A Cus­tom ’56 Ford Park­lane Wagon With Coy­ote Power

Street Rodder - - Tech - By Tim Bern­sau Pho­tog­ra­phy by the Au­thor

The 68th An­nual O’Reilly Auto Parts Sacra­mento Autorama hadn’t even of­fi­cially opened when STREET RODDER saw this ’56 Ford Park­lane wagon on dis­play in Build­ing A of the Cal Expo fair­grounds. Later that week­end we went back for a closer look and met car owner Rick Walker, builder Steve Borja, and Rick’s brother-in-law Ge­orge Nor­beck, who was man­ning the dis­play.

Ford’s ’56 Park­lane two-door wagon was a one-year model, in­tro­duced in re­sponse to the Chevy No­mad (and Pon­tiac Sa­fari). Pro­duc­tion was nearly dou­ble that of the No­mad but 62 years later, No­mads have won the pop­u­lar­ity con­test. That’s one of the rea­sons Rick, from Oak­dale, Cal­i­for­nia, wanted to build a Park­lane. He is a Tri-Five fan and has owned sev­eral,

but he wanted a Ford from the same era. “I wanted func­tion first,” he ex­plains. “A sim­ple cruiser to travel with my wife Linette and our dog Howdy. Some­thing bold, but that still re­sem­bled the stock ap­pear­ance.”

First he had to find one. He found two. One was a high-dol­lar re­stored orig­i­nal, the other was an al­most-un­sal­vage­able spec­i­men Rick de­scribed as “the swamp one.” The de­ci­sion was made. “We chose the swamp one.” It was a long road from the swamp to the Sacra­mento Autorama, and Rick turned to PDT Mo­tor­sports in Oak­dale to nav­i­gate the project.

The wagon had come from Min­nesota, and was run­ning but rough. The sheet­metal from the belt­line down was rot­ted out and there was so much chicken wire

hold­ing things to­gether that “the swamp one soon had a new name, “the chicken coop.” Steve Borja and the team at PDT Mo­tor­sports spent a year re­plac­ing the un­sal­vage­able steel with hand­built pieces.

The high-end ex­te­rior trim is one of the things that make the Park­lanes spe­cial, but find­ing re­place­ment pieces was tough and time con­sum­ing, since there are not a lot of re­popped parts for Park­lanes. Cus­tom body mod­i­fi­ca­tions in­clude the one-piece rear win­dows, in­ter­nally tinted glass, nar­rowed and smoothed bumpers, LED light­ing, and ’60 Buick tail­lights. The driver side tail­light is hinged for ac­cess to the re­lo­cated fuel filler tube. Rick wanted paint sim­i­lar to a Ford fac­tory color, but bolder. The com­ple­men­tary col­ors are Ivory and Juice Melon.

Un­der­neath, the fron­tend was re­placed with C5 sus­pen­sion com­po­nents and brakes, plus a Flam­ing River steer­ing rack. A tri­an­gu­lated four-link lo­cates the Ford 8.8-inch rearend. Coilovers at ev­ery cor­ner im­prove the ride, and Wil­wood discs stop the rear wheels. Pirelli P Zero low-pro­file tires are mounted on 18x8 Knuckle chrome wheels from Foose Wheels.

The ex­pan­sive in­te­rior was re­fin­ished in a mild cus­tom style, main­tain­ing the pe­riod look of the wagon but with some cus­tom em­bel­lish­ment. Fin­ish Line In­te­rior wrapped the seats in cream-col­ored leather and cov­ered the floor in green car­pet. The front seat was built on a Glide En­gi­neer­ing split­back bench frame to match the stock-frame rear seats. The Bil­let Spe­cial­ties BLVD 03 steer­ing wheel tops an ididit col­umn. Gauges are Dakota Dig­i­tal and the A/C is from Clas­sic Auto Air. The hid­den au­dio sys­tem is from Cus­tom Au­tosound.

Rick said that a Ford 5.0L Coy­ote mod­u­lar en­gine was part of the plan from the very begin­ning. It goes back to the idea of “func­tion first.” The wagon was built for long-dis­tance cruis­ing, so the en­gine has to combine per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity. A fully func­tional in­take sys­tem draws air from un­der­neath the car to the Ford Per­for­mance Boss 302 in­take man­i­fold. It per­forms the de­sired func­tion, looks cool, and keeps the Park­lane Ford-pow­ered.

The Park­lane that they once called the “swamp one” and the “chicken coop” is now known as “Fast­lane.” We added an ad­di­tional ti­tle to the list: Ford Per­for­mance Parts/ STREET

RODDER Best Ford In A Ford.

YEAR: 1956 MAKE: Ford MODEL: Park­lane OWNER: Rick WalkerSTATE: Cal­i­for­nia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.