Father Taught Daughter Driving Skills in 1955 Ford
Kathi Curry’s father taught her how to drive in a Meadow Green 1955 Ford pickup truck. She learned to shift the F-100 with a four-speed manual transmission with a floor shifter.
Under the sculpted engine hood was a 120-horsepower Mileage Maker six-cylinder engine. The base price for the truck was $1,460.
During her last semester at college, “My dad gave me the truck for the semester while he walked to work for the swing shift, rain or shine,” she says. “That’s the kind of dad he was.”
After graduation she returned the truck to her father. Unfortunately, he died only two years later. “When my dad passed away I was given the truck,” Curry says. It was her sole transportation for years until she bought her first new car.
The truck was getting little use so Curry finally acquired a “non-op” license plate, which restricted the truck to the driveway, but she could still keep the vehicle insured. During those years some friends installed a new gasoline tank to replace the leaking original.
The well-worn Ford languished in her driveway until she met a young man driving a mildly customized purple 1954 Ford F-100 pickup with vanity license plates that read “PLUM 54.” He told Curry that his father had done all the work on the truck. The name of the shop — Casey’s Rod Barn — made Curry reluctant to inquire since she wanted her truck restored to the condition her father bought it in. But she went ahead and the shop agreed to restore it to stock condition.
Curry, with the help of friends, loaded the truck onto a trailer and hauled it three hours for restoration. “Casey worked on it for five months,” Curry says. “It was his first stock restoration.”
During those five months he kept calling suggesting this or that alteration but Curry held her ground saying, “No, I want it the way it looked on the showroom floor.”
Eventually she agreed to two alterations: a chrome-plated rear bumper to match the front one that had been replaced with an aftermarket Barton Bumper. This bumper was painted silver as was the original front bumper.
The other change came in the cab. “I’ve never seen a better truck bed and never seen a worse interior,” Curry quotes the restorer. The original vinyl covering on the bench seat was but a memory. The foam rubber had hardened and was disintegrating and springs were beginning to protrude. She agreed that gray fabric upholstery would be more practical and certainly more comfortable than the original gray vinyl. An original-style gray headliner was installed.
The oak flooring in the bed had virtually disintegrated. New slats of white oak were installed, each one separated by the original metal runners.
Curry reports the truck came equipped with a heater, two taillights, two outside mirrors, a cigarette lighter, and a pair of under-the-dashboard air vents which she calls her air conditioner. It also has the optional notched left rear fender to accommodate the spare tire. Although the speedometer can register speeds up to 90 mph, Curry emphatically states that this range of the speedometer has never been used.
Before Curry went to retrieve the completed truck, the engine was worked over and the six panels of glass in the cab were replaced. On the outside of each door, just below the window, is a strip of chrome proclaiming that this is a “Custom Cab.”
While hauling her father’s restored Ford F-100 home, she kept getting a “thumbs up” from passing motorists who obviously approved of the restored truck on the trailer. “It’s my pride and joy!” she proudly exclaims.