Perfection. A dream come true in the eyes of Ike Reisenauer and his wife Rita. Ike is a retired pipe fitter that has decided to follow his dream, designing his classic car and following up by touring this great United States taking in car shows. About a month after this photo was taken at Flathead Lake in western Montana it appeared in a spread of Good Guys publication.
They purchased this car in Dallas, TX, then drove it back to Casper, WY, where the restoration would take place. The top was chopped 5" before adding channel molding and frenching in the headlights and laker pipes. A Cleveland 351 engine coupled with a C-6 transmission. Cadillac hub caps just added that special touch. Cars of this quality are out there, but only a few will compete on this level.
1956 Ford Victoria Sunliner
It was a wonderful time in our lives when a car like the "Ford Victory" could be spotted a block away and we would immediately know what it was. A special thanks to the owner for many months of dedicated work to recreate this masterpiece. The 1956 received a mild face lift over the '55 along with a more powerful engine. Safety was a main concern with Ford with their new dished steering wheel and break-a-way rear view mirror. The crash proof door-locks and padded dash along with the sunvisors would add $16 to the price. Ford's suppliers could not keep up when it came to seat-belts, as a result only 20% of the cars had them. Over the next several years performance was stressed more than safety. The 272 was the standard V-8 producing 173 bhp, while the new 312 produced put out 225 bhp. Ford also offered a mid-range 292 that would make 200 bhp. You would pay about $2400 for this car back in 1956.
1956 Plymouth Belevdere Convertible
The designers were busy at work when they designed the '56 Plymouth, which introduced the forward look 'meaning the new tail fins.' Along with this came the new revolutionary pushbutton Powder Flight, a 12 Volt electrical system, with an optional Highway Hi-fi, a record player that used special platters with a tone arm that kept it in the groove on bumpy roads.
It was in late 1955 when Plymouth burst onto the scene with dramatic all new styling and a new V-8 power, exactly the tonic it needed. Modest fins sprouted from the rear fenders with the '56 models.
Later in the year Plymouth would introduce the Fury which was an upgrade with more power. It would do 0-60 in just 10 seconds and reach 110 mph. With a few tweaks it would run 145 mph on the Daytona speedway. For about $2475 you could buy a new convertible off the show room floor.
The Batmobile ... Made famous by "Adam West"
Yes, Billings has its own replica of this famous car, It is a 1966 crime-fighting machine that has become the most famous car in the world. Adam West was known as a super hero in his films during the 1960s on ABC with a career that spanned 63 years. No other actor ever played the part of Batman in any television series. H earned his Star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame as Batman. His other works included such titles "Lawman," "Cheyenne," "FBI Story," "Colt .45," and more recently, as a voice actor on "Family Guy." The famous Batman logo was used to light up the L.A. Harbor upon his death at age 88. In the early years, the Batmobile had no real name or any resemblance to the iconic car of today—it was bright red. After the car had its initial appearance it was made into the "Batmobile" as we now see it. George Barris of southern California was the genius car designer who did this work of art. Built on the frame of a concept Lincoln Futura, this car sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction for $4,620,000. The very first two Batmobile cars are owned by a doctor in Virginia and are un-restored, the 3rd is owned by a man in Arizona. If you were a child growing up in the days of "Batman & Robin" you will remember the good guys always would win. We would lay down on the floor by the radio mesmerized by the tales during his radio show.
1956 Ford F-100 1/2 Ton
Quality beyond most trucks. Many bold and true stories have been written about this truck - sustainability and working design. A major selling point was the height of the tail gate, 24 inches which allowed for better loading which was easier on the back. This I know to be true as I had a '56 on my ranch way back then. These trucks had the proven Ford V-8 for power. The bigger lure was the was that of the ruggedly tough but handsome styling the designer came up with. It was equipped with a set back front axle that gave it a nose heave look as though it was hunkering down. Ford emphasized safety with energy absorbing steering wheel and double grip door latches along with an all new 12-volt electrical system. A new grill, wrap around windshield with a wraparound back glass. The $1500 "Custom Cab" would be pocket change by today standards. I for one would love to once again own one of these trucks.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
After 60 years there still is not a classic in this category that has been able to knock this car out of the number one spot. It has remained the crown jewel of General Motors throughout all these years. Expect to pay premium dollars to get one of these in any condition. The '57 was known as the definitive car of the '50s with its styling along with a choice of seven engines. Five of these were 283 V-8's ranging from 185 to 283 bhp. The last of these was a "Ram-Jet" fuel injection which added $500 to the cost, unfortunately it attracted very few buyers. It did give GM the bragging rights to claim 1 bhp per one cubic inch. The Corvette was a popular choice for the fuel injection. The Chevy equipped with a four-barrel 270 bhp could do 0 to 60 in 9.9 seconds. It could also cover the quarter mile in less than 17.5 seconds at over 110 mph. It became a star at NASCAR and other events when on the track it averaged 131.076 mph. Thru the next few years the Bel-Air received several accolades for its performance.
1969 Mach 1, Mustang
A "FORD" all the way! It's built for both men and women who enjoy high performance in their sport cars. We may have different tastes yet we respect great muscle cars whenever we see them. Where else can you get that great feeling of acceleration that sets you back in the seat. The Ford Mustang "Mach 1" made its debut in April of 1964. It was designed to attract a younger type of buyer. The 426 cid (7.0) Cobra Jet engine was introduced in late '68 in the GT models and the GT500KR. The color of this car is "Calypso" which was used only in 1969 and 1970. Ford produced 72,558 Mach 1 in 1969 which retailed for $3,139.00
1960 Mercury Hardtop
Who in their wildest dream would ever believe a car with this styling and quality would become a thing of the past. Sad but true, it happened here in the good old United States of America. Mercury could tell as far back as 1957 that they would have to change their way of designing cars as everyone was looking to the compact cars. They had so many old timers who still believed in the full size cars for both safety and room that handled the highway with ease. By 1960 compacts were ruling the highway and was the choice of the retired and new families due to the lower cost of operation. The '60 Mercury definitely had a bigger body and a four-inch longer wheelbase. Styling was still square but more sculptured, marked buy a mile wide grill, huge bumpers at both ends enormous front and rear windows. 1960 production would top 271,000 for a very good year. It is the opinion of the author that "Mercury" should never have been discontinued, it was a great car .
1949 Packard Coupe
A true barn find, well very close. The man who owns this car found it in the most unusual way, this business man purchased an old building in downtown Billings, Montana. The basement was full of the remnants of old construction equipment from days gone by. Try to picture in your mind construction debris eight feet deep, He told the seller if he had to clean it out he could also keep the spoils. After a few days of removing debris, they found a large tarp covering up something. Upon removal they found this '49 Packard underneath in perfect condition except for the hood where some form of fluid had destroyed the paint. After a short time at the body shop followed by a detail shop it arrived at a local car show. This car sat on a 127 inch wheelbase and came with a 282 cid engine producing 120 bhp straight eight. It was considered a true luxury car for its time. Its style remained traditional with an upright sloping radiator and a chisled hood. Craftsmanship was excellent on all models. FOB factory pricing ranged from $3900 to $4800 depending on the Packard model.
1956 Chevy 1/2 Ton Just look at what you can do with a truck, the sky is the limit. Out west we have a way of life that includes at least one truck per family along with our other cars. The choice we make reflects our life style. This '56 you see has had major renovation, built in southern California using a 78 Camaro frame, channeled in the rear so it could accommodate a five-inch drop. Air suspension was added allowing this truck to be lowered within two inches of the ground. The frame will only have a 1/2 inch clearance at the door. Original wheels have been replaced with Foose wheels, 18-inch in the front and 19-inch in the rear. The engine is a 305 Chevy small block coupled with a 350 Turbo Automatinc Transmission. The truck bed is solid oak flooring with all new chrome and the latest digital dash. The paint that was chosen is a Pearl White 3-stage giving that appearance of 3-D depth.
1948 Frazer Sedan
Early in 1945, Frazer was looking for a partner who also was loaded with money, along came Henrey J. Kaiser of the West Coast who was also interested in building cars. A 1947 Frazer Manhattan was to be the car for the masses built to be what every family may need in a car. Joseph Frazer came from a very rich family and had a desire to build his own line of cars. He felt the time was right as the war was over and production of cars had been halted for the war effort. His Frazer Manhattan sold for just $2712 at the production plant. The Frazer offered a very large interior at 64 inches, its front seat was one of the largest in production. Well over 80% of its total width was for passenger comfort. It would be 1951 before Frazer would be able to offer an automatic transmission. It is very rare to find one of these cars today to even restore. Only 36,120 of these cars were were built for 1947 production.
1957 Ford Thunderbird
This '57 Ford Thunderbird proved to be the fun sports car he always wanted. The special "diamond black exterior & white diamond leather exterior"would make any owner proud. This car also has three tops for you to enjoy depending what you desire for the day. New for 1957 Thunderbird styling were a redesigned bumper and grille along with a 312 c.i.d 285 bhp. The tail lights were canted and were special for the 1957 Bird. Optional port holes on the top along with the spare tire could be on the outside.
1950 Mercury Coupe Full Custom
Enduring the test of time - even after 67 years this car is still desired by collectors. A product of Ford Motor Company, it was built to withstand every type of abuse mother nature could throw at it. The Desota grill was a popular add-on even to this day. These cars were chopped, dropped, lowered, well to say it all, it was a dream machine to customize. When Ike & Rita found this car for sale it was in Dallas, Texas. They drove from Casper, Wyoming to buy it. In doing so they had a bonus when they met the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. They are now retired and have a very nice motor home with an enclosed trailer to keep their baby in.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
The classic that never faded from the most popular of all cars. What ever kind of car you ever wanted, this was it. Style, comfort, ride, speed, room and a very low cost of operation. Thru the years we have chopped, lowered, removed emblems and just made it our own. From the 1955, 56, 57 these cars became know as the "double nickel cars". These cars command our attention more now than when they were in the show rooms around our nation. Sometimes the story of how a person ends up with a car can also be very intersting. Upon returning to Montana to the family farm he just parked this car next to the barn where it sat for the next 25 years. The car could be seen from the road and thru the years many have stopped to buy it. He was getting tired of this as every week at least one person would stop. Then one cold morning while at the local town cafe out of frustration he said I'm going to sell that Chevy just to get it out of my hair, another man overheard him and asked what he wanted for it. He thought for a moment and said $6000, the other man said "sold" and paid him on the spot. This car sold new for $2,229 with only 166,500 made.
1970 Oldsmobile 442
There were many muscle cars produced during the '60s and '70s that would become the most sought after classics of our time. Oldsmobile produced just such a car with its 442. This car came with a 455 cid V-8 putting out 370 bhp. Oldsmobile came up what could best termed a cartoon character when they were marketing the 442 AS Doctor Oldsmobile W-Machine. There were quite a few problems due to the governments new emission control standards. Fortunately, GM had the type that the buying public wanted. They were in the top 10 in the nation. This was only one of 830 produced with a Hurst 4 - speed. New selling price was $3,151,00.
1966 Ford Thunderbird
It was a very proud moment for the top brass at Ford when the 1966 Ford Thunderbird first came off of the production line. The styling was superb with its full width tail lights and its cruise control and steering wheel buttons. Only 5049 of these 1966 Ford Thunderbirds were built. Unique to this car was the 428 cid power plant upgrade for just $64 when ordered new. It also came with real leather seats, three-tone paint with Candy Apple Red. It was a bitter cold day when the present owners made the trip to Ohio to haul this car to Montana. It sold new in Gary, Indiana for $4,734.23 and still has matching numbers. Clay & Joyce Busch of Stanford, Montana are the proud owners.
1947 Willys C-J 2 A Jeep
This Jeep was the civilian version of the world famous "Jeep" that helped us win World War II. A few minor changes had to be made after the war. The war version had eleven leafs per spring, that was reduced to seven leafs, the 4-inch headlights that folded to light up the engine were replaced by large headlights. A tail gate and a brake light was added with the spare being moved to the side. During WW II all production of vans, trucks and tractors were halted as the iron was used for the war effort. Willys sold these Jeeps as an Ag Jeep, it was then used on the farms across America until production of large tractors could once again hit the ag market. You could get up to 14 pieces of equipment - from plows to buzz saw's. The radiators were about 4 inches thick for farming, so if you did add a heater you would never get any heat out of it. If this were today, OSHA would have a fit. The best after market heater was a Gas Heater that sat next to the gas tank, by the way the driver also sat on top of the tank. It would keep you warm and also reduce your mileage to 4 mpg. Lewistown, Montana sold more Jeeps in 1947 and 1948 than any other city in the nation.
1961 Corvette Convertible
When talking to Corvette owners they mostly agree that this is the true Corvette with the solid rear axel. Corvette nationwide is considered the true American Sports Car. I agree to that having owned a total of 86 cars from the time I was in high school. Only one of them happened to be a Corvette. The 1961 with its external trunks were history after 1962, these trunks allowed for space to secure golf clubs and other personal items. The overall construction of the '61 Corvette was considered the best in history for quality of those built in Saint Louis. In 1957, General Motors went along with a ban on factory participation auto racing. Corvettes had to find a way to satisfy both the racing driver and also the person who just wanted street performance. To purchase a Corvette of this year you can pay from $50,000 and on up, that is if you can find one for sale. Serial numbers range from 10867S100001 to 10867S110939.
1929 American LaFrance Fire Truck
America has a long tradition of honoring the courage and dedication of our firefighters. Ron Lucero of South Ogden, Utah decoded to restore this old 1929 American LaFrance, it was more than just a fire truck. It became a way to preserve our heritage. The restoration took nine years to complete. The seat was comprised only of a frame.
It was built in Elmira, New York in 1929, it can pump 750 gallons per minute. Its water tank would only hold 60 gallons of water making it completely dependent on fire hydrants. The body is 22 feet in length and a full 7 feet in width. It is powered by a 150 horse power 6 cylinder in line engine. It has a brass bell for the driver to ring while on the way to a fire along with the siren. "This fire truck is a tribute to all our firefighters" past and present.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500
A rare one, indeed. This Ford Fairlane 500 Sport Coupe is completely stock. This car has all matching numbers, paint, power train, upholstery. Out of 21,431 sport coupes produced in 1964 only 4000 carried the "K Code." Only 110 were known to have survived. The Guardsman Blue is the original factory color. The sport coupes came with a sportier trim, bucket seats and a console and gauges. It was equipped with a "289 Hipo engine." On the drag strip it was a strong competor against the Chevrolet 409. This car sold for about $2500
1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air
When General Motors designed the "Chevrolet Bel-Air" they hit the nail on the head. There had never been a car produced that would capture the buyers of all ages like the Bel-Air. It was a major departure from the body styles that would be the 49s through the early 54s. Looking back it was a very practical well built car with lots of leg room and would seat six adults. As the years would roll by the new term "aerodynamics" would start to rule the automotive design of all cars. It would be in the 60s that the personality would start to fade. Those of us who grew up in that area considered it the start of Classic Cars.
1951 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
Yes, this is a true story, It was the fall of 1978. Mick's dad had been looking for a Sedan Delivery to use in his business to make deliveries of flowers. He wanted this to look like the one that he and his bride started the business with. It needed a ton of body work, which proved to be the tip of the iceberg to make it what it is today. Just four months later Mick's dad passed away. The job now would become the task of the family to make his dream come true. To give you an idea what they were faced with, both doors were welded shut, the bumpers were also welded on and the roof was caved in. The old 216 cid engine was in need of major work, from the looks of the oil it had never been changed. It now runs like a dream with the old 3-speed on the steering wheel. Mick called upon his friends with the Big Sky Street Rod Assoc. to help. In just 45 days, this sedan delivery was up and running, all painted along with graphics and lettering. How did it get its name ? Mick's "MOM" was the driver with 3 kids in tow in the back end while flowers were being delivered around town. What better name than "PANIC WAGON" could you come up with. This Delivery Van represented the first Christmas with out their dad, "The Founder" and to their mom Betty, The "Panic Wagon Driver."
2001 C-5 Corvette
An American dream come true. The Chevrolet Corvette is a true American sports car. The C5 featured a hydroformed box frame that offered an improved structural platform. They then moved the transmission to the rear of the car. This would form a rear mounted transaxel assembly. The engine is a 5.7 LS 7 with a 4-speed automatic. The top panel provides a clear vision to the stars and could be considered a semi convertible as it can be removed and placed in the rear compartment. I also have a Buick Park Avenue Ultra 3.8 turbo and this gets better gas mileage than the Vette. Yes, it will take some practice to learn how to get out of it. I remember the very first Corvette to be sold in Montana and wonder why I ever waited so long to own one.
1950 Ford Business Coupe
This is the body style that every classic car enthusiast searches for when he or she wants the true 60's show car. To find one would be like winning the lottery. This American Icon that you are looking at has over 400,000 miles on it. The couple who own this car lived in Florida where he was the president of a university, upon his retirement they made their last trip to Montana where their children live. Trips back and forth wore out two or three engines over the years. This car would be considered a mild award winning custom, at first it was purchased as a daily driver while he restored his '32 Ford. The car now has a 267 V-8 Chevy engine with a 700 RA overdrive transmission and an 8-inch 3.55:1 rear end. More than 40,000 have been driven going to car shows coast to coast. They plan to enjoy this jewel for many years to come.
1956 Airstream Luxury Trailers
The first Airstream was built in the 1920s in a backyard out of Masonite by a student lawyer by the name of Wally Byam. It was in southern California where the weather was warm year round. The name was not given to it until 1936, over 80 years ago. The rounded design of this trailer made it very aerodynamic when pulling on the highway, cross winds did not affect it. The fuselage was like that of our airliners. It received its name after the very first trans-Atlantic seaplane. During the great depression of 1936, there were over 400 trailer builders, yet only Airstream survived. Airstream had a guideline for who would be the best prospect to buy an Airstream. If you drove a Chevrolet you might afford the smallest trailer, if you drove a Oldsmobile you were considered more likely to purchase the next step up in size.
After World war II, Airstream Parks sprang up and the public had a new form of recreation. A major buyer was the military who would place them in the cargo hold and would have an Airstream to stay in where ever they were.
1957 Ford "Thunderbird"
The wind in your hair and the warm sun are just what the Doctor ordered for a nice Sunday drive with your favorite girl. Mine happens to be my wife of 58 years. The two major sports cars of the '50s were the Corvette and the Thunderbird, both great cars made to express who we really are, and the youth we never want to lose. Restyled for 1957, the Thunderbird was given a new grill and front bumper. This Bird came with the optional 312 cid engine with had 285 bhp. This became one of the most recognized iconic sports cars of the year, it has been on postage stamps, television, movies and advisements. Ford GM Lewis Crusoe could not understand why we could not have a sports car like Europe had at the "Paris Auto Show." Crusoe asked Designer George Walker about it. He made a call to Michigan and told them he wanted a sports car by the time they got back from the Paris show. It had been on hold for some time. This T-Bird came with bucket seats, hard top and a soft top which was a power top. Many options like push button radio, automatic windshield wipers, Dial-O-Matic power seat which controlled the volume of the radio. The T-Bird could hit 146.3 mph, during the Daytona Speed Weeks, although speed wasn't what the new Bird was all about. Rather it was a stylish, luxurious, upper-middle-class cruiser. Yes, this was the perfect car to give your girlfriend or wife for a cruise up-town for showing off.
1991 Buick Reatta Hard Top
Very few men can say they gave their wife a car that they designed and walked through the assembly line at General Motors. This was a one and only Montana "Sky Blue" color made special for his wife "Pat." This is no ordinary man, David North was retiring as "Chief Designer" having spent thirty-three wonderful years in this position. We often wonder where a car gets its name, In this case David and his wife loved a western movie called "Giant," she also helped him with the nominating of the brand name. This is a sports car that seats two with ample leg room, and comes in both a convertible and a hard top model. The "touch instrument panel" was unique to the industry in '91. Those at Buick knew this car was being made for David & Pat and went out of their way to do some very special enhancements that would not be on cars for the next several years. Of the many cars they were privileged to have owned this was a "keeper" and will always be known as "Pats Car."
1923 Ford T-Bucket
1923 Ford T-Bucket The 1923 Ford Model "T", one of the greatest cars of all time for the car buff to work on. Far more of these cars have been the project of the chop shop than ever were restored to their production glory. As we all know the final image is in the eyes of the beholder. Components of this car will show up with a Harley-Davidson under it or yes, even a VW Bug. The 1923 T-Bucket in the photo has a General Motors 406 big block that has been stroked and bored. The Dino has peaked this mill at 460 bhp. This car was purchased unfinished about 12 years ago. It's Fast , try zero to sixty in just 1.5 seconds. Henry Ford was in heaven when the first Ford Model "T" rolled off the production line in 1922. He tilted the windshield back a slight bit on the runabout model. If you wanted an electric starter with an ammeter that would cast an extra $65. Most of these cars sold for about $298 & $295, compare that to today's price. The Turing car and the Runabout accounted for about 2/3 of all their sales.
1959 Triumph TR3A The Triumph was a great sports car that gained world wide acceptance. It was in the month of June 1984 that production came to a halt in England. The production company Leyland would close all production plants for the last time. The company had a long history of manufacturing some of the world's most beautiful sports cars. It was in 1983 that a German by the name of Siegfried Bettmann decided to move to England. His first venture was a bicycle factory. The White Sewing Machine Company gave him the operating capital to get started. Business was good until the end of World War I, at that time the Japanese entered the market with motorcycles which dried up the profit that they were making their living with. In the 1860s there was a demand for cheap cars in England. 59 different car companies sprang up about the same time. Triumph was one of them with a new factory that produced the cars that the public demanded. Its sad to say however their cost of production did them in.
1964 Ford F-100 Custom Cab
Pickups like this never rolled off the production line unless it was for the CEO of Ford Motor Company. The owners of this truck purchased it new and treated it like one of the family. Jonas' dad ordered it with the factory 292cid V-8 & limited slip differential. Factory options included the spotlight and the AM radio. Now is when you wish you lived in the good old days, the price new was just $1979.49. In 1964 Ford offered a wide selection of pickups, Chevrolet tried to match them one-for-one which made for some great competion. The Ford's styleside box featured a double wall design which prevented the loads from ever making dents to the outer box panels. This was the first pickup to have a lever in the center to release the tail gate. This new F-series made available options like Air Conditioning, two tone paint. Another great feature was the tail gate height of just 24 inches, a far cry from the new pickups of today. White side wall tires were common on all F-100 pickups. Owner; Tim & Joan Sleeth Billings, Montana
1948 Chevrolet Suburban The future was upon us with this type of transportation. This Suburban was restored by a master rebuilder who has done many show cars in the past. With only 36,000 original miles, this 216 cid six-cylinder was still like new. This old engine had small cups at the end of the connecting rods to pull the oil up to the engine. Unlike most engines it was void of an oil pump, the later 262 six-cylinder motors did have an oil pump. The transmission was a four speed with a very low first gear. The factory radio and fog lights were factory options along with the sun visor over the windshield. Mark Tronstad of Billings, Montana restored this classic to factory specifications in 2014.
1950 Hudson Pacemaker Coupe
Hudson used the term "Step Down" for their lower look of the 50s. It referred to the dropped floor pan surrounded by steel frame girders. The Supermatic were applauded for toughness and handling, as well as a smooth highway ride. When Hudson introduced the Pacemaker coupe, it accounted for almost half of the 1950 production of their cars. The Pacemaker used a 232 cid 112 bhp in-line six cyl engine. An available option in 1950 was the Super-six 123 horsepower aluminum cylinder. You could have your choice of three transmissions, mechanical overdrive, Drive Master, and new Supermatic, which had a new crusing gear with a button on the dash, which allowed you to shift gears by just letting up on the gas. "Step Down" meant that you would sit within the Monobilt frame, with box-section steel frame on all sides for safety. This was a full six passenger sedan with the most room of any car built to date. With a price of $1959 you would pay just $ .56 per pound to buy this car.
2014 Shelby Cobra GT500
"Yes" its fast by any standards, when you add a 662 bhp power plant you better hold on to the seat of your pants and grit your teeth. The electronic Line-Lock is a special feature that should be used only on the track. This feature allows for you to keep the front brakes locked up which will allow you to smoke the rear tires for a solid quick start. The launch control will integrate the brakes, traction control along ensuring a smooth consistent start. The message center will provide instance performance metrics in the center of your instrument cluster. You know there is power when your car provides longitudinal g-forces and acceleration times plus automatic and countdown starts. Some drivers like to adjust their powersteering. You have 3 options, Normal, Sport settings and comfort. The fun just gets better with the manual six speed transmission. It is the smooth shifting that the owners like the most.
1953 Studebaker Champion
What a wonderful custom this car has become, only a master craftmen can pull this off and make it flawless. This car started off as a 2-door hardtop, Ron chopped the top 4 1/2 inches and made a flush mounted windshield, the rear window was slanted back 7 inches and made up with 3 fabricated pieces. It takes a lot of time to flare all four fenders to perfection. A new trunk lid had to be fabricated along with hawk fins and a Mustang spoiler. A Mustang 3rd tail light and Chrsyler door handles. Century rear view mirrors, the front end was nosed & decked along with smoothed bumpers. A special engine cover was fabricated. Power windows and seat along with keyless entry and a new alarm system was added. Montana weather requires both a heater and air-conditioning. A few of the add-ons were a cruise control, 8 speaker sound system and a complete Cobra interior. Firewall and transmission tunnel Mustang, Jaquar independent suspension front and rear. Also added were power steering, 4 wheel disc brakes, 3:03 posi, 4.6 L -4 overhead cam 32 valve engine. 5 speed Tremec transmission, remote twin oil filters - 9 quarts, complete EPA emissions.
Donar cars that were used: 1953 Studerbaker, 1986 Jaguar XJS and 1999 Mustang Cobra.
Paint: House of Color Kandy Tangerine, Black PPG Concept, 18 Gold Leaf strip.
Complete build/design by Ron Tesinsky / Westside Customs, Billings, MT
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Red as Red can be. That is what this stunning Bel Air is. They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, make no mistake this car makes us all beholders. Many '57s have been restored, however few have obtained the clean, crisp elegance this car has became. The selection of engines were no less than six V-8's from 185 to 283 bhp. The 283 was courtesy of "Ramjet" a fuel injected engine. Their were few takers at $500 per add-on, it did however give GM the bragging rights for 1 bhp per cubic inch. The Bel Air Sport Sedan equipped with a four barrel 270 bhp would do 0 to 60 in just 9.9 seconds. Peddle to the metal in the quarter mile you would reach 110 mph in 17.5 seconds. We all look for a good buy in life, this car new was only $.70 per pound.
1951 Ford F-1 1/2 Ton Pickup Built to last at a time when there were few garages to work on them. White sidewall tires were a common site on pickups of this era. This '51 Ford had a facelift with a new grille and hood trim. The box underwent a change from a steel floor to a wood floor. The stock engine was a 239 cid V-8 which was rated at 100 bhp. For 1951, Ford offered a total of three engines to choose from. This newly designed cab with its one piece windshield was referred to as a million dollar cab. This was also the first year the name tag "F-1" was used. A selling point was that the tail gate was only 24 inches off the ground. It seems like everyone I talk to is looking for a 1948 to 1951 to restore. A personal note: I drove a 1950 Ford 1/2 ton during High School while living on a ranch 40 miles from town, dirt and gravel roads and it held up like it was a tank.
Shelby Cobra Replica The story as I was told. Lets call this a "Fathers Love." This car started out about a couple years ago in a secret location in Billings, Montana. This Father wanted to give his son a very special gift when the day came that he would be married. I was told this car was moved around and hidden like a child playing Hide & Seek with all of his or her friends. This car was truly built with all the compassion and love of detail a father could put into it. Rest assured that I was told about this from one of the many who had a part in making this a reality. Some may make a feeble attempt at a task like this, not this father, he did it right addressing every small detail to perfection. I was informed the son is on active duty as a Commander in the United States Navy. I believe the wedding has now taken place and this was the father's gift to his son and his new bride.
1961 Studebaker Hawk The "Hawks" were the last Studebakers to be designed by the legendary "Loewy's team." They were good looking and a blast to drive. They operated on curves like a true sports car and hugged the highway at high speeds. The Hawks were descendants of one of the most popular of all, the Starlight Coupe. The 1961 Hawk was up-dated receiving two-tone color panels and a four-speed gear box. Brooks Stevens was given the task to take over the design as an outsider of the "Hawks." One major change was the Mercedes-style grille, Studebaker was distributing "Mercedes-Benz" at the time. The optional 225 bhp would give this Hawk a top speed of 120 mph and 0-60 in less than 10 seconds.
1939 Plymouth This was a workingman's car. Good reliable transportation that became the staple of the American dream. Most of these cars got about ten miles per gallon with an average speed of about fifty-five mph. Gas was about 10 cents per gallon and a quart of oil around 8 cents. When my wife was in High School in 1954, her parents had a car like this. She and her girlfriend would cruise around all evening on $ .50 cents worth of gas. The present owner has kept this car all factory and looking like it did in 1939. In that year many body types were available, coupes with or with out the Rumble seat (many would call it the Mother-in-Law seat). For 1939, that one year only Plymouth would offer a convertible with a rumble seat. A car like this sold for about $740 at the dealerships, by the end of World War II this car would sell for over $900. Plymouth. Ford & Chevrolet made up the top three cars in the United States. Back in the 30s Plymouth "Binder Twine" was used on almost every farm in America. That is the origin of the name Plymouth for automobiles...not Plymouth Rock.
1930 Desoto I was the bride of Mr. Chrysler and Mrs. Plymouth. I came with 18-inch wheels and a six-cylinder engine. My air conditioner would consist of six windows down at 30 miles per hour. My new parents thought I should get a face lift to compete with the big boys, and here I am. My power train now has a 1978 440 cid with 1971 heads, I'm hopped up just a little with being bored .030 and with a Isky Cam. I added a Mopar suspension with a Volare front clip and a massive 30-gallon fuel tank. Talk about hard times, I have a touch of road rash, but I'm not to bad for one who was "born" when there were only 48 staties and has survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II. Added to that were several armed conflicts and 15 Presidents. I have earned my scratches and worn tires as I have traveled all over this great United States of America. I am proud that my owner went to war to defend our way of life. God Bless America.
1932 Ford Pickup, The "Deuce"
Fords from 1932 are known as "Deuce" to the world of car lovers. There are national meets for the "Deuce's" that bring thousands together for reunions. The '32 probably has been customized and modified more than any other car. It is considered the ultimate hot rod or better known as the holy grail of hot rod builders everywhere.
OSHA would have fits if today they mounted the gas tank under the drivers seat like they did in '32. When production commenced in March 1932, a powered V-8 model was a sensation from the word go. It was the start of the end of the four cylinder as it was soon to fade into the history books. Introducing a new car in 1932 would prove a real challenge as this was the worst year for the great depression. Very few people had a desire to purchase a new car or truck, however the V-8 gave them a leg up on the other makes.
The marketing department only had in mind to sell the V-8 to the car buyers, that was until the truck buyers wanted it. Ford caved in and the rest is history.
1954 Chevrolet Two Door Post - Bel Air
With a major face lift in 1964, GM sales increased over the previous year. The Bel Air was considered the top of the line and came with a high compression Blue Flame Six that produced 115 brake horsepower. Unlike the old 216 cid these engines now have oil pumps for greater performance. Chevy set the standards for automobile production with the World War II in the past. Over 1.17 million cars & trucks were sold during 1954, a welcome release to GM stockholders. Though sound and reliable the '54 lacked in excitement for style. With the coming of the V-8 that would change. The basic body style of Chevy starter in 1949 and would continue until the last production car of 1954.
1934 Ford 3 - Window Coupe
There is something about the color red, when it is on a '34 Ford like this it stands out even more. I may place a different picture in our mind when we look at a street rod. Maybe this is what keeps us young at heart. Time doesn't diminish that feeling just because a gray hair may show up. You may describe a car like this as perfection.
A 1934 Ford 3 window coupe is the most sought after of all cars. This classic has a Kugel front suspension with disk brakes. The newly upholstered Ford Bronco seats is a great added touch. Want power? This has a 427 cid Chevy with a turbo 400 automatic transmission and a Corvette rear end.
1956 Ford F-100 1/2 Ton Pickup.
When this truck was made, Ford Motor Company made the height of the tail gate a main selling point by being just 24 inches off the ground. Ford knew that if they did their job they would not have to worry about Chevrolet. The wrap around windshield and the option of a large back window gave this truck a "Back To The Future" look. The larger 272 cubic inch V-8 offered 167 brake horse power. The Canadian version of this truck was called a Mercury. This truck possesses quality that would never be repeated in later years. Seat belts were just made available however very few ever ordered by the dealers do to the cost which added about $9 to the base price.
For the collector this is a crown jewel that the person restoring can do so many different things.
1957 Chevrolet BelAir Hardtop (The dream car)
This car had such special styling that everyone seemed to fall in love with it. True love is very hard to explain, yet this car could make it happen. You could say this is a mild custom with its Twilight Royal Metallic paint, Edelbrock Performer 50-100 Nitrous System, 2 inch Ceramic headers into 2.5 inch Flowmaster exhaust, GM 12 bolt positraction rear end. IDITTI polished steering tilt column, and the list goes on and on.
Chevy earned the term as the definitive car of the 50s. The new car buyer had a choice of seven engines, five of these were V-8s ranging from 185 to 283 bhp. One of these was introducing the "Ram-Jet" engine for a hefty $500 extra, sad to say but very few were ordered at that cost. A challenge for Chevy was to make a two year old body look fresh for the 1957 production year. A new cowl proved to be an expensive change. "Finny" would be the best way to describe the rear end with its several pointed fender tips. Properly equipped, the '57 Chevy was a formidable track competitor. NASCAR was one of the events where Chevy did very well.
1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Fun in the sun & wind in your hair, it doesn't get any better than this. The 1966 Ford Thunderbird proved to be a game changer in the automotive field. Thunderbird styling was superb with its full width tail lights, cruise control and steering wheel buttons which were offered as an option. This car is a true classic with only 5,049 convertibles produced. This car has the 428 cid engine that Ford offered for $64 extra and was rated at 345 bhp. But the desirability of this car doesn't end there, it has red leather seats, Candy Apple Red paint with three tone red-on-red interior. When you get a classic car that is 50 years old and still has matching numbers, it's rare. A popular accessory was the swing away steering wheel and the swivel drivers seat. With a price tag of $4879 the price per pound was just $1.09 per pound.
1957 Oldsmobile Starfire Hardtop
A great car just floats down the road at 100 miles per hour. To this day the author can not understand why General Motors would discontinue this great line of cars. They had style and grace and were built with great quality. The Ninety Eights were the top of the line, perhaps they were just too good. The Rocket V-8 engine was equal in quality to the Buick Nail Head engine. It was a 371.1 cid with 277 brake horse power. An option was the Tri-Power (three carbs) lifting the bhp to 300. The wide mouth grille was restyled, the windshield pillars were reshaped with more of an angle. A stainless steel sweepspear would start at the beltline and flow to the rear for an ideal two-tone area ending with the tail lights. Only 17,791 of this model were produced with a cost of $.92 per pound.
1986 Chevrolet Pickup ... "A Hot Ride"
This pickup was acquired in 2000, the best part of the purchase was all the parts were there. Most buyers would think it came from a salvage yard, but not a person with forward vision. This was an opportunity to make he dream truck that comes about once in a lifetime. The frame-off took three years to complete. It now has a 502 cid with a 871 blower and electronic fuel injection system. They installed an ATI turbo 400 transmission with a 4:11 Mark Williams rear end. This truck was clocked at 127 on an old airport runway with power to spare. This truck has came a long way from the "three on the tree" with a "six cylinder engine".
1956 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday Sedan
The "Rocket Circle" on top of the dash was an option offered from 1956 to 1960 by General Motors. It was for preferred customers which allowed a place for your initials and the number of Oldsmobiles the customer has owned to date. The engine was a 324 cid Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 producing 230 bhp. The transmission was a Jetway Hydra-Matic which gave it a snooth start and good mileage. 1956 brought about a "Panoramaic" wrap around windshield, power brakes and power steering. Distinctive spinner wheel caps to Old's were soon to be copied by most all automotive cars on the road. The 1956 gains a large gaping "mouth" front grill inspired by the 1953 Starfire Car Show. All models that were produced totaled 485,000 and sold for about $3,480 or about $ .85 per pound. Two and three tone paint were all the rage.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro "Super Sport"
A true classic, Camaro's don't go to the after life, they are given a second chance at life. Even a donor car will give life to another Camaro. General Motors would allow you to build your Camaro to match your life style. These are some of the changes you were allowed to make. Stiffer springs & shocks, D-17 Wide oval Tires, modified hood & insulation, bumble-bee nose strips and the ever popular "SS" emblem. You could add a 396 Big Block for another $400. Custom carpet along with bucket seats and a fold down back seat. A luxury interior with all the gauges and a console with a shifter for Turbo Hydra-Matic, heavy duty 3 speed or 4 speed manual. The Rally-Sport package added a hidden headlight grill for a $105 extra. Extras in 1968 were tinted glass, radio, heater, clock, cruise control and air conditioning. Want the time? Add a clock. Mechanical options were, sintered metallic brakes, vacuum brake booster with ventilated disc brakes power steering. If you wanted the steering used in race cars you could have Fast Rate manual steering. Positraction limited-slip differential and your choice of many axle ratios. The price could go from $2900 to $5000 in the blink of an eye.
With the 60s, Chevrolet responded to all the turmoil in our nation with a size and style car to fit every need, each car had distinct car lines. Unlike today, designers could be creative.
1969 Dodge Charger ... "The General Lee"
A replica of the original General Lee from "Duke's of Hazzard." The man who was the chief designer of this car, Mr. Bruce Ryniker, passed away this March of natural causes. Very few cars have ever enjoyed the popularity the Dodge Charger has as the "General Lee." The "General Lee" made history November 11, 1978 when it appeared on the History Channel. As this car was put thru its paces the doors had to be welded shut. The TV show lasted seven years before the ratings began to fall. As people would send mail into the program, over half of it was addressed to the General Lee. This car held such popularity that 24 out of 25 had a place in their heart for it. Around 256 and 321 "General Lee" were created for the seven years the show ran. It is known that only about 20 of these cars remain in disrepair in several states. One of the original cars is owned today buy Bubba Watson a professional golfer from Florida. What a car, no one was ever hurt with all the wrecks.
1932 Ford Roadster
This is what dreams are made of. This is a "Montana Fiber Teck Body" by Roger Krug. The great upholstery in this car was installed by Kirk's Upholstery located in Lockwood, Montana. Eric's Cylinder Service of Billings, Montana installed a 389 small block giving it all the power you will ever need. A 700R transmission was installed by Ron Struss of Big Sky Transmissions with a 8-inch Ford 373 posi rear end from Wes Nelson of Pro Fab Motor Sports. All Extra Chrome of Salt Lake City Utah did a great job producing show room chrome. The fabrication and assembly along with the paint by Reggie's Rod Shop, Reggie Dangerfield has 30 years as a primer body shop and "ROD" builder doing business in Billings, Montana.
The popularity of the '32 Ford roadster just keeps getting better. Age has nothing to do with it, 16 to 90 years we all love to get behind the wheel and cruise with the wind in our hair and an eye out for the local police patrols.
1967 Plymouth "GTX"
This is a 49-year-old car in better condition than when it was new. This car happens to have matching numbers, a rare sight these days. This car underwent a major restoration after being purchased for just $300. Many cars like this were used for drag racing and also the oval track, we never knew that some day they would be worth a small fortune. It's amazing how a classic will bring smiles and become a great conversation piece among friends. This car has a 440 cid producing 375 bhp, 727 transmission coupled with a 323 posi-traction rear end. When you drive a car like this you need to know what it will do in the quarter mile. The one pass he made was 14.10 at 98 mph, not bad.
1957 Chevrolet Hard Top
The '57 Chevrolet defines the car of the 50s that we all wanted with its style, comfort and that "wow" factor. The colors that were available for these cars have never been offered in the cars of today.There has got to be a reason we love these cars like we do.Perfection comes with a price and this car happens to be one of those. This was a frame-off rotisserie restoration. An "Art Morrison Frame" with a new LS-3 engine complete with a 9-inch rear end. 4 link with coil overs, Dakota Digital dash instruments, House of Kolor "Sun Pearl & Sunset. Vintage air and to top it off it has real leather with bucket seats front and rear. No car like this would be complete with out Budnick wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Tires.
The GTX had fake hood scoops, the important part was the heavy duty suspension and became a true muscel car. The name GTO became so well known Plymouth decided to follow by using the letters GTX.
1937 Ford Slant Back Sedan
This is considered a true classic, it is an all steel car and you will not find a lot of plastic to dry out and crumble away. There are times you don't want to know how much a car may cost to build, its just better to throw all the recipes out the window. A car like this you give it your all and look back in total admiration with pride. When this restoration was started it turned into months and even years to complete. It has an LS-1 engine, 4L60E transmission with a 9-inch Ford rear end. Real leather complements the interior. The tall split front grille with hood side grilles and the tear drop classic headlights add to its appeal. New this car sold for about $850, now it would be hard to put a price on it. How do you drive a car like this? Like you stole it!
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hard Top
WOW! That about says it all when it comes to a car like this. I would like to list just a few amenities this dream car has. 1980 Firebird rear end, 502 CI big block w/ dual Four barrel carbs, Center Line Wheels Conve/Pro. Ken Wood Sound, four wheel disc brakes, Ididit steering wheel, Dakota Digital Dash, Air Tique Air, Full Power.
This became the "crown jewel" of GM when it produced 166,426 of the Bel Air Hard Tops. The production engine off the assembly line made one horsepower for each cubic inch of displacement. Their 1.5 million cars produced in '57. Ford was behind the eight ball playing 'catch up.' One of the main reasons car collectors love these cars is it reflects the wonderful life style we all enjoyed in the 50s. With a price tag of just $2299 or to put it another way it sold for $1.46 per pound. The cost today may well be over $50,000.
1961 Corvette " A true survivor"
From the factory paint "Jewel Blue" down to the original hub caps on the wheels. The production engine which is a 283 cid with 230 brake horsepower couplied with a powerglide transmission. This would be a "first" generation Corvette, this being the last year for the external trunk and the solid rear axel. This was not a state of the art design, also it was not characteristic of this time period but it gave the feel on the road that later Corvettes would not have. The sports car feeling was enhanced when GM gave it the label "elbow out the window." Aluminum was a major change in production when it came with an all aluminum radiator and the housing for the transmission. Contrasting color would not show up on the indent of the doors for the 1962 Corvettes. The rear end was an advanced design and would not appear again till the 1963 String Ray Corvette's would start production. With only 10,939 produced and a price tag of just $3,934 who could ask for more.
1936 Buick Sedan
This was the first year as a full size car. A 40's series as it was referred to in the past will now be known as the "Special." The wheel base on the '36 was 118 inches only to increase to 122 inch the next year.
This Buick made the neighbors shudder with the thought of this rusty old car in a driveway around their new homes. Restoration took a long seven years to complete. There was just one way to do a car like this, a frame off. Different professionals were to get to know this car very well. It is a Montana car, however most of the work was completed in Seattle. The 350 cid engine and 350 automatic transmission are from a Nova. Production records are hard to come by 80 years later.
1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL
This 2 Door Roadster sold new for a whopping $119,500. It was considered to be the best built car at the time, for instance an electronically controlled hidden roll-over-bar that would pop up if the car started to roll. This car has two tops, remove the hard top and you then have a convertible top that can be used. The "sun chaser" will leave the hard top in storage and just use the soft top. The engine is a 7.0 L. which develops 496 brake horse power with a V-12 that completely fills the engine compartment. This is a true sports car and it rides like one. The number of features was considered very high with everything being electric. This car is considered to be very rare as only 150 "Limited Editions" were ever built, the top speed for this car is 185 mph. A family car it is not, only 2 can get in it.
1957 Chevrolet Wagon - This is A mild Classic
Chevrolet in a way was ahead of its time, just about everyone today builds a car as a wagon. Just a few items that makes this wagon so special are the leather seats, a "Fat Man" front end and the "LS-1 / 4L80E" power plant. "Highway to Hell" rear end, Foose wheels, Sunrise Pearl House of Color.
The '57 Chevy received a substantial facelift for the model year making it the definitive car of the 50s. From the factory this car came with a choice of seven different engines. An optional engine was the ever popular "Ram Jet" fuel injected engine at a cost of an additional $500. This engine would produce 1 HP per 1 CI for power. Even without this "Ram Jet" the '57 the Chevy was a very fast car. Many people did not know that this car was a formidable star on both the drag strip as well as the oval track. Chevy also did very good in its participation in NASCAR. In 1957 at the Daytona Speed Week, Chevrolet took the first three places in the The-Way-Flying mile for Class 4 (215-259 cid), in class 5 (259-305 cid), also 33 out of 37 places for the fastest car at 131.076 mph. During '57 Chevy also won the Pure Oil Trophy with 574 points against Ford with 309.