Now, right here’s one thing totally different. It seems to be like a 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon, proper? However there’s one thing variety of odd about this basic grocery-getter. The tires look a bit outsized, however they belie their measurement on first evaluation. The inside is all redone and appears fairly stylish; proprietor Troy Martin reveals that the leather-based coverings required a hefty donation of eight full cowhides to create. Is that a short-throw six-speed shifter jutting from the custom-built console? Hey, what provides right here?
What provides right here is the superb handiwork of Martin, who took solely 11 months to construct this unimaginable car in his store in Ventura, California. Whereas he initially constructed the automotive for a buyer, by means of a unusual set of circumstances, he made a commerce for the ready-for-paint Ranch Wagon and accomplished the challenge.
Troy Martin’s 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon sees lots of street miles close to his residence in Ventura, California. However what might look like a very nice, flippantly modified wagon is way from regular.
However the story of the Ranch Wagon’s build-up was fraught with big private challenges for Martin, who, like many People at the time, was coping with the 2008 market crash, amongst different issues. So, with time on his palms, he set about ending the wagon and hoping that sufficient enterprise would are available to hold the store open, the lights on, and meals on his desk.
America’s preoccupation with cowboys and western lore all through the 1950s is well-documented. From Gene Autry to the Lone Ranger, with a aspect of Howdy Doody, the Wild West had grow to be an obsession with the public. However our fascination of western tradition at the time was not restricted to TV exhibits; it permeated even our car mannequin names. From the 1958 Ford Edsel Spherical Up (a two-door station wagon) to the 1957 Ford Ranchero and on to the Ford Mainline Ranch Wagon that broke from its corral in 1952, Ford promoted a western theme. Keep in mind, the Route 66 craze was at full velocity in this submit World Conflict II period, as Child Boomers saddled up to head west. Chevrolet might have stated it greatest with “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.”
At house on the ranch, the Ford sits good, the Porsche Slate Blue Paint is shining brightly in the late-day solar.
Whereas the exterior of this Porsche Slate Blue and Bone White Ranch Wagon might retain a lot of the unique styling, it’s clear that it’s closely modified when you dig deeper. Lengthy gone is the unique Ford inline-six engine that cranked out a wholesome 101 hp (the unique Ranch Wagon had a prime velocity of 79 mph, in accordance to Motor Development exams) and three-on-the-tree guide transmission. Frankly, past the sheetmetal, not a lot of the unique Ford wagon stays. Getting it to its present state took some superb expertise and imaginative and prescient.
The preliminary construct began merely sufficient. A buyer got here into Martin’s store, Full Scale Scorching Rods, with a lonely little 1953 Ford, wanting to construct one thing actually particular to take to his native scorching rod membership outings. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than he and Martin had created a plan: merging the 1953 Ford with a 2002 Corvette Z06 that they had salvaged from a rollover accident. The outcome can be a automotive that may retain the basic wagon styling however would even have superior engine energy, cornering means, and braking like a Corvette, the pinnacle of American sports-car efficiency.
A real labor of love, it took Troy Martin solely 11 months to full the wagon. Whereas it was initially created for a buyer, a unusual change of plans resulted in him taking possession.
“I pulled out my measuring tape and set about figuring just how I would accomplish our plan,” says Martin. “In the end, I had to lengthen the Z06 chassis by 11½ inches and widen the Ford body by 4 full inches. The chassis alterations were not difficult, as I used some of my boat fabrication techniques to extend the backbone of the chassis. The body widening, well, that was much harder.”
To realize the wider body, Martin truly used two 1953 Ford wagons, butting the two roofs collectively at the prime and seam-welding them collectively. The handiwork to accomplish this is nothing brief of superb, as evidenced by the flawless roofline. When discussing the key modifications to the wagon, Martin notes how he subtly added width to the body by enlisting fabrication expertise that might make a plastic surgeon blush. All the entrance and rear chrome, bumpers, and trim have been widened. Probably the most notable front-end modification? Cautious evaluate of the entrance grille trim reveals six black ribs per aspect. Not impressed? Ford Ranch Wagon specialists will word that the manufacturing unit solely engineered 4 per aspect—Martin added two extra ribs as half of his wagon re-engineering program. We dare you to spot how he did it.
The ultimate product was the end result of a number of automobiles coming collectively to type one superb machine. The present car rides on a 2002 Corvette Z06 chassis, and the body required placing collectively two 1953 Ford ranch wagons.
As famous earlier, the Ford’s drivetrain is all Z06, with a few exceptions. After West Coast Engine rebuilt the LS6 Chevy engine, a Magnuson supercharger was added to be sure that the wagon would really carry out when referred to as upon. The Z06 chassis retains a lot of its unique configuration, with the exception of the lengthened mid-section and the set up of a full set of Wilwood brakes and requisite grasp cylinder. Driver aids comparable to manufacturing unit ABS have been deleted, however a STOPP electrical emergency brake has been put in to ensure that the Ford doesn’t roll away when parked.
Continues Martin, “We made an effort to retain at lot of the things that made the original Ranch Wagon special. The rear tailgate was, for the most part, rusted into non-existence, and I had to build the base of the gate and the attached sheetmetal from scratch using metalworking tools. The same holds true for the rear fenders, which I also fabricated myself. I originally attempted to include a fender skirt like the original wagons, but after several test runs at it, I came up with the current look. There is a huge amount of metalwork that went into the car to get it to the shape it’s in currently, since original parts either would not fit or just did not look right.”
For energy, the LS6 Chevy engine was rebuilt and topped with a MagnaCharger supercharger. It will make sense, since MagnaCharger’s company workplaces are lower than a mile of method from Troy Martin’s store.
The inside of the wagon sports activities a set of flippantly modified Chrysler LHS (entrance) and Dodge Durango (again) seats—representing the full complement of American Huge Three producers with elements from Ford, GM, and Chrysler—that have been outfitted with the Moroccan brown leather-based coverings by Gold Coast Upholstery. The stereo audio system are positioned behind the leather-covered areas in the doorways and paneling. Through the use of the manufacturing unit Dodge seat brackets and power-assist system, the seats transfer identical to a trendy car, for added comfort. The one interruption to that wagon flooring is the rib that runs throughout the again edge of the inside flooring—mandated by the design of the Z06 chassis.
One other signature inside improve is the custom console that runs from the dashboard by way of to the rear seats. Not solely does the console function the obligatory cup holders required by as we speak’s occupants, however it additionally performs host to issues like the center-mounted stereo system monitor, STOPP electrical brake-activation button, Classic Air local weather controls, and that guide transmission shifter. Tucked into the recesses in the console are USB connectors to energy up trendy units like cell telephones and a cigarette-lighter socket that you simply’d have to find out about to discover it.
For you 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon aficionados, see in case you can inform what’s totally different about this entrance finish. The very first thing you’ll probably word are the “frenched” entrance HID headlights, however bonus factors should you observed that the middle grille help has six ribs a aspect (the originals had solely 4 per aspect).
“I spent a lot of time figuring out just how to get the gauges looking just right,” states Martin. “The most important gauge is the boost gauge at the top of the dashboard that gets special prominence and keeps tabs on the MagnaCharger supercharger. I also created a theme for the wagon, trying to stick with 5s and 3s since it’s a 1953 Ford. So, as you go through the car, you can see that there are five gauges down the center of the dashboard, along with three air conditioning outlets, a three-spoke steering wheel, and five spoke-alloy wheels. The gauges in front of the driver include the tachometer and speedometer, and the tasteful pinstriping on the dashboard was completed by Schartel.”
Dealing with Specs
Martin retained the key components that made these Corvettes nook so nicely by retaining the chassis and suspension elements and outfitting the wagon with big tires and five-spoke wheels. With the minor modification of the further transverse rear “helper” spring leaf to hold the rear from “over squatting” on acceleration, the normal stuff is current, together with the T56 six-speed transmission and carbon-fiber clutch system. A PRC custom radiator retains issues cool, and MSD coil packs guarantee a scorching spark. The four,000-pound Ranch Wagon will get down the street simply high-quality, courtesy of an engine that generates 447 hp and 438 lb-ft of torque—greater than ample for journeys to the grocery retailer. However keep in mind to drop off your purchases at residence earlier than you head to the autocross, otherwise you’re sure to break a few eggs with G-Pressure alone.
Martin did a tremendous job reworking the inside of the Ranch Wagon. Eight leather-based cowhides have been required to cowl the seats that have been initially from a Chrysler LHS (entrance) and a Dodge Durango (rear).
Having pushed a big quantity of scorching rods throughout my time as former editor of Automotive Craft and Well-liked Scorching Rodding magazines, I can state that this automotive drives higher than any I’ve skilled. As a result of Martin has retained the suspension, engine, and clutch system from the unique 2002 Z06 Corvette, it drives identical to a Corvette with some further body lean, courtesy of the Ford wagon body due to the greater roll middle. Regardless, it is just not solely a quick car, it cruises at freeway velocity, garnering shut to 30 mpg due to the double overdrive six-speed transmission.
So, the query stays: How did Martin turn into the proprietor of a automotive he was commissioned to create for a buyer? As luck would have it, the operating and driving wagon, sans paint, was delivered to the unique proprietor for him to full at a later date, per his request. To proceed a widespread thread with unfinished scorching rods, the Ford’s future with the paint sales space by no means got here, the automotive relegated to the buyer’s yard underneath a couple of automotive covers. Martin came upon about the Ranch Wagon’s standing and referred to as the proprietor with a proposition. Since the actual goal for the buyer was to have a automotive that he might take to his native scorching rod membership outings, Martin provided his injected 1932 Ford scorching rod and one other car in change for the Ford. The deal was struck, and the automotive was again once more in Martin’s Full Scale Scorching Rod store for the remaining ending work.
In case you are a fan of having tons of car knowledge at your fingertips, this inside ought to do it for you. Of main significance, notably when Martin is driving the wagon “with spirit,” is the high-mounted middle gauge that exhibits the increase output of the MagnaCharger supercharger.
After knocking off the floor rust that the Ford had acquired whereas underneath these automotive covers, it was despatched to Body and Paint By Jeff in close by Oxnard for the coatings you see right here. As famous, Martin selected Porsche Slate Blue for the sides and Common Motor Bone White for the pancake roof and supporting pillars. All of the chrome was “massaged to fit” after exhaustive modification. The ultimate piece of trim (the chrome eyebrow trim that strains the prime edge of the grille opening) was discovered after two years of chasing. For a high-mounted stoplight, he transformed the Ford emblem at the prime of the tailgate, so when Martin steps on the brakes, the Ford lettering inside the emblem illuminates in tandem with the taillights—tremendous slick.
As we speak, the Ford Ranch Wagon is a widespread sight round Ventura, as Martin typically drives the automotive to work and to cruise occasions and exhibits. The wagon stands as a testomony his private resourcefulness, imaginative and prescient, and drive. Martin credit his eye for creating cool automobiles to his a few years of constructing scale mannequin automobiles as a child. From these days of constructing 1:24th scale fashions to immediately’s Full Scale Scorching Rods, they have been classes clearly well-learned.
The middle-mounted speedometer and tachometer match neatly into the custom instrument panel. Observe the Z06 nameplate he added to the cluster.In line with the Moroccan leather-based inside, the door panels have been reworked, whereas the door handles and window cranks are inventory Ford situation. The armrests are from a 1949 Ford.Early in the course of, the body shell was test-fit to the chassis with out the flooring. Right here you’ll be able to see the big amount of work that was required to adapt two very totally different automobiles into one.The six-speed guide transmission options a Hurst shifter and deal with. The button to the proper of that’s the E-STOPP electrical brake system, and the distant you see right here controls all features of the digital local weather management and leisure system.From under, you’ll be able to see that this is just not an unique 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon. The manufacturing unit exhaust was modified from the unique Corvette, however it nonetheless wraps up and round the six-speed guide transmission in the rear.In case you didn’t know this was a Ford Ranch wagon, you may assume this was taken from beneath a Corvette. Retaining these key parts is why this automotive carried out properly in the Optima Problem – sure, it was a visitor contestant.This close-up exhibits the particulars required to mate the Corvette drivetrain to the Ford engine compartment. Of particular observe listed here are the particulars of the headlight metalwork and the roof-panel sectioning that took cautious planning and execution.From this angle, you may assume that the unique sheetmetal was retained in the again. In actuality, most of these panels have been custom-built by Martin from flat-stock. The rear tailgate particularly has little of the manufacturing unit sheetmetal current.With Wilwood brakes to deliver the four,000-pound wagon to a cease, it is straightforward to see why Martin drives the wagon onerous. The five-spoke, custom Kompression Wheels are wrapped with 245/40/18 Nitto tires to ship wonderful corning functionality.In the rear, the Nitto Z-rated 315/30-19 tires and Kompression Wheels, custom-built by Robert Jones, tuck neatly into the fabricated fender wells. The chrome trim options an open grille to present rear-brake cooling.This panel was half of the testing that Martin carried out to set up a fender skirt into the rear wheelwells. After a couple of checks, the skirts have been ditched in favor of a extra common fender lip.At about the similar time, Martin was fabricating a rear fender part to set up the place nothing however air existed with the unique Ford. This design was in the ultimate levels of the execution.It’s the easy issues that make this wagon one thing particular. The license-place mild housing works as initially designed and permits the plate to swing out when the tailgate is down in order that it might be seen from behind.This photograph dramatically demonstrates the work concerned in widening the body to match the Z06 chassis. Notice how the part under the rear tailgate opening additionally was prolonged side-to-side.Now, right here’s a neat merchandise. Whereas 1953 Fords didn’t initially have high-mounted middle stoplights, this one does. When Martin applies the brakes, the Ford lettering lights up.This view is a good illustration of what the wagon appeared like earlier than paint and window-glass set up. Notice the work accomplished to the fender lips, roofline, and entrance grille. It takes a lot to widen a automotive four inches and lengthen the chassis 11.5 inches—simply ask Martin.As a result of the Wagon is four inches wider than inventory to cowl the Z06 chassis, Martin had to widen the windshield as properly. Whereas the unique 1953 Ford had a single pane of glass, Martin cut up the window and put a skinny submit in the center to be a part of the two halves. Solely Ford purists would spot that one.No car can function with out gasoline. As an alternative of including an ugly fuel cap in the rear, Martin created this delicate door that pops open to present gasoline for the two midship fuel tanks—identical to on the unique Z06 Corvette.At house on the vary, this Ranch Wagon offers full-scale enjoyable for Martin and his household.