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1955 Ford Club Sedan Settling Down in Southern California

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

The summer has been as busy as we thought it would be with the move to California, getting settled down in the high desert, and serving on a pastoral team in a church that is growing steadily. About the only time we had for "vacation" was a couple days with our son in the Sequoia National Forest, but we certainly enjoyed the wonderful sights of God's creation and the time with our youngest before he flew back to Florida for his junior year of college.

The Sequoia National Forest was quite breathtaking.


The complexities of setting up a temporary shop have plagued me for almost a decade. Back in 2015 I left a 24x40 ft pole barn structure in West Virginia when we moved to Ohio. Finishing the 1955 Ford in that small garage in the midwest was really a challenge, but as the blog posts show we did find several creative ways to overcome the problems of space and amenity. Now, here we are in another temporary location with yet another set of challenges. I did end up purchasing an outdoor storage shed since this home offered none. While that did free up some room in the garage, the real issue has been the overall length of the car. Most garages that are spec'd to a model house are laid out only for parking a car or two, certainly not for workshop space. In addition to having limited electrical supply, I have another hurdle to overcome. While the garage has a nice drywall finish all the way around, I do not have access to 2x4's to put up a peg board above my workbench. Building a free-standing peg board that can be secured to the legs of the workbench was first on my list of projects, and as you can see from the photo I have already begun the tool layout.

Nothing like peg board to keep tools handy and organized!

The 1955 Ford Club Sedan has little room to spare in the garage at our rental home.


Living in the high desert during the summer has taught me one thing - IT IS HOT OUT HERE! There were several days when the temperature was well above 110 degrees, and of course that made under hood temperatures even worse. I will have to admit that I became timid about continuing to run the power brake setup because of the header installation that put exhaust heat very close to the booster and because of the ambient temperatures here in the summer time. Now, I have not had any issue with keeping the Y Block cool - 190 degree in traffic, mid-day, and all the rest. I do have a 4 row, copper radiator under the hood that does a tremendous job no matter how hot it gets. So, I removed the power brake set up, re-installed the original push rod and eccentric bolt, and bolted up an original master cylinder.

The eccentric bolt will assist you with the proper push rod-to-master cylinder engagement.

Since I had installed an electric brake light switch on the pedal arm several years ago there was no need for me to use the original brake light switch that screws into the end of the master cylinder. I sourced a shoulder bolt and fitting from Concours Parts in Nevada, and the hardware fit nicely. Bleeding a master cylinder, installing it on the car, and bleeding the brakes are pretty much high school shop work, but I will let you know how I bench bleed master cylinders.

After painting the master cylinder and letting it dry, I placed the master cylinder in a vise with the mounting side lower than the exit port. I like to attach a hard line to the fitting and bend it upward. Next, I attach a clean rubber hose to the hard line and run it to the bottom of the reservoir. After filling up the reservoir with fluid, it is just a matter of pumping the cylinder until there are no more bubbles coming out of the rubber hose. Even after removing the master cylinder from the vise I keep the line attached so as to minimize any drips of brake fluid. (You can tell in the one photo above that I also use a towel just in case.) Since I already had both the front and rear brake lines near the firewall I did install a T fitting to complete the plumbing.

Father's Day Event

For Father's Day at Lancaster Baptist Church, several classic cars and trucks were on display including our senior pastor's F150, my Club Sedan, a 33 Ford five window sedan (running a Summit Carb just like the one I installed early this year), a convertible GTO, and others.

The 1955 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan sat in front of the church building on Sunday morning.

As you can tell from the photos below we had quite the crowd for church, and after the service we gave every father a cold bottle of Dad's Root Beer as many members and visitors enjoyed the car show on the promenade. Millennials had all kinds of questions, from the engine and transmission combination, to the paint and body work, to the interior. Of course, there were quite a few families with older relatives that asked if they could take a photo with the car. Several stories of days gone by were relayed to me as elderly people reminisced about the 50's and 60's.

The old Ford drew a lot of interest on Father's Day at Lancaster Baptist Church.

Cracked Glass?

One weekday in late June I parked the old Ford in the large parking lot of our church office building. I usually leave the windows down a bit because of how hot the temperatures are, but when I came back out to leave in the afternoon that day I was surprised to find my driver's side door glass was cracked. I am not too sure how it happened. The glass is not loose, the channel and felt are in very good condition. Maybe the heat had something to do it. At any rate, it is on the docket to now remove, have a new piece cut, and reinstall. I am contemplating tinted glass, but I am not really searched for a tinted rear glass yet. I have located full sets of flat, tinted glass for the sedans but am unsure about the back glass. And, I really do not know how much tinted glass would help. Usually for classic cars the tint is pretty light. I have not dismantled the door just yet because my son was just in town and wanted to drive the car. (I apologize for not taking video of that - we had a good time.)

Looks like I have a repair project for this fall!

Since I began the website we have had many questions about door assembly, glass adjustment, and the mechanisms inside the doors themselves. Plans are in the works to document the process and have a write-up on a future blog post. Even though I have not been able to make blog posts this summer the site still receives over 1,100 views a month!

Report on the Summit Carburetor

While I do not have any empirical data concerning horsepower, I will say that the Summit carburetor has been my favorite yet of all of the carbs I have installed on a Y Block. It has given wonderful service, response, and trouble-free operation this summer whether at cruise, full throttle, or idling in traffic. Some would have questions about fuel economy and rightly so. If I could keep my foot out of it for half a tank I would be able to give a fair assessment. Maybe this winter I will try that and see what happens. Gasoline is expensive in California so maybe I should be a little concerned, but I guess I am more of a performance guy than I am a mile-per-gallon classic car owner. Out of the box, the jet sizing seems perfect for the 292, and I have only adjusted the idle mixture screws very, very little. Once the cold weather hits in the high desert (I have been told that during the winter the temperatures do go below freezing here) we will have a better idea of four season performance on the carburetor. The choke has really not been needed over the summer months.

In the Works...

The 312 build is still on the horizon, and this will include a visit to Tim McMaster's shop up in Hanford, California. The two T-85's made the trip out to California none the worse for wear, and I hope to dry-dock the Ford at some point in the future to install the 312, the T85, and if by some means a 9" rear end from a 57-59 Ford. I can tell my leaf springs are worn out (original to the car). Last year I guess I could have been in the 15's pretty easily if I had a better suspension. So, I have placed leaf springs on my list as well. The three speed with overdrive continues to work flawlessly, and the car is a real joy to drive. However, the satisfaction from building, tuning, testing, and turning wrenches will most probably never end for this old Ford!

Contact me for a free copy of the Drag Racer's New Testament.

Why California?

Most people think I am crazy to move from the beautiful, rolling hills of southwest Ohio. I will admit that pulling up stakes to move my dear wife and all I own out to the high desert of Southern California may in fact seem a little weird. If you pay attention, then you know that people are leaving California in record numbers. Why live in the heart of a state that encounters such turmoil and is known for its antagonistic stance to Bible believers like the Hot Rod Reverend? Now more than ever I believe this world is in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the people of California just happen to be open to the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Since moving to the area to serve on staff at Lancaster Baptist Church, my wife and I have seen many people come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our church is very active in our community with gospel outreach and events. Recently, the 21-year-old man in the photo below told me that he desired to leave a life of sin, drugs, Las Vegas-living, and give his life to Jesus. This realization came to him after listening to the preaching of the Bible during two separate services and after allowing me the time to counsel him from the Word of God.

This young man recently left a life of drug abuse and sin to give his life to the Lord Jesus.

Lives changed by the gospel - that is why I moved to California. All of us need to respond to the gospel, no matter how good or how bad we think we are. The Bible declares us all as sinners, but in the same texts God has made it plain concerning the exclusive claim of Jesus , "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12

Are you ready to meet God? You can be. Repent of sin and turn to Jesus today.

The Hot Rod Reverend

aka Daniel Jessup


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