"These carburetors were built by Quality Restoration," Tom says. "My dad used to run 97s when he ran the Salt Flats, and I always liked them. They were a problem until I turned them over to Quality Restorations, but I haven't had a problem with them since."
Check out the custom billet-finned aluminum crown that keeps those 97s protected and pressure proof-positive. That's a ceramic-coated Edelbrock 553 tri-power manifold from the '50s. The finned aluminum Thunderbird valve covers are mounted not with bolts but with studs midcover.
A balanced and blueprinted 292-inch Ford Y-block with a 0.030-inch overbore keeps JP Performance forged-aluminum slugs tracking and squeezing smoothly. The ceramic-coated Red's headers are designed specifically for Y-block applications. On top are Ford 312 iron heads for improved flow and torque. Deep in the valley is a Sig Erson mechanical camshaft sporting 0.500-inch lift and 286 degrees of duration on both sides of the chambers. The result is an aggressive idle that makes this thing sound like an FE-series big-block when the throttles are goosed. It's aggressive, which wakes us up to the possibilities that exist with a Y-block.
Tom says the biggest challenge was outfitting the supercharger and getting it to work properly. For years, he searched for all the right parts-no easy task considering how rare these things are to begin with. Parts he could not find had to be made. After all that, he learned the VS57 wasn't working worth a flip. That's when he sent it off to RAI Corporation. Craig Conley, a Shelby expert, rebuilt the McCulloch and helped Tom set it up. When he installed the VS57, the engine came alive. Tom could have gone with the car's original three-on-the-tree manual gearbox, but he wanted the sound and feel of a '60s high school hot rod. He found a '64 Ford Top Loader along with a 28-spline 9-inch with 3.56 gears; both fit the car perfectly. Under hard acceleration, it's the dawn of the '60s again, with euphoria unmatched.
Tom and Barbara could have visually treated their sedan an infinite number of ways. Again, they remained true to the period with pastel blue and white just as the car was in 1955. Magnum 500 wheels weren't around in 1960, but they look sharp wrapped in blackwall Firestone Firehawk radial tires.
There's nothing quite like a '50s two-door sedan, the whine of First gear in a Top Loader, and oldies pouring out of a radio speaker to get the adrenaline flowing. We can visualize a young Tom with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his shirtsleeve-arm out the window, cruising for chicks, looking for adventure a long time ago. Because Tom and Barbara are unable to do that "back to the future" thing and relive their youth, this '55 post sedan is the next best thing.
'55 Ford Fairlane Sedan
Owner: Tom and Barbara Barbee, Riverside, CA
292ci Ford Y-Block V-8
Bore: 3.75 inches
Stroke: 3.30 inches
Sig Erson mechanical camshaft, 0.500-inch lift, 262 degrees duration
Stock valvetrain with adjustable cast rockers
Three Stromberg 97 carburetors
McCulloch VS57 supercharger
Cast pistons with Perfect Circle rings
Top Loader four-speed
Limited Slip differential
Red's ceramic-coated headers
Custom dual exhaust
Flowmaster Series 40 mufflers
Front: Stock suspension system, one coil removed from springs
Rear: Stock suspension with leaf springs
Front: Drop 'Em & Stop 'Em disc kit installed by the Mustang Market
Rear: Stock drum
Front: Magnum 500, 15x6.5-inch
Rear: Magnum 500, 15x7-inch
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Front: Firestone Firehawk, P215/65R15
Rear: Firestone Firehawk, P255/60R15
Custom upholstery performed by Riverside Upholstery, Auto Meter gauges, Hurst shifter, and a period-correct pair of fuzzy dice
DuPont Deltron in pastel blue and white