Rod Short
March 14, 2014

While the car would have been a decent driver, Larry felt it wasn't quite yet deserving of the engine that would be residing under the hood. So, he took it to nearby Bedford, Virginia, where Chris Turner—with the help of Mike Farr—got the chance to display his painting skills. The entire body was put on a rotisserie so the original body panels could be stripped and primed for finishing. Ray Bishop then took responsibility for the underlying frame, which was sand blasted, smoothed, and repainted with a basecoat/clearcoat to make it just as attractive as the outside of the car. With the exception of front disc brakes from a '65 T-bird, the front and rear suspension assemblies remain completely stock. Once done, Ray mated the body and rolling chassis back together while also taking care of all the missing minor parts and pieces that always get in the way of getting a car done. Repeated trips to the junkyard that had a few of these cars, along with some careful fabrication work, got the job done.

While this was going on, Keasle Racing and Machine in Maryville, Tennessee, had received the 427 SOHC, which was reassembled with a vintage Holman-Moody crank, 9-quart oil pan, Crower custom billet rods and CP pistons. The original SOHC heads were then gone through and reassembled with Holman-Moody camshafts, and a Dove intake with dual Holley 600-cfm carbs sits on top. Modern refinements include an MSD ignition, ceramic-coated headers and a Griffin radiator. Jack Tindell assembled the '65-model Top Loader four-speed that's in the car with Center Force clutch and pressure plate. Wood Brothers racing of NASCAR fame in Stuart, Virginia, did the Ford 9-inch rearend assembly with 3.89:1 gears.

When the engine was done, the car was delivered to Tennessee without the front clip to facilitate installation of the big Cammer, which bolted right in. Stewart-Warner gauges and a rare, original '62 Ford shifter grace the interior, along with SMS Auto Fabrics upholstery that was installed by Maynard Horne. The sound system comes from a 3-inch exhaust system fabricated with Flowmaster mufflers. How's that for audio quality!

While Larry has only shown the car a few times, it's received numerous accolades including a special recognition Celebrity Choice award from Larry Holman of Holman-Moody at the Carlisle Ford Nationals and a Best of the Best Classic class award at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion at Bowling Green, Kentucky. With results like this, you might say that this Rx can cure a lot of ills!

The Details

Larry and Patty Hill's 1961 Ford Starliner 427 SOHC

'65 model 427 SOHC Cammer
Estimated 700 hp at 6,500 rpm
Estimated 547 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm
Crower billet steel connecting rods
Holman-Moody forged steel crankshaft
CP forged aluminum pistons
Holman-Moody camshafts
Ford Single Overhead Cam cylinder heads
Dove 2x4 Intake manifold
Twin Holley 600-cfm carburetors
MSD 7AL-2 ignition

Custom mandrel-bent 3-inch exhaust by Perfection Muffler (Roanoke, VA)
Ceramic-coated Keasler Race and Machine headers
Flowmaster mufflers

'65 Top Loader four-speed
Center Force clutch and pressure plate

Wood Brothers Racing Ford 9-inch
3.89 gears

Front: Ford steel wheels, 15x7
Rear: Ford steel wheels, 15x8

Front: BFGoodrich Radial TA, P225/70R15
Rear: BFGoodrich Radial TA, P275/60R15

Front: Stock
Rear: Stock leaf springs and replacement shocks

Front: '65 Thunderbird disc
Rear: Stock Ford drum

Paint stripping and side windows by Gary and Randy Beckner; paint prep by Mike Farr; PPG Monte Carlo Red basecoat/clearcoat by Chris Turner; assembly, detailing, and glass installation by Ray Bishop

Restored upholstery by Horne's Upholstery (Roanoke, VA)

Special Thanks
Ray Bishop and Zach Straits