Arvid Svendsen
August 25, 2011

Three Fords that are all black, all post cars, all big motors, all immaculate, and all owned by three cousins in West Virginia. Two brothers, Carroll and Delane, and their cousin Kenny are three lifelong Ford guys from West Virginia who have been building Blue Oval brawlers for more than 40 years. The three cousins have formed a trio of high horsepower harmony, and while their cars vary, each bares a family resemblance in performance, style, and execution. These boys love horsepower, and what's better, the three cousins actually drive the cars regularly, thereby promoting a love for what these cars can become when placed in the right hands.

'55 Ford Business Coupe

"I found the car in Orange, Virginia. It was a nice car, about 95-percent rust-free, with 65,000 miles on it. The owner had five '55 Fords. He was, unfortunately, going through a divorce and had to sell a couple of them," recalls Carroll Foster of Gerrardstown, West Virginia. "The car was originally black with a 272ci Y-block, three on the tree, 3.78 gears, with 15-inch tires and wheels and gray interior. I bought the car in May 2004, and drove it for about six months. I showed it, and drove it in a couple of parades, and then tore it apart to change the motor and restore the car to better than new. It had to stay black, because black is my favorite color. If your car's not black, it needs a paintjob."

The motor is an all-aluminum, 427-based 496ci stroker. Carroll bought the aluminum block from Carroll Shelby in 2004. The rotating assembly includes Diamond 4.310-inch pistons, Scat 6.700-inch rods, and a Scat 4.250-inch-stroke forged steel crank. Carroll opted for a Comp Cams mechanical roller cam with 0.740-inch valve lift, and Comp Cams valvesprings. Kuntz and Co's Jim Kuntz in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, ported and polished the Blue Thunder heads, and a Ford tunnel wedge intake became home to two 600-cfm BJBK Holley carbs. The motor runs Crites headers, a Meziere electric water pump, and a Griffin aluminum radiator. Carroll estimates that this engine on the dyno would report 800 horsepower. It's a stout combination for sure.

Brakes on this frightening '55 are stock. Yes, stock. When asked why his big bad business coupe runs OEM brakes, Carroll explains, "These drums are small and light, but their downfall is if you have to stop hard two or three times, you have to replace them. But I have no trouble with the standard brakes."

The Hurst Cheater Slicks are Carroll's second set of rear tires because, in his words, "The four link works fine... I've set 'em on fire a few times." The front tires are P215/75R15 mounted on stock 15x5 rims, while the back has 15x6.5 station wagon rims, which wear Hurst 28.5x8.75x15 Cheater Slicks.

The interior was faded, so Carroll's brother found N.O.S. '55 stock interior seat covers and installed a back seat in the business coupe since the rare pieces for the rear seat delete didn't come with the car. An Autometer tachometer and gauges keep the driver informed, while the Turbo Action Cheetah shifter controls a Performance Automatic C4 racing transmission with Kevlar bands, a trans brake, and a Coan converter.

Out back you'll find a 9-inch out of a '63 Galaxie that has been braced and narrowed to fit the '55. An aluminum driveshaft rotates a set of 3.89 gears that turn a Detroit Locker. Carroll's cousin Kenny Hess installed the Chassis Engineering four-link suspension with coilovers without cutting the stock frame.

The '55 Ford is seriously overlooked as hot rod material, but owner Carroll Foster had a vision for a killer stealth '55.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery