Someday, if the custom car aftermarket catches up with it's street rod counterpart, you'll be able to flip through the ads in ROD & CUSTOM, Custom Rodder, and other magazines and pick out all the parts you need to build a sweet piece like this '60 Ford Starliner.
Don't count on it.
Jim Rydelius' one-of-a-kind custom is much more than some collection of ready-to-go parts, and individuality and imagination aren't things you can order up out of a catalog. The truth is, this body style was chosen specifically for its unusualness. As Jim reminded us, the Starliner wasn't a huge hit for Ford during its two-year production run and hasn't set any trends among customizers in the 40 years since. Even so, Jim, and custom builder Andre Carey, saw something special in the Starliner's clean lines and lane-filling wideness that could be turned into a real nice custom.
It didn't happen fast though. More than a decade came and went between the time Jim bought the car at the Turloc, California, swap meet and the time work began. During that decade, the Starliner spent most of the time in Jim's garage, except for the occasional pleasure cruise.
Andre, the nephew of one of Jim's best friends and the owner of Andre's Customs And Rods in McKinleyville, California, had taken an early interest in the Starliner and would frequently ask Jim about his plans for car. It wasn't until Andre built a '62 Nova convertible (photos at www.superchevy-web.com) in 2002, that Jim was inspired to finally turn the Starliner over to ACAR, giving Andre and Greg Girard the liberty to do whatever they wanted. Jason Rushforth created a concept illustration (which you can see at www.jasonrushforth.com) and, in two months' time, Andre's transformed the neglected Ford into one of the most attention-getting customs of 2003. The timeframe is especially amazing considering the level of modifications and the difficulty of finding parts for a '60 Starliner-not exactly off-the-shelf stuff.
The Starliner was finished just in time for the Grand National Roadster Show, followed by an invitation to Blackie Gejeian's Fresno Autorama, and appearances at numerous other events. It appeared on the cover of Custom Rodder's September '03 issue, and we're proud to have it in R&C this month.
Like we said before, individuality and imagination aren't things you can buy out of a magazine-but take a good look at Jim's '60 Starliner and you're getting a big dose of both those things.
'60 Ford Starliner
Drivetrain: The original Ford 292, in good running condition, was in the car when Jim bought it in 1990. Wally's Machine Shop in Eureka, California, bored and balanced the Y-block which is fed by a stock manifold and 2V stock factory Holley carburetor. The stock exhaust manifold feeds into 2 1/2-inch custom pipes and Flowmasters. The finned valve covers and air cleaner are from Mooneyes. The transmission is the original three-speed Ford-O-Matic with stock converter, built by Pro Pacific Auto Repair.
Chassis: The Starliner was dumped to the pavement at Andre's Customs and Rods, via Air Ride bags dropping the Starliner 5 inches in front. Bell Tech blocks help the bags lower the ride 8 inches in the rear. Force 10 disc brakes from Stainless Steel Brakes are mounted at all four corners of the car.
Wheels & Tires: The updated low-profile rolling stock underneath the Starliner consists of Colorado Custom Empire II billet wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires. The front P245/35ZR18 radials roll on 18x8 rims with P255/35ZR20s on 20x8s in the rear.