The red and white ’57 Ford stock car at the 2015 Iola Old Car Show was not my father’s Ford! Instead, it was what we wanted to do with my father’s Ford. Let me explain.
One day in about 1959, Dad decided it was about time to get the family a new car. He had been driving the ’49 De Soto since about 1953. By the late ‘50s, the flat six and Fluid Drive in the De Soto were a little bit out of date and very much worn out.
And then there was the big hole in the fender around the headlight. It seems that Dad got hit by a drunk one night. The guy got out of his car and laid on the ground. Dad went to call the cops. When he came back, the drunk and his car were gone. As a result, Dad never did the insurance thing and the fender never got fixed.
So, it was time to junk “Hernando” and get a new car. The first one that Dad came back with was a two-tone blue ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 two-door hardtop. Yes! Yes! Yes! But, Mom said no. She told Dad they had three kids and needed a four-door car, no ifs, ands or buts. Mom ruled.
So, Dad returned with a Sky Blue ’57 Ford Custom 300 four-door sedan. It was a “nice” car, but it wasn’t what we kids wanted. However, it had potential. In our young minds we saw the “girlie” looking new car painted red, with numbers on the door and a roll bar in the driver’s compartment. We visualized fat tires at three corners and a tinier tire on the left front side. We imagined a Thunderbird Special V-8 stuffed under the hood.
Back then, we spent Saturday nights watching the Hollywood stock cars run at Weissglass Stadium “The Fasted Fifth Mile in the East.” It was fun. They made lots of noise and kicked up lots of dust and if we were very lucky, one of the cars would wind up in the catch fence right where we were sitting. So, we pictured Dad’s Ford, with appropriate modifications, racing around the stadium out front of the pack.
It looked pretty neat. Just like the Ford we saw at Iola in fact.