After owning a pair of mild-custom '50 Oldsmobiles and a '41 Chevy tudor in high school; a fenderless, hotted-up, flathead-powered '33 Ford coupe while in the Navy; and a custom '54 Merc as a civilian, Oklahoma City resident Floyd Dutton, Jr., took a 27-year sabbatical from the car hobby. You know the deal, family, business, etc., etc..

During the late stages of his custom retirement (back in the late '80s), Dutton's good friend, Bob Barnett, talked him into building a ride again, even going so far as to loan out his extensive collection of R&C little pages as a bit of motivation. In March '91 the Duttons, both junior and senior, answered an ad in the local paper that offered a rumpled '51 Ford Victoria, and the thrash began. A plan of attack was mapped out for the buildsheet. The chassis would utilize later-model Ford parts, as in a '78 Ford Granada 8-inch rear on Posies springs, with a 3-inch drop. Up front, a Fatman Fabrications clip kit was the foundation for '76 Mustang II spindles, six-cylinder Mustang coil springs, and '78 Granada discs. A Mustang II power rack-and-pinion was also utilized. Keeping the all-Ford philosophy is a chromed and detailed '78 302 (rebuilt by Floyd) that's Edlebrock-equipped and coupled to a same-year, non-tampered-with C4.

After studying Barris' how-to's in the old stacks of R&Cs, Dutton was anxious to get ripping on the trick licks, but first, the rockers had to be replaced, along with an overworked left rear quarter. Once that was out of the way, the '51 received a bag full of mild custom touches, including a nose and deck job and a shaved 'n' peaked hood with a truck load of louvers.

A '50 Merc grille shell was molded in and then filled with a narrowed '54 Ford grille. The front and rear bumpers are '49 Ford items, and frenched '51 Ford headlight rings finish out the frontal details. The decklid had the license tag frenched in, and the quarters now hold frenched '50 Ford taillights. Side trim is '50 Ford, extended at the rear. A smooth coating of '79 Ford Emerald Green, applied by good friend Jerry Owens, covers the slippery body panels. Dutton also pointed out that Mike Green and Ray Marler helped on the Victoria during the 2 1/2-year refresher.

Ed's Auto Interiors in Oklahoma City applied the period-perfect, '50s-style, green and beige tuck 'n' roll to the stock interior. Well, it's stock if you don't count the modified power front seat, Lecarra steering wheel, '65 Mustang hang-under air conditioner, or hideaway stereo system that plays old-time rock and roll.

Back when it was fresh, Floyd and his wife, Becki, made all the custom events, ranging from the drive-in cruise nights to the old Hanging Dice Nationals in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where the Vicky usually took home a load of awards. There are two words that apply to this tasteful custom hardtop from days gone by, and they're "eye candy"-not bad for a guy who stayed away from the scene for nearly three decades.