As an automobile wholesalesman, Jim Stockton has seen plenty of cars come and go, but among his many favorites, the 1950 Ford is one car of which he is particularly fond. Already owning a woodie of that desired make and vintage, Jim was on the hunt for a matching convertible a few years ago when fate smiled on him. After purchasing a vintage Harley Davidson from Jim, a fellow collector mentioned he might have the car Jim was after.
What Jim was soon the proud owner of turned out to be one completely original and unrestored '50 Ford convertible with only one paint job covering the original. The drivetrain consisted of a rebuilt Mercury Flathead with only 200 miles on it connected to a manual transmission with overdrive gears. That engine and trans would end up in Jim's woodie, as he had much different plans in mind for the convertible.
Things only got better as Jim dug into his new project when he realized that besides the fact that there was absolutely no rust to be found (pretty much unheard of with any convertible), the original color the '50 wore was the exact shade he envisioned long before he had even found this car. The rebuild of the drop-top started from the ground up with an upgrade of both the front and rear suspensions before a brand-new ZZ4 Chevy mill was bolted to the revamped chassis in front of a 700-R4 automatic transmission.
Jim passed the pristine body over to Wayne Crew, who was only too happy to tune up the Ford's well-preserved skin before shooting the original shade of light green. All the trim was restored and replated before being hung back in its original locations for a full factory showroom look. Inside, Jim kept that original vibe going mixed in with many crafty additions only a purist could spot right off the bat. The original seats were retained and modified before being wrapped in green leather, which is contrasted by a set of tan carpets. Sitting in the driver seat, Jim takes command behind a '54 Mercury steering wheel atop a '54 column and keeps an eye on the vitals via a set of new light-faced gauges from United Speedometer Service. For days when the cool breezes just aren't cool enough, a Vintage Air unit has been craftily disguised as an original add-on with a few 1950 accessory exterior emblems added to jazz it up. Keeping the illusion complete, the modern audio controls are hidden behind a factory radio block-off plate.
With so much going for it, you'd figure Jim's '50 Ford convertible would never get a chance to rest, but his full stable of rods and restorations keeps this one from being overworked. Still, we're pretty confident the temptation for a little wind through the hair will make sure this mint green masterpiece sees the highway as often as possible.
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1950 Ford Convertible
Since Jim had plans of driving this '50 Ford as often as possible on long-legged outings, he opted to remove the fresh Flathead the car came with (don't worry, he reused it in another car) and install a reliable brand-new Chevrolet ZZ4 350ci in its place disguised by an original '53 Oldsmobile air cleaner and matching valve covers. Cruising was made easier with a 700-R4 automatic transmission.
Jim upgraded the original chassis with a pair of dropped spindles, disc brakes borrowed from a Ford Torino, rack-and-pinion steering from a Chevy Cavalier, and a Jamco front sway bar. With the front suspension fully freshened up, Jim sent it over to Kevin Erisman in Germantown, Ohio, for the addition of an Air Ride Technologies system to control the ride height of the nose. The rear was brought up to snuff with a pair of new springs from POSIES and fresh shocks to smooth the bumps encountered by the Ford 9-inch rearend.
Wheels & Tires
Jim wanted to stick with a factory look for the wheels, but added his own twist by widening a set of optional 16-inch '50 Ford wheels to an 8-inch width and then shod them with a set of 225/60R16 Michelin rubber. Final dress-up is a set of factory rings and caps.
Body & Paint
Starting with a nice body made things a lot easier for Wayne Crew in Springfield, Ohio, where after a few tweaks to line up everything, he was able to spray the original '50 Ford light green paint color-matched to a N.O.S. wheel Jim found at a swap meet. After the paint was dry and buffed, all the restored original factory trim was returned to its rightful locations from end to end.
Unlike most over-the-top creations, Jim's subtle ride saved most of its tricks for the interior. Original seats were modified and wrapped in dark green leather by Rick Futrell of Dayton, Ohio, complementing the restored dash that has a '54 Ford column topped by a matching vintage Mercury steering wheel. Modern tunes are supplied by an Alpine system hidden behind a factory radio delete panel and throughout the interior, and a contemporary A/C from Vintage Air has been disguised as a factory heater with custom knobs handmade to replicate original dash knobs to blend it in perfectly with the rest of the dash. Vintage N.O.S. Ford accessory fender star emblems were used to add some period flash to the door panels, and early T-bird power window and door lock switches give a modern accessory without looking out of place.