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Ref # 76
1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner Convertible


CHASSIS NO: 1F55W268665

• 2015 the ARP/STREET RODDER Road Tour car
• Work performed by many noted shops
• Ford Performance small-block 427 crate motor with TorqStorm twin superchargers

For 2015, the ARP/STREET RODDER Road Tour car is a 1961 Ford Sunliner—a convertible. (A sister car of that era was the fastback design Starliner built during the years of 1960 and 1961. However, the convertible Sunliner was a nameplate Ford used for some time.) Each year we look to the builders’ surrounding area in the hopes of finding a car nearby. Finding a Sunliner proved to be a challenge, especially one that was in suitable condition to do the things designer Eric Black had placed on paper. Troy Ladd of Hollywood Hot Rods (HHR) was prepared to transfer to metal, Starlite Rod & Custom would be ready to perform the body and paintwork, and Elegance Auto Interiors would be able to stitch together. To our rescue, literally, came longtime friend of STREET RODDER, and all hot rodders, George Poteet. Stashed away in a corner of his “future projects” bunker was just what we were looking for—a 1961 Ford Sunliner. Poteet wanted to retain the drivetrain, which wasn’t an issue as we were to have a freshly prepped Ford Performance small-block 427 crate motor that would accept the TorqStorm twin (yes, two) superchargers then linked to a Hughes Performance 4L80E transmission (filled with AMSOIL INC. synthetic trans fluid) via an adaptor plate that allowed us to use tranny and related computer equipment. Linking the tranny to the 9-inch rearend is a Dynotech driveshaft.

Ladd is no stranger to the Road Tour program, as he built our 2012 car, a 1940 Ford coupe. Ladd works closely with designer Eric Black, who also designed our 2012 Road Tour 1940 Ford. He would once again put his stylus to computer pad and design the look of this year’s Ford Galaxie 500XL convertible. Being a drop-top, the long, low, and cruiser look needed representation. Black came up with a design that required a number of subtle sheet metal changes, featuring a bold color with carefully placed use of lightly colored accents; all HHR’s forte. Starlite Rod & Custom worked with HHR and Black to achieve just the right color combination. The deep blue is a 2011 Ford hue from the PPG color charts; according to Starlite the paint codes are: SZ Blue Flame (body) and UJ Sterling Gray (accent). Look closely and you will see the use of the light (gunmetal) gray in back below the decklid and in front liberally sprayed over much of the sheet metal resting within the engine compartment.

The redesigned front sheet metal is extensive but oh so artfully accomplished as to be “almost” undetectable. We said almost—HHR fired up the Miller Electric Manufacturing Company welding equipment and broke out the Eastwood metalworking tools, yielding the resulting mods to include, but not limited to, trimming off the front of the hood (note the rounded corners) and using the severed sheet metal to fill in between the fenders. Next up, the headlight buckets came from Speedway Motors and are the always-popular King Bees that were modified by HHR. From here a wire grille insert with a single horizontal bar was fabricated. Modifications also occurred to the windshield and the soft top. HHR retained the factory top hardware but modified the windshield (frame) to attain a shape more in keeping with the Starliner coupe (hardtop) appearance. The rear top iron (or bow) had 1 inch removed at the bottom necessitating relocated mounting holes. The center iron had a 1/2-inch cut off at the bottom, forcing the metal tab where the center bow attaches refit. From here a 1/2 inch was cut from the mounting bracket that attaches the top bows to the windshield frame. The foremost top iron remained unchanged. Elegance Auto Interiors was called on to stitch new top material along with the innards, which also included a custom boot cover.

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