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Ford Victoria Custom, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $84,900.
The original frame was heavily reinforced and modified for use with this low-flying cruiser, then painted to match the copper body.
In the world of hot rods and customs, there’s a dizzying array of styles, makes, models, and choices that the builders make, all designed to create something unique. All of us have seen the spectacular pro-built rides in magazines and at shows and have dreamed of someday owning those hand-built pieces of art. Once in a while, opportunity knocks—and this is one of those times, by the way—and we are given a second chance to capture the brass ring, which, in this case, is a jaw-dropping 1951 Ford Victoria. Built by Strange Motion Rod & Custom (http://strangemotion. com/wordpress/?p=80) and nicknamed “Tricky Vicky, ” it was built for the 2002 SEMA show in Las Vegas. In fact, the very first award it ever won was Best Custom Car award at that very show, but it was only the first in a long line of awards and accolades this car would receive.
If you’re into hot rodding even a little bit, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Tim and Carrie Strange, the husband and wife team that has churned out more than a few amazing magazine cover cars in the past few years. With innovative styling, top-notch craftsmanship, and flat-out functional engineering, their cars are rolling art that is made to be driven. Forget trailer queens and cars that look spectacular but drive poorly, this ’51 Ford is most certainly a runner.
The body is a fairly rare 1951 Ford Victoria coupe, and for the most part, the shape and details were left as the factory intended. Sure, the drip rails were shaved, along with the door handles and some of the stainless body trim, but there’s no chopped top, no laid-back windshield, and no reshaped body panels. Instead, the classic lines of the car speak for themselves, and in the best custom style, the beauty is in the details. This is exactly the kind of car you can spend hours looking at and still discover something new. Modifications include the reshaped headlight openings, which now house Jeep Liberty headlight assemblies, the lowered rear wheelhouse opening, and the molded-in bumpers front and rear. And because the original Ford “bulletnose” grille was so iconic, the two-bullet ’51 piece was replaced with an authentic ’49 piece (after being re-chromed to show standards, of course).
The original body was complete, but tired, and it’s safe to assume that every bit of rust was excised from the body while it was on the rotisserie. All the modifications were done in steel, and there’s very, very little filler used. Once the panels were tweaked and aligned, hours and hours were spent sanding them until they were laser-straight. Only then was the DuPont ChromaPremier paint applied. The black over copper color scheme is accented by a bright green ribbon of trim that flows around the body in a non-linear fashion, with breaks on the doors and trunk lid. Look a little closer, and you’ll see that the green stripe has been artfully textured, and as one of the hallmarks of a first-rate rod, the details continue into the doorjambs. The final finish was color sanded and buffed, and today the car quite literally glows in the sunlight—sadly, our photos cannot do it justice.
Inside, Carrie Strange (a self-taught upholsterer who seems to have mastered her craft) created a spectacular driver’s compartment that’s an artful update of the original Ford design. The custom-made bucket seats were covered in caramel and black leather that is supple and smooth, while the foam underneath makes the seats all-day comfortable. The dashboard was heavily reworked, moving the gauges from in front of the driver to a centrally-mounted pod that holds an Autometer speedometer and tach, as well as indicator lights for things like the turn signals and high-beams. Auxiliary gauges are mounted in their own pod down low by the custom-made center console, along with the powerful entertainment system and Hot Rod Air climate controls. Two gauges farther back indicate the Air Ride suspension system’s status, along with the power window switches. The carpet is Mercedes-Benz grade stuff, while black leather was stitched up for the headliner and doorsills. Custom door panels that feature a mesh insert and unique tubular door pulls finish off this spectacular interior.
The trunk is equally well finished, with matching caramel and black leather throughout. Removable panels hide the massive wheel tubs, Air Ride system, amplifiers for the stereo and other hardware. A remote power disconnect switch and fuel filler cap are the only visible pieces of hardware in the trunk when it’s all buttoned up.
The engine is a 460 cubic inch Ford big block from Auto Ron’s. It has been built with a balanced and polished crankshaft and rods, Speed Pro forged aluminum pistons and rings, and a Comp Cams valve train. Up top, a 750 CFM 4-barrel carburetor feeds an Edelbrock intake, and it has all been artfully hidden under a fabricated steel shroud that contains an integral air filter and inhales cold, clean air from ahead of the radiator shroud. Additional eye candy includes custom-made valve covers with skirts that hide the spark plug wires and header flanges, a custom radiator shroud, as well as steel inner fenders that blend seamlessly into the bodywork. And because the 460 is bigger than the original flathead, the firewall has been smoothed and pushed back for clearance. A few billet pieces from Zoop’s keep the accessories spinning, while an Allstar aluminum radiator and a pair of electric fans efficiently cool the entire assembly. A TCI-modified Ford C6 automatic transmission with a 2500 RPM stall converter hands the power to a sturdy driveshaft from Denny’s, which in turn feeds a 3.50 geared 9-inch with limited slip from Randy’s Ring and Pinion.
You know that you’re dealing with an artist when the chassis of your custom is as beautiful as the body. Using more than 150 feet of 1-inch tubing, the original frame was heavily reinforced and modified for use with this low-flying cruiser, then painted to match the copper body. Up front, a fully independent front suspension was installed and features Mustang II spindles and a Flaming River rack-and-pinion setup. An Air Ride ShockWave system has been fitted to all four corners to create this car’s low stance, but it can be raised with the touch of a button for comfortable cruising. Wilwood supplied the 13-inch rotors and the 6-piston calipers. Rolling stock consists of custom-made Colorado Custom billet wheels, 20x8s up front and positively massive 22x10s out back, with a custom black anodized finish on the centers along with polished rims. The perfect stance is achieved using 245/35/20 front and 285/30/22 rear performance radials. The owner reports that thanks to an recent alignment, the car tracks like a cruise missile on the road and hammers down the highway effortlessly at 80 MPH.
So if you’ve always dreamed of owning a pro-built car, here’s a chance to pick one up for a fraction of the construction cost. It includes a lot of documentation, including a detailed magazine article that shows the car under construction and fully details every component that went into the build. With about 1500 miles since it was completed, it is fully sorted and 100% reliable, with all systems functioning as they should. This car isn’t done winning awards, and it may be the most stunning shoebox Ford ever created. This is an awful lot of car for not a lot of money, and it would be impossible to duplicate at this price.
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Engine:460 cubic inch ohv v8, 4-barrel carburetor
Location:Warrensville Heights, Ohio