It makes you wonder what the man was thinking. It's not like he started raising a family or moved across the country or joined the Army or something like that. He says that after a couple of years of driving it and entering shows, he was simply getting too busy to enjoy his car the way he wanted to. So he sold it.
Bill Yocum has been interested in cars from his youngest days and has owned a bunch of cool Fords and Chevys-mostly post-war stuff-over the years. He had been on the lookout for a '51 Ford Victoria-in general because he's always liked the look of Shoeboxes, and particularly because the '51 Vickys were Ford's first hardtops.
In 2005, an online search turned up a finished custom in North Dakota. "As soon as I saw it, I knew I would buy it," Bill says. "It had all the things I like in a custom. It had frenched headlights, parking lights, and taillights, as well as being nosed and decked with molded bumpers, and the door handles had been shaved. The thing that really appealed to me, besides the fact that it was a hardtop, was the color. The pearl tangerine paint makes the car a real standout."
After having the Vicky transported south to his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, Bill got to work adding some of his own modifications to the Ford. They weren't elaborate changes-but necessary ones. "I started detailing the car inside and out. I painted the inner fenders, firewall, and underside of the hood. I did some rewiring and added heat, air, sound system, and wheels and tires."
And then he sold it. Bill immediately started to regret the decision, and continued to regret it whenever it was the car drawing a crowd at local car shows and on the street around town. A couple more years passed, and in 2009 Bill approached the owner about selling back the Vicky he had first sold him. Lucky for Bill, the man agreed.
Bill said that since buying back the Vicky in 2009, he has put a lot of effort into trying to make it as nice as he can. As already mentioned, many of the modifications had been made before Bill found the car. The sheetmetal had been shaved of most of the exterior brightwork, with the exception of the trim along the top and the horizontal side trim. In back, the license plate and '51 Ford taillights were frenched. Up front, the bulky factory grille was replaced with a '50 Merc grille. The interim owner had added skirts, which Bill removed, and a pair of dummy spots, which Bill retained. That owner had also embellished the paint with a lot of tan pinstriping-too much for Bill's taste, and much of it was removed when Bill got the car back. The only traces left are along the side trim and on the sides of the taillight openings.
Prior to the sale, Bill had chosen blackwall tires and Billet Specialties Vintec five-spoke wheels. Since getting it back, he has switched to Firestone P205/75R15 radial whitewalls front and rear, with 15-inch Ford steelies and Lancer caps. The new combination better matches the traditional custom look of the exterior-and the wide whites balance the white paint on the top of the car.
The chassis is still set up the way it was when Bill bought the '51 the first time. The front of the factory framerails were modified with an independent suspension from Fatman Fabrications. The rest is essentially stock, along with Monroe shocks to smooth out the ride. Brakes are rear Ford drums with Ford discs on the front. The Ford 9-inch rearend runs a 3.56:1 ring-and-pinion gear ratio.
Bill likes running a Ford in his Ford. The 351 Windsor was finished when the Vicky showed up in Scottsdale, but the Cobra air cleaner and valve covers-and electronic ignition-were recent additions. The four-barrel carburetor and intake manifold are from Edelbrock. A set of shorty headers draw exhaust from the engine to a pair of Smithy mufflers. The inner fenders, firewall, and underside of the hood were repainted in black to show off the engine. The '51 was originally equipped with a C4, which Bill replaced with a column-shifted Ford AOD transmission.
The interior is a combination of old and new. The factory dash is filled with 12-volt-converted stock gauges and controls, although the factory heater has been replaced by air conditioning from Vintage Air and the AM radio has been replaced by a Custom Autosound system featuring a receiver hidden under the rear seat, 10-stack CD player in the trunk and Bose speakers mounted out of sight. Bill mounted a water temperature gauge below the dash and a Sunpro tach on the GM tilt column. The steering wheel is from Billet Specialties' Vintec line. The Ford Granada seats and custom door panels are upholstered in beige leather with black inserts. The leather extends into the trunk.
Now that he's got his Vicky back, it's unlikely that Bill will be selling it anytime soon. We expect him to keep driving it and showing it off at street rod and custom events. He drove the '51 on a 700-mile roundtrip road trip from Scottsdale to Pomona, California, for the '10 L.A. Roadster Show, where these photos were taken. Don't be surprised if you spot it at an event in your area or on the highway somewhere. If you do, don't ask Bill if it's for sale.