Flipping through more Ford Times magazines that Paul Bellefeuille lent us, we can see that when the editors of that magazine decided to hand over a couple token pages to photos of customized Fords and Ford products, they didn’t stick with the whole kustom scene going on at the time. As well they shouldn’t have – there were plenty of attempts at personalizing, restyling, adapting and modifying cars during the 1950s that fell outside the bounds of traditional customizing. Take, for instance, the pickup that Jake Jacobson and Bill Traylor, two proprietors of a San Diego body shop, built from a wrecked 1952 Ford Victoria. It landed their name in the June 1954 issue of the Ford Times.

The pickup bed was made from one-quarter-inch plate steel and set low to make loading and unloading easy during its light hauling chores. The truck’s main function was to advertise the quality of the shop’s body work, and to this end it has been more than successful. The owners recently turned down an offer of $3,000 for the unit.

As long as that address on the side of the truck reads 630 State Street, it appears that Triangle Auto Body’s shop has long since been razed and replaced with condos.


Many of the cars highlighted by the Ford Times fell under the broad category of “sport custom,” as was the case with Pete Peterson’s 1936 Ford, which appeared in the November 1954 issue of the Times.

Pete Peterson, employee of the Cape Fear Motor Sales, Ford dealer in Wilmington, North Carolina, was apparently influenced by European styling when he designed the trim roadster he is pictured in below.

He assembled the car from the ground up, using parts from nine different yearly models of Ford and Mercury, with odd parts from a few other makes thrown in. The engine is 1950 Mercury with 8.5:1 heads and other speed equipment, reportedly developing 175 hp at 5,200 rpm.

Peterson’s body is basically 1936 Ford roadster. Among his many changes were alteration of the rear deck to provide a spare tire well, installation of parking lights and turn indicator, and removal of eight inches from top and width to proportion the car.

And some of the modified vehicles that made it to the pages of Ford Times weren’t even built by an individual for individualistic purposes, as we see from the November 1954 issue.

One of the many places Ford industrial engines are doing a man-sized job is, believe it or not, on the railroads. Shown above is an inspection car for executives’ use, built by the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, powered by the Rouge 239 cubic inch V-8 engine. This unit uses a standard three speed and reverse Ford transmission, coupled to a special reverse transmission to provide for equal speed forward or backward. The final drive is by triple roller chain from either side of the reverse transmission to the rear axle. The car uses standard Ford ignition and lighting around. The operator’s seat is forward with two passenger seats alongside. Behind these are four seats facing forward and four facing to the rear, providing a total seating space for ten inspectors in addition to the driver, plus a baggage trunk at the rear.

How cool would that have been to ride around in!