The Lancaster family has a deep tradition of working on classic cars and trucks that goes back three generations. Unfortunately, one of the younger Lancaster brothers, Josh, was killed in the line of duty in 2003 during his tenure as a sheriff for Fresno County, California. At the time, Josh was working on a '55 Ford panel that his dad had given him 10 years prior. Obviously, the Lancasters were left with a huge void in their lives. While trying to figure out how to cope with the tragedy, Josh's brother Jason decided to pick up where Josh left off on the panel and see the project through.
Josh had already put a decade into the '55 and much work had already been done thanks to him and the helping hands of many others. The stock chassis was sliced and a Volare front clip was carefully grafted in place by Steve Meyers at Ford Source in their hometown of Bakersfield, California. It was done to not only lower the frontend, but to improve the ride, as well. Out back, a requisite Ford 9-inch rearend replaced the stock unit under the heavy ol' panel that was filled with a cruising-bound 3.50:1 limited-slip gearset. Firestone airbags in the rear help the Ford settle on its haunches while parked.
Before Josh passed away, he, Jason, Grandpa Vernon, and a friend by the name of Eddie Brand put together a '70 Ford 351 Cleveland motor for the '55 after Howie's Machine Shop punched the block out 0.030-inch. While most of the internals were left to the FoMoCo specs, a Crane cam was installed for a little extra rumble, which sounds great through the Sanderson headers and Flowmaster mufflers. A 650-cfm Holley Street Avenger carb tops the Edelbrock intake, a trusty MSD distributor handles the ignition chores, and behind all that, a C6 transmission with a B&M shift kit helps put all that Blue Oval power to the ground.
While the outside of the panel looks simple and subtle, there were many details that needed to be handled to make it as such. K-Daddy's Kustoms in Bakersfield was picked to french the rear taillights, shave the door handles, smooth the running boards, louver the hood, install one-piece door glass, and swap the stock grille for that of a '56. Once the acres of sheetmetal were suitably worked over, K-Daddy's sprayed the Ford in white followed by more than a few True Blue scallops. To get the panel in motion (literally), a set of 15-inch powdercoated steel wheels were ordered from Coker Tire and wrapped in BFGoodrich whitewalls. Then, it was rolled over to Aguiles Auto Upholstery to be stitched up in white and diner-blue metalflake vinyl.
All in all, Jason spent three years with help from his family, Brian Rogers, K-Daddy, and the Loco Banditos finishing what his brother had started in hopes that it would be close to what Josh would've wanted the panel to look like. We'd bet there's a smile on his face, wherever he is. Nice job.