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Car Profiles

We're a Real Fan of Stan's 55 Gasser Sedan!

January 06, 2012 by Chad Houghton
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The drag racing movement started in the 1950's, after WW2 ended.  During the war, air fields popped up all over the nation to protect from home land attack.  The fear of attack waned and the land was filled with abandonded air strips.  To avoid getting in trouble from the local johnny law, young hot rodders decided to prove who was fastest on the air strip and our beloved sport of drag racing was born.  In those days everything was experimental, you would see all makes and models with any engine combos they could get their hands on.  Looking back at the photos or even the vintage videos, it's really hard to grasp what it was like to own one of these pioneering drag cars.  Some are still locked away in barns and thankfully people are starting to build, or rebuild more of these blasts from the past.

This brings us to Stan Wlodarczyk and his 55 Ford.  I first saw Stan in the staging lanes at the Ohio NMRA event, racing in the Y block class and round after round I had my eye on the car.  The gasser look in restorations is all the rage right now and I knew I wanted to shoot this car.  All go and an early 60's style show is what describes this car to a T.  Like most restorations this car has been on a long journey to get to this stage in it's life.  To Stan it's getting back to what he once had.  Stan had a 55 ford years ago and never did anything with it before he sold it.  It wasn't until 5 years ago when he went on a bus trip with his local street rodder club to the Detroit AutoRama that he found the car you see here. "Old Time Cruisers is the club in lake county ohio and they gave you a copy of the "Cruising Times" and I found this car in the book for sale.  It was an ad in the back about 2" big and it looked pretty good.  You know how that works!",  Stan said.

 He made the call and took his buddy down with him to take a look at it.  When they open the garage door and saw it had a cover on it Stan's friend said "When he saw the car was under a cover either your not getting it a dime under $5000 (asking price) or it's so homely he couldn't stand to look at it. Well it was number two!  He practically sucked all the air out of the garage when they pulled the cover off it was so bad."  A deal was made and Stan took it home but he doesn't say that without hesitation "If i had known it was that bad I would never have went after it".

 

 

 Stan had a plan from the start and got to work right away on the chassis.  A set of street gasser ladder bars where installed from S&W Race Cars.  They have polyurethane bushings in front and he put those on the rearend because of the excessive wheel hop it had when he bought the car.  The straight axel is a 61 econoline with an updated disc brake kit Stan bought from Street Rod Manufacturing in Denver Colorodo.  The steering linkage was fabricated by Stan along with the steering arm on the passenger side.  The steering box was the original put on it when it come down the line at Ford.  " It's kinda strong arm steering when your jockeying for position in a parking lot" Stan notes.  Next on Stans list was the drivetrain. "It's got a 292 Y block in it out of a 62 "something" with flat top pistons, topped with 312G coded heads.  A 650 holley double pumper on a 57 Ford 4 barrel intake is what sucks the wind into this gasser.  It's got a top loader 4 speed with a zoom 11" cavlar clutch.  To keep the clutch and flywheel from coming through the floor Stan added a quick time bell housing to be on the safe side.  A 3.5" driveshaft transfers the power to the 9" rearend that came out of a 57 Ford.  Moser axels, 4.56 gears and a posi unit add a nice touch to finish off the drivetrain.

 

The last piece of the puzzle is the body.  This is a touchly topic for Stan because the more he dug into it the more problems he found.  "Body wise it was pretty horrendous and I got aways to go to finish it.  I had to do frame work on it.  It would have been alot easier to start with a better car and do it right once you but it's what I got, so."  Stan started by replacing both rear quarters and then moved on to the really cool looking tilt front clip.  The tilt came with the car but was in really bad shape so Stan fabbed up a whole new tilt and reinforced the whole jig making it one slick piece.  The headers where also an interesting story of their own and Stan tells it best.  "The headers are an old set of headmens I found hanging in a guys garage and I figured I would never ever find another set so I paid too much for them.  I took them and had them coated and thats when I found out they fit a 55 ford truck not a car so I put this thing on my post lift at home.  I put a 2" ratchet strap around the collector on each side went to the oposing side of the lift and I bent them 4"down and 6" in and never cracked the coating.  It was one of those things I bought them I coated them I can't take them back I might just as well go ahead and ruin them.  They came out perfect!  Ya, someone was with me on that one."  Stan painted it flat black with the flames about 4 years ago.   Touching up the body and a new paint job over the winter is in the works.

 I asked Stan how it drives?  He said,"Going down the road you can steer it with one finger it doesn't wander it doesn't pull with the disk brakes on the front.  It stops on a dime, I tried to make it safe.  Parking breaks work and the horn, the only thing I dont have is bumpers.  I don't know, it just wouldn't look right with bumpers.  Not for the gasser look anyway and thats what I wanted.  Stan sums it up, Well it's a hoot everywhere it goes people love it!" 

For more photos of this 55 Ford (CLICK HERE)