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Herb & Jean Foley's 1951 Ford Club Coupe
(from Volume 15, Issue 165)

Herb Foley bought his first street rod, a 1940 Ford Coupe with a 350 Chevy, in 1984. After 6 years he sold it, and his second car was a 1951 Ford convertible, purchased in 1991. It took Herb two years to build the car, and he later sold it in 2004 to a gentleman from Illinois who bought it from only the pictures in the Goodguys Gazette. In 2004 Herb acquired a 1937 Ford Coupe while in York, PA, and sold it the following year. However his next project was the 1951 Ford Club Coupe you see pictured here. Herb saw the car on the internet, traveled to Tennessee with a truck and trailer, liked what he saw, and bought the car to bring back to his Orlando, Florida home. The ‘51 Ford had a flathead engine with a C-4 automatic when he bought it, and after cruising around for about a year Herb decided to do some upgrades.

The renovation started by taking all of the driveline parts out, and stripping the car to bare metal. Most of the fabrication work involved was performed by Rick Lance, who started by cutting the frame off at the firewall and replacing it with a subframe and suspension by Gary Martz Chassis, plus a Jamco rear suspension. Rick Lance also pre-fitted and installed all the mechanicals, and took care of whatever needed to be done along the way while building the car.

Herb decided to go with a 351 Ford engine this time around, which is fitted with a Concept One serpentine belt system, GT-40 aluminum heads, plus various other parts purchased from A-1 Automotive Speed Parts in Orlando. Jim Perry got things up and running by wiring the car. A Holley electric fuel pump and 770 cfm carb supplies the go-juice, a complete MSD ignition lights it off, a 2-1/2 inch exhaust routes the spent gasses, and an aluminum radiator keeps things cool. When the choice of transmissions came up Herb went the performance route with a Tremec 5-speed manual transmission, fitted with a G-Force clutch and hydraulic throwout bearing. The power is routed rearward by a custom driveshaft to a limited slip 9-inch Ford rear end with 3.73:1 gears, all sourced from Advance Driveline in Orlando.

The exterior was painted Paris Green and Taupe by Buddy Connoly, and given a subtle custom touch with Crestliner side trim, a set of billet rims, plus new chrome from New Beginnings Custom Chrome out of Perry, Florida. The taillights are now LED’s, and the headlights replaced with halogen units.

Inside you’ll find bucket seats donated by a 2004 Contour, with green and cream upholstery by Tom Johnson in Altamonte Springs. Other items include a Flaming River steering column, billet steering wheel, Rostra cruise control, and Vintage Air. Power rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes, power windows and electric windshield wipers make the car more enjoyable to drive, while a Pioneer stereo system with a hidden antenna lets the miles rock and roll on by.

It took about 1-1/2 years to finish the car, but with good workmanship and quality materials the end result was a solid and beautiful car. Herb and Jean enjoy cruising with their friends, including those from the Florida Time Travelers car club they belong to - which they say is like having a second family. Car shows are lots of fun, but riding down the road and getting a thumbs-up from the onlookers, both young and old, is what truly gives them appreciation of a job well done. CN