'61 Chrysler Station Wagon
A big ’60s four-door station wagon is the ultimate street cruiser and this ’61 Chrysler wagon definitely fits the bill. Although not the most popular of the early wagons, it certainly has potential. These cars have some interesting styling for sure and some very wild fins, but one thing that strikes me when I look at one is that the roof looks like it is running uphill behind the side windows because the side window profile is arcing down while the quarter window tries to stay level. I suggest reverse-angle chopping the roof to get the back of the roof down (think late-model Dodge Magnum). Obviously we have to slam this thing to the ground and stuff some very large diameter wheels up into the wheelwells. I painted the car super black and then painted the roof and side fin accents in metallic candy red to keep it interesting. A black interior with red piping and a metallic red steering wheel would set it off for sure. If you found one that was in good shape, and the original 360 ran well—then just change the oil and go. If a transplant was needed, how about a late-model crate 392 Hemi? Or keep it low-tech and build a small 331-354-392 Hemi with a good old carburetor. Now, being a wagon we’ve got to add something cool in the cargo area—you could go with surfboards, an old metal cooler, or a sweet custom bicycle mounted to the roof rails … yeah, that’s cool. Now everyone pile in and hit the road!
’62 Ford Galaxie 500
Street Cruisers! Isn’t that what our hobby is about—cruising on the street? The cool thing about a cruiser is that you don’t have to break the bank or possess amazing skills or work in a wonderland mega-shop full of trick tools to have one. This ’62 Ford Galaxie 500, affectionately known as “Edna,” is an excellent example of a car created for cruising. It’s what I drive when we load up the family. This car could easily be built in a very modest home garage right next to the family minivan. Simplicity at its best with a stock, rebuilt 352-cid V-8 and a Ford-O-Matic transmission guarantees many reliable hours of motor-vation. Edna is a big car, so there’s plenty of room for the whole crew, plus all the gear you need to make a show or cruise night comfy. This includes road trips because this one is a driver. Inside, the interior is factory-fresh ’62 Ford with maybe a Moon metalflake steering wheel for character. Outside, same thing: factory-fresh Ford metallic green paint with a mild de-chroming of the door handles and some trim. To keep the look together and balanced, a very retro set of Cragar S/S mags on some redline rubber. Edna also has a slight rake and mild lowering to nail the boulevard profile and appeal. Plus, we can’t forget a righteous set of twice-pipes twice-producing mellow V-8 sounds. Sometimes a simple and back-to-basics approach to our hobby is all that is required to bring more enthusiasts from the sidelines to behind the wheel.
’57 Ford 300
These little sedans, a cheaper alternative to the Fairlane, had a character and quality all their own. They share the same sheetmetal from the fenders forward, but that’s where it stops. The 300s were almost a foot shorter and had a smaller wheelbase—and make the perfect boulevard bruiser. This one’s based on my real-life Low Budget Bomb.
I love the old Y-block, but a 390 FE would be a better powerplant. It was popular in the ’60s and is a direct bolt-in—and parts are readily available.