Charlie Loyd's Timeless 1950 Ford Custom
When we as petrol heads see an old American custom car that has quite literally been frozen in time we can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. We get a sense of pride, and a deep sensation of patriotism. We are harkened back to the days of yesteryear when America was about simpler times, and rock and roll was still very young. Back to the days of poodle skirts and greased hair, bobby socks and blue jeans. Back when custom cars weren’t main stream, but outcast, long before they were looked at as culture. The American custom was all about in your face personal expression. They are a mismatch of parts from other cars that were never meant to work together, but somehow do. Built by craftsmen who are in their own right artist. Masters of metal manipulation who are able to reshape and contour a cars body into works of rolling attitude. Customs live at both ends of the spectrum from mild to wild. They are a complete package of paint, chrome, power, stance, and interior. And it’s because of this, that the fifties Customs are true pieces of Americana, and this little nifty fifty of Charley Loyds is a direct example from that era.
Charley Loyds 1950 Ford Club Coupe will indeed take you back to those days of yesteryear. This little car has quite a colorful and mysterious history yet it has survived to tell the story of it’s time. Charley’s little fifty Ford is true to the term 50’s custom. Built at the peak of the hot rod and custom car movement in the late nineteen fifties through the early nineteen sixties, it’s a time capsule from days gone by. But that’s not the most interesting thing about this little car. No the interesting part is the cars history within Charley’s family. Well the cars history with his great uncle Howard Henry to be exact.
You see Howard has owned this car a total of three times. Howard is not the original owner by no means, nor was he the one who had the car built in the late fifties through the early sixties. In fact Howard didn’t acquire the car for the first time until the early 1970’s. Speaking with Howard he doesn’t recall the exact year he purchased the car for the first time, but said he believed it to be around 1970 or 71. He purchased the car from a gentleman in Enon Ohio, whose name he cannot remember. Howard said he did remember the buying price though of an even trade for a Yamaha CT-175 dirt bike and forty five hundred dollars cash. The little coupe was pretty much as you see it now less the paint color. It was still the Ford factory Cambridge Maroon Poly at that time. Howard kept the car the first time until around 1974 when he sold it to Leo Gebhart in Englwood Ohio. The car traded hands once more after that then became available for sale again around 1976 or 77, Howard couldn’t remember which. This time however Howard didn’t buy the car, right then per say. See Howard was actually in the hospital at the time the car became available for sale again. His good friend, attorney Pete Jerardy , acquired the car to keep it from the hands of the bank during a bankruptcy acquisition with a client. Pete knew the car as being Howard’s old car and once he acquired it he and friend Jack Walker drove the car to the hospital Howard was in, and wheeled him outside to see it. Once out of the hospital though, Howard purchased the car from Pete and kept it until 1979 when he again sold it. This time to his good friend Mike Glover, better known by his nickname Hot Wheels . Mike painted the car the color it is now which is 1974 Oldsmobile Cranberry Red Metallic and kept the car up until around 1984 or 85 when Ralph Schmidt, co-owner of Ester Price Candies in Dayton Ohio bought the car. The car was displayed for many years in the headquarters of the Ester Price Candy on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. Ralph kept the car up until his death in 2006, at which point Howard acquired the car again. After almost twenty two years Howard was back together with this little Ford Coupe. Howard kept the car until 2012 at which point he sold it to his nephew Charlie. But one need not ask, what was so special about this little car that would compel a man like Howard to own it three times in his life, or what made Ralph Schmidt keep it for twenty plus years of his. The answer is visibly obvious!
The car is truly a work of art, and it is amazing to see all the work that has gone into to it. Work that was done unfortunately by unknown artist. See the cars builders are a bit of a mystery, as no one seems to know who built it. Only a couple names have popped up as to having worked on bits and pieces of the coupe. It is speculated that Leonard Frutrell was responsible for the amazing metal flake red and gold vinyl interior that’s in it, and still in perfect condition to this very day. The fabulous metal work and countless body mods however have not been pinned down as to who did what when and where. But the list of mods is how ever what we do know for sure about the car.
The two piece hood has been welded up the center and peaked then trimmed from the front roll all the way back to the cowl. The front of the hood was filled in to delete the grill bullet, and a 54 Pontiac grill was installed in place of the stock unit. The headlights and tail lights have been Frenched and the quarter seams have been filled then peaked. The external trunk hinges have been shaved and replaced by more modern hinges of an unknown origin. The cowl adorns a set of real working spot lights, and the lake pipes down the sides are real and functional as well. The rear fender skirts are off a 1957 Mercury and were cut down and modified by Ray Evernham to fit the Ford’s wheel wells. Above the flares are the side spears off of a 55 Chevy Bel Air, but that’s not all the Chevy stuff on this little Ford, as the front and rear bumper license plate surrounds are off a 49 Chevy. And while we’re on the subject of Chevy parts I might as well mention the engine is a 300 HP 327 cu.in. GM factory replacement engine that was purchased from Langs Chevrolet back in 1962 in Fairborn Ohio. The engine is coupled to the stock Ford three speed transmission and the column shift is still controlling the shifts. The factory rear end was upgraded to an eight inch Ford at some point and the suspension has been lowered slightly from stock and 1957 Cadillac hub caps round off the original mods.
All the above mentioned mods were in place from the first time Howard Henry bought the car in the early seventies. It is speculated the original owner was given the car by his mother who bought it new in 1950. He then decided to have the car built into the sleek little custom Club Coupe that you see before you. Now there have been some minor changes done to the car primarily by Charley himself after he got the car in 2012, most being done out of necessity like tires and a few gaskets and such replaced. Charley replaced the intake manifold with an Edelbrock Performer unit and the carburetor is now a refurbished Quadrajet from Chris’s Carbs in Dayton Ohio. He topped off the top of the engine with a rather fitting 1953 Cadillac air cleaner, and a pair of Aluminum valve covers. A custom battery cover was made and pinstriper Shane Six laid the stripes on it and in a couple other areas on the car.
It’s not often these old original customs find their way back onto the scene. It’s even rarer to see one on the scene that is this original and still only having a tick over 31000 miles on the odometer. I admit I wish I had more time to do more research on this wonderful little Custom Club Coupe. I would love to know for sure who did what to this little car. It would be awesome to go back in time and see this car being built. To talk to the artist who built her, and pick their brains to learn the skills and techniques they implored on this piece of Americana. It makes me wonder what the next generation will say about cars being built today fifty years from now. Will cars built by builders today be coveted classic custom time machines one day like Charley’s nifty fifty? Better yet, will this little 50 Ford still be around in another fifty years and still telling it’s story? I like to think the answer to both questions will be yes.