Bob S 1956 Ford Townsedan

My first Car was a Sleeper

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

Very much like the one in the photo.

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

Dad wanted me to get a six cylinder stick.

So every 55, 56 or 57 Chevy I looked at was rejected by my dad as hot-rodded.

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

The only car on the lot in my price range was a, top of the line, 56 ford Townsedan for $350.

We took the ford for a test drive and dad discovered power steering.

I discovered the take off from a standing stop was slow.

Dad had never owned or driven a car with power steering or an automatic before & this one had both.

It was a V8 with a fordomatic transmission and he was sold; I told dad no way was I going to buy a 4 door old lady car.

My dad had owned a 56 ford Crown Victoria several years before and had loved it.

He had talked the salesman down to $250 and said this is the best one we’ve seen all day, so buy it or we are going home.

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

So I bought it.

I had started a job at a filling station the week before, so I drove the ford 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 Friday evening, 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, it 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’m 17 & don’t know if he is trying to make feel stupid or what his agenda is, so I responded “they put in the wrong motor?”

“No, he said, 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 less than 2000 miles on the overhaul & still has the break-in oil in it.”

He said “change the oil, drive it 6 months and when the motor loosens up, it will fly.”

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

When I put the ford on the lift to change the oil, I discovered that it had dual exhaust (one pipe was broken off at the axel).

Naturally I had to replace the whole exhaust system including glass-packs.

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.

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