The problem with perfection is it often goes unnoticed. How many times have you soaked in the well-balanced lines of a hot rod, yet failed to see the simplest of modifications, the very essence that makes it different from all the others?
A leading candidate for top muscle car has to be either the 1960 or 1961 Ford Starliner. Memphis, Tennessee's own George Poteet's personal choice was the '61. He then sought out Alloway's Hot Rod Shop of Louisville, Tennessee, to build his "unnoticed perfection," arguably one of the most beautiful Fords ever built. The secret isn't in the number of changes, but rather in the absence of change.
The '61 Starliner is an inherently good-looking car, so it was up to Bobby Alloway to maintain the factory good looks and make only those changes that would enhance and not detract. Subtle changes include the removal of the door and trunk locks, emblems, and fender spears. The front bumper originally featured a center-mounted license plate holder; Bobby took three bumpers and built a new bumper that looks stock but is devoid of the plate holder. The original "stars" on the C-pillar and door handles are retained as they are specific to the Starliner. If there was ever a builder with a signature color, it is Bobby, and the color is black. He has made a career painting black, this time using DuPont black (basecoat with clear).
Inside are a handful of well-thought out modifications that look "factory" but aren't. A cut-to-fit '63 Mercury dash sports original factory gauges converted to electronic by Classic Instruments. An ididit steering column topped with a wooden Corvair wheel is also pressed into service. The dash panel is absent of radio and all other factory control knobs, as Alloway's Hot Rod Shop machined a new billet panel that recreates the tooled dash insert, reminiscent of the famous "radio delete" package offered on many factory hot rods.
A fully polished and detailed 427 SOHC V-8 is topped off with a custom-made air cleaner ma
Other interior custom touches include the door panels based on '64 Ford Galaxie XL (one year). Front buckets are from a '64 Galaxie XL ,as is the rear package tray, rear bench/bucket seat combo. All of this one-off seating was stitched in red leather by Paul Atkins of Paul Atkins Custom Auto Interiors (Hanceville, AL). Paul also dipped into his stock to add red Dayton weave for the carpeting. The center console, while custom, is similar to the '64 Galaxie XL model.
When we compare Ford vs. Chevy vs. Mopar vs. any other marquee, it nearly always comes down to the bent-8 under the hood to decide "top dog." In this case, George knew what he wanted, and that was a Ford 427 SOHC; technically speaking a 427 cubic inch Hemi single-overhead cam V-8. King of the Ford muscle motor family, it was first seen in May of 1964 at Indy resting under the hood of a '64 Galaxie. The rest of us caught our first glimpse on the January, 1965 cover of Hot Rod.
However, this 40-plus year old SOHC V-8 was in need of a rebuild from air cleaner to oil pan. Mylon Keasler of Keasler Racing of Maryville, Tennessee, builds many of Bobby's motors, so this selection came as no surprise. Today's Cammer muscles-up 622 horsepower at 6,800 rpm with 533 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm via a pair of Edelbrock 750cfm four barrels resting on a Ford intake. Other engine accessories include a Powermaster (Knoxville, TN) alternator, Vintage Air (San Antonio, TX) electric fan, a Barillaro water pump and a Steve Long (Indianapolis, IN) brass and copper radiator. Barillaro also supplied the header, exhaust pipe, while Flowmaster (Santa Rosa, CA) mufflers were used. (The SOHC dealer-installed street version had a single Holley carb while the factory drag race version delivered with dual-four barrel 780cfm carbs.) The air cleaner is made from billet and looks like the '64 Galaxie XL 427 2x4 model, but is wider and longer. The original valve covers were magnesium, but Bobby obtained a pair of cast aluminum covers and polished them, machining out the Ford logo and inserting the Camliner (Motor Head) nameplate. Getting the power back to the 4:56 geared Strange-prepped Ford 9-inch rear end is a Keisler Engineering (Rockford, TN) TKO five-speed bolted to a Lakewood scatter-proof bellhousing.
Controlling all this power and ensuring ride quality falls to the Art Morrison Enterprises (Fife, WA) chassis with Morrison four-link in back coupled with Strange Engineering (Morton Grove, IL) shocks and springs, and Wilwood (Camarillo, CA) six-piston calipers and rotors. In front Strange and Wilwood are again in action with the Morrison dropped spindles resting between the A-arm suspension, Maval (Twinsburg, OH) rack and pinion steering twisted by an ididit (Tecumseh, MI ) steering column, and a Wilwood master cylinder operated by Kugel Komponents (La Habra, CA) pedal assembly. At the corners you will find plenty of attitude with the Boyd/Alloway polished billet aluminum wheels measuring 20x10 in back and 17x7 in front all wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber measuring 285/60R20 rears and 225/55R17 fronts.
There is a lot of hot rod under the skin of this '61 Starliner, and one must have a discerning eye to appreciate the number of changes that weren't made!
The '64 Galaxie XL buckets are also stitched in red leather by Paul Atkins. Red Dayton wea
The rear anodized panel was stripped and to replace the individual black "dots." Individua
The dash panel is absent of radio and all other factory control knobs as Alloway's Hot Rod
MSD ignition with Taylor wires "light" the gas/air mix provided by the pair of Edelbrock 7
Resting beneath the shifter is a Keasler TKO five-speed tranny bolted to a Lakewood bellho