Long-time crankandpiston.com mate Shaun Lafferty at Ridge Park Speed present their latest hot rod development – a ‘gentleman’s 1955 Crown Victoria – and explains why Ford’s barge is every bit a hot rod.[Not a valid template]
I recently spent some time with a hot rod that has completely different characteristics than those we’re used to building. Typically at Ridge Park Speed (in Louisville, Kentucky) we build ‘hardcore’ hot rods with a slammed stance, loud exhaust and high horsepower. But this was my first exposure to ‘a gentleman’s’ hot rod, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria.
The 1955 Crown Victoria was actually Ford’s best-selling model – at the time – since the release of the Model T in 1923. The ’55 Crown Victoria featured beautiful, flowing lines of stainless steel on the fender and extending the full length of the side to the rear quarter panels. What really sets this model year apart is the wide stainless steel band that actually ‘crowns’ the top of the roof, a feature often referred to as the ‘basket handle’.
I was brought in to do a photo shoot on this particular car and assist with selling it via the brokerage service I operate. Initially, I did not think a large 1950s Ford dripping in chrome and accented with a basket handle would be anything I would like personally, but agreed to take the job as it was for a close friend of many years.
As the old saying goes, you truly cannot judge a book – even a hot rod-shaped one – by its cover.
This particular car has been treated to a complete frame-off restoration and features some of the finest components available on the market. Much to my surprise, this ‘cruiser’ is running a 302 cubic inch Ford Small Block that has been punched out 0.030” and hopped-up with a larger lift camshaft and upgraded cylinder heads. The drivetrain has been upgraded to run disc brakes and drop spindles installed to make the car sit absolutely perfectly over the B.F. Goodrich whitewall tires.
Inside the car features all new interior and modern conveniences such as air conditioning, tilt steering column, billet aluminium steering wheel, modern instruments and a Lokar shifter.
Safe to say the restoration on this car provides the best of both worlds: you can comfortably cruise down the road with the windows up, air conditioning blowing ice cold air, and radio blaring; or you can use the horsepower of the upgraded engine to burn all of the tread off of those whitewall tires!
That leaves just one question: are you a cruiser or a lead foot?
Full technical specifications available on page 2