Get to know your classic car community! Here are some area car and truck enthusiasts' pride and joy. To submit your vehicle, please email your contact information, vehicle description/story, and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
We sacrifice many things in our lives when we take the first step toward owning a business. This was the situation when Ron & Linda sold their beloved Mustang Mach 1 in 1985. It had been in their family for 15 years. They needed the investment capital and this would provide it. They sold it to their nephew knowing he would take care of it as they had.
A few years later, when the business was up and running, they decided to buy it back. Their nephew couldn't bear to part with her. This left Ron & Linda with a problem ... they still wanted a Mach 1. They turned to the Internet. After some time they were discouraged. Nothing was there that could hold a candle to their Mach 1. In an ironic twist of fate, they found a car on an Internet auction while they were on a vacation. They won the bid, but couldn't get the funds to the seller in time, so the bid passed to the next person. the next car Ron found was also at an auction. In another twist of fate, the seller was the same man who got the earlier car Ron & Linda couldn't fund in time. They had their doubts about the Calypso color, which was only used in '69 & '70 and only on a few cars. They replaced all the aftermarket parts with OEM parts. The one renaming issue was the Mustang emblem that was installed backwards behind the back window. They opted for a rotisserie restoration in the near future so it may compete with the best at car shows. There were 72,558 Mach 1s produced in '69. They retailed for $3,139.00 or about $1.01 per pound.
Ron & Linda Kesler Laurel, Montana
1957 Chevrolet 2 door post
This is another of the Classic "Randash" cars of Billings, Montana. The '57 Chevrolet had its debut in September of 1956. It was a major make over from the former body style and proved to be a true classic with the test of time. This car would be considered a mild custom, It now has real leather interior, custom designed console, a Morrison frame, which makes it handle like a sports car. A Morrison frame can cost about $22,000 and up. The hood has been shaved, Bel Air chrome has been added. Custom wheels with all disc brakes on all four added to this cars safety. Ed Cole was the chief engineer and instituted most all major changes the '57 would have. The '57 was refered to by GM as the baby Cadillac due to the many styling lines that were similar. A padded dash was optional yet very seldom ever ordered as was the air conditioner. The radios were still the tube type and came with the option of a rear speaker for surround sound. One of the unique options was the electronic shaver, connected to the dash. Another option was the power seats and windows. If you wanted to dim your headlights automatically there was an item that you would bolt to the dash to do that. Of all the popular classics the '57 Chevrolet is considered one of the best.
Mercury, a car that captured a market that was a step up from the Ford, yet not in the richer class of the Lincoln. This car had quality that was unsurpassed for the working man with styling that would be lasting. The counterpart in the GM field would have been the Buick and the Oldsmobile. Chrysler and the DeSoto on the other side. In the production certain parts were shared with Ford but not Lincoln. The last production of the Mercury was in 2010, why many of us did not understand, it had style and durability. This car had a large market, United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands along with the Middle East. Problems started when the recession of the late 1950s started and the unibody construction proved to be to costly to make. Another problem came about with the Edsel having pricing the same as the Mercury. This car sold for about $2,630 or about $ .67 per pound.
1930 Willys Knight
Rare, yes but what a car it is from our past. This automobile was hand made back in the '30s. This is considered a 100 point car, to get this rating there cannot be a mark on the car, every bolt, screw and trim must be perfect. A phillip's screw would not be allowed because they did not make them back then. This car has taken many of the nation's top awards at the major shows for the best-of-the-best. The engine is an 87 bhp 255 cubic inch in-line Knight sleeve valve 6 cylinder. It has a 3-speed transmission with synchromesh, four wheel mechanical brakes, front and rear leaf springs with Watson Stabilators. The wheel base is long at 120 inches. To the best of our knowledge only 8 of these cars exist. The value could be over a million dollars.
In the 30s you had to be very well-to-do if you owned a car like this. When this car was introduced in New York a top designer placed his touch on it with the stripes on the doors calling it a "Plaidside" and the name stuck. These cars became well known to the very rich many years ago and to this day you would be very lucky to find one in any condition.
1956 Buick Century 4 door hardtop
For the true car collector, the 1956 Buick has proven to be one of the most elusive of all makes. It may be the production numbers or the demand for these cars, who knows. Buick fine-tuned the styling of the '56 to make it one of the greatest body styles of all times. The addition of a new grill and a pointed hood with open rear wheel wells was what it needed. It had a price tag of around $3,000 and production numbers of just 20,891. Sporting a 255 bhp Iron head engine it would power this Buick Century from 0-60 in 10.5 seconds. The author of this article has had 28 Buick's to this date and knows these cars very well.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS 6
The dream of most every man and women, a classic Chevelle of the 70s. During the 50s, 60s, and 70s some of the greatest cars were designed by Detroit by such talent as David North "GTO" and Bruce Ryniker "Roadrunner." Both of these men are now retired and living in Billings, Montana. Chevrolet became consistent leader in the industry with over 2 million cars per year. The '70 Chevelle came with a 396 cid and packed a whopping 350 bhp. The racing stripes let everyone know to get out of its way. For a very short period of time the Chevelle could be ordered with swivel seats. Chevrolet spent large amounts of money promoting the Chevelle as a family sports car, and the sales just went thru the roof. Even though this car sold for about $2710 back in 1970 finding one today in excellent condition you will have to add another $50,000 on top of that price.
1968 Dodge GTS
many changes have occurred over the years to this Classic Dart. It now has a 440 cid large block equipped with a Holley Dominator 1050 Carburetor. The transmission is a 727 with a 8 3/4 rear end which makes for a very fast car.
In 1968 the Dodge Dart "4th generation" underwent a facelift and became one of the best looking cars of its day. Low and long with larger windows, fuselages were also rounded and featured hidden headlights and a semi-fastback "flying buttress" roof line. The parking lights were moved inward and made round with side marker lights added. Mileage and performance were compermized on all cars produced due to the "Clean Air Package" which was a federal law.
1947 Willys Jeep CJ-2A
The CJ-2A was the first jeeps produced after World War II. With the end of the war they were in much demand on the farms and ranches. During the war production was halted on all tractors as the steel used went to make tanks & trucks. The Jeep underwent a few changes back to the civilian market. Large headlights were added, leaf springs went from 11 to 7 leafs for an easier ride and a tail gate was added with the spare moved to the side. This Jeep remains elegantly simple and still very appealing 68 years later. Osha would have a fit back then if they only knew about the safety risks, We sat on the gas tank, a gas heater was used on top of it to keep us warm. The passenger seat was $8.50 and the rear seat was $10.50. The Military tires used have a great background, with the center ridge they lacked traction as the tread design was made so the enemy could not tell which direction they were going. Brackets on the side were to hold a shovel and a axe. It came with options of about 14 types of farm machinery. A top was optional, a tall man had a problem as the seat would not adjust. The price tag was abut $1200 dollars. Speed, don't worry as it was only about 45 mph top. This Jeep has been featured in two separate editions of "The Story Of Jeep" & "The Standard Catalog of Jeep" as well as the coffee table book "Classic Cars of Montana & Wyoming."
1957 GMC "General Motors Corporation" 4X4
When this truck was found it could have been considered a rust bucket. Only a true lover of the "classics" would take on a project as large as this requiring a total frame off restoration. This truck was considered the work horse of the GMC fleet. Many of the buyers were farmers, loggers, contractors and those who needed a truck that would hold up in all kinds of weather. The truck you are looking at is not your stock factory unit. This one has a 350 cid making 368 bhp adding a 350 turbo automatic transmission. Owning a true classic means "making it your own." A little known fact, the early GMC's were one gauge heavier sheet metal than the Chevrolet. The major body design occurred in 1955 which also included the GMC Suburban. It had the comfort of a car with an option of air conditioning. The front fenders gave a flow-through design, a wrap-around windshield and full flush pickup boxes. For the collector they are still out there for a price, One can be restored in most cases for around $30,000.
1939 Plymouth Convertible
Plymouth came by its name in a very unusual manner. When Chrysler was deciding on a name the greatest fear was could anyone relate to it. Walter Chrysler was reminded of an item that every farmer was familiar with - "Plymouth" bailing twine. It was a household name. The name originated from none other than Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. The first Plymouth was produced in 1928 and was a success from the start. By 1930 they were allowed to sell them though both Dodge and DeSoto dealers. They never did outsell Ford or Chevrolet, they however did become a part of the top three cars of its day due to its advanced styling and safety features. They were producing an all-steel body when the standard was still using wood for framing. Plymouth was using rubber engine mounts along with rubber body mounts before their competition. They were also the first to install independent front coil suspension. The trunk would fold out to seat 2 adults, These were always referred to as the "Mother-in Law" seat.
1930 Chevrolet Deluxe Panel Delivery Van
This 1930 Chevrolet was found buried in a ditch where it was placed to prevent erosion from heavy rain. It was located near the small town of Roberts, Montana. Like many abandoned trucks there was only enough left of it to determine what kind of a vehicle it was. In this case the name on the partial box was the only clue they had. I complete frame restoration was needed as only original parts would be used in the processed. It has the engine and three speed transmission it came with. The body was built using yellow oak shipped in from China. The Chevrolet wheels with the wheel well were stock on this truck. New this truck would have sold for about $495 and yes it came only in black.
1930 Ford Phaeton
This vehicle, known as the "Hulk," is a testament to the man who created it. This car has been transformed in ways very few of us could ever imagine. When you open the driver's door, you see black carpet trimed in lime green, which is the theme throughout the interior. The dash is custom made of black walnut wood with a natural burl pattern. The Babbet instruments are all customized and set into this beautiful wood. The Hulk is all chrome from the steering wheel to the complete undercarriage. This car has a TCI Racing chassis, a 1969 Jaguar XKE rear suspension and is equipped with a 1932 front dropped axle. The engine is a small block Chevy with unique spark plug wires, which allow you to be able to follow the spark from the distributor to the plugs. Travel at highway speeds is made easier with its 700R4 overdrive transmission.This paint job if done today would cost well over $30,000. Credits for this paint job goes to Cal-Concepts of Bakersfield, California. The lightening bolts and blistering ghost flames add an artistic flair to this unique car.
Ford termed this as an "Elegant town car appearance." This was a 5th generation series produced by Ford. This body style caused sales to decline as it did in the previous year. What they really did was to try and make a family sedan out of a proven sports car. Corvette stayed the course and look where they are today. The Landau sedan was not on the list as a practical design with its rear hinged back doors. This was a throwback to the 1930s. Production revisions for the 71' were minor with wheel covers, grill insert and minor trim only. Big block V-8's were the norm however the engines were not tuned to be a powerhouse. Thunderbird no longer had a performance image to keep it afloat. This was a 429 cid which had 360 bhp, when tuned to perfection it became a monster to deal with. Production of 36,000 was considered low by automobile standards for a car like this. Priced at $2500 below the Lincoln helped but what hurt the most was the new restrictive emissions. Performance suffered in all makes, not just Ford. With 11 to 12 mpg and a low acceleration speed of 12 seconds from 0-60 mph. Overall the quality of this car would be considered very good being quiet with great road ability.
1948 Chevy Loadmaster Truck Cab All Chevy
3/4 ton Chevy van chassis, 1994 Chevy pickup box over original 48" 2 ton truck frame.
1936 Chevy sedan rear fenders, Color-1950s GM Coral w/Pearl Clear.
Custom interior, Air bags, Rear air shocks, tilt steering w/custom interior.
1966 Pontiac GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato)
General Motors launched this high performance family car in 1964 by chief designer David North, now retired and living in Billings, Montana. This car was to provide the excitement we needed in the '60s at a time when our boys and girls were returning from a very unpopular war. The 60s proved to be the start of the true muscle cars. The cost of a car was a big factor, about $.87 per pound compared to $10.78 today. For our returning men and women from overseas it was a car that they could afford. If you wanted a GTO equipped the way you wanted it, no problem. You could add the following to your basic car: floor shifter, 389 cid V-8, quick steering, stiff shocks, dual exhaust and premium tires all for about $300. A 4 speed gear box $188, Metallic brake lining, heavy-duty radiator and a no-slip rear end $75. Some people referred the Ferrari to the GTO, the Ferrari cost $20,000 and the Pontiac GTO $3,800. In a drag race the GTO would be the winner, the down side would be it would lose on a road course. When the '66 came out, the body had been extended 3 inches, the rear fenders had a "coke bottle" appearance along with smoother body lines. Vertical head lights would remain until the '67 production year. These cars have long been the choice for the serious car enthusiast who wants quality, styling and true performance for all occasions. Another important factor, as the family grew you did not have to deprive your self of your dream machine.
Delorean = The car featured in "Back to the Future"
John Delorean first produced this car in 1975, it was the only model ever produced. It is known for its distinctive stainless steel finish with its sports car design featuring gull-wing doors. It endured a traumatic history and had to take bankruptcy in 1982. To this day there are many who feel the major car companies were able to exert way too much pressure and drove him out of business. The movie "Back to the Future," which featured this car will keep it in the limelight for generations to come. The car you see here is an exact scale of the original one used in the movie. It was ironic that the car was no longer in production when the first movie came out, it could have made a difference. David North of Billings, Montana (who is retired) was the Chief Designer for General Motors at the time and had the privilege of working with John Delorean. When the car made its debut, it sold for around $25,000. By 1982, its last year on the market, prices had climbed to $57,000. A private company in Texas purchased all the parts new and used along with he logo and builds all them with a 1980 title. Billings, Montana is the home to 5 of these cars.
1951 Mercury (more than a mild custom)
From the time this body style came off the production line it became a car of choice to customize. In the early days they gained the name "lead sled" because so much lead went into the process of customizing cars like this. This car is a work of art from the interior to its fender skirts. Mercury did not have a two door hardtop until 1952. Even the designer of this car referred to it as an "inverted bathtub styling that originated in the sporadic war time work." The styling was massive, streamlined and very clean. Many who customized these cars used the grill from a 1948 Desoto. Driving was made much more like sitting in your favorite chair due to the fully independent suspension. The rear end was a live axel on parallel longitudinal leaf springs. This Mercury was not going to be the stepchild of its sister Ford, it received a stroked V-8 255.4 cid with a two barrel downdraft Holley carburetor giving it 110 bhp. If you wanted an automatic overdrive transmission it would cost an extra $97. New this car sold for about $1950 or about $.58 per pound.
1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible This Impala for 1964 offered more luxury and style than any Chevy ever built. The interior was spacious with large bench sets. They offered foam cushioned seats, deep twist carpeting for that rich feeling. Chevy offered 7 engines ranging from 140 to 425 bhp 409 V8 which inspired the most popular song of the 60s, "409." Their heavy duty coil springs absorbed the shocks, comfortilt steering wheel just added to the driving pleasure. From the top of the line "Impala" to the plain Jane "Biscayne" the cost was only $230. Production for the year was about 1.6 million cars. This Impala Super Sport was the envy of the drag strip and could hold its own with the best muscle cars of its day. This car being long and low makes it a prime choice for the collector. Add west coast skirts and a wheel kit and you are back in the 60s.
1926 Ford Model A
It may not look like the famous "A Henry Ford Model A." This one has been tweaked out. Who would have ever believed 89 years later we would be savoring this car that sold new for $350. This car has been transformed into a true hot rod. Modern suspension, a Chevy small block lots of other goodies. In 1926 this car was transformed in a Roadster Pickup, a 2 door Roadster and a 2 door Coupe, and yes even a tractor. A quote from Henry Ford "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed from the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one-and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."
The body's on these cars were steel with wood used for the pillars along with other parts. When you use wood in production you are going to have a lot of scraps left over. Henry Ford had a plant called "Ford Charcoal" His brother-in-law E.G.Kingsford brokered this selection and changed the name to "Kingsford Charcoal"
Owner : Truman Rogers Billings, Montana
1950 Studebaker Starlight Coupe
A car that was ahead of its time by many years. Yes, there were a lot of jokes about which way it was going. Like many other cars of its day it has weathered the test of time. To find a "Starlight Coupe" today is very rare, yes there may still be one in some ones barn just waiting to see daylight. In the 50s an after market headlight could be used to replace the center grill piece. It had springs that would hook to the tie rods and would turn with the steering wheel. Just like a Tucker but with a lot less money involved. Another accessories was Venetian blinds for the wrap-around rear glass. After this car was designed Lowery - Exner Studios became known nation wide for this excellent work. This innovative design eliminated the bolt on fenders that were used on the pre-war cars. Many things changed for the 50's model, coil springs, automatic transmission with "Hill Holder." This envelope style body allowed them to extend the front seat six inches and the back seat 10 inches. New this car was about $1600.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Grace & Elegance, these are the two words that tell it all when it comes to describing the '57 Chevy. I had the chance back in 1957 to purchase a car like this and I have regretted it ever since. The distinctive body lines are like no other car ever made. This car has become so popular that you could order enough parts to completely assembly a '57 from scratch. This car more than any other defines the "Fifties," you knew what it was a block away. This car did not come with romance buster seats (Bucket seats) as later cars did. GM produced 166,426 Bel Air sport coupes with most of them loaded with all the GM extras. The engine choices were very good and ranged from a straight 6 to the fuel injected V-8 283 bhp power plant. Body paint was toned down from the '56's three tones to just two tones for 1957. All cars had extra attention given to matching interior designs. In the 50s and 60s our automotive designers were given the chance to show their talents. I feel sorry for the designers of today where every car looks the same from year-to-year. We as the buying public always looked forward to the new styles. Anymore, a car designed in 2000 could be mistaken for a 2015.
1967 Chevrolet Nova
The Chevy Nova has become the classic car of choice for all ages, its appeal spans the generations. It will always be a question we have for the auto designers, why they gave up on the work of design starting just a few years ago. Cars of this age were what we liked, not so much the upside down effect that we have today. Place a 350 small block cid producing 370 BHP using a 5 speed floor shift with a 3:08 Posi rear end and you have a true Hot Rod. General Motors awarded the Chevy II (Nova) with its "Award for Engineering Excellence" for the design of this classy car. The publication "American Automotive Field" gave it very high marks. This car drove so well on the track with the quarter mile clocking in at 91 mph, it proved there was no limit what it could do. A comment was made by GM that if you put a stick shift in it the demand would increase the sales. Another source said they would sell like "cold beer on a hot Fourth of July."
1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS
This power house has a LS1 engine for power. This is a top show car that will never have to take a back seat to any car. The Super Sport has a double dome hood, along with black-out grill which was European inspired and displayed the now famous "SS" emblem. Other options included power windows & locks, back-up lights which were moved from the bumper to the tail gate. The down side was they could not be seen when the tail gate was down. With production of this new model sheet metal changes gave it a more squared look. The graphs on the tail gate of this El Camino are striking to say the least.
1957 Buick Special
Buick, a car for all seasons. Cars produced in 1957 are becoming very rare to locate for the collector. Many of the style lines were carried over from the 1955 and the 1956 like the fender wells and the wrap around windshield. The new grill resembled an electric razor to many. Added was the pillars to the back window. Buick has retained the well known portholes that sets it apart from any other car to date. The sculptured hoods and fussy decks were abandoned for the '57. The heavily chromed tail fins and the three piece backlight made this car destinct from the average car. A bigger engine was available for 1957 along with a more ambitious restyling over earlier years. Many standard luxury features were standard, not air conditioning as it would be some time before the public would demand it. Dynaflow transmissions, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, automatic windshield washers and backup lights were in. The ladies loved the plush carpets and the seats to match. There were only 59,739 of this model produced selling FOB for $2,660.
1934 Master Deluxe Chevrolet 4 Door Sedan
Back in 1934, Chevrolet was considered the best car of the day. They had to be built with quality to accept the harsh conditions of country roads. Tires, not what they are today. If you expected more than 10,000 on your rubber then you were dreaming. Basic, yet elegance all in the same car. This was restored to exact factory standards in detail. It has matching numbers, production 1333 out of 4901 built. General Motors referred to this car as a "Series DA" with a 112 inch wheelbase. The engine was a Stovebolt Six with 206 c.i.d. 80 horsepower.
Owners: Ralph & Sharon Hanser Billings, Montana
1955 Dodge 1/2 ton Pickup
Ken & Vicki have owned this truck for 2 years. At the age of 14 Ken became the proud owner. As you can see a lot of work has gone into it to bring it to where it is today. He replaced the old mill with a Chevrolet 350 cid, 700 R4 overdrive transmission, Ford 9 inch rear end and replaced the front suspension with a Mustang II clip.
The series "C" was a completely new design for the Dodge pickups and was sold from 1954 thru 1960. The cab was referred to as a high visibility "Pilot - House design with a wrap around windshield that was new for '55. Dodge had a very good reputation as a rugged work horse. They were assembled in two locations, LA, California and Warren, Michigan.
1935 Hudson Terraplane Business Coupe
Yes, this was an all steel body, built so strong. It was this body that was also used on their Terraplane trucks.Roads back in the 30s were not much to brag about, dirt and gravel and a few miles of pavement if you could find them. Small towns were the hub of life across America. Cars like these had to be built tough, Most cars today will go 200,000 miles, back then 50,000 and a car was worn out. Look at our speeds today, back then 40 mph was the norm. Air conditioning was rolling out the front windshield. A car like this is becoming very hard to find. They came with a Power Dome 6 cylinder engine and a floor shift 3 speed transmission. Mohair cloth was the interior of the day. Options were white side wall tires, hub caps, rear fender skirts, suicide doors, original owners manual.
1933 & 1934 the cars produced were named "Essex-Terraplane" when the 1935 rolled around the name "Essex" was dropped and the car became just "Terraplane." Due to the weight of these cars they never joined competitive events. One of the reasons was the 6 cylinder engine just did not have enough horse power. The Hudson and Essex were not built in America, England and Australia made most of them.
1958 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier 1/2 ton Pickup
A collector pickup, finding one of these is very hard for the one who wants a classic. It was 1958 when Chevrolet changed the numbering system giving the 1/2 ton the number 30. Larger trucks had other numbers. Another name for the "Cameo" line was "Apache." The Cameo line started in 1955 with designers charting new ground with its smooth car lines like never before. It was late in '58 when GM replaced this design with the well known Fleetside pickup box which became the standard for the industry. In making this change GM referred to this as "Jet-Pod" sculpturing. Cameo was the driving force behind the Full Width Rear Body and the chrome grill with built in parking lights. Pricing of the Cameo was modest and only 1,405 were built. One of the reasons production was low the rescession was in full speed for 1958. GM did many up-grades for '58 like all new sheet metal, redesigning the grill by incorporating the parking lights. The hood was reshaped to make it level with the cowl. Also new was the series-designation name plates. 15 solid and 15 two-tone colors were available with colors like; Polar, Dawn, marine blue, Oriental, Glade green, Kodiak brown and Tartan turquoise. White side-wall tires were the norm during these years. Deluxe features were a full wrap-around rear window, chrome bumpers and a high quality interior.
1967 Plymouth GTX
Many cars meet an untimely demise due to neglect. We are very fortunate to have those among us who still love this old iron. This car you see sat in an open shed for eleven years taking the brunt of the weather year after year. It was purchased from the original owner for $300 as it was very rough shape. The car had flared wheel wells and someone had installed a spoiler on the trunk for racing. The back seat and door panels were in great shape -- guess they never went to a drive-in movie, (we weren't always this old). Money remains an important part of restoration, they purchased parts for a year that they would need before starting the work. When they started they had two very good friends and had it together in a matter of two days. When they were ready they drove it to Virginia Beach, Virginia from Montana. For those skeptics who wondered if they would make it they were reminded back in '67 cars drove across the nation with out any problems. Matching numbers, a 375 horsepower 440 cid engine, 727 transmission and 325 posi-track rear end made for a great power train. The drag strip called and it answered with a 14.10 sec at 98 mph, not bad.
The GTX has proven to be a car that can stand on its own when it come to performance on the drag strip or the oval track. When this car was in the show rooms of America a sales tactic was to lay a $5 bill on the dash, on acceleration if the customer could reach it they could have it, none ever could. The senior designer Mr. Bruce Ryniker of Billings, Montana was a top designer of the GTX also he was the designer of the "Roadrunner." There is a passion to find and restore this car more than any other of this class. Restoration can cost up to $100,000, most will cost far less, how many of us car afford a $12,000 paint job or all leather interior, we do what we can with a lot of sweat and tears and don't forget to hide the costs from you know who.
Mike Hicks & Marilyn Moe, owner
1956 Ford F-100 Pickup
Yes, the color is "Planetary Green" a unique color with a special paint from (House of Kolor) that has proven to be very hard to lay down. Not long ago there was a car show in Idaho where this truck took number one for paint out of about 1200 entertainers. When the restoration started this was an old $100 farm truck that had seen its share of work. A complete frame off restoration was to be done and I mean every square inch was attented too. The old suspension was replaced with a Volare front end, a 350 Ram Jet engine with a 700R4 transmission and a custom built exhaust system. Ron Tesinsky, a professional craftsman designed the consol adding a pearl inlay grip to the Lokar shifter. This pickup has real leather to top off this gem.
There was something special about the 1956 Ford pickup that made it special. yes, it was very well built to take the work load that would be required of it on the ranches and farms. It was a good looking truck with its new set back front axel and styling which gave it a nose heavy look. Safety was becoming an up front issue in the automotive industry and Ford was at the front of the line. Items like energy absorbing steering wheel and double grip door latches and an up-grade to 12 volt electrical system. If you were wanting a full rear window it would only cost you $16 more. The dash board sported a car-derived hooded instrument panel. With a base price of about $1589 we should have purchased several of them. The outlook for the collector of these trucks ranks very high, you can't get any better than that.
Current owner, Don & Marilyn Brocopp Billings, Montana
1934 Chevrolet 3-Window Coupe
Dennis happens to be one of those boys who grew up with the dream of owning a '34 Chevy 3-window coupe. By sheer luck, one parked next to him at the Denver drag races. He tried to now show his excitement as he studied this beauty. Small talk turned serious when Dennis decided to make the man an offer.
Determined, Dennis hung in there until he was able to convince the owner his interest in the car was restoration, not using it for a donor car. But purchasing the car isn't the same as making it your own by completing the restoration.
The old dash was upgraded with new Dakota Digital instruments and a new interior was topped off with an Alpine sound system. The 17-in front and 18-inch rear wheels are from Boyd Coddington. He installed a whopping 383 GM crate engine that produces 425 BHP, and a 350 turbo automatic with a 9-inch rear end. If you ever get a chance to see this car, you will understand just why it is always in the winner's circle! Dennis & Sherry Varner - Baker, MT
1947 1/2 Ford Coupe
This car brings back many memories of the days when life was simple and carefree. This car was originally built in Great Falls to be used on the drag strip. We may never know the reason why it sat in total seclusion for about six years hidden away in a dark storage space. It did not have an engine, only a two speed transmission for drag racing, a Dana 60-C 4:10 posi-traction rear end. When you are born in 1947 it only makes sense to own a car the same year as yourself.
This little Ford has had its life changed for the better with an Eldelbrock '79 4 bolt main 350 Chevy small block engine. Added was a mildly beefed up 350 Turbo 350 transmission, new Gear Vendors Under/Over Drive. With this option it will cruise at highway speeds and not use a lot of gas. And yes, put your peddle to the metal and you are gone.The wiring from the 40s had to be replaced, Dakota Digital Dash, electric windshield wipers, Vintage Air Gen II air conditioning was a must. Topping off this restoration was a Walker radiator, front disc brakes and a Monte Carlo front end clip with GM leaf rear springs.
During the years of World War II there were no cars built as all the metal went into tanks, planes, etc. When Ford resumed building cars in 1946 they did many major changes that would do battle with Chevrolet on the sales rooms of America. Ford Deluxe and a Super Deluxe along with a convertible called the Sportsman designed by Bob Geogories from war time sketches and would have white ash and mahogany wood trim. An easy was to tell a '46 from a '47 was the parking lights, '46 were about 2 X 5 inches while the '47 were lower mounted round and round. A Super DeLuxe Coupe sold for about $1,251 or about $ .41 per pound.
Current owner : Mike & Laurie Antonio Billings, Montana
1961 Chevrolet Impala
The Impala has proven to be a car for all the ages, you may be a blue collar worker, farmer or a teacher, the Chevrolet is a car that will fit into your life style. GM during the 60s would have their marketing follow the trend of Ford, they have proven to have their ducks in a row. When William L. Mitchell took the helm as GM Design Chief he toned down the cars for a complete new concept of smoothness. His approach was to make a Chevrolet for every type of market. Every model used the same 119 inch wheelbase, this was a new length for these cars. The width was increased be 11 inches from the 57's which also added about 300 pounds. Chevy offered many engines with the 409 Big Block that was so popular that it inspired a song that went to the top of the charts. They were to add stiffer springs and shocks, and ultra fast steering to become the best performing cars of its time. The price tag F.O.B. the factory was about $2700 or about $ .78 per pound.
1947 JEEP CJ2A
It’s always great when you can trace the history of a vintage automobile back to its origins. This fully restored 1947 Jeep CJ2A was bought new from Davis Motors in Butte, Montana. It was then sold to Leipheimer Ford in Butte and used for business purposes, then on to the family farm in Belgrade. Les Roth purchased the Jeep from a Leipheimer grandson and brought it to his home garage for a full restoration.
That’s when the fun really started…new body, tailgate, front fender; and then transmission work, steering gear, brakes and transfer cases. Luckily, the engine had been rebuilt in 2008 at Engine Rebuilders in Denver.
Les’ goal was to make the Jeep as authentic as possible; based on the Jeeps he drove during his years in the military. Les served in the US Navy from 1960 to 1966 and even wanted to name the Jeep after the ship he served on…the USS Washtenaw County LST 116. He painted it battleship gray and it is authentically restored to match the Navy CJ2A’s he used in Viet Nam.
The serial numbers soon to be added under the windshield will reflect his grandchildren’s birthdates. This Jeep CJ2A was certainly a work of love for this Billings classic car buff.
1973 Fiat CS124 Spider Convertible
The 124 Fiat Sports car is considered to be one of the greatest cars for hill climbing, it was very quick to respond to the curves. The 1600 cc 4 cylinder overhead twin cam produces great performance. The 5 speed transmission is smooth and very quick to respond when going thru the gears. The first Spider 124 was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1966. The 1973 still had chrome bumpers that were styled for the car, in 1975 government got involved and made them have large tubuler bumpers. Starting in 1982, the name Fiat was changed to Pininfarina. For those who would like to own a true Italian sports car the '71 thru '73 are considered some of the best. Performance est. only: 0-60 mph 11.5 seconds, 0-90 mph 32.3 seconds, 1/4 mile 18.6 seconds @75 mph. with a top speed of 108 mph. The light weight of this car at 2,355 pounds makes it like a rocket on a feather.
Current owner: Duane & Joanne Demars Billings, Montana
The Cactus Car
In America, we have a love affair with the cars we've owned through the years. The passing of time doesn't diminish our passion. This particular car fits into the category of worn-out-but-never really-abandoned classics. The great southwest holds the secret location of this sculpture .... and many others just like it. It may look like it has seen better days, however in time, a classic car lover will see a diamond in the rough and restore it.
I have authored two coffee table books that will take you down memory lane. "Classic Cars of Mt & Wy" and "Hotrods & Classics" Every car has a story to be told which is at the heart of these full color books of very high quality.
1960 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
The Ford Thunderbird has become very rare to find these days to restore. This also was the last year the seats were in the same configuration in the last 3 years. This was not a retractable top, however the trunk had its hinges at the rear like the retractable. this would allow the trunk to lift up when putting the soft top down. The 1960 T-Bird was known as the square bird, it had only minor changes from the '59 Bird. Substantially this Bird remained the same for three years. The '60 had a new grill with a main horizontal bar bisecting the three vertical bars ahead of a grill insert. Also added were new triple tail light clusters.
This car underwent a frame-off restoration starting in 1992. When you do a restoration and you live on a large Montana wheat ranch several miles from town you get to know your UPS driver on a first name basis. There was never a week that went by that they wouldn't receive parts for this car.
1962 Willys Wagon - Considered the first SUV
World war II was coming to an end in 1945 when this Jeep Station Wagon was produced for the first time. American's were changing their driving habits with camping and recreational use getting popular.
The United States had a very large number who live in the rural heart of this great nation. Willys Jeeps sold more units in Lewistown, Montana during 1947 & 1948 than any other part of the country. They came with a four-cylinder 230 cid overhead cam that would produce 140 bhp with 210 pounds of torque. They had a Hi-Lo transfer case which was very strong with only one weak part, if you were in second gear Hi range 4 wheel drive you may chip a tooth in 2nd gear. 1962 Willys added the model name "Jeep Traveler" to the station wagon line which also came with new color schemes. They were made with strong steel and held up under the worst of roads and weather conditions
1956 Ford Victoria "Thunderbird"
When the '56 Ford Victoria came out the changes were minor from the 1955. Safety was on the mind of the designers with a dished steering wheel, break away mirror and crashproof door locks that all became standard. If you wanted a padded dash and sun-visors you would have to fork out another $16 dollars. Factory installed seatbelts were not considered a large item however if you added them from the factory that would add $9. The 312 cid "Thunderbird " engine produced 225 bhp using an automatic transmission and was a factory limited package. One of the big selling points Ford used was "performance" for '56. Financing a car was something new to the public, Lee Iacocca came up with an idea of offering a "56 Ford for $56 per month. Three tone paint was common on all cars and white side walls were the norm. The chrome was real and excellent quality that would last, not like the paper covering of today.
This car was placed in a museum with only 11,000 miles where it stayed for the next 39 years, after that it was moved to a private home for the next 9 years. When the current owner found this car it had not enjoyed sunshine for 48 years. A heavy layer of dirt was on the outside and the covering plastic was still on the floorboards, even the tires were in good condition. This car received a good bath and a much needed polish before entering its first car show.
Owners: Jerry & Kim Watson Billings, Montana
1957 Ford Thunderbird
The legend of the Ford Thunderbird is that of a true sports car. This bird had both the comfort and the styling of the European sports cars. With the owners wanting more trunk space the continental wheel kit became the answer to more trunk space. For the '57 they added a softer suspension, which gave it a much smoother ride. The portholes were so popular that they were now a no extra cost item. With a decrease in production for 1957 of 15,631 sales were still five times that of the Chevrolet Corvette. In 1958 the Ford Thunderbird true sports car enthusiast were dismayed to see their sports car become a four door sedan. In '57 Ford motor Company once again placed the spare in the trunk, also giving it a longer deck and a new bumper and grill. Black has always an expensive looking color going back in time to Henry Ford when he said "you can have any color you want as long as its black." This Bird was a great buy for a sports car with an average cost of under $3500. This car is completely factory original with matching numbers, soft top, hard top, and racing top cover. This car is for sale in Montana, if interested e-mail: email@example.com for more information.
1953 Studebaker #2411 " A Bonneville Salt Flats Car"
In June of 1999, Gail & Ron purchased this Studebaker from Gene & Betty Burkland of Great Falls, Montana. This Studebaker was in Wendover, Utah Museum for 18 years. They were able to acquire this car when the Museum ceased operation. Burklands started running this car in 1971 obtaining a top land speed record of 255.863 miles per hour.
Gail & Ron knew the car would need substantial safety upgrades to make it ready to return to the Bonneville Salt Flats. By August of 2000, all of the required updates and were completed by Gail's husband Ron. One of the major updates was the extra interior roll cage and the spoiler on the rear. All new Lexon windows and roof rails were also required. The 1st event on the Salt Flats was a World of Speed in September 2000. A reunion with all 3 of Burkland's salt cars (Studebaker, Datsun & Streamliner) was great. Finding the Hemi to run in it again was a must. They found a 1954 - 336, after lots of work and 9 long years of trial and error, Gail received her class "A" license ( which means speeds no less than 200 mph and no more than 250 mph), during Speedweek
2009 with exit speed of 221.808 mph. Ron has been a master car builder most of his life knew cars but needed to learn the skills he would need to build and tune racing engines. He would continue to learn this engine rebuilding to be able to afford the cost so that his wife (Gail) could accomplish her goals on the Salt Flats. During the next nine years of running the Studebaker, she managed to ruin 4 transmissions, more pistons and valves than they could count and completely blew up a fresh 372 cid donated by Bob Lindstrom. They battled with the "salt germlins" on many issues. With the nine years it took for Gail to get her class "A" license she was able to get the experience needed to become a professional driver. To drive this Studebaker, practice is out of the question, when you get on the Salt Flats you must be at your best.
In 2004 they were invited to be part of a movie, "World's Fastest Indian" starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, a documentary of Burt Munroe. Their photos with A.Hopkins will always be treasured, as well as his autographed signature on their car. Gail's goal when they purchased the car was to hold the record again in honor of the Burklands. Through the passing of time, technology has boomed, and with that the record has increased to over 300 mph. They have been asked to place the Studebaker in the new Wendover Museum when it is completed.
In 2010 Gail was offered a ride by some great friends that have a lakester to go after a landspeed record, once again the weather and germlins slowed her down. In 2015 they are hoping for a great year!! All in all they have an amazing opportunity and a unbelievable experience - so fortunate and yet so blessed to have this virus, "Salt Flats Fever".
Gail & Ron Tesinsky Billings, Montana
1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster
Mother nature works in very strange ways. We are talking about a man who dreamed of owning a "Chevrolet" from even before he was able to have his own driver's license. One day the traffic was very heavy and he missed a turn he had to make. This was before the time of GPS. It was with this miscalculation he was to find the car of his dreams.
It happened to be a car that had a full frame-off restoration; a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. For a car that is over 65 years old, it is no small task. This car has been lowered to look like the old school era of the 1950s. Some of the modified items include a Griffin all aluminum radiator, Mustang II Fat Man Fabrication suspension, and air conditioning. Chevrolet in their wisdom to produce the 350 small block (390 bhp), never knew the popularity this engine would have for the classic car builder. The automatic transmission along with the 10-bolt rear end makes this a driver's dream come true which is just what his vanity plate stands for " DMCMTRU" .
By the end of WWII, the '46 to the '48 Chevy's were given slight modifications from the 1942 model year. The grill medallions and some of the exterior trim was added, while the basic power train remained the same. Only 59,661 cars were produced in the year following the end of the greatest war ever fought by the United States. With the selling price of $1,281.00 it was still out of the reach of many because there was no financing of cars.
Owner's Truman & Carol Rogers Billings, Montana
1967 Ford Galaxie XL
A couple of years after Sandy and Roy got married, they bought a 1968 Galaxie XL GT 428 cid with a four speed, it had a white interior with bucket seats and a console. The car was all red with a gold stripe at midline for the full length, It would be a gorgeous car and fun to drive. They kept it until their twins were born and then with three girls in tow, they jumped into life.
Looking ahead in time with the kids on their own, they got to thinking how fun it would to be to have a car like that again. Many sales and shows later, they came across this car at a weekly Saturday McDonald's Car Show (billed as the longest continuous weekly car show in the nation) in Scottsdale, Arizona. They looked at the car but thought it wasn't quite what they wanted (a '67,not a '68) and left. They drove a couple of miles down the road, looked at each other and said they better go back and get serious! It was gone.
The following Saturday, they returned to the show on the chance the car might be there again. It was! After looking at the car again and getting as much info from the seller as they could, they told him they wanted to look at it again in the daylight and if it looked as good as it did at night they would take the car and yes it did. The car new was sold in Winsted, Connecticut, They get a lot of enjoyment showing their car. The car is completely original.
There were only 18,174 made and sold for $3,243.
Owners: Roy & Sandra Rose Livingston, Montana
This is an original 1979 factory Corvette T-top. This car was acquired in September 2004, the actual miles was an buyers dream with only 1,596. It was located in the small town of Crosby, North Dakota, a small town of about 1300 population. It proves a dream can sometimes be located where you least expect it. To make it even better the storage was also heated for the 25 years until it was sold. The only time this 'Vette saw the light of day was a home coming parade for the local high school.
This is a Third Generation, which covers the years of 1979 to 1982. When this sports car was new it came with every option GM had to offer, the engine was a L-82 / V-8 350 cid (5.7 L.) 370 bhp. GM was able to perpetuate the rumor "there will be a brand new Corvette next year" every year. By 1983, there really was a new Corvette, this was a plan to up-grade the chassis at the end of 20 years. The upheaval the industry went thru proved the Corvette body was on the fast track to becoming a major player in the sports car field. In 1979, lighter seats, designed for the pace car, became standard along with bolt on spoilers as an option. The wind tunnel proved effective in reducing the drag by 15%, which helped in the sales with 53,807 Vett's to come off of the production line.
Owners: Craig & Karen Swenson Billings, Montana
1929 Ford Model A
The secret to building a street rod is to make it different than anything you have ever dreamed of in your lifetime. Take a step back in time to the 1981 U.S. Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This street rod was judged good enough to qualify as one of the top 10 in the entire United States. It is cars like this that set the standard for the best there is to offer in restoring and rebuilding the classics for many years to come.
This 1929 Ford Model A with its 5-inch chopped top is a far cry from the days when it rolled off Mr. Ford's assembly line. The engine is a 327 cid Chevy with a 400 automatic transmission coupled with a 9-inch Ford rear end. The front end has a Kugel independent suspension with disc brakes. The man who owns this classic purchased it in 1989, with the reputation of being one of the best painters in the area he gave it a stunning paint job. The Opal "Signal Green" was a very popular color in the 1980s. Drive this car in a parade and you will be sure to have heads turn only to dream of the day they will have their own classic.
Owner: Ken & Dilys Neibauer Billings, Montana
1955 Chevrolet BelAir Hardtop
Life can be good and it has been great for Charlie who has earned his retirement. He now has the time to devote all his attention to his classic 1955 Chevrolet BelAir. He has never used the term "Classic" lightly, this car has been restored from bumper-to-bumper, iron frame to the front suspension. When this car was purchased it required a fair amount of work, every part was rebuilt or replaced with OEM parts. He also replaced the 327 cid small block, its 350 turbo transmission along with the 3.08 rear end.
1955 proved to be a great year for Chevrolet, Two-tone paint was all the rage, including pastel shades with matching interior to match. The egg crate grill was inspired by the great sports car "Ferrari." This application helped to keep excess chrome to a minimum. Point of sale by GM said it was a "Blue Ribbon Beauty" when it introduced in the fall of 1954. GM also liked to use the term "Motoramic" when they talked about their new found success. The image of stodgy associated with the past several years was now fading away with the birth of this new model. Style and power were to be the next standard to captivate a new generation of buyers who were making more money. Back then this car sold for $1,888 or to put it another way $.60 per pound. On November 23, 1954 a 1955 Chevrolet BelAir hardtop gold-trim rolled off the line which was the 50,000,000 car produced by General Motors .
Owner: Charles Deshner Butte Montana
1940 Ford Sedan Delivery
The chances are very slim that you have ever seen a 1940 Ford Delivery like this, Mick was able to purchase this in '75. It was the victim of major vandalism by someone with a hammer who just liked to destroy everything they could. A complete restoration would be needed to bring this Sedan Delivery back to its formal glory. it now has a 350 cid/396 bhp, a turbo 400 automatic and a '68 Corvette rear end. One man's opinion, "The beautiful lines of the 1940 Ford coupled with the reliability of all Chevrolet power train. It doesn't get any better than that." (Author unknown) Many designers said it was the best body ever built. The lines were smooth and had an art deco dash-board with contrasting colors. the post was era proved to be some of the greatest and lasting designs made. Restyled, the Delux had a lowered vee'd grill, clean front fenders with head lights set into the fenders. Hydraulic brakes and a column shift was added.
David North, Chief Designer for General Motors got it right when he designed the GTO. The timing was perfect, many of our military were in the process of returning from overseas and in need of good transportation. The "GTO" would provide just that—style, muscle, performance and lots of power. There were several add ons you could get to make this a first "Factory hot Rod." The cultivated image, the "GTO" or even better known as the "Goat" which to this day is as well known as the letters "GTO". They started with a 325 bhp engine sporting a standard 4-barrel carb, next you could get a 348 bhp with a triple 2 barrel carb setup which this car has. To make it your own you could add a heavy duty suspension and brakes, bucket seats now referred to as romance busters, and a floor shift in manual or automatic. Fast? You bet is is. It would 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds thru a quarter mile at 14.8 sec doing 95 mph. When the "GTO" was sold they called it a Hard Top, GM in their wisdom had based their sales at just 5000 GTO's however the "GOAT" struck gold and sold over 32,450, it was to set a new record for Pontiac for production in a given year. During production the wheelebase was extended to 115 inches which placed it in the intermediate size range. The body was actually shared by Buick, Olds F-85 and the very popular Chevelle. The "GTO" was to be the first of the true "Muscle Cars." Yes, when you put your foot in the gas it was like flushing a (you know what) however gas was only about $.22 per gallon back when this car hit the show rooms. Ferrari was a fast car until it came to a drag race, that's when the "GTO" would come out on top. At a $1.08 per pound selling price it was a great buy.
Current owner: Roy R. Wherley Three Forks, Montana
1956 Ford Thunderbird
This is a sports car that Ford was very proud of. If you dream long enough, the day will come that your wishes will come true. Wendy's dream was to own a "Baby Bird" a Thunderbird to the rest of us car enthusiasts. When they were married in 1999, her husband promised her he would fulfill her dreams. Imagine Wendy's stunned surprise when she got her '56 Baby Bird for their 7th wedding anniversary. This car was purchased from a wonderful couple in Arizona who had completed a complete frame off restoration in 1978. During the winter months, Baby stayed in a heated garage waiting for the spring rays of a warm sun before getting out among the public.
The 1956 Ford Thunderbird offered "flipper" vent windows, a continental wheel kit and vents on the front fenders. It came with two tops, a convertible soft top and a hard top with "port hole's" for windows. The engine was a 312 cid V-8 with an automatic transmission, which produced 225 bhp. New, this car sold for just $3,151 dollars with a limited production run of just 15,631 vehicles. The color of this Bird is very rare, and yes it was a factory production.