Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some Local Boys' "Shoeboxes" ('49 - '51 Fords) from the 1960's

Up until now I've posted lots of photos of my own cars on this blog (and there are more to come) but very few of those belonging to friends and acquaintances back in the day. So, let's look at some '49 - '51 Fords (commonly known as "shoeboxes) that tooled around the streets of Queens back in the 1960s. These cars were plentiful and cheap so a very popular vehicle for guys with low budgets to customize and soup up.
(As usual, click on any photo to enlarge it.)

My memory is getting worse as I get older but, for some reason, I remember this guy's name was Paul. I met him at the White Castle on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where we used to hang out.

Paul's '51 2-door hardtop (how rare is that?) was mildly customized and had the usual dechroming on the hood and deck. The center grille "peak" was removed and '50 Ford grille shell chrome surrounded what I think was an early 'Vette grille; '55 pontiac side trim was added to separate the black and mint green paint job.

In the rear, a continental kit, '59 Caddy tail light lenses, and fender skirts were added. After seeing my Mint Julep (see first post on this blog) Paul asked me to add some scalloping for him so we did mint green on the black and black on the mint green, naturally!

This '49 or '50 belonged to Billy Squire's brother, Sy, from Glendale. It featured a complete dechroming, tunneled headlights, and a DeSoto grille (a popular choice for these cars back then). I don't remember what was under the hood and I think this is the only photo I have of this car.

My friend Ken Szekretar, from Glendale, had quite a few nice cars during the '60s and this '51 was his second. Above is a scene from a typical Saturday when we would work on our cars in the front of my house in Richmond Hill.

Ken eventually dechromed the whole car, removed the outside door handles, and had louvers punched into the hood before rounding the corners over the grille opening. The grille was fabricated from '53 Chevy parts and the rear wheel openings radiused. Altering the front springs set the car on a rake. (Note my Mint Julep II parked behind Ken's Ford, down the block from the factory where we worked in Glendale.)

While most of the photos on this blog are added from scanning original negatives, I couldn't find the one for the engine in Ken's '51; the scratches on the well-worn photo are evident. A near stock '56 Olds engine was shoehorned under the hood and mated to the ford three-speed trans. Note the external oil filter mounted on the firewall (to the left in photo) due to a lack of room under the car near the steering linkage. The electrical system was converted to 12 volts.

Ed Talerine of Richmond Hill owned this '51 2-door sedan. Featuring the usual dechroming and shaved doors, and a louvered hood, Ed used two '51 Ford grille mouldings surrounding another DeSoto Grille. Wheel covers were spun aluminum, another popular choice in the '60s.

In the rear, Ed took the chrome trim off the sides by the tail lights and placed it on top of the quarter panels, frenching in a set of '55 Ford tail lights.

This '49 convertible belonged to our paperboy, Bill Baggellar (?); while he was still in high school he worked on this car (just like I did, but I didn't have a paper route) a couple of blocks from my house . Once again, the usual dechroming and tunneled headlights are seen.
Obviously, a work in progress. Note the Buick "porthole" at the bottom of the rear quarter panel.
(At the upper left, in front of his car, my '55 Chevy convert can be seen.)

Bill replaced the 239 cubic-inch Ford engine with a Merc 255 c.i. flathead for a little more power (another easy and popular swap).

More cars to follow...


Karl-Erik said...

Very nice pictures! That picture of Kenny must be from before he met Mona? I think I remember her telling me that she first arrived in the US as an au pair in 1967 or thereabouts...?

Ken B said...

Yes, K-E; that photo is from about 1962 (because my Merc is parked behind his Ford, and I got rid of it around 1963). -Ken