We're firm believers in using our rods and customs here at R&C, and always enjoy meeting people who get out there and see the country in their own cars. So when we learned that Joanne and Gary Levering's shakedown run of her just-finished shoebox involved a three-week trip up to Glacier National Park in Montana, then Alberta, Canada, for four days sightseeing, followed by cruising back through British Columbia, stopping in Spokane, Washington, for a Goodguys show (the couple are Goodguys Rodders Reps, with Joanne being the first female rep), then home via Mount St. Helens, we knew they like to use their cars. And 4,500 miles is a pretty decent shakedown, we're sure you'll agree! The trouble-free trip wasn't the first long-distance road trip the couple has made either, as they have covered 90,000 miles in their 1933 three-window coupe since 1995, including a trip to Indy from their home in Danville, California.

Five years into the building, the 1950 Ford may not have changed much in outward appearance since purchase, but it sure has changed mechanically. The Leverings found it at a Goodguys show in 2004, already chopped, smoothed, painted, and with its interior done. Mechanically and electrically it was in poor shape, however. Originally brought to California from Florida after being bought over the Internet by the person they bought it from, it had looked better in the pictures on the Web, apparently. The blue paint appeared to have been brush painted, half the interior was missing, and the 283 small-block Chevy was hooked up to the stock drivetrain. With it cosmetically updated, the Leverings were under no illusion what still needed to be done. The front and rear suspensions were too wide for the car, it had 14-inch tires on the front, while the 15s on the rear rubbed the fenders, and it crabbed down the road when driven.

The suspension all around was reworked so the car would sit low without airbags, and it was treated to a new engine and transmission, as well as Vintage Air heat and air, though one of the more challenging tasks was to relocate the radiator and get the engine to run cool. Robbie Azvedo of Pacific Coast Customs in American Canyon, California, was responsible for much of the necessary redo work, which also included making the doors and trunklid fit.

Of course, with both a rod and a custom in the family, the hardest task was yet to come: choosing which one to take on a road trip. That was one question we never asked.

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Joanne Levering
Danville, California
1950 Ford sedan

The stock chassis now has a 1978 Camaro clip, using Fatman Fabrications 1-inch narrowed tubular upper and lower arms, and adjustable coilover shocks. The brake booster and proportioning valve are from the same Camaro, as are the disc brakes, though the GM 605 power steering box now hooks to an ididit column.

The 350 Goodwrench crate motor and 700-R4 were installed at Pacific Coast Customs, the former dressed with no-name ribbed valve covers and a Speedway Motors nostalgia air cleaner. The Tru-Ram exhaust manifolds also came from Speedway, while an Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor on a Performer intake takes care of induction duties. A Ford 8-inch rearend from a 1974 Maverick brings up the rear, located on the de-arched stock leaf springs moved inboard and attached to the inside of the chassis rails. The 3-inch lowering blocks get the ride height down out of the wind.

Wheels & Tires
Smoothies from Stockton Wheel sit at each corner, all measuring 15x6 with maximum backspacing, coupled with a quartet of Diamondback 185/80R15 wide whites.

Body & Paint
It's unknown who tackled the bodywork, but what is obvious is that it has been nosed and decked, the license plate frenched and door handles shaved, and all the side trim and emblems are long gone. The windshield is V-butted and the front fenders have been molded to the A-pillars. They removed 3 1/2 inches from the front of the roof, while 5 1/2 disappeared from the rear. Campos Body Shop in Castroville, CA, are believed to have shot the 2002 Cadillac Sunburst hue, while Herb Martinez was responsible for the pinstriping. The door mirrors are 1963 Avanti, and the taillights are Technostalgia LEDs.

The dash may be stock 1950 Ford, but the gauge cluster is a Classic Instruments item, installed with billet aluminum rings with a matching one for the clock. Lincoln Continental bucket seats have been trimmed in tan vinyl, along with the door cards and kick panels, while a matching center console was fabricated, all by persons unknown. That banjo steering wheel came from the Wheel Shop, and Juliano's provided the seatbelts.