Gene’s grandson Tyler is another Ford man. Tyler was looking for cars on the Internet in 2010, when he spotted the Customline advertised for sale. It looked appealing and the body was described as “restored.” After negotiating, agreeing on a price, and driving to Pennsylvania to get the car, Gene realized that “not to be in the best of shape” was a better description for the Ford’s condition. Even so, he knew that he and Tyler could turn it into a nice car.
The project started at Gene’s home shop. With the body off the frame and stripped to bare metal, attention turned to the chassis. One of the first decisions was to use an Art Morrison chassis as the updated platform for the sedan. Engine and transmission mounts were added to the tube frame. The frame was ground smooth and powdercoated in the same color that would eventually be used in the interior. The Art Morrison Enterprises independent front suspension with dropped spindles was added. Power steering is provided by a Ford rack. The Strange Engineering Ford 9-inch rear with 3.70 gears and a Posi is located by a four-link and Panhard bar setup. Antiroll cars and Strange coilovers front and rear upgrade the Ford’s ride. Many of the suspension components were smoothed and finished with black powdercoating.
The body modifications are subtle but extensive. The front fenders were reshaped to replicate the crown in the doors and to be flush with the hood edges. The fenders, hood, and rear quarters were peaked, holes were filled, and ornamentation was removed. The front bumper was flipped, and sectioned front to back, side-to-side, and top to bottom. The grille was sectioned, relocated, and reangled. A lot of attention went into customizing the lights. Dave created custom LED headlight lenses and lenses and bezels for the taillights and parking lights. Parking light buckets were resized to reduce bulkiness.
Instead of continuing the black on the inside, Dave finished the custom sculpted door panels and headliner, modified 1965 Thunderbird buckets, and hand built rear seats in smooth and perforated saddle tan Italian leather—accented with Black Diamond painted pieces and stainless trim. Most of the dash was metal shaped, dressed up with a customer insert, and covered with a 1956 Ford dash top section—plus more Italian leather. Gauges were selected form Classic Instruments and a Billet Specialties steering wheel was chosen to top the ididit column. Pedals are from Wilwood. The center console houses switches for lights, ignition, and wipers, as well as the Kenwood receiver. The Vintage Air controls and vents are hidden.
Article courtesy of Hot Rod Network, written by Tim Bernsau, contributer Robert McGaffin.