also served on the Board of Directors for many years, along with being on the judging team. He also served as a 1956 Technical Advisor right up his passing, as well as being a big part of getting Mercury cars and trucks included in the club.

With dad’s passing, the memories have been a big part of coping. As part of that process - for the first time in 26yrs - I returned to the National Convention this past summer in Ohio along with mom and of course dad’s Crown. We got to see many of his friends and listened to the stories and the respect everyone had for him. Dad made many connections through the club and one of which was with Dick and Jenny Snyder.  Well as fate would have it, I was sitting at the convention when in pulls a truck and trailer with a white ‘56 Crown Glasstop on the trailer. Of course, I went over and admired the car, but no one was around it so back to my chair I went. A short time later I see the car pull in and park two cars down from dads. I walked over and started talking to the owner and he mentioned that it was Dick’s old car. I said Dick was friends with my dad John. It turns out that Danny Calton had heard about my dad through Jenny. At that point we needed to get these cars side by side so dad and Dick could sit together and see how these cars brought two people together that have more in common than either of could realize at the time.

As a final tribute to an emotional week dad’s car won 1st Place in the 1956 Display Class. Danny and I have stayed in contact and look forward to future conversations. Having picked up the legacy and becoming a CVA member, I was asked to join the judging team, trying to fill the shoes of the greatest man I know and my best friend, my dad John Riordon.

P.S. The answer still stays the same, it’s not for sale.

Tom Nichols Sept 2023 Cover

Back to the Early Days

Growing up in Dearborn, Michigan, there were no school buses; you walked to school or had you own car. So, at 16 I purchased a 1950 Plymouth for $25. It ran good except when it was cold or rainy! I moved on to a 1953 Chevy that I purchased for $50 that lasted a few months, until my neighbor put his 1954 Ford Victoria up for sale for $175. I finished high school driving the 54, while dating my wife to-be, Judy, in it.

I went on to Henry Ford Trade School and then some college. Into the business world I owned two gas stations (when they were not convenience stores) and then a motorcycle dealership for 32 years. Married my high school love, raised a family, and have owned 35-40 cars and hot rods along the way. Bought my wife a 1965 GTO for our 30th wedding anniversary and we just celebrated our 57th with it.

Nine years ago, I sold a 1940 Ford Coupe that was my driver to most of the shows and cruise-ins. I spotted a 1954 Ford for sale and showed my wife. Said I would like to reminisce the old days. Once again, she gave me a big YES.

The Crestline Skyliner was in good condition, but not like I wanted it. I didn’t want a show car, full restoration, or trailer queen; but a high quality, reliable, updated driver. The little 239 Y-Block went first, replaced with a 292 for a bit more power. Backed up by a 4-speed automatic transmission with 9” Ford rear. Of course, now living in Florida, installing air conditioning was a must. Adding power steering, cruise control, power front disc brakes, electric wipers, and AM/FM/CD radio made it even more to my liking. Repainting, together with some chrome refresh, really gave the car more pazazz. A snap-in headliner looking cover for the “glass” roof helps with staying cool.

Thankfully, I am able to do most of the work myself. However, that background has not helped in some cases with parts. It seems the 54 is a transitional year from the earlier to the later and it is hard to find companies making replacement parts. Even when I found some aftermarket that were supposed to be exact replacement, I wound up having to return, modify, substitute, or look for used. While a few 1955/6 parts are the same, it seems a many are unique to this one year. It is interesting to note that Hemmings Motor News includes the car in the “Ford 1954-UP” section of the magazine; guess that is due to the drive train and some front-end parts.

The car is now my “driver” to shows and cruise-ins, both local and out of state. Although it is only a decent quality driver, it has managed some trophies. Maybe, in part, to being unusual to see these at the many shows. The “glass” top is really different. Some recent adventures in the car from Florida (all driven, not trailered) have included trips to Louisville, KY, Gonzales, LA, Memphis, TN, Columbus, OH, and Olde Town Kissimmee, Tampa, & Daytona, FL. You may see me around, the car is easy to identify with the license plate that was Judy’s idea MEMRZ,

I look forward to many more years of getting around in this car and am hopeful that I can get it to next year’s Crown Victoria Association convention.

Submitted by:
Tom and Judy Nichols,
Middleburg, Florida

Submitted by Brad & Joanne Fluyeras, New Berlin, Wisconsin

Brad Fluyeras Dream Car Wide

Growing up in the 1940's and 50's in Duluth Minnesota, was relatively uneventful weather wise. You see, Duluth had only two seasons, 4th of July and winter. As a result, there were not too many convertibles driving around. In the late 40's, when 2 door hard tops arrived, it seemed a new era dawned - open air motoring with a top. Being a life-long car guy, I loved those sleek new models.

Along came 1955 and 1956 and the Ford Crown Victoria. A sleek looking car but I didn't like it because of the "B" pillar. This was nothing more than a fancy 2-door coupe.

Fast forward to 2017 and I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I am now older and wiser (but only about cars according to my wife). Now I look at a Crown Vic and I see sheer beauty. It was then I decided to buy one. Good luck! When I did find a nice one, it wasn't for sale. I joined the CVA and got a roster. "I'll find my dream car" I thought. The roster, however, didn't list members' cars. Now the hunt for the car gets interesting.

In February of 2019, we took our usual month-long trip to California to escape winter. I checked my route and looked up members along the way. I found 13 of them. I started calling them 1 by 1. This took 3 evenings because when you talk to a car guy, the conversations last quite a while. The first 12 either had 54's, 55's, station wagons or sedans and were not interested in selling. The 13th call had exactly what I desired, a '56 Peacock and White Crown. However, he did not want to sell. I asked if he would at least let me look at it when I arrived in southern California. Affirmative! On February 28, 2019, I first laid eyes on this gorgeous car. I had a magnet in my pocket to check for Bondo. One look at this car, and I said to myself, "Bradley, don't embarrass yourself - leave the magnet in your pocket". The car was more than I had hoped for. Why wouldn't it, built in San Jose and stayed in California the whole time. The best part comes next -it was now For Sale! Sometime between our first phone conversation and this day, he decided to part with it. After a test drive a deal was made and she was mine! It took about a month before it was delivered to my door. This car had a 1974 drive train transplanted into it. A 302, C-4 and 8" rear. It had been refurbished to include new paint, upholstery and both bumpers were rechromed.

I have made some improvements and upgrades to my liking. It had a Continental kit which I removed. I already have a 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 Convertible with a Continental kit. I understand there is an unwritten law that "only one Connie kit per family is legal".

The car is equipped with power steering, power brakes, 4-way power seat, electric wipers, washers, electric fuel pump, AM/FM cassette radio and rear antenna. I added a trailer hitch to protect the rear bumper. My car is a blast to drive. Every time I look through the windshield, I feel like I am 18 again. By the way, I was 18 in 1956! I hope you enjoy the photos I have included with this story.

The CVA is a very nice club, very helpful when problems arise. I would like to thank Toby Gorny and Norbert Doll for their assistance these last few years. The FOMOCO TIMES is an excellent publication. Travis, my hats off to you for a superb monthly.

Submitted by:
Brad & Joanne Fluyeras
New Berlin WI (CVA #9388)

Submitted by Wes Koch, Floyds Knob, Indiana

Wes Koch Cover

I have been a "car nut" most of my life! When I was just a young man (I'm 84 today) the 1956 Ford Victoria was always my most desired car so at the age of 18, while working for Vissing Buick in Jeffersonville, IN, with a little money in my pocket, I bought my dream car, a black 1956 Ford Victoria ... three on the tree! I was so proud of this brand-new car after purchasing junk cars that my buddies and I would fix up in a friend's garage or under a shade tree. I drove this car from Indiana to Virginia to visit my sister who had just given birth to my first nephew! However, after about eight months of car payments of approximately $55 or $65 per month, I knew it was too much for that 18-year-old kid and I sold her!

After selling my first Vicky, I decided to start street racing. Beginning in 1957, I bought a 1954 Ford Club Cp. I put a 312 cu. In. Mercury engine in it with an Isky cam and kit, polished intake and exhaust ports, aluminum fly wheel and three Stromberg 97 carbs, and installed caps on the exhaust. I tore up many Trannys until two of my co-workers and I built the first-floor shifter! I had never had or seen one before and it worked great! Working in a machine shop made that possible. When we had very competitive weekends coming up, I would install my 4:11 rear with the spiders welded. This was my ‘57 Chevy Getter! I had lots of fun with this car driving to Indiana University to see my girlfriend who later became my wife of 57 years!

I have had many automobiles throughout my life from NHRA Super Stock cars to many street rods! For several years I battled the NHRA sports car class with four different corvettes over a 10-year period then went to Ford with a (number 8 of 50) 1968½ COBRA Jet. I campaigned that car for approximately 1 ½ years with little success. My local competition, Bob Glidden, at tracks within 200 miles, was factory backed, had more money and was a better driver. I then went to a ‘69 Camaro for the next 3 years that I set a national class record with at Bowling Green, KY!

Besides my family, cars have been #1 in my life, and I still enjoy working on these cars from my "Man Cave" in Floyds Knobs, IN.

Several years ago, after I retired, I had the desire to start looking again for a 1956 Ford Victoria. In 2017, I found my current "Vicky" in Hemings Motor News and sought out to purchase it. The car was in British Columbia, Canada so it became my mission for about a year to purchase her. The owner was only the second owner and he had bought the car at auction from McLeod's Auction in Kirkland, Washington in 1988 with only 21,861 original miles! The owner was extremely helpful in getting this Vicky out of Canada and he took her by trailer to Seattle, Washington for shipment to me in Indiana.

Submitted by John H. Eyolfson, Rosslyn, Ontario

John Eyolfson

My attraction to ‘56 Fords began in 1956 when my older brother purchased a 1956 Ford 4 door hardtop. It was a two-tone blue and white and what a beauty it was. I was fourteen years old at the time, and he would let me drive it if I washed it rather detailed it for him. We lived in the country so there wasn’t much traffic on the backroads outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba. What a thrill that was, and all my friends were jealous because I got to do that. 

Flip the script to 1977 when I was living in another province called Ontario. Specifically, a place called Thunder Bay. While visiting a friend we were sitting on his deck outside watching the traffic go by, when lo and behold I spotted a ‘56 Ford go by with a for sale sign in its window. I immediately gave chase and followed the car to its destination. The story on the car was that it had just arrived from Tucson, Arizona and still had the Arizona plates. Needless to say, I instantly fell in love with it and put a deposit on it right away. It was an all-white Crown Vic. with a perfect body and no rust as it had never been driven in salt or snow (still hasn’t). It had a 292 4V and factory air conditioning.

The man I bought it from was named Terry Lacey and he had imported several cars from Arizona to sell locally. Needless to say, I had acquired the pick of the litter and I felt privileged to have done that. This all happened in the fall of 1977. In the spring of 1978, I was encouraged to enter the car in a local car show, and I was surprised to win a trophy for best in class. 

Due to job commitments I had to put the car in storage for the next 20 years. In 1998 I was free to take the car out of storage and then began the restoration project. First, I rebuilt the motor, transmission, and running gear. Then I drove the car for 12 years until the next phase in 2010. Consisting of all bright work: bumpers, grill, park lights, and trim. Next came the bodywork (not much as it was decent) and paint. Lastly upholstery and carpets, etc. I’ve been driving and enjoying it since then and I’ve won several more trophies including two best of show. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my buddies Gordon Wall (body work and reassembly), Kerry Pawliuk (paint), and Ron Foreman (mechanical) for their help. PS I received my 25-year pin from the club just recently and thanks for that. I have really enjoyed my membership and all the great info on my car. 

Roy Brockway

To begin with I will reveal my age. I was born in 1944, and at about the age of 15 I started to develop a hankering for wheels. Unfortunately, at that point in time, I could hardly afford to keep tires on my bicycle, which an uncle of mine had graciously bestowed upon me, let alone buying a car or even a tank of gas if I did have a car. Anyway, on to my story, my dream car then was a black and white 1956 Ford Victoria (the true 2 door hardtop), a dream that has never left me. Then after several years of financial scratching, I earned an engineering degree, then onto a career, marriage and raising two boys who also became engineers, I was able to turn my dream into some possibilities and started the search, still on a somewhat limited budget.

I watched the antique auto magazines and the internet keeping my eyes and ears open. Living in Maine at the time, I attended car shows and travelled throughout New England to look at different cars advertised as almost perfect. I looked at some of these "perfect" cars that for some reason by the time I got to look at them, there were pieces of chrome missing, torn upholstery, engines that needed rebuild, etc. My mechanical talents are not that great, so I declined those "perfect" cars.

However, I didn't give up and at the turn of the century, was receiving the publication "Old Cars Weekly". In 2001, I noticed an ad for a 1955 Ford Two Door Customline in Topsham, Maine approximately 200 miles from where I lived. At first, I ignored it, not exactly what I was looking for. Each subsequent issue, I would look at the ad and say to myself, hmm, it is only a day trip away. Finally, I called the gentleman and talked with him. He described it as a rust free original, in good mechanical condition (yeah, right). However, I decided to take a Sunday drive to look at it. When I walked in his garage and looked at it, my jaw dropped. It WAS rust free all original, in excellent condition, except the front seat upholstery was showing some age, but no rips or tears. The odometer showed 48125 miles, undocumented, but I could find nothing to indicate otherwise. The original paint was very good with some very slight fading on the front fenders. The engine started with about two flops and ran excellently and VERY smoothly and quietly until you stepped on it when the dual glasspacks gave a throaty sound, music to my ears. I bought the car and drove the 200 +/- miles to home - it purred like a kitten with the glasspacks rumbling under the floorboards.

I got several trouble-free years with the car with a lot of admiration whenever I was out with it and had no hesitation about driving 150 miles to a car show. I must interject now, though, that I had a grandson born in 2005. Back to that later. This car was all original and my desire was to keep it that way, even to the 6-volt positive ground electrical system, this amongst all the noise "oh change that over to 12 volts, nothing to it and it will be so much better". NOT, that 6-volt battery cranked it over just fine and the first time I had it out at night, I couldn't believe the headlights. This after thinking, I better get home before dark with those 6-volt headlights. Heck, I could see almost to the middle of next week with them.

Other than a new battery, a new light bulb now and then, a new heater mixing valve, the most major thing I had to do was a new exhaust system from the manifolds back. I did take off the old bias ply tires and replaced them with new Coker www radials (well worth the money). However, at about 51000 miles it started working not so well and to skip the diagnostic details, the engine needed a rebuild with the camshaft being the major culprit. After teardown we found the block was good, cylinder walls good, didn't need reboring, heads and crank good. After installing the new camshaft, pistons and rings, valves, cleaning out the heads it was ready to go. Of course, the whole engine was cleaned and repainted in the process, and I climbed into the empty engine bay and gave it a good cleaning and refreshed the paint. Also, while apart, I replaced the radiator, replaced the 4-blade fan with a new 6 blade and a new clutch plate.

Now, back to my grandson, Nick, born in 2005 who is now CVA member 9600. At about the age of 5 he fell in love with the car and the passion only grew with age. As he grew, he also developed quite a natural mechanical aptitude (which I don't have) and a passion for tinkering with old vehicles. I had a few opportunities to sell the car but couldn't bring myself to part with it and finally decided to pass my ‘55 Ford on to my grandson where I know it will be loved and well taken care of. I have included a picture of me handing the keys to him with a big smile on his face.

Now, back to my dream car that didn't happen. After a lot of searching, surfing the web one day in 2020, I found a 1956 Crown Victoria (not a Victoria) for sale, close to me, in Canada where I now live. Both myself and the car being in Canada eliminated the international border hurdles. The car was not exactly what I was looking for, being a two-tone blue Crown instead of a black and white Victoria. However, it had been restored, body, frame, upholstery was in excellent condition. The glass, paint and chrome are also excellent. A few mechanical issues to deal with- a brake job, new heater core (not necessary) since I only run it in summer, some rewiring. Anyway, I decided it was close enough and Vickee as I have named her is now in my garage and I have included a picture of her also.

I have also included a picture of my 1993 5.0 litre Mustang GT convertible which I purchased new in March 1993, but I will leave that story for the future.

Submitted by
Roy Brockway
Brockway, NB

Dave Bliss

My love of Fords and 56 Fords started with my first car a 1956 Crown Victoria.  Not the usual girl car, as it had a louvered hood, 3 speed with Hurst shifter, 292 with tri power and shaved door handles.  The tri power with the progressive linkage was a preview to my passion of drag racing in later years.   We married young at 17 and 18.  Most likely too young but must have been meant to be as we will be celebrating our 59th anniversary this year. After we married the 3 speed was replaced with a 4 speed. The body was on the rough side and we got tired of exiting out the windows when the switches did not work.    After a few years my husband Dave found a 56 Crown with a good body and door handles which he gave me for Valentines’ Day.    Parts were swapped; the interior received buckets seats and a rolled and pleated interior and Vinyl top.

 Things were going well until May 8th 1968.  My husband had just started a new job and was working swing shift.  When he came out after work the Crown was not there.   The 56 was found the next day stripped.   The 4 speed, 63 ½ XL Galaxie bucket seats, Crager SS mags, Grant wood steering wheel, battery, dual-point distributor, 10 grand tach., 4-barrel carb and manifold, drive line, heater fan & chrome housing were missing.   What they didn’t steal they destroyed.  They slashed the headliner and the interior that they left.   Push rods were bent and sand & dirt in the engine.  All the windows were broken along with slashing the vinyl top.

Fast forward to 1990 a 56-club sedan was for sale, and I purchased it.   It was rough, all the windows were cracked, needed paint (looked like a pinto with splotches of black and gray primer).  Our kids were embarrassed to be seen in it.  But it had one unique feature, factory power windows, which would sometimes work.  Came with an extra door as the driver’s door had rust and a dash, which later I will be glad to have.  I drove it for a year then parked it and started buying parts and getting some rechroming done.  And as with many projects it sat.  We were heavily into drag racing which was taking up our time.

Fast forward again to December 2016, it is time to complete that project.  The car had been stored in a dry garage all this time.  We towed it down to our shop and started to tear it apart.  I knew I wanted a top loader 4 speed, which I have fond memories of racing in our early years. (Dave wanted a 5-speed)  I wanted a 302( Dave a 351W) I got my wish.  We thought it was a solid car.  But after tearing out the carpet we were met with rusted out floor boards. We had to replace all the floor boards.  We put in on a rotisserie with the body still on the frame to make the added work easier. The steering was replaced with a Unisteer power rack (which I would not recommend). Front disc brakes were added along with a line lock.  A new fuel tank to replace the old one that was wrong and had been replaced when it had been repaired from Left rear damage before we acquired the car.   Smaller full-size T-Bird steering wheel replacing the original stock 18-inch wheel with a 15-inch steering wheel from American-Retro., LED sequential flashing rear taillight set from Casco, and so on and so on.   Many small parts were ordered.  A 6-hole gauge set was added to the dash to gain a tach.  The ash tray was deleted and the padded dash was sewn.  Ron Frances wiring system with a drop-down fuse panel made rewiring a snap.   The spare dash we got when purchased was great for wiring, filling the ash tray and adding the 6-hole gauge set on the bench.  Remote keyless was added along with electric wipers.  We were learning as we went when it came to installing windows and window felts.  Luckily, we purchased the new windows back in 93.  Factory Electric windows were rewired and factory switches retained. Found out the reason the rear passenger window did not work was it was missing the motor.  I always wanted to sew the interior.  I have sewn all my life but a whole interior was a challenge.   A visit to SEMA in 2018 gave me ideals for the seats.  LeatherSeats.com had a booth with acrylic stitch templates with patterns for top stitching. This gave me ideals for the pattern I wanted to incorporate in the Seats.    Viewing YouTube, books, and guidance from a customer of ours that was an upholsterer, the seats were completed.   Dave and I built the door panels and added 64 Fairlane armrests.  Because of the absence of the manual window mechanism there was a space to put speakers in the doors.  A new head liner was ordered which we attempted to install.  But it was a little more that we could pull off.  Pyramid Upholstery in Tacoma came to our rescue.  Still need to upholster the sun visors and finish off the trunk.  It was a lot of work and fun working together to complete this project. Plan to go to a few cruises and parking lot shows this summer.

Submitted by Wayne and Susan Berger, Woodbury, MN

Wayne Berger

My first car was a 1968 Mustang fastback that I bought new the Spring before I graduated from high school. I worked many hours at a gas station and at a Howard Johnsons to buy it.  I have always been interested in old cars having pursued many car magazines during my teen years.  My first old car was a 1947 Dodge 4 door with suicide doors which my college roommate came across when he was looking for a garage to use during the Wisconsin winter. My dad helped me tow it home and I got it running after having been stored for quite a few years. The Dodge was not my dream car so when I found out about a 1929 Model A Tudor, from a machinist at a plastics factory that I was working at during college, I sold the Dodge and purchased the ’29 Ford. The ’29 was a basket case and mostly complete. After finishing college, the Ford was stored until I bought my first house in 1976. The house had a 3-car garage, so it had a dedicated stall. The house was on a large lot, and it needed a lot of improvements, so I never got to work on the Ford much. Then I met Susan shortly afterward and after 4 years of dating we married in 1981.  The Ford came with us during two more house changes.

I got my first taste of a 1956 Ford when I borrowed one from my brother when I was doing a clutch job on my 72 Torino. My ideal car was a 56 Crown, but I never came across one that was complete or that I could afford at the time. Then I saw a 56 Mercury Montclair in Richardson, Wisconsin on my way to our lake home. It was untouched and was originally an Arizona car. The purchase in 1998 came with the old Arizona title.  I drove it a little around my home going for rides with my two boys. We sold the Model A soon thereafter. With the Merc sitting in my extra garage for roughly 12 years we decided to either finish it or sell it. Of course, I did not want to part with it. During a 2010 trip to the Iola Wisconsin car show and swap meet I came across a restoration shop that I was interested in. After a visit to the shop with my wife, the Merc was taken to the shop in 2012 for a body off restoration keeping it original. The decision to change the color to Heath green for the exterior stemmed from the Glamour tan color not being available for the interior upholstery. The Merc was at the restoration shop for about a year before we had to halt any further work because of the cost. The main items left to be completed were wiring, rear side window install, upholstery, and startup.

Knowing Dick Raths from another car club and Tom Ripplinger from the Iola car shows I was introduced to the CVA Club. Dick found out about my car condition from an article in the Iola car magazine that my car was featured in when it was at the restoration shop. Dick came over to my home to check out the Merc and then persuaded Tom to also take a look. They both decided to help me finish the car and Susan greatly encouraged the completion. Many trips were made to my home to finish the remaining tasks and get the engine running. We are very thankful to Dick and Tom for all their help getting our car on the road. The Merc went to the recommended upholstery shop in Feb 2017. The upholstery job came out great using the correct materials from SMS and really inspired me to make the 2017 CVA Convention in Springfield, IL. Surprising to me we took second place and we have been attending the yearly conventions ever since.

Additional items that have been added to the Merc since 2017 are a restored steering wheel, restored hood hinges, better spinner hubcaps, door handle paint guards, tissue dispenser, running (fog) lights, and an updated data plate. In the near future I plan to add rear bumper exhaust extensions.

Susan decided to name the car Pretty Penny. Wherever we take it, people comment how pretty it is. And as you all know old cars require lots of pennies. It may have taken 20 years to complete, but we are loving our 1956 Mercury Montclair.

judithbeaven2

My 1955 Ford Fairlane is finally complete. We all know what a wonderful feeling that is to restore or modify something that brings you so much joy. But for some of us it is a joint effort. My husband Bob has enjoyed his collection of Fords his entire life. When he was a young boy and not able to drive yet, he was collecting car parts and hiding them in his parents storage shed. All he ever wanted to do was build cars. His first car at the age of 16 was a 1965 mustang. His second was a 1947 Ford F1 pickup which we still have in the family today. But his most loved, is his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria which we consider our “date car”. It is the one car I refuse to drive for that very reason. It still makes me feel like a young girl with my husband taking me out for the day and yes I have to sit in the middle of the bench seat near him. While his hand is on my knee my arm is holding his. He bought the car in his 20s and had it painted, changed the rims and a few other things so it would look like the 56 Crown Victoria in the movie American graffiti. It’s right at the beginning of the movie sitting in front of Mel’s Drive in.

Fast forward through the years of my husband building cars, and only God knows how many there have been. But his latest is my 1955 Ford Fairlane. Bob looked around and found it in Hemmings magazine. After a few phone calls I sent the gentleman a check and we had the car shipped home. The person I purchased the car from had purchased it out of an estate. You could tell the wife had a hard time letting the car go. The black leather seats had a light film of mold, and the car was very dusty inside. You could tell it sat for a very long time. I can understand that because I would be the same way with my husband’s cars. A wonderful memory of the man I love and who loved me as much as his cars.

The 55 had been “nosed and decked” by the original owner with a frame off restoration. It really was a beautiful car with a 351 Cleveland but not exactly what I had wanted. My husband said start looking for your parts if you want to modify the car. He is a firm believer that I should be getting my hands dirty as well as learning everything there is to know about my cars.

After many months I found the motor that I wanted. As a young girl I always hung around with all the gearheads in town and even started a couple of quarter mile races. How I just loved fast cars and always envied the guys that had them. I learned to drive a stick shift when I was 15 so looking for a four-speed big block wasn’t a concern of mine. I found a 1965, 427 cobra with dual quads. My husband had a lot of things to do to make it run perfectly but he is such a master mechanic I’m so proud of him. He never ceases to amaze me with what he can do and how much he knows. He is the go-to guy with all of his friends when they can’t figure things out. It amazes me to see him working on a motor and not even looking at what he’s doing while he’s talking to you. I saw him replacing my driveshaft and I think he looked at it twice.

I found an “old school” dual point distributor that we had rebuilt, along with many other parts. But I was very lucky to find everything I needed including the four-speed transmission. The car was already modified with a floor shift, and I found a nice hurst shifter I wanted to swap that out as well. So many parts but I wanted everything to be like it would’ve been back in the day for street racing.

My car was finished this summer and my husband wanted to leave the hood off, he was so proud of what he built! The dual quad set up is hard to set up properly but my husband did it himself and it runs perfectly. It is cold blooded and runs 1 to 1. It was hard finding the linkage so we had to make it up. I actually braised it myself. It was the first time I ever did even though I have soldered in my life and I have to say I got it on the second try. I finally have my race car that I always dreamed of having thanks to my wonderful husband.

Robert Smith

I bought my 1955 Crown Victoria back in 2007.  I had been specifically looking for the Tropical Rose/Colonial White color scheme and I found this one on the internet in the state of Indiana. It wasn't in perfect shape and it hadn't lived a pampered life. Somewhere along the way, the 272 motor had been replaced with a good used 292. It came with an air cooled Fordomatic transmission and had no power steering or brakes. Someone had the exterior rust fixed, painted it and installed a new interior. Then at some point, it sat unused within an estate for ten years. Someone bought it from the estate and then flipped it to me.

After I trailered it home, it started up right away, but the brake wheel cylinders blew out when I was backing it off the trailer. The long lay-up was the likely culprit so the first thing on the repair list was to fix the brakes. I enjoy mechanical work, so I made sure everything was up to snuff before I took it on the road. 

The first major restoration project I undertook was replacing the inner rocker panels and inner quarter panels.  Whoever did the body and paint hadn't touched those rusty areas. While I was working under the car, I scraped and painted the underside of the car with POR 15. I also replaced all of the fluids, belts, hoses and tires and gave it a complete tune up. The car came with two parts radios, and I was able to cobble the radios into one working unit.

Once I started driving the car, it became apparent to me that power steering could really transform the drivability. I researched Ford manuals for power steering part numbers and then collected the parts via eBay and the FoMoCo Times. Power steering really made driving much easier, especially parking. My wife was now able to park the car. 

Next, I refurbished the whole engine compartment and trunk with a lot of degreasing, some light sanding and new paint. Eventually, I installed a disc brake kit on the front and rebuilt the rear wheel cylinders. The disc brakes really added a lot of stopping power and reassurance. 

As my time with the Crown Victoria moved along, I continually detailed it and updated worn mechanicals with stock parts. The white vinyl sections of the upholstery required continual cleaning as they tended to show every speck of dirt that came their way.

She has never won a "best in class" as her restoration is now over 20 years old. It has won a few "People’s Choice" awards, but the best affirmations are the smiles it always generates.

Its latest accolade was serving as a moving background vehicle in the soon to be released Netflix movie named "Rustin."  The engine temperature hit 220+° during 17 takes of a 30 second scene on a 70° November day in Pittsburgh.  It was selected to be the lead car in another Rustin scene that only took 8 takes.

It still retains its 6-volt electrical system with distributor points and two-barrel carburetor. Even though I maintain it well, I have had to come home on a flatbed twice. I have accepted that this inconvenience is just part of owning a 67-year-old vehicle.

Submitted by

Robert Smith,
Pittsburgh, PA

 

Dick Ogden

Well to start, I have always favored the ’55-’56 Fords, and currently own a really clean ’56 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan with only 33,000 actual miles that I’ve owned for the last 14 years. However, I have really longed for another Crown Victoria.

My son knew that I was interested in purchasing another Crown Vic and happened across this one from Texas on a local online website. So, we went to take a look at it and found it to be a super straight solid rust free car that still sported it’s Texas inspection sticker. Needless to say, I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s a strong running 292 Y-Block V-8 with 3-deuces and a 3-speed stick, but after driving it we found a very noisy rear end. We installed a 9-inch in it’s place and future plans are to replace the manual transmission with a C-4 Automatic and also add power steering.

The interior of the car was surprisingly clean except for the replacement of the carpet with the correct aqua color.

On the exterior of the car, I have replaced both quarter moldings and added the dummy spotlights.

Submitted by Dick and Jeanne Ogden