Timeless 1955 Ford Fairlane Victoria

Custom Hot Rod Blends Vintage Aesthetic with Modern Performance

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography By Michael Christensen

It is a fact that the cars of the ’50s feature timeless styling that many of us thoroughly appreciate to this day. Roger Ritzow, of Wisconsin, owns this 1955 Ford Fairlane Victoria as one such example. The Tri-Five Chevy (’55-57) era of OEM cars has captured the minds and hearts of hot rodders for a very long time.

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Once again, the winning combination of the blend of craftsmanship, imagination, and the best in aftermarket products has led Roy Brizio of Roy Brizio Street Rods and the tried-and-true staff (Jim Vickery, Jack Stratton, Dan Hall, Len Ernani, Andrik Albor, Danny Carrol, Jair Valle, and Carry Buck) to build a timeless hot rod.

02 Craftsmanship and imagination on display in this hot rod

This 1955 Ford Fairlane Victoria features all of what we like of the era and none of the modern-day alterations that are often made … but should not have. From the outside, this Fairlane Victoria is what one would have seen in a brochure of the day with a few subtle changes. Yes, the immediate giveaway is the stance, thanks to the Roadster Shop Fast Track custom chassis coupled with the Billet Specialties wheels and BFGoodrich tires. Now, it will take a discerning eye to notice that the oversized rubber would not have fit under factory sheet metal, so something has been altered. Albor of Brizio’s conducted the metalwork that included the installation of enhanced wheel tubs to accommodate the increased rubber. From here the bodywork and paint were left to Mitch Gustafson and his skill sets found at Hollywood Auto Body Kustoms and Classics that now envelop the Vicky in a PPG-inspired two-tone custom mix of blue and white, not unlike what might have been seen back in the day.

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05 Billet Specialties wheels and BFGoodrich tires enhancing the car s stance

Read More: Head Turning Chevy 210 Cruiser

A little more on the rolling stock. The Suave disc Billet Specialties wheels are color-matched to the body, measuring 17s in the front and 18s in the back, and feature polished lips and caps. These wheels, while modern in appearance, are meant to recall the original factory appearance coupled with clip-on 10-inch caps. To this, the BFGoodrich tires come in at 215/60R17 in the front and 245/55R18 in the back.

It is the underpinnings where the real fun begins as the Vicky envelops an Roadster Shop custom Fast Track chassis. The 10-gauge fully boxed set of formed frame rails utilizes all the factory body, core support, and bumper mounts. The upgrades to the custom chassis include single adjustable coilover Roadster Shop SV shocks by Fox at all the corners along with Wilwood big brake kit including, drilled-and-slotted rotors coupled with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the back. The brake line package is finished off with a stainless steel hardline, flex lines, fittings, line clamps, and a proportioning valve. It should be noted that the electrically operated master cylinder is part of the Rad Rides by Troy kit based on a Tesla master. The Independent Front Suspension is based on the upgraded crossmember and the C7 Corvette spindle and hub assembly and is teamed with a 1-1/4-inch splined sway bar with Corvette endlinks.

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12 Custom front and rear bench seats with two point lap belts

In the back is a narrowed Strange Engineering Ford 9 inch rear end with 3.70 gears, 31-spline axles, RS Fox coilover shocks, Wilwood brakes, and positioned by a Strange Engineering parallel four-bar. (Brizio makes sure the width of the rear end is a few inches narrower than normal so that the oversized wheel and tire package can be easily changed without having to place the car on a lift and lower the rear end. We have all seen the scenario where a car’s wheel/tire combination is so large that should, or when, a tire goes flat the rear end must be lowered to get the combo off. Brizio also orders the wheels with proper backspacing to ensure fit, stance, and functionality are all coordinated. In the rear the backspacing is 4-1/2 inches, with the front being 4-1/4 inches.)

16 Classic Instruments custom instrumentation in the factory dash

Read More: 1955 Thunderbird With Shocking Looks & Performance

Sheltered between the frame rails is a more than potent V8 engine… now, we could not blame you if you are thinking Coyote or a Y-block or something that carries the Blue Oval name. But it is not. We are sure there are plenty of hot rodders spinning on the creepers right now or possibly slamming their fingers in their toolbox drawers. The powerplant of choice is a Chevy, yep, a Bowtie, of the modern persuasion, an LS3 engine that was built under the direction of Don Hardy. And it is not just any 700 hp LS engine but one that showcases a Magnuson supercharger run through a Holley Dominator EFI system tuned by Dave Erlich of AutoTrend. The Don Hardy–built V8 engine is balanced and features a Don Hardy camshaft and a pair of Aeromotive 340 fuel pumps to supply the 10 pounds of boost while holding the aluminum heads in place via an ample supply of ARP bolts. It has gotten to the point that most hot rodders can tell an LS engine when they see one, but it is always fun to see an LS in Y-block “clothing.” We all know where the coil packs are on an LS engine and this time the Brizio crew opted to have a set of vintage Ford 312 valve covers enlisted giving the vintage appearance but also serving as coil-pack covers. Removing the exhaust gasses is a set of Sanderson headers with 1-3/4-inch tubes dumped into an exhaust system that measures 2-1/4 inches and then flows through a pair of Hushpower Pro Flowmaster mufflers. Other engine accessories include a Powermaster alternator and starter, an Edelbrock water pump, dual electric SPAL fans, and a trunk-mounted Optima battery. Making sure the 700-plus horsepower does get to its destination is a Bowler Performance 4L80E transmission that uses a Bowler shift kit and transmission oil cooler. Successively running through the gears falls to the ididit column shifter.

08 Potent V8 engine sheltered between the frame rails

Inside the controls appear factory but there are a few worthwhile custom touches. The factory steel dash is two-tone painted to match the body and does feature an tilt ididit steering column with a reproduction LimeWorks Steering wheel. Looking through the factory wheel one can see the custom instrumentation created by Classic Instruments in its popular Instrument Customization Unit (ICU). From here the factory dash houses the Vintage Air AC package while all the necessary electrics are managed through a custom wiring system placed by Brizio’s own Vickery. One must be comfortable while managing this hot rod, so the seating is based on custom front and rear bench seats with two-point lap belts. From here Sid Chavers, of Sid Chavers Company, covers the seats in light blue leather with modestly darker light blue fabric inserts. The headliner is a white perforated look while the carpeting is a dark blue “salt and pepper” appearance with dark blue piping around the edges.

03 Custom built 1955 Ford Fairlane Victoria by Roy Brizio Street Rods

Read More: Purple Reign: Custom Pinstriped Merc Coupe

There is no getting around that this is a custom-built hot rod with loads of craftsmanship and all the “right” parts. Yet it looks like a “normal” ride that is something any hot rodder could imagine and build with his parts and pieces and thoroughly enjoy. MR

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of The Perfect Pairing.mr february 2024

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