Robert S

The Old Sleeper Sedan

My first car was a 1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan, bought in 1965 at age 17.

I had saved up $600 from mowing yards for 3 years, & finally had enough to buy a car plus the first years insurance.

Every 55, 56 or 57 Chevy I looked at was rejected by my dad as hot-roded.

We finally ended up at the Ford dealers used car lot. (He was a ford man)

The only car on the lot in my price range was the 56 ford for $350.

My dad had bought a 56 ford 10 years before and had loved it.

It was a V8 with a fordamatic transmission; I told dad no way was I going to buy a 4 door old lady’s car.

He said this is the best one we’ve seen, so buy it or we are going home.

I had already bragged to the guy’s that I was getting a car, & any wheels was better than no wheels.

So I bought it.

I had just got a job at a filling station that week so I drove it to work the next day.

The weekend guy at the station (Bill) was a mechanic at the ford garage during the week.

When Bill came by after work he came in and said “Who bought Joe Hales old ford?”

There were several men setting around talking out front and when no one spoke up, “I said if you mean the blue & white ford, it’s mine”.

He said “you got a nice car there”. I said “it’s a dog, can’t even burn rubber”.

He took me out to the ford and raised the hood and said “what does it say on the valve cover”?

I said “Thunderbird” He said “what does that tell you?”

I responded “they put in the wrong motor?”

“No, that is a Thunderbird 312 police interceptor motor.”

I said “well how come it doesn’t have any getup and go?”

He checked the door jam for the oil change sticker, and said, “I overhauled this motor last year shortly before Mrs. Hale died from cancer.

Mr. Hale traded it in with his pickup for a new truck this week, and this car has got less than 2000 miles on the overhaul & still has the break-in oil in it.”

He said “change the oil and drive it 6 months and it will fly.”

He wasn’t wrong, the following year that old sleeper sedan would really fly.

Dad had to borrow my car that following year while his was in the shop.

When he brought it back, he wanted to know what I had done to it to make it run so fast.

I told him all I did was change the oil.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Mike Pohl Plymouth, MN February 19, 2014 at 18:23
    Great story always did love them old fords

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