Big Boss ’Liner
Craig Bugajski’s ’55 Chevy 210 David Walsh’s ’50 Ford Starliner
There are customized cars and then there are custom-made cars. The difference is a customized car still has the majority of its original chassis and drivetrain relatively intact, and a custom-made car is a body shell placed over the top of a completely revised new rolling chassis, complete with a fully upgraded engine and transmission. What we have here is a custom-made car.
It was the first year of Starliner production and there weren’t a lot of Ford Starliners made for 1960—only 68,641 to be exact. The fastback styling of the roofline was a product of NASCAR’s early streamlining wars and there only had to be so many examples built to satisfy homologation. And since a noteworthy percentage of the ’60 Ford Starliners found their way onto circle tracks and even the road course at Riverside Raceway it didn’t take attrition long to make a rare car scarce.
OK, so there were a lot of ’60 Ford Starliners around back in the day, but try finding a decent example in the 21st century. Thanks to the ravages of the Rust Belt, car accidents, and frankly not a lot of mass public interest in preserving the model, a ’60 Ford Starliner in good condition these days isn’t that easy to find.
Nevertheless, Bobby Alloway, of Alloway’s Hot Shop, did know where to find a really clean ’60 Ford Starliner, and the right client to commission the build: Enter Honda
dealer David Walsh of Macon, Georgia. David explained to STREET RODDER how Bobby called and said he had the perfect car for him, and that was all it took. Having commissioned Alloway in the past to custom build a car from scratch, David knew to stand back and let Alloway incorporate his signature touches to the ’60.
The factory-painted Wimbledon White ’60 Ford Starliner Galaxie with a red interior and a 352-inch Ford V-8 FE engine was stripped to the bare shell and its original chassis
rolled out from under it. Then Alloway’s process began with setting the stance, the floorpan is cut out, and four BFGoodrich tires mounted on Alloway’s proprietary Billet Specialties wheels are placed under the empty shell that’s sitting at the desired stance on wood blocks.
From here Alloway’s takes precise measurements and fires off an order to Art Morrison Enterprises (AME) in Fife, Washington, for a chassis. The vehicle maintaining a tight steering radius is always important when Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop constructs a car, but it’s easier said than done because Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop’s signature look is a slammed jackrabbit stance that doesn’t leave much room underneath. AME had to pinch the front framerails snug along the sides of the engine to make space for the front suspension with DSE spindles in order to turn sharp.
On David’s ’60 Starliner the 17x7 front wheels are shod with 215/50-17 BFGoodrich tires, and in the rear 20x10 mounted with 275/55-20 BFGoodrich tires. The 13-inch disc brakes at all four corners are from Wilwood, with a Wilwood master cylinder on a Kugel Komponents pedal assembly applying unassisted (no brake booster needed) stopping power.
Under what is likely the widest hood ever put on a car by Detroit is an engine that can trace its roots back to NASCAR’s 1969-1970 season. The Kaase Boss Nine is based on Ford’s Boss 429 and features improvements over the original design. In particular the famous-for-failing C9AE-6051 Cooper rings have been superseded with Fel-Pro head gaskets.
The displacement on the built-to-Alloway’s-specification Kaase Boss Nine is 505 inches that dyno’d 706 hp at
6,500 rpm with 630 lb-ft of torque at 4,900 rpm. The cam responsible in conjunction with Kaase Boss Nine aluminum cylinder heads is a COMP hydraulic roller custom ground to Kaase specifications. A pair of Edelbrock AFB carburetors sits atop a Blue Thunder dual-quad intake manifold modified with a water crossover.
A Lunati crankshaft and rods fastened with ARP bolts suspend Diamond forged 9.8:1 pistons. Alloway’s smoothed the Bessel cast-iron four-bolt main block before painting it PPG Alloway Black. Additional super detailing includes Dan’s Polishing and Best Metal polishing the intake manifold and heads to a mirror finish. Ignition comes from MSD. Supporting a luxury convenience, a Billet Specialties Tru Trac front runner serpentine belt system drives a Vintage Air air-conditioning pump. Barillaro Speed Emporium was the source for headers and pipes with 3-inch exhaust coated in silver ceramic by Gene Mobley at Performance Coatings. Liquid storage is accomplished via a Walker radiator and a 15-gallon stainless steel gas tank from Rock Valley.
Running a manual transmission gear changes are handled with an American Powertrain–sourced TREMEC TKO 600 five-speed mated to a Currie 9-inch rearend with limited-slip.
The first glaringly obvious clue a car was built by Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop is its flawless Alloway Black paintjob. It took many hours of bodywork and prep to get the ’60 into its PPG paint. Not to mention the time involved tracking down hard-to-find N.O.S. trim
• parts, including an N.O.S. back glass. Dan’s Polishing in Adamsville, Tennessee, did all of the chrome plating, including the front and rear bumpers tucked closer to the body. Major metalwork concealed from the eye by the hood includes widened front inner fenderwells fabricated by Josh Bailey. Scotty Troutman was responsible for fabricating and installing the heavy steel floors and spraying PPG color.
The sexy XL interior option wasn’t offered on the Ford Galaxie until 1962. Inside, on the Starliner’s deceptively stock-appearing interior, Steve Holcomb’s Pro Auto Custom Interiors added the feel of a Galaxie XL interior by custom fabricating a center console complete with a ball milled billet aluminum centerpiece. A white headliner bounces light illuminating Lipstick Red leather covering the custom-made backseat and ’65 Ford Thunderbird bucket seats. Other appointments include a leather-wrapped Lecarra steering wheel on an ididit tilt steering column, Lokar pedals, and Classic Instruments bespoke gauges. Underneath the carpeting there’s a Dynamat thermal acoustic mat to soak up the sounds and heat. Vintage Air air conditioning keeps the ’60 Starliner cool and comfortable.