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Ford Custom 2 Door Sedans - Junkyard Crawl

Coupes De Grâce

By Steve Magnante, Photography by Steve Magnante

Carmakers today mostly build four-door sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and Crossovers. Two-door models are confined to the personal luxury, sports, economy compact, and ponycar segments. At best, two-doors make up a small sliver of the total production spectrum, but it wasn't always this way. Two-door hardtops and sedans once accounted for roughly half of total annual domestic production. That's great news for car crafters, since two-door cars are the best muscle candidates. Compared with four-doors and wagons, they're light, sleek, and fun. Let's review some solid Ford two-doors we found hanging out in Phoenix at Desert Valley Auto Parts (dvap.com).

Groovy Factoids
•All fullsize Fords built through 1964 had leaf spring rear suspensions. In 1965, a new coil spring rear suspension arrived for a smoother ride.

1959 marked the arrival of a new styling cycle at Ford. The Thunderbird-inspired fins of the '57 to '58 Fords were replaced by this boxy, one-year-only configuration. A base custom 300 Tudor sedan, the VIN reads A9RG106608. Let's decode: A=223 six-cylinder, 9='59 model year, R=San Jose, California, assembly plant, G=Custom 300 body style, 106608=this was number 6,608 off the San Jose line. These cars always seem to be angry. Let's really piss it off and go for a 427 SOHC with mile-high Hilborn injection, a clutch C6 backed by a Detroit Locker 9-inch with 4.30 gears. Why not? Custom 300 Tudor production hit 228,573 in 1959, and the custom 300 Fordor build tally was only slightly ahead at 249,553 units.

In the late '50s, foreign subcompact and compact cars from VW, Renault, Fiat, and others were taking a serious bite out of low-price domestic car sales. Until 1960, Detroit's Big Three had nothing to fight back with. That's when the compact-sized Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, and Chevy Corvair made the scene, and partial order was restored. For its part, Mercury introduced the Comet in 1960. Based on a stretched Falcon chassis (114- versus 109-inch wheelbase) with more ornate sheetmetal, the Comet was Mercury's first-ever six-cylinder offering. This inaugural-year '60 Comet is so clean you could eat off it. The 144-cube six-popper was the only engine available in 1960. An optional 170 six arrived in 1961 with the 260 V-8 arriving for 1963. Let's go with a 351 Windsor and Tremec five-speed stick but keep the 13-inch skins for super sleeper appeal. Total Comet production for 1960 was 116,331 of which 45,374 were two-door sedans. A little known detail is that FoMoCo considered making the Comet an Edsel model before the decision to terminate Edsel was finalized.

Book him, Dano! Fans of Hawaii Five-O will remember these fullsize cop cars from the popular TV show. Sometimes the coppers cruised in four-door squad cars; other times they used two-doors for undercover work. Either way, those Galaxie 500s were sleek and sinister. The VIN on this superclean original-paint body shell reads 8J58Y167968. Decoded, that's 8='68 model year, J=Los Angeles assembly plant, 58=two-door formal hardtop, Y=390 two-barrel, 167968=vehicle sequence number. We'd like to play into the Five-O theme, but these body-on-frame Fords are just too heavy for a mere 302 cubes. Make ours an FRPP 514 crate engine backed by a Viper-spec six-speed stick. Let's go with a heavy-duty suspension and shocks to make it handle. Ford built 165,924 Galaxie 500 two-doors in 1968 (all body styles) versus 173,338 for all four-door Galaxie 500s. Long live two-doors!

By Steve Magnante
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