Updated: Aug 24
Loading up the ECG 272 Y Block core from my great aunt's house just outside of Mt. Airy, NC
My summer has been very busy (most of them are when you work with churches and their Vacation Bible Schools and camps) but in late July of 2021 I did get the opportunity to spend a full day with my dad and some of his extended family down in North Carolina. I was just passing through on my way further south when he reminded me that I had promised to help him look at a Facebook listing for three 1956 F100's - all by the same owner and all for one money (more on that later). I had recalled as well that although one of my great uncles, Charles Dollyhite, had passed away in 2017 there were still some parts that my aunt was trying to sell. Charles, along with my dad and my grandpa, was one of the relatives who influenced me years ago to get into the mid-50s Fords scene. As a little boy I remembered his black 1956 Crown Victoria, a few of the 55 and 56 Sunliners he had restored, and various other mid-50s Fords that graced the property at any one given time when we would pay them a visit over a holiday. A few years back when I replaced the 3.30 differential gear set with a ratio that would work well with a standard transmission, the "chunk" came from a stash of parts that Charles had graciously given me. Read this post to find out more: 3.79 Differential Gears
My aunt had contacted dad earlier this year to remind him that there was a Y Block that Charles had saved, telling him to find out if I wanted to buy it. Before I arrived at the house not much was known, but I did know that Charles had a habit of only keeping parts that were worth the storage space. If he pulled an engine from another vehicle in order to save it or keep it as a spare, Charles usually checked the compression, heard and saw the engine run, etc. I thought that a Y Block was all that was left of what he had owned but there was much, much more. I promised my aunt that I would list some of the parts and post Charles' old business card.
There were quite a few parts left, including Y Block bolt on's, 55/56 Ford brake parts, drive shafts, and late 50's F100 sheet metal parts. There were two very good-looking doors. One thing to keep in mind if you call my aunt - she cannot ship anything so these parts are all "pick up only" but you can get them pretty cheap!
Ok, so back to this Y Block... it ended up being a 272 since there was an "ECG" back by the distributor housing, but the heads were a set of ECZ-Z's - Ford's best in 1956. The engine is not seized but it does seem to have good compression. My plan is to give it a light clean up and see if it will run after I change the oil, etc. Hopefully I can get to this later on this winter with the larger plan to make this a display engine on a run stand before the next Fast Fords weekend. After spotting an F100 oil pan and pickup tube, I made my aunt an extra offer on the parts and the engine and she gladly accepted. Dad thought that maybe I should not have paid so much but I told him that Charles had been such a big help to me over the years I had no problem helping my aunt clear a little more out of the garage.
Earlier that day we had followed up a lead on a Facebook Marketplace post close to Pilot Mountain (yep, this is the "Mt. Pilot" that you hear Andy Griffiths mention on the Mayberry, RFD television show). Back in the early 90's dad purchased a 1956 F100 project. I can remember coming home after it was delivered to the house. Just about everything but the large sheet metal was in boxes. Even the cab and bed were not bolted to the frame but it did have a rebuilt 272 Y Block and that good old 4 speed manual transmission with the 1st gear being extremely low!
EDIT: as of August 20th, 2021 the following trucks and their parts have been sold - I will leave them on the blog post for archival purposes.
At any rate I can tell that dad is in the market to purchase a vehicle be it a truck or car. A man named Jason, (252) 725-3810, had listed three 1956 F100 cabs, three rolling frames, and extra sheet metal all to sell as one lot. (Nope, he would not split any of it up!) While the condition of all of the parts combined was way too much for dad to handle without me being around, we told the man we would be glad to let people know what he had for sale. Two of the frames were late model Ford units while the third was indeed an original. The sheet metal bed sides on one of the trucks was in extremely good shape, but when we saw the 3rd cab we were really surprised to find that Jason had stored up excellent front end sheet metal. The fenders were almost dent free with no rot - some really nice parts in the lot here. Jason said he had to have $6,000 for all of it. Check out the pictures:
Of course, I know the vehicle that dad is really after - his 1956 Ford Customline Victoria from many years ago. When we got back home later on that afternoon, mom brought out one of the old photo albums and I took photos of the only two pictures that dad had saved. The clarity is not the greatest but you can tell that this was some kind of car back in the late 60's. The car was built by a man in Dobson, North Carolina and was traded for a new car at a Dodge dealership in Mt. Airy. That dealership put the car in their showroom and after just a few days of the car being in their inventory it was sold to my dad. The awful story of the accident happened on a night when the car was parked out front of where dad's family lived on Circle Drive in Mt. Airy. A drunk man drove his car right into the rear end of the Ford, tearing up sheet metal and bending the frame pretty badly.
If you have a lead on a 1956 Ford Customline Victoria anywhere near the Winston Salem, North Carolina area do let me know. I could put you in touch with my dad who would be thrilled to chase down the lead. While most any project would be considered, it would be best if it was in a condition to drive and if it had an automatic. With the long term results of his knee surgery dad just cannot shift gears using a clutch pedal.
So what about the junkyard find? Another visit we made was to an abandoned junkyard on the outskirts of Mt. Airy. It just so happens that my grandpa on my mother's side is still alive and getting around pretty well. About 40 years ago his friend who owned the junk yard set aside some land on the property for grandma and grandpa to live on. Over the years grandpa would work and help the owner on all kinds of projects from installing a hydraulic car lift, mowing lawns and keeping the brush down, to all kinds of mechanical service work. Grandpa had contacted us before I came through North Carolina because there were some carburetors stored in one of the buildings that he wanted me to consider buying. It just so happens that the late owner's wife asked grandpa to be the caretaker of the property allowing him to sell any of the parts he wants to sell, giving her half the money.
Most of the place is overgrown and looks like a Hollywood backdrop for a horror movie. It is just as rough as you can imagine with all kinds of trash, odds and ends, car parts, engines, etc just lying all over the place. The yards are not operational and stay locked up 24-7 even though grandpa has the keys and can come and go as he pleases. Unfortunately, all of the 50s and 60s cars and trucks were crushed 30 years ago or so and most of what is left in the yard is not worth anything and simply rotting away. Grandpa showed me all the carburetors that were stored on some of the indoor shelving but all of them were 80's vintage. There was certainly nothing I was interested in.
However, when we walked around back just to explore and look at the vehicles left in the yard I spotted an old wrecker - it was a 1958 Ford truck! Just barely peeking through trees and overgrown vegetation were the front fenders and the large boom at the rear of the truck. I ran over to the truck to investigate just to see what engine it might have in it. Thankfully the hood was still attached (if you know anything about junk yards this is a very good sign that the engine will not be filled with water). And, lo and behold...
Could this be a C1AE 292 Y Block in the 1958 Ford wrecker?
Some small parts had been robbed from the engine, but for all practical purposes it was still intact and not frozen up. Grandpa came up beside me and said, "Oh yeah, this was Bobby Simmons wrecker that he used for the yard."
"What's this Y Block doing in here?" I asked.
"I put it in there," grandpa replied in a matter of fact tone.
"No way," I said.
"Yep, I pulled this 292 out of a Ford bus and put it in here. That thing ran good, too. It ain't locked up!" grandpa seemed to shout to me from across the other fender.
I sat there for a minute just dumbfounded. I could not believe that after all this time the wrecker was still there, grandpa had been the one almost 50 years ago to put this Y Block in this truck, and here in 2021 he is the man with both the keys and power to sell it to me! Now, granted, I did not crawl under the truck to check the casting on the side of the block but felt pretty confident that no matter what this was a Y Block that I just had to purchase - especially since my grandpa had turned wrenches on it many years ago. It did not take long to make a deal and a promise to return this winter to pull the block out of the wrecker. How we are going to do that I have no idea but where there is a will, there is a way. Grandpa used to run heavy equipment like bulldozers and front end loaders back in the day. And then there is the possibility of tearing the down the block right there as it sits, hauling out parts one by one. Who knows? I can tell you one thing - I am going to wait until the cold weather sets in so that I don't have to fight the brush, vermin, and snakes!
Back at my parents' house one more time I had my 23 year-old daughter make a request. "Dad, can you teach me how to change the oil?" Since she has been out on her own for a few years and has realized that having someone else change your vehicle's oil may be convenient but it does cost money. Of course, I wish she had listened to me years ago when I offered to teach her how to do such a simple job of preventative maintenance but there is no time like the present!
My daughter Kayla had a good time learning how to change the oil in her Honda Civic
Very soon we will give you the third and final installment of the Fast Fords weekend that took place last month in June. Plans are already in the works for this all-Ford drag race for 2022 that will also include a car show and swap meet I am told.
The Hot Rod Reverend
aka Daniel Jessup