1958 Ford Sedan Delivery
1958 Ford Courier Sedan Delivery, a different survivor story
Summer of 1972. My dad had owned a 58 Ford Fairlane and the “cool” guy in high school when I was in junior high had a 58 Fairlane with chrome wheels, Sparkomatic 3 speed on the floor, so of course, I liked 58 Fords. I had bought a custom 300 2 door sedan but had pretty well used it up by this time. My cousin had a 57 Chevy Belair 2 door hardtop and his farm neighbor had some 57 parts cars. So, I went along with him to look at some 57 Chevies. Out in the trees, I see this old Ford “wagon” from the back. I am thinking that it is pretty cool, too bad it is a 57. When I walk around the front and see the quad headlights, I am really confused. The farmer tells me that it is indeed a 58 and it came from the factory with 57 back end and 58 front end. He said it still ran, but had gotten in such bad shape (rust) that they quit driving it. Not sure how long it had sat there, but he said it would still be drivable and I could have it for $150. Seems cheap now, but back then was probably way too much for a rusty piece of junk sitting abandoned in the trees. But, despite my cousin thinking I was nuts, I went and got a gas can, battery and some cash. It did start and I drove it out of the trees and I was on my way. All of my friends had Mustangs, Camaros, Road Runners and everyone was really giving me crap for buying a stupid “wagon”, but I kept telling them that it would be cool someday. I drove it for a year with the 6 cylinder and 3 on the tree. I then had a local machine shop build me a mild 390 and had located a 4 speed top loader transmission for it. For some insane reason, I wanted to paint the car metalflake green and had already spray bombed the dash and interior trim that color. Even had green paisley curtains in the back. I bought a can of lighter green metallic spray paint which I used to paint the engine. Who in their right mind would paint their engine metallic green (crazy twist to this later)? I was just a teenager and not a mechanic so I never could get the 390 to run right, always missing and backfiring. But, I had the brakes all done, new shocks and it was quite driveable. Then, off to the local body shops, I think there were 3 in town. Everyone told me that the car was rusty beyond fix (at that time) and to just go away. Pretty depressed now after all that work. Short time later, I was trying to race a 63 Impala and blew a head gasket out, shot antifreeze right out the side of the engine. Pulled the engine to discover all the head bolts were loose, machine shop kinda forgot to torque them. That was the last straw, sold the 390 and 4 speed and bought another car (a nice 58 2 door sedan that my son still has to this day). I moved around quite a bit in those days, worked construction jobs and usually whenever I moved, I took the rusty Courier with me. I did find a good running 6 cylinder/automatic from another 58 and put that in the Courier so at least I could move it around without a trailer or tow rope. But then, some local rivals that were brand X fans decided to “sugar” that engine. I started it up one day and it locked up within a couple minutes, ruined that engine too. Pretty soon my neighbors were complaining about the junker in my back yard. My inlaws had an acreage in the country at the time and said I could bring it out there, but would have to park it in the pasture by a rock pile. So, that is what I did. My brother in law was a biker and they had a huge biker bash at that place and some idiots decided it would be entertaining to throw huge boulders through the windshield of the 58. Big enough to smash the dash metal all in, plus wrecked all the gauges. Nice. So, I eventually bought my own acreage and went and brought the Courier home at last where it sat in my pasture for years, rusting away further. Finally, in 1997 I thought I would give it one last try, either fix it or screw it up so bad that it would finally get crushed. I had a good friend who was a body man and a Ford guy and he didn’t want to tackle it either, just too rough. But he said if I could cut out the rust and weld in new metal, he would finish it. I don’t think he really ever thought I would do it, I had never replaced even a rocker panel before. I found a 58 Ford 2 door that had been T-boned when almost new, showed 17,000 miles on it. The floors were perfect. So,,,,with a hacksaw, a tape measure and probably a lot of beer, I cut off the windshield posts and the floor board about 2 feet behind the front seat. Tack welded in the similar part from the other car. Test fit the windshield and put the doors back on. They fit!!!! From there, it was onto new 1/4s, decent front clip from another 58. I had to make cardboard patterns of the rear inners and then copy them onto metal to fix all the inner rust. The car was white and had been painted several times. When in the day light at the right angle, I could see there was lettering on the side of the car. When I sanded it down, it said “Martins Plumbing and Heating” on the side. Tail gate was another issue. The Courier had a 3 piece rear glass (regular wagons had a 1 piece). There was stainless trim between the 3 pieces and I was missing some. They are virtually impossible to find, so I mated a top wagon upper to my Courier lower and made it work. Removed the big center handle and installed a electric latch from a Cadillac. Put tunneled 58 Olds tail lights in, outer rings of the tail lights are headlight bezels from a 51 Plymouth. I put disc brakes on from a 68 LTD and installed a 302/automatic that I took out of one of my work vans. So,,then my paint buddy (Danny Hall) did the finish body work and painted it. Flames are laid out by my friend Scott Davis. Seats are Ford Explorer with a Dodge Dakota center front seat/console. Vintage air conditioning, Alpine stereo. Rear panels are flamed to match the outside. So, we drove the wheels off it the next few years, taking it on the Americruise into Wisconsin. Good Guys runs in Des Moines and Kansas City, actually got to lap Kansas Speedway twice. Been to Denver, within feet of Canada in upper N.E. Minnesota, black hills of S.D. many times, Back to the Fifties several times in Saint Paul. Got bored with the automatic and put in a T5 manual and drove it a few more years. By that time it had probably 35,000 miles and lot of years on the paint, so I decided to freshen it up a little. Ditched the 302/5 speed and wanted to go back to a FE big block and automatic. So, here is a little side story. Back around 1991 before I started to rebuld the Courier, I had another 58 2 door hardtop project and needed an engine. There was a guy in town who had a 54 Ford with “supposedly” a 427 and 4 speed. I told him it was not a 427, but he said he thought it was or at least a 406. So, I bought it. It ran good, but I pulled the heads and pan to see what it actually was. Engine was painted black. Turns out it was a 390, so I put it back together and painted it red to match the 2 door hardtop that I was working on. But,,,,I realized that my old rusty Courier was my true love, so sold the hardtop and 390. When I decided to put a 390 back in my Courier, I called that guy up just to see whatever happened to the red one I had sold him. Still under his bench right where we had unloaded it many years before. So, I bought that back and put it on a stand. I wanted to scrape the red paint off and paint it the dark red to match my Courier. The more paint I scraped off, the more I found underneath until I came to this disgusting green metallic color. SAME engine that I had in the car back in the day. Started looking at some other things that I remembered doing back then and I am 100% sure that is the same engine, sure the 4 speed that was behind it in the 54 was from my 58 also. So now, the engine has gone full circle and back in the Courier, runs great now. I did lower it a couple inches all around with some Ford Aerostar front springs and a little tweaking in the back. Has highway gears and will cruise interstate speeds all day, rides great and super comfortable. Paint has scratches, chips and some rust bubbles, but still looks pretty darn good from a short distance, considering how rusty it was at the start. I would like to get the paint fixed, but time and money might keep that on the back burner. So, that is the long story of my 58 Ford Sedan Delivery and that crazy journey is probably why I like it so much.
1958 Ford Custom 300
1958 Ford Custom 300 2 door sedan. I bought this around 1974 when I gave up on my 58 Courier. It has gone through numerous engine/trans/rear end combos, but is an original black car that belonged to my Grandma’s neighbor. I had a rusted out 2 door sedan 58 that I would be working on in my Grandma’s driveway. Then, this older fella would back this black one out of his garage and drive away. Factory 332 Interceptor, 4 barrel, dual exhaust. It took years of waiting before I actually bought it. My oldest son has it now and was hit head on by a 4 wheel drive pickup several years ago. Some bruises and stitches, but he was OK. Car, not so good. Over $14,000 damage. Pushed both doors back far enough to knock the paint off the rear 1/4s. Ruined the frame. I had parted out a green 2 door sedan and had crushed it the SAME day my son had the accident. But, I removed the doors and front clip before I crushed it. It is back on the road again. It is a 351 Cleveland with a top loader 4 speed. Nice car, still not a lot of original miles on the body.
1979 Ford Fairmont
This was my youngest son’s car, but he has since sold it. No real emotional attachment to it, but I have always liked this body style. Nice, clean car.
1980 Ford F100
This is my 1980 F100 stepside short box. 300 six with automatic transmission. It belonged to a local family here in town since new and a lot of people remember it being around. The engine is kinda noisy, but it runs good. Has rust and has been partially repainted several time. I have had several people tell me to leave it as is, not to restore it. It looks OK from across the street, but up close, not too good. But, it is unique and I like it.
1974 Ford Mustang II
A few years ago when I decided to freshen up my Courier, I wanted something to drive while it was apart. I used to build kit cars and they used Mustang II components and I probably parted out 15 of them. Kinda always felt guilty about that and kinda liked them, so decided to buy one. They are not popular, but cheap to buy. Paid $800 for this one, running and driving and it came with another parts car. I intended to just spray bomb it and drive it, but one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had 2-3 years in it and it turned out pretty cool. Fiberglass bumpers tucked back in 2 1/2″. Cobra II rear spoiler and hood scoop. Side scoops. I cut the roof section with the ultra rare steel crank back sun roof from another 74 Mustang and put it on this one. I took the 302 and 5 speed out of my 58 along with the posi 9 inch carrier. It is another 58 9″ housing in the car, easy fit. 5 bolt front rotors. Frame connectors. The 302 and 5 speed ran pretty good in the 58, but losing 7-800 pounds really woke it up. It was a blast to drive. I converted the tail lights to all red, removed the gas filler from the LR 1/4 to clean that up. Magnum 500 15″ wheels. These cars never get much respect, but it rode nice, drove great, got a lot of thumbs up and was pretty darn fast for a mostly stock engine. I have since sold it so I could pay attention to getting my Courier back on the road, which I have done. For you Mustang II haters, I will attach an article that shed some light on the car and I encourage you to read ALL of it.
For those of us who own Mustangs, there can be no greater joy than to drive one’s prized pony to an all-Mustang show and experience all the wonderfully diverse expressions of Mustang love. It’s like one, big, happy family picnic.
For owners of second-generation Mustangs, that joy is sometimes bittersweet. That’s because certain members of the hobby still hold a personal disdain for all things related to the 1974-1978 Mustang II – as if it were the troublesome redheaded stepchild of the Mustang family. Personal tastes aside, I think it’s time to put that sort of exclusionary thinking to bed and allow the facts about the Mustang II to address the common misconceptions that still prevail among so-called “Mustang purists.”
Every generation Mustang needs to be measured on its own merits, and taken in context when any form of success is considered. Those who would knock the Mustang II because it was so radically “downsized” need to understand the market dynamics of the 1970s to appreciate the II for being Ford’s “Right Car at the Right Time.”
When the upsized 1971-1973 Mustangs began floundering in the marketplace, the Musclecar Era was coming to an end, while insurance premiums were skyrocketing and federally mandated emissions controls were choking performance out of old-tech large-displacement V-8. The 250 cid inline six found in the 1973 Mustang put out only 95 horsepower, and the 302 V-8 that came standard in the ’73 Mach 1 was rated at a mere 136 hp. Even the 351 that was optional for the ’73 Mustang was only making around 155.
Mustang production for 1971 had dropped below 150,000 units, and for ’72 fell to a bit over 125,000. in 1973, the nation was rocked by and energy crisis fueled by an Arab oil embargo while Mustang sales were crippled by the growing popularity of small, sporty import coupes. Eugene Bordinat, vice-president of Ford design at the time, noted that with the Mustang, “We started out with a secretary’s car, and all of a sudden we had a behemoth.” But the “father” of the Mustang, Ford’s Lee Iacocca, was about to fix that and rejuvenate the Mustang brand with something he called the “little jewel.”
Mustang II bowed in 1974, praised for its perfect timing in the marketplace, much like the original ’65. Sales rebounded, and with model-year production of nearly 400,000 units, the Mustang II came to within 10 percent of equaling the original’s Mustang’s first-year sales record. It remains the sixth best-selling Mustang of all time. Much trimmer and thriftier than the 1971-1973s, Mustang II was 20 inches shorter, four inches narrower, and inch lower, and almost 500 pounds lighter. (What self-respecting enthusiast wouldn’t want his favorite sports car to get smaller and lighter, instead of bigger and heavier?)
Despite it being the only year the II wasn’t offered with a V-8, 1974 was Mustang named Motor Trend Car of the Year (the only other Mustang to win that honor was the ’94.)
One common knock against II is its relationship with the Pinto. I find this strange as first-generation Mustangs were also based on Ford’s economy car at the time (Falcon), plus the third- and fourth-generation cars were based on Ford’s entry-level car of their era as well(Fairmont). Technically, Mustang II’s platform was quite different that the Pinto’s, with only a few chassis items such as wheel spindles and brake discs common to both after 1973, when Pinto got heavier and was in need of sturdier componentry found in the II’s front suspension (which became the modle for many street rods.) Comparatively, the first-generation and Fox-bodied Mustangs had more Falcon and Fairmont in them that Mustang II had Pinto, yet nobody demeans them for it.
Finally, there is the rap that the Mustang II was embarrassingly underpowered. But when its performance is put in context of the times, Mustang II actually offered segment-topping bang for the buck. True, the 1978 Mustang II 302 V-8 made 139 horsepower, but its rival, the heavier Chevy Camaro, got only six more (145) from its 302 cid V-8. Even the four-barrel 350 in the slow-selling Z28 made just 185 hp, and with a sticker price of $6,500, the Z28 was some $2,300 more than a base Mustang II V-8 coupe – big money for oly 46 extra ponies. Heck, Smokey and the Bandit’s “mighty” 400 cid powered ’78 Pontiac Trans Am delivered a mere 180 horses – and it was a Hollywood performer!
“Mustang purists” should consider that performance dropped from Mustang II levels into the Fox-body era when the 118-horse 255 V-8 replaced the 302. And when performance was “reborn” in ’82 with the Mustang GT, its 5.0-liter cranked out a whopping 18 more horses than in ’78.
You see, the fact of the matter is that the Mustang II was as viable a performer during its time as almost any other era Mustang. And more than a million were sold in just five years. Armed with some facts, a sense of historical perspective and a taste for special Mustangs – the next time you’re at a car show and want to see something really rare, walk past the row of Boss Mustangs and the section reserved for Shelbys, and seek out a Mustang II. You might just begin to see it in a different light.
1958 Ford Custom 300 Drag Racing Car
Another 58 Ford Custom 300. This was a pretty good car when I bought it, H code 352 Interceptor was stuck. I shouldn’t have stripped it for a drag car, but this was 1980 and it was just another old car. It had a 428 Police Interceptor, mild hydraulic cam, aluminum intake, headers, C6. I probably didn’t have $1,000 in the whole car including wheels and slicks. It would run 13 flat @ 105. Not fast by today’s standards, but for that money and 1980, it was pretty good. My friend has the car now, making a mild gasser out of it.