The owner-built dashboard...
The owner-built dashboard and insert uses Classic Instruments Wings gauges.
“I like cuttin’ and weldin’,” Ron says, and he continued his metal-forming exploits along the rear pan area, trick-looking taillight stanchions, and the custom dashboard and insert that he created. He also took time to do a little metal sculpting to the all-steel, all-original Mullins trailer that now sports fenders and taillights similar to what’s on the convertible. That little tagalong also has a nostalgic Coleman cooler and the trunk holds all the Beards’ gear. Indeed, during our photo session Lois kept Ron and I well fed from their food stash. Yes, the journey requires that we have our nourishment, too.
Ron also gave the interior some special treatments, chief among them the seat’s mounting system. By dropping the floor 3 inches he allowed room for the Nissan bucket seats to swing upward when they move forward to accommodate his wife’s more compact sitting position. “That makes it easier to look out the windshield when she drives,” Ron says. Sliding either seat back lowers it so that he can enjoy his own view during the journey. Crafty.
Dave Owen, of Dave’s Hot Rod Shop, fashioned the custom doorsills and interior panels before Andy “Stitch” Smith at Larry’s Upholstery (both shops in nearby Albany, Oregon) applied all the fabric. That and the frame were about the only outsourced jobs, so Ron is real familiar with the car’s chassis and drivetrain. The suspension includes a Heidts IFS assembly with rack-and-pinion steering, and the Ford 9-inch delivers the power from the late-model 5.4L Ford engine to the 15-inch rear wheels.
There’s an interesting story behind selecting that ’04 Ford engine. Ron claims that he knew nothing about the computer-laden engine and its electronic fuel injection, so he set out to learn all he could about it. “I wanted to learn about something different,” he explains, having spent years dropping small-block Chevy engines into customer cars. By the time he got the all-Ford drivetrain running, Ron was impressed with what he had. “These are really nice motors,” he contends.
And isn’t that just part of the journey, learning about something new on the way to the destination? “That’s just one more thing I can check off on my bucket list,” he shrugs about his newfound knowledge of the all-Ford package.
What’s next on his journey? He’s already been to the Indianapolis 500 and he’s attended Bonneville a few times. “Lois and I have our eyes on the Pebble Beach (concours) event,” he confesses. And then there are the customer cars to build, not to mention all the miles of highway that he, Lois, and their clean Ford convertible have yet to explore. For Ron and Lois the journey is never over because they feel that they never reach their destination.
A pair of ’39 Lincoln Zephyr...
A pair of ’39 Lincoln Zephyr taillights are mounted onto custom mounts, giving this street rod a custom touch varying from the more traditional ’39 Ford teardrops.
The Southern Rods and Parts...
The Southern Rods and Parts banjo-style wheel rides on top of the ididit steering column. A/C is supplied by the Vintage Air unit while the rearview mirror is another Southern Rods component.