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Stealth Driver | 56′ Ford Crown Victoria Coupe

Admit it. There are times when you’d love to own a vintage car as a daily driver, like a driver-quality 1965-66 First Gen Mustang. But you’re not sure if you could actually live with it, without modern conveniences like air conditioning and cruise control and the reliability and fuel economy of a modern-day car.

And what if you wanted something a little more “vintage,” like a car that you remember from a now-distant childhood, a 1954-59 full-size Ford, for instance. That crossed the mind of Southern Californian Gary Richards, who during the last 15 years, has built seven such hybrids, including this ’56 Ford Crown Victoria coupe.

’56 Ford Crown Victoria coupe.
The classic Ford Crown Victoria had unique stainless steel tiara B-pillar/roof molding. The roof molding is the “Crown” of the Victoria.
Round taillight on a crown Victoria
The Vic’s round taillight/ turn indicator with the backup light on top makes for aero styling that was big in the mid-’50s and early-’60s.

Richards grew up in the Midwest—the St. Louis area to be exact—and still has ties to the area. After serving a stint in the Army from 1963 to 1965, he entered the workforce as a mechanic for a number of Ford dealers in Missouri before moving to the Golden State in 1975. In California, he worked for Peterbuilt and a succession of Ford dealers that included Corwin Ford in Orange and Citrus Motors in Ontario. In 1996, he started working on his passion for vintage cars, focusing his attention on 1954-59 full-size Fords and Mercurys, replacing tired drivetrains with modern Ford OHV SOHC and DOHC V-8 and four-speed overdrive automatic transmissions.

The very first was a ’55 Ford Customline (see sidebar, pg. 80), which was his daily driver for many years before he sold it to a ’50s Ford enthusiast back in Missouri. This first in a series, which now includes seven completed builds since 1998, served as his proof of concept.

Evolution of the Process

When Richards first embarked on this modernization program, he concentrated locating his donor cars from insurance auctions. While Ford Crown Victorias are more plentiful, Richards believes that Mercurys, and especially Lincoln Continental Mark VIIs, make the best donor cars. “I look for the kinds of cars that have been in rear and side-impact crashes,” says Richards. “Then I look at interior condition, which gives a good indication on how well the previous owner took care of the car. While mileage can be important, the ‘grandma car’ factor really is so much more important.”

Turquoise insert bench seat
The interior sports a very stylish two-tone white-with-turquoise insert bench seat, door panels and white headliner.
big deep-dish steering wheel
During the ’50s all full-size cars had big deep-dish steering wheels to produce leverage while turning without power steering.

Richards noted that when he started doing these conversions back in the late ’90s, these donor cars were plentiful at auctions, not so today. “I’ve turned to venues like Craigslist,” says Richards. “Lincoln hasn’t built a Mark Seven since nineteen ninety-two, and the Mark Sevens are among my favorites as a choice for a donor vehicle. The Mark Sevens are equipped with their own version of the Mustang’s five point zero HO motor and can be installed in any nineteen fifty-four to nineteen fifty-nine Ford with far less difficulty than the modular motors that followed. And if the climate control or the air suspension systems give out, often they are sent to the boneyard prematurely.”

factory air conditioning on a 1956 crown vic
It was all about AM radio back in the day. Ford introduced factory air conditioning in 1955. Check out the heavy-duty unit under the dash—very cool.

Since the Customline, Richards has built the following cars. All are equipped with Ford’s four-speed automatic overdrive transmissions and a variety of aftermarket air conditioning systems. Most were also equipped with power steering and cruise control. Some have braking systems updated with front disc brakes.

  • 1956 Mercury two-door hardtop with a 302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII, completed in 2001. (Richards drove this car from California to Dearborn, MI, for the Ford 100 celebration back in 2003.)
  • 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon with a standard output 302 from a Lincoln Town Car, completed in 2002.
  • 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, 302 standard output engine out of a Crown Victoria station wagon. (It was sold to a collector in California after its completion in 2004.)
  • 1954 Mercury convertible with a 302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII, completed in 2006. (This car now resides with a collector in Indiana.)
  • 1956 Ford Crown Victoria with a 302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII, completed in 2009. (This car was built to a client’s specifications prior to having photographed the car in 2010 and now resides in Indiana.)
  • 1956 Ford Victoria with a 302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII, completed in 2010. (It’s now with a collector who has houses in Orange County, California and Las Vegas.)
  • 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible with 302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII, completed in 2011. (It’s the third Richards-built Ford for the same collector in Indiana.)

What Richards Looks for in a Donor Car

When asked to bullet point what he looks for in a donor car, Richards listed these qualities.

  • Rear- or side-impact damage, if involved in a collision
  • Other than crash damage, a car that doesn’t show signs of abuse
  • Overall interior condition

Surprisingly, overall mileage doesn’t often factor into his purchase decisions, since there are many cars available with fewer than 100,000 miles on the clock. He would rather have a high-mileage car that has been well maintained than a low-mileage car that shows signs of abuse.

From the list of cars Richards has built, many Ford products are suitable, including the more sophisticated 4.6L modular motor cars, but he’s found that the 5L HO-motor-equipped Lincoln Mark VIIs usually make the best donor cars. The later modular motors are wider and are best suited to the 1957-59 cars, which have a wider engine compartment than the pre-1957 cars.

Once the donor car was selected, attention turned to the subject car, in this case, the ’56 Crown Victoria displayed on these pages. The first step was to disassemble the car, stripping it down to its frame. The sheet metal components were sent out to be sandblasted, repaired, primered and painted by Steel Smith in Wildomar, California. While the body was at Steel Smith, Richards addressed the chassis, making required repairs to the steering gear, along with any necessary suspension and brake component upgrades (which are powder-coated where needed) before painting the chassis at his shop attached to his house.

302 HO engine from a Lincoln Mark VII,
The ’56 Vic’s power comes from a 1988 Lincoln Mark VII 5L 302-ci V-8 engine producing 225 hp.

After the selected engine and transmission were installed, the body was reassembled. The last body panel to be installed was the passenger-side fender because it makes it much easier to install the air conditioning plumbing. Richards noted that when installing even the 5.0 engines, he relocates the radiator forward to the position it would occupy on original six-cylinder cars so that he has the space to install the accessory drives found on modern engines. The newer 302 engines have rear sump oil pans and require a front sump oil pan pickup from late-’60s, early-’70s small-block Fords. Redrilling the timing cover is also required for the installation of a dipstick. With this much experience, Richards has developed a motor mount kit to adapt the 302 engine to the early Ford cross members.

The back seat not only had plenty of legroom, it also featured a factory fold-down center armrest

The interior retains a mostly stock look. Upholstery kits are available from Larry’s T-Birds and ABC Upholstery. While he could have opted for a modern A/C kit from a number of suppliers, for his cars he uses Mark IV under-dash kits similar to those used in First Gen Mustangs, keeping things simple.

1955 Ford Customline Two-Door Sedan

Although his first project has long since been sold, it’s formed the template for the cars that followed. Richards bought this ’55 Ford Customline two-door sedan in 1986, and built it over a six-month period back in 1998. The Customline was a 41,000-mile six-cylinder car, equipped with a three-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission.

The mechanical donor car was an ’88 Mercury Grand Marquis equipped with a standard-output 302. From the Grand Marquis Richards was able to salvage its non-HO V-8 and AOD four-speed transmission. Like the others in the series, it was equipped with power steering, air conditioning and cruise control.

It made two round trips from California to St. Louis, delivering more than 25 mpg overall, before it was sold to a collector in the Gateway City. The new owner drove it once and then sold it, saying it was too nice to drive. This is sad, because Richards’ intends for the cars he builds to be driven.

The back seat not only had plenty of legroom, it also featured a factory fold-down center armrest.


VEHICLE: 1956 Ford Crown Victoria

CURRENT OWNER: Anonymous collector in MO

ORIGINAL OWNER: Gary Richards, Sun City, CA

BUILDER: Gary Richards, Sun City, CA

FRAME: Stock Ford ladder frame

SUSPENSION: Front: Stock upper and lower control arms with ball; rear: stock leaf springs

BRAKES: Front: 11 x 2.25- inch drum; rear: 11 x 2-inch drum

WHEELS: Stock Ford 15- inch steel wheels

TIRES: Coker radials, 6.70 x 15 metric equivalent

ENGINE: 1988 Lincoln Mark VII 5L, 302-ci, 225- horsepower; all engine components stock/rebuilt; Ford pushrod V-8, 302 ci with fuel injection; stock exhaust manifold headers; take-off stainless steel mufflers from 1990 Mustang GT HO

TRANSMISSION: Automatic Ford four-speed automatic overdrive, scratchbuilt driveshaft length for application

PAINT: PPG single-stage Turquoise and White, painted by Steele Smith, Wildomar, CA

INTERIOR: Standard vinyl and cloth interior from Larry’s Thunderbird and Mustang Parts, Corona, CA

AUDIO: Stock radio with XM satellite upgrade interface



A Travel All That Doesn’t Just Look Like a Million Bucks!

We’ve featured some pretty crazy rides, but we can’t recall ever having featured an International Travel All like this. Yet, here we are, 21st-century style, smashing that invisible “like” button all over this ’72, which has been dubbed the InterRaptor. As you’ve probably already noticed, this International wears a set of factory 17-inch Ford Raptor wheels, so the name makes sense. Yeah, yeah, it might be a stretch to name an old SUV after the wheels it has bolted on it, but you have to admit that they’re nice wheels!


Oh wait, it also has a Raptor steering wheel. And a Raptor dashboard. Oh, and the center console is from a Raptor. Then there are the seats. Has it earned the name InterRaptor yet? OK, some of you are giving it a pass, while we see some of you guys in the back shaking your heads “no.” That’s fine. Now take a look at the pics and notice what’s really going on. Think you’re done? Keep looking!

This isn’t some mild resto with a few Ford bolt-ons. At first you might think you’re ahead of the game and guess that this TravelAll has a Ford Raptor engine swap in it, and you’d be right. Kinda. In fact, this is more of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” kind of deal, and that actually doesn’t completely cover what’s going on here either.

When Bob and Bobbie Mowry decided they wanted to resuscitate the family’s old International, they showed up at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in Escondido, California, to see what ideas they might have. After mulling over some possibilities with Randy Clark and crew (when it was also discovered that Bob owned a Ford Raptor), someone suggested something to the effect of, “Why don’t we tear apart your Raptor and put it underneath your International?” Luckily, that guy (who shall remain nameless) wasn’t fired, but the basic idea had some merit. Numbers were crunched, a budget was discussed (and quickly thrown in the trash), and the HR&CS team had itself a new project that would consume the next 31 months for a total of 5,000 hours of shop time. In case you’re wondering, that comes out right at about a million bucks after finding a lightly rolled Raptor to use as a donor.

But before you go thinking that this was all as easy as swapping an S-10 chassis under a Chevy AD or throwing a Crown Vic subframe under an F-100, don’t even go there. Think of the InterRaptor as more of a melding of two awesome trucks, where one blends into the other seamlessly, truly becoming one.

For example, the body and doors were lengthened 14 inches to perfectly match the Raptor chassis’ wheelbase, and the wheel arches were reshaped with custom flares. The bumpers are also stock International units but have been modified to match the widened body. Raptor fender vents were installed, and custom International/SVT badges were created. All of the glass was custom made and flush-fit to the body, and even the Raptor’s door handles were used. Speaking of doors, everything on the truck opens and shuts like a brand new truck, which is really a mind trip when you’re expecting typical old truck noises. Oh yeah, the whole thing was sprayed Ford Magnetic Gray and Ingot Silver by Andy Meeh using PPG products for even more Raptor flair.


InterRaptor custom interior

And although the chassis is mostly factory Ford, a few upgrades were made in the name of utility and comfort. A custom skid plate was fabricated, as was a new trailer hitch setup. Power AMP Research running boards were fit, and the suspension received Icon Vehicle Dynamics upper control arms, Deaver leaf springs and a Ridetech helper bag setup to keep things level when the 6.2L Raptor V-8 is under load.


Inside, you’ll find the aforementioned Raptor stuff, but take note that everything looks, feels and works as a new truck should, down to all of the electronics. The lengthened Raptor door panels, and every other panel for that matter, was restitched by Old Town Upholstery with genuine leather, and custom third row seating was installed to take full advantage of the available cabin room.

The InterRaptor is more Raptor than International in many ways, especially in the power department. A 411-horsepower Ford V-8, backed by a 6-speed automatic, makes driving this SUV effortless.

So, by now, we think you’ll agree that Bob and Bobbie’s TravelAll has earned its InterRaptor name, but this is a ride that must be experienced in person to fully comprehend the extent of its awesomeness. Well, we take that back. We actually have experienced it, and we still can’t wrap our heads around it! We’re just glad that the Mowrys have it back in their hands and can lay claim to owning the baddest International around!

1964 F-100 | Silver Bullet

The F-100 Series is an undoubtedly popular truck, especially for custom truck enthusiasts, but then the question of which generation makes the best hot rod arises. For years the aftermarket has leaned heavily on the ’53-’56 trucks, but with changing trends come new ideas for later bodies. For as long as Randy East can remember, he has wanted to build a fourth generation F-100 into a street machine with modern flare while keeping traditional lines. He has owned a few mid 60s trucks in the past, but none were overly built. So naturally Randy wanted to see what he could do on a new build and push it a little farther than he had in the past.

1964 F-100

Randy started by pulling the truck out of a local salvage yard. It was a pretty plain truck, but that didn’t last long. As he began to plan out his project, he knew he would have big modern power pushing this old iron down the road, and so the chassis needed to be upgraded to handle the task. Taking the truck to Fred’s Old Fords Inc. in his own town of Rockmart, Georgia, was the first thing he did. Freddy McFall began the task of modernizing the chassis for its new drivetrain. Freddy made a call to Fatman Fabrication in North Carolina to supply him with the Mustang II independent front suspension, then with a four-link rear suspension to handle the torque and finally adding the QA1 coilovers at each corner to handle the dampening of this ride.

Dash on a 1964 F-100
There’s just something so right about a Coyote stuffed into a classic Ford truck engine bay.

When it was time to work the body panels and lay the finish on the F-100, Randy trusted Tony McAlister with Mac’s Hot Rod Shop, another local guy, to do the job. Randy was adamant about keeping the sleek original body lines Ford had constructed, but he did want to smooth things out a bit. They started with the stake hole pockets in the bed and removed the rear bumper in favor of a much smoother and streamlined rear roll pan. They then smoothed the front bumper, trimmed up the edges and finally tucked it in nice and tight to the body to eliminate those ugly gaps. To conclude the overall smooth look, they opted to remove all the factory badging from the body and prep things like the front grille and bumper for paint to give the truck an overall uniform look.

After hours upon hours of rust repair, metal work and body prep, it was time to pick a color. Randy stated he wanted a bright blue Ford color, but he trusted the professional opinion of his painter and went with a modified BMW silver. To add a little contrast to the overall look, they painted the inner fender wells black and gave the bed floor a textured liner. Additionally, the grille was painted a darker color and, to break up the large metal canvas, Tony painted a custom stripe on the lower body and included the word “Coyote” to entice the wondering minds.

1964 F-100

What are we wondering about, you ask? The powertrain of course! Randy did what he had wanted to do for years and wedged a Ford 5.0L Coyote from Aroson Motorsports in between the frame rails. Then backed it up with a heavy duty 4R70W automatic transmission from Performance Automatic, which also supplied the computer controller to get it dialed in to the Coyote V-8. A custom driveshaft ties the power to the Ford 9-inch rear end via the Currie Enterprises-built third member, carrying a stout Detroit Locker with 4.11 gears and custom axles. Not to be overlooked, Randy knew with this kind of power, an equal amount of stopping power would be needed. So, Freddy installed the large diameter brakes from Wilwood, utilizing a six-piston caliper up front and a four-piston on the rear, each with a cross-drilled and slotted rotor to help with the heat dissipation in those heavy braking applications.

To cap off the look of this silver Coyote, Randy selected a set of Coy’s five-spoke wheels. Matching the paint, the wheels have a silver center and machined wheel lip, running 18×8 on all four corners. Trusting all this acceleration and road contact is a set of Bridgestones in a staggered width to give a little more bite on the rear axle.

Finishing off this project is the custom interior. Not to be held back at this juncture in the project, Randy spared no expense here as well. Mac’s Hot Rod Shop smoothed the dash and added a lower skirt where all the control knobs would be housed along with the A/C vents. Then they coordinated the dash’s color with the same two-tone silver as the exterior with matching stripe reading “Coyote.” Using seats with a center console from Glide Industries, Wilson’s Upholstery covered them in black leather along with the door panels and Billet Specialties steering wheel. To make things more comfortable, a tilt column was added along with a ventilation system from Vintage Air. The dash is filled with modern electronics including the Classic Instruments Nostalgia VT series gauges and the Kenwood sound system. Randy learned a lot during this project.

“There is definitely a difference between putting a project together and putting a project together to use,” he says.

I would agree that there is a prodigious difference between the two. He has discovered that without spending the right money on the right parts, you leave yourself with an unfinished product. Additionally, Randy would be the first to state that maybe this project went a little too far, but I would argue how do you know if it is too far if you never get there? When you realize there are no shortcuts and it isn’t right to do anything just halfway, then most of the time you can count on building something others would think is overdone. Well, we don’t need that kind of negativity around here! Keep on building those dreams.

1964 F-100

Special Delivery 1956 F-100 Panel

You ever go by another person’s ride or project and think of the things you would do differently if you owned it? Of course you have! I know for a fact David Hudson did when he saw a local hot rodder with a 1956 panel truck sitting in his garage for the better part of 30 years. David says the local man and his wife were both schoolteachers years ago, and in the summers, they used to load up and travel the country in it. Well, as much as he liked seeing the couple use that panel truck, he thought it would be pretty cool if he could put his own touches on that F-100 panel to make it his own. So, that’s exactly what he did.

David took ownership of the panel truck, but by that time it had been torn down and was actually far from the truck he had remembered. The truck had been parked since the mid ’80s. When he received it, it was no longer in complete running order and had seen better days. However, since it sat in a garage for so long, the truck was virtually rust free. This allowed David to skip a lot of the rust repair most people encounter with a mid-’50s build. His first thought was to take the unnatural Chevy drivetrain out and do a proper Ford powered build. He also wanted to redo a few things the previous owner had done and talked about showing the beauty of the original Ford body lines.

A classic, clean cabin interior makes this panel a comfortable hauler no matter the distance.

David started by taking the truck back apart to redo the chassis. The previous owner had installed a Chevy car clip, and that just had to go. David Sourced out another F-100 clip and reattached it, then he boxed in the entire frame for strength. After doing so, he found a front crossmember from a Crown Vic and used it as his updated front suspension. Since the donor car’s crossmember comes with all the suspension, steering and brakes, he was all set up front. Out back, he reused the factory leaf springs and positioned a Mustang rear axle from a 2012 Shelby. This guaranteed him strength for the added horsepower he planned for, and larger disc brakes to help slow down this bread box when needed. To keep all this suspension under control, he chose QA1 shocks for the job on all four corners.

David knew he wouldn’t let this F-100 roll under any other power except Ford, so he started to do his research and put in an order to Midway Mustang in DeWitt, Iowa. This is where he sourced the rear axle from a 2012 Shelby Mustang, but he also bought the complete drivetrain from there as well. He chose a powerful 5.4L Ford Racing SVT crate engine that is powered by an Eaton supercharger with integral intercooler and backed by the Shelby six-speed manual transmission. After David mounted the modern drivetrain, he built a custom Magnaflow exhaust to give it the right tone, exiting the tailpipes through the rear fenders just before the tire.

The Eaton supercharged 5.4L SVT Ford Racing crate engine really puts this build into another category and sets it apart from the standard Coyote swaps out there.

When it came to the body and metal work, David was both relieved and frustrated with the truck. As stated before, the panel sat in an enclosed garage for about 30 years. However, the truck’s previous owner had taken it apart and done some custom work that was just not David’s style. So, David once again had to source out a bunch of body parts to complete this project. He wanted to go with a more traditional look, the way Ford had produced it. Perhaps the only thing on the sheetmetal he really changed was the front wheel well openings. They were moved up about 3 inches, then forward about 4 inches. This helped center the wheel and give it a lighter, more streamline appearance to match the rear. Stock pieces like door handles, the front grille and the smooth stainless bumpers were all sourced and put back like stock. To add a personal custom touch, a few snake badges off the Shelby GT were added very tastefully.

When it came time to lay down the color, David had gone to a local paint store and chose a gray color. When they shot a test panel, it revealed to be too white for his taste. So, after several long hours back at his local paint store, they were able to come up with a custom mixed gray for the panel truck. When asked to name it David replied, “Geez, there must be 50 shades of gray in there,” and it stuck. Now that the color had been perfected David let his nephew, Eddy Hudson, lay down the shine.

Completely painted and ready for its final assembly, it was time to match a set of wheels to this newborn hotrod. Keeping things classy and adding a little bit of sport, David chose a set of Ford Shelby SVT aluminum wheels in a 19×10 for the front and 20×13 for the rear. Needing to keep this box glued to the ground, a set of Continental Extreme Contact tires were wrapped around the Shelby wheels, giving this F-100 panel a real thick look and perhaps foreshadowing the potential under the hood for those who were wondering.

The last piece of this restoration, but perhaps the largest, was the interior. Being a panel truck adds quite a bit of cubic feet to an interior. David entrusted Gary Hodge of A&G Upholstery in Elkview, West Virginia, to take on the task. Wanting to be subtle and not too loud, David instructed Gary to go with more tones of—you guessed it—gray! Utilizing yards of leather and tweed, the factory bench seat was covered along with the door panels, head liner, rear panel sides and rear roof. Details were added to the drivers compartment like the Ididit steering column topped off with a wood grain banjo steering wheel, and the matching Classic Instruments factory replacement gauge cluster. The floor of the cargo area steals the show. David laid down planks of rich oak with stainless steel strips to make a custom floor that would no longer be carrying the load of a work truck.

Wrapping up this colossal project within two years was no small task. That’s why David and his soon-to-be wife, Jeanie, set a goal to have this truck ready to debut at the Grand National F-100 Reunion put on by Joe Carpenter in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Not only were they to announce their project, but Jeanie actually called Joe to ask permission to be married at the show and announce their nuptials as well!

Hats off to a gentleman who can score a 1956 F-100 panel truck and a woman who wants to be married by it at a truck show! Best of luck to their future in hot-rodding—and marriage.

Tech Specs

Randy East
1964 Ford F-100
Rockmart, GA


  • Modified stock frame
  • Fatman Fabrication mustang II IFS front
  • Fatman Fabrication four-link rear
  • Rack-and-pinion steering
  • QA1 coilovers


  • 0 Coyote/ 430-hp crate engine
  • 4R70W automatic transmission
  • Ford 9-inch rear end
  • Currie third member with 4.11 gears and locker
  • 3-inch custom exhaust


  • Coy’s C5 18×8
  • Bridgestone Potenza
  • 245/45-18 front
  • 275/45-18 rear


  • Liquid Silver BASF
  • Custom painted stripe on body and dash
  • Tucked front bumper
  • Rear roll pan
  • Shaved bed rails
  • Smoothed dash


  • Glide Industries bench seat with center console
  • Black leather
  • Classic Instruments Nostalgia VT gauges
  • Custom lower dash for accessory knobs
  • Kenwood sound system
  • Billet Specialties steering wheel
  • Ididit steering column
Tech Specs

David and Jeanie Hudson

1956 Ford F-100 Panel Marmet, WV


  • Stock frame boxed in and smoothed
  • Crown Vic front crossmember
  • Shelby Mustang rear axle over leaf springs
  • QA1 shocks all around


  • Ford Racing 5.4L SVT crate engine
  • Eaton supercharger with integral intercooler
  • Shelby six-speed manual transmission
  • Shelby Mustang rear axle
  • Magnaflow custom exhaust
  • Rick’s Tanks stainless fuel tank


  • Ford Shelby SVT wheels
  • 19×10 front
  • 20×13 rear
  • Continental Extreme Contact tires
  • 285/30-19 front
  • 335/25-20 rear
  • Disc brakes by Ford


  • Fifty Shades of Gray by Standox Paint
  • Smooth stainless steel bumpers
  • Shelby badging
  • Custom side exhaust exits
  • Front fender well opening raised and moved forward


  • Factory bench seat
  • Custom oak wood floor with stainless strips
  • Black leather/tweed
  • Classis Instruments gauges
  • Ididit steering column
  • Wood grip banjo steering wheel by Grant

1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe | DREAM ROD

One day during a visit to the shop he caught a bad case of hot rod fever. An affluent customer arrived trailering a ’32 Ford coupe hot rod that needed some work. The instant the rod’s blown engine was fired up, Ron was hooked; he never stopped dreaming of one day owning a real hot rod of his own.

1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe
A Ford 460-ci V-8 was machined and assembled by Bill Lemon who crowned it with a BDS 8-71 blower and a pair of 700-cfm carbs. To complete that ’60s hot rod look, a grille-matching custom fiberglass carburetor, air cleaners and scoop were designed and built by the guys at Garret’s. A pair of Sanderson headers merge into collectors with manual cutouts before flowing into the 3-inch exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers.

1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe

1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe

Not until he was in his early forties did his dream become a reality. Ron hooked up with Garret Kitchens, owner of Garret’s Rod Shop in Columbus, Ohio. The foundation of Ron’s dream rod was a TCI frame. The front suspension consists of TCI Mustang II upper and lower control arms with a pair of Carerra coil-over shocks. A second pair of Carerras suspends the Ford 9-inch rearend. To achieve traction and style, a set of 15-inch polished aluminum American Torque Thrust II wheels is consumed in BF Goodrich wide white rubber up front and Coker Firestone wide white cheater slicks out back. Bill Lemon machined and assembled the healthy Ford 460-ci engine equipped with a BDS 8-71 supercharger and a pair of Holley 700-cfm carburetors. Grabbin’ gears is done with a Tremec five-speed manual transmission. A New Age Motorsports 1932 Ford coupe body was mounted highboy style (above the frame rails). The frame, body and grille shell were painted by Chris Hayes using House of Kolor Tangelo Orange. The interior was cut and stitched by Mark Davis and Bob Mosher at Portage Trim.

It’s always cool to see a long-time dream come to fruition. Ron’s three decades of hoping and dreaming thoroughly paid off.

“The foundation of Ron’s dream 1932 Ford Coupe was a TCI frame. The front suspension consists of TCI Mustang II upper and lower control arms with a pair of Carerra coil-over shocks.”

1932 Ford Coupe
A pair of Coker Firestone 10.00-15 wide white cheater slicks wraps the American Racing Torque Thrust II polished aluminum 15 x 10 wheels in the rear. Front and back Wilwood disc brakes are responsible for stopping Ron’s rod.

The interior is all hot rod with a Billet Specialties Lakester 14-inch half-wrap steering wheel capping an ididit polished stainless tilt steering column. A pair of Glide low-back leather bucket seats, door panels and suede headliner were stitched, covered and installed by Mark Davis and Bob Mosher at Portage Trim in Ravenna, OH. Engine-turned aluminum inserts accent the armrests of the door panels. A set of stylish Lokar door and window crank handles enhances the coupe’s interior décor.

Check out the Owners profile!

A version of this article first appeared in the October 2014 print issue of Drive Magazine.