Red
Tan
4.6 Liter V8
3 Speed Automatic
  • 4.6 liter Ford V8
  • Ford AOD transmission
  • Ford nine inch rear end with 3.73 gears
  • Custom suspension
  • Power rack and pinion steering
  • Baer four wheel disc brakes
  • Modified body
  • PPG Porsche Guards Red paint
  • Custom leather interior
  • Vintage Air conditioning

Want to kick off summer in a super sharp cruiser that draws crowds at shows and turn heads on the strip? You can always buy a nice Chevy -- Like everyone else… You COULD find a cool old Dodge and raise a few eyebrows… Or, you can call RK Motors Charlotte and snatch up this unique '53 Ford Crestline! Featured in the February 2009 edition of Rod & Custom magazine, this slick Ford drop-top packs a modern V8 in a custom, all-steel body and a professional, road-ready restoration. And if you're looking for a fun weekend warrior that mixes one-of-a-kind style with top-of-the-line performance, it's just the good time you've been waiting for!

Let us begin by rewinding the clock to 1953. It was a big year for America's number two automaker as 50th anniversary celebrations coincided with this convertible's construction and an opportunity to pace the legendary Indianapolis 500. A man by the name of Gerry Gamet, who was just a wee tike back then, decided to join his father on a trip to the local Ford dealer and, upon seeing a rare '53 Ford Crestline Pace Car, became an avid convertible lover. As he grew older, and owned numerous cool cars, Gamet continued thinking about that '53 Ford and how both he and his father loved it. Then, one day, while browsing through a trade paper, he found an ad for the car you see here. While he was happy to find what appeared to be a west coast body, its owner had allowed it to sit in a back yard for years and, worse yet, insisted Gerry buy a '53 Ford sedan as a part of the deal. And after careful consideration, and finding out the car still had all its original trim, Gerry lined up $3,000 and a trailer that was big enough to haul two '53 Fords. Over the next several years, in what amounted to an intense, multi-company build, this convertible was completely disassembled and painstakingly returned to its former glory. Its various custom tweaks were, like its solid body, perfected by Quality Restorations & Street Rods of Port Orchard, Washington. And in 2007, when the project finally reached paint, a smooth coat of PPG Porsche Guards Red was married to a thick clearcoat shell and buffed to a fantastic shine.

As a completely re-envisioned custom that mixes timeless style with a roster of well-executed modifications, this classy old cruiser puts a fresh spin on proven Ford appeal. At the front of the car, a body-width bullet grille hangs between a nosed hood, frenched headlights, clear parking lamps and a smoothed and re-chromed bumper. Above that grille, bright stainless wipers clear chrome-seated glass that's framed by original Sunliner toppers, accented by classy chrome mirrors and protected by a tan canvas roof. Below those wipers, stylish, original trim spears dash across shaved doors and sculpted fenders that are complete with small red skirts. And behind those spears, frenched, LED tail lights illuminate a decked trunk lid, spotless stainless exhaust, and a second smoothed and re-chromed bumper.

Hoist this sweet looking Ford's bright red hood and the car transforms from classic to state of the art in literally the blink of an eye. Looking completely natural between slick, body-matched fenders is a 4.6 liter, SOHC 'mod motor' that was donated by a generous 1999 Mustang GT. You see, the key to a great resto-mod is taking the virtues of a classic factory design and incorporating modern mechanical elements that are as stylish as they are seamless. And nowhere is that philosophy more evident than in this Crestline's fully detailed engine bay. The long-time thoroughbred of Ford's performance car stables, this proven powerplant utilizes two camshafts, free-flowing heads, an aggressive cam profile and a rugged iron block to create an unbeatable combination of smooth cruising and spirited performance. Naturally the big engine comes outfitted with sensors, a fuel pump and an Engine Computer Module from its 1999 donor car. Before it was dropped into its classic bay, a 2002 Explorer cowl piece was custom detailed to match glossy red cam covers. And finally, a pair of good sounding, ceramic coated manifolds were bolted to a 2.5 inch, true-dual exhaust system. Twist the car's key and the smooth V8 rumbles to life, singing baritone notes through a pair of traditional turbo mufflers. Goose the block's throttle and a polished air tube funnels wind into big combustion chambers zinging the engine toward redline. Take a look around the bay's perimeter and you'll find a slew of aftermarket pieces, like a custom Mattson radiator, a giant electric puller fan and a high quality Bendix master cylinder, that transform factory vanilla into parking lot hot!

Throw this razor-sharp drop-top on a lift and you'll find a solid '53 Ford X-frame that, thanks to No Limit Engineering, in San Bernardino, California, features choice upgrades. Shifts come courtesy of a sturdy Ford AOD automatic which, like its cylinder-spinning companion, was completely rebuilt by Campbell Ford Performance in Campbell, California. Motivation is provided by a familiar nine inch rear end that's fitted with tall 3.73 gears. Turns come courtesy of an effortless power rack and pinion steering system which makes the car feel lightweight and surprisingly athletic. Stops are provided by four Baer disc brakes that do an excellent job of reducing both fade and drama. The engine keeps roaring thanks to a pair of traditional turbo mufflers that are webbed between aluminized pipes and subtle stainless tips. The odometer keeps turning thanks to a sweet set of 15 inch Thunderbird wires that spin 215/75 Coker Classic whitewalls around tri-bar spinners and custom Ford crest emblems. The car's fresh Mustang II suspension is augmented by tubular control arms, QA1 coilovers, a beefy rear sway bar and Posies Super Slide springs. And overall, the bottom of this Crestline presents very well with solid floors that display no signs of rust, a straight frame that shows no indication of damage, and a slew of road ready parts that all function just as they should.

Pop this cool convertible's doors and you'll find a tasteful and comfortable interior which is a classy reminder that, in some circles, style and appeal are still design's central focus. At the front of the car, original gauges, which were rebuilt by Classic Instruments, ride inside a fully restored dash that hangs So Cal Speed Shop knobs around an enlarged glove box, a modern Alpine head unit and Vintage Air climate control. Below that dash, rich brown carpet is protected by custom kick panels, slick Ford sill plates and piped and color-keyed floor mats. At the sides of that carpet, custom door panels hang big speakers behind correct handles, leather armrests and chrome power window switches. Between those panels, completely rebuilt seats stretch two-tone hides between super cool Ford crest buttons. In front of the driver, a small diameter steering wheel spins color-keyed paint around billet foot pedals and a tilting Flaming River column. And behind the passengers, a thick cowl veils a highly detailed trunk that, like the rest of the stunning cockpit, was finished by Armando's Custom Upholstery in San Jacinto, California.

This hot Ford's sale includes a stack of build receipts, a sleeve of restoration photos, a few component manuals, two sets of keys and some original paint cans.

This exceptionally clean Crestline is one of the coolest cruisers on the planet! And at just $69,900, it offers the best of both worlds: a fully restored car at a fraction of its build cost, and a unique hot rod that really sets itself apart. Well-done early 50s metal doesn't come along too often, and given the attention it's drawing in our showroom, it certainly won't last long!

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