“You’re going to want to replace that flathead.” That’s the first words of many people when we talk about my 51 Ford. They tell me how they would be good for tooling around town or this or that but for the amount that I drive I’m going to want to replace it with something more powerful and modern. My counter argument is Roy Fields’ 1949 Ford. Not only has this car been all over the country including taking Fields to Bonneville to run he and his brother’s LSR car. Tales of that drive include extended high speed runs proving the motor’s longevity.
Each year I try to make this show, but last year was the first one where I was happy with my photos from it. The show attracts all manner of rides from the region and a huge amount of people. Getting there early for photos was the only way to go.
Essentially I started this kustom and hot rod photographic adventure in 2006. That’s the first photos that I have from my old Sony Digital camera with the small CD discs. I remember that first day in Lawrence, KS filling the camera up with about 180 photos and resorting to my phone’s camera to cover the rest of the show. Those photos were less than inspiring… from both cameras. The show was the 2006 Kruzin’ In The Heartland held in Lawrence, KS.
I’d seen the ad for the show in Ol Skool Rodz I believe, my uncle Paul (povertyflats to many of you) and my father and I headed up early on Saturday morning to see the show. It was supposed to be hot that day and we were leaving by about noon, but there were only a couple hundred cars max so it wasn’t hard to get all the way through the show in that time.
I had never really seen a hot rod like this, I was used to street rods, this was something new to me, many of these rides looked attainable. Most of the street rods were kind of about how big the billet wheels were, or how much it cost to have this or that machined, these weren’t about that game at all.
The first time I really stopped to look at a FED. I was amazed that the driver was resting his important parts on a part of the car that seemed somewhat fragile kind of like sitting on a grenade and then pulling the pin.
I’ve seen this one around a few times, as I remember it was pretty fast in Salina a couple of years later, then it got kept out of Hunnert a year or two after that for wheels that were too new or something along those lines (those wheels are not on it in this photo).
Jack’s 30 Coupe, Jack’s not too bad a fella either. He also owns the 29 Roadster on 32 rails that I shot a video of last year, and his 51 Ford is under construction now, see the post on Fast AL’s Upholstery for a shot of it.
I wonder now how different my life would have been for those next few years if I’d actually met a few of my hoodlum friends that day instead of seeing their cars and meeting them 6 years later.
Any way that it happened, I’m glad to be able to look back and see my friends were there all along, we just hadn’t crossed paths yet. Get out to a show this year, take a kid and get them involved, meet the people, scope the cars, enjoy it all.
See you at a show,
So at 9:30am on January 17, 2013 I did something I’d never done before. I drove my Galaxie into it’s first ever indoor car show. The Starbird-Devlin Car Show at Century II in Wichita, KS, “The Wichita Tradition.” This is the 56th annual show, previously known as the Starbird Rod & Custom Show, it’s been a tradition in Wichita for a long long time.
I was lucky enough to be a part of the Kustom City display this year. Thanks to the new paint work done on my Galaxie by Jeff Myers, my car has been transformed to 60’s Boulevard cruiser. Doug Reed put together the Kustom City display of street kustoms from the area and my Galaxie was lucky enough to make the group.
So we rolled in, positioned ourselves and started cleaning the cars. It wasn’t long before it was time to head back to the day job, but I managed to grab a couple of quick snapshots while I was there.
I’ll head back to the show tomorrow after work and I’ll have more shots for you throughout the weekend. I hope to do a post of cell phone photos on Sunday and start the coverage of the show on Monday.
See you at a show,
Those of you that know me know that I’ve recently purchased a 51 Ford, affectionately known as a shoebox. I’ve loved this body style for quite awhile and I’m excited to get started working on mine later this year (after finishing some upgrades to the 63 Galaxie).
So as I was looking through my site I realized that I have a ton of shoebox photos! I started gathering them up and so far from the first gallery up through the 2012 Lonestar Roundup gallery there are over 414 photos of shoeboxes of various forms and levels of kustomizing. You can see the whole gallery here if you’d like to look around.
I am no expert but here is some info that I’ve been able to pick up along the way. (for more detailed info you can go to the Wiki page here)
So what years of the Ford are considered shoeboxes?
1949-1951 due to their “slab side” design, gone are the bulging fenders and they are replaced with a relatively straight body shell.
How do you tell the years apart?
Here is an example of a 49, note the single “bullet” grille, triangular turn signals at the end of the grille bar and the FORD letters on the hood.
The 50 carries on the single bullet design but moves to a rectangular turn signals in the trim pieces that wrap around the front bumper and badge at the front of the hood.
By 1951 they moved to the easily identifiable double bullet grille design and round turn signals.
From the factory these cars came with flathead 6’s or 8’s. My 51 came with a 239 cu. in flathead V8 “8BA” motor and a 3speed with Overdrive transmission. I have heard that there were automatics available in 51 with the Ford-o-matic transmission. Atomic Hot Rods just released a cool documentary on the Flathead last year called A Sweet Sickness: The Flathead Movie Go to the site to order a copy for yourself, click here to see the trailer.
These cars all have coil springs in the front and leaf spring setups in the back. The most common way to get them down a ways is to use Moog CC850 Variable Rate Coil Spring in the front and simple Lowering Blocks in the back. For a ton of info on that see this thread on the H.A.M.B.
Some kool kustoms that have inspired me
My buddy Jack’s 50.
With kustom work by Premier Body & Paint’s Jeff Myers in Arkansas City, KS Michael Shea’s shoebox is way kool.
Here’s a clone of Junior Conway’s 50. For more info on the original go to this link at kustomrama.
See you at a show,
9/14/13 Update: I had my buddy Chris over at Shoebox Central look through here for any errors, thanks for taking the time Chris! If anyone needs parts for their Shoebox Ford or even some Merc stuff of the era, head over to Shoebox Central.