Larry Jewett
December 1, 2000
Photos By: Donald Farr

Every one of us will admit it, even if it requires some arm twisting. Our very first car is one that elicited a lot of pride and maybe even some joy. If you were fortunate enough to have a real treasure as your first car, those memories are even greater today.

There are even cases where you hold on to the concept of what you had for years. It may not have been the same car, but something along the same lines would do just fine, thank you.

Jerry Mason has this long-standing love affair with the '57 Ford, and who can blame him? He's brought that affection out in this stunning Custom.

As a teenager, Jerry drove a black '57 powered by a 427 four-speed. It's obvious the growl he could get with that special treat, so what do you do to follow an act like that? How about having a '57 in 2000 that has a unique 427 SOHC engine beneath the bonnet? What you see is what he's got.

"I came across the '57 and saw it was a neat car with a lot of trick parts, but still looked like an old Ford," he says about the attraction.

The powerplant gets plenty of attention when the hood is popped for all to see. This engine was built for NASCAR applications. As a resident of racing-rich Spartanburg, South Carolina, that carries a lot of weight in the neighborhood. Of course, the rule makers viewed the 427 as a threat, and it never made the track for the ovals. This engine went to the strip and proved the dominance theory correct with many wins, and even captured victories when dropped into boat racers. Power is not an issue.

There's no question the 427 SOHC with the side-oiling block can provide the go. Disk brakes on all four corners provide the whoa when necessary. NASCAR-style sway bars have been added to stabilize the ride, and Jerry reports the car holds the road very well and is fun to drive. This car is generally restricted to about 3,000 miles a year for a number of good reasons. Of course, keeping mileage down is one, but consider that the thirsty engine requires plenty of nourishment on the highway. We're talking four miles a gallon of 114-octane fuel in a 20-gallon tank. Short runs, but fun nonetheless. What do you expect for an engine capable of sticking 800 hp to the ground? A stout four-speed transmission makes sure the horsepower is delivered to the 9-inch rear under the backside.

While the power is pure performance, there's homage to the era as the interior is totally stock, looking like it should. On the outside, high-quality PPG paint provides the stunning hues that attract the attention when the engine is silent. Paint and bodywork was done at Mason Distributing in Spartanburg, which is the likely resting place you'd find this car if you wanted a closer look.

Class and a cammer on top of that. You've got to love it. Everyone who sees it does.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery