Just the Facts
Owners: Barry & Noa Fein
Cruising. All enthusiasts talk about driving their hot rods and custom cars, but unfortunately not all enthusiasts spend enough time out there on the road. For Barry and Nona Fein, cruising is a favorite pastime, and their 1955 Ford Victoria was bought and built for hitting the road.
In fact, this story starts with a cruise. Every summer when vacation time rolls around, Barry and Nona choose a different state to explore. A few years ago, it was Missouri. As they were crossing the state, they drove through the town of Mansfield, home to 1,300 people and one 1955 Ford. At first they didn't see the car, just the classic car dealership on the far side of the highway, but they were curious and vowed to stop to investigate on their return trip through town.
"Viewing all the cars at the dealership brought back memories of cars we'd seen in movies with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin," the Feins told us. Although Barry had always been partial to 1940 Fords and 1940 Willys, the 1955 Ford caught his interest.
The spots, installed by Rod Works, are among the few exterior mods added by the Feins.
On the plane ride back to Los Angeles, Barry and Nona talked about how fun it would be take road trips in a classic. The first plan was to return to Mansfield for a closer inspection of the Ford. Before booking another flight, Barry decided to check the local Auto Trader to see if he could find a car in the L.A. area that interested him as much as the Mansfield 1955. "I was lucky! I found this 1955 Fairlane Victoria for sale nearby in Montclair, California."
The Victoria is a 1970s survivor, one of five cars that the deceased owner's widow was selling. With a little homework, Barry discovered that it was an original California car, built at the historic Ford assembly plant, in Richmond. It came off the line with Raven Black and Snowshoe White paint, and a black and white interior. The late owner had kept it well-maintained and the candy apple over gold paint was in good condition, but there were a few areas that Barry knew would have to be redone and a few others he wanted changed to suit his preferences
O’Brien Truckers provided the rectangular ribbed Holley tri-power air cleaners.
"After taking the car to several shops, I realized that the changes I was trying to make were not improving the car," Barry says. Eventually, he found the shop he was looking for just five minutes from his house. Together, Rod Works owner Jerry Lechich, builder Jeff Ott, and Barry came up with a plan for the upgrades that would achieve Barry's biggest goal for the Victoria: preserving the appearance and turning it into a simple, good driving, reliable, cool classic cruiser.
The most significant improvement to the 1955 was replacing the stock front suspension with a 1952-66 Ford front clip from Fatman Fabrications. In addition to a slightly lowered stance, the Fatman clip provided a sway bar, power rack-and-pinion steering, and 12-inch disc brakes. A Master Power master cylinder and an 8-inch dual brake booster enhance braking performance. The Ford 8-inch rearend spins 3.55:1 gears. The rear suspension was kept stock.
Since the former owner was no longer around to answer questions, Barry was unable to get a lot of information about the modifications that had been made to the Victoria prior to his buying it. The exterior is uncut and whoever sprayed the paint had some talent. The hood, trunk, and a few spots on the side panels needed repainting, and Javier Valencia at Diana's Auto Body in L.A. mixed House Of Kolor paint to match the rest of the candy apple. Rod Works added a pair of spotlights and installed power electric windows, with replacement side glass from JR Distributor International.
Ford power is provided by a 5.0-liter from a 1994 Mustang GT, now fed by tri-power Holleys
The rolling stock starts with front and rear 15-inch chrome reverse steel wheels, keeping it classic. The wide whitewall tires are BFGoodrich Silvertown radials, measuring 225/70R15 all around.
The Victoria was powered by a Ford 289 engine and C4 transmission, which is how Barry and Nona drove it until Jerry at Rod Works introduced Barry to Don Richardson, a Ford engine builder in Torrance, California. Don provided a 1994 Mustang GT 5.0L engine to replace the 289. Eventually, Air Flow Research aluminum heads were added, and the single four-barrel induction was swapped for a 3x2 manifold and triple Holleys topped with tri-power ribbed air cleaners from O'Brien Truckers. Rod Works added Sanderson headers to handle the exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers for the right sound quality. A 1990 Ford AOD takes the place of the previous C4.
Only a few changes have yet to be made to the interior, where the original black and white upholstery was swapped for white vinyl on the seats and doors sometime during the Ford's previous ownership. Air conditioning from Vintage Air replaces the Ford Magic Aire system that originally cooled and heated the car. Seatbelts from Juliano's were added and match the contrasting red of the piping.
Until Barry and Nona are willing to stop driving the Victoria for a while, it won't be treated to any additional work that would keep it off the road. That could be a long time since they use the 1955 frequently for the exact purpose it was intended: having fun. You might see the 1955 parked at a few local shows throughout the year, but you're more likely to see it on the road. The car is cruised regularly, on frequent day trips or weekend excursions up and down the coast. On most Thursday evenings, you can spot the car, and a few others, outside of Teddy's Café in West L.A where, as Barry puts it, "a great group of 'old timers' get together to share an interest in cars and friendship."
The column shifter was retained when the AOD trans was installed. The ’55 Ford speedometer
The Ford Crestmark Body seat emblem is intact.
The factory heater control, AM radio dial, and clock retain their rightful place in the ’5
The interior has been left essentially unchanged since some modifications by the previous
Preserved pleated white upholstery with red piping and buttons perfectly suits the 1955.