Jim Logue's 1954 Ford
The First Lifted Car?
Jim's Ford is one of the first cars, and maybe even the first one, that used hydraulic lifts to alter the ground clearance. By pressing a button, the car could be raised or lowered 1-6 inches by utilizing a hydraulic system built from aircraft surplus parts. There is a discussion going on whether or not Jim's car was fit wit hydraulic lifts before Ron Aguirre's 1956 Chevrolet Corvette, also known as the X-Sonic. The X-Sonic has for many years been credited as the first hydraulic operated car, and Ron claimed that he had lifts from a Port-A-Power tool installed on the X-Sonic at least by October of 1958. Jim claims that he bought his lifts from Palleys late in 1957 or early in 1958. This was done many years ago, so he can't remember the exact dates. He had all of the original receipts from Palleys from when he built the car, but all of these were lost in a divorce. What he does remember though, is that the photo shoot that was done for Custom Cars February 1959 found place September 30th, 1958, the day before his birthday. While Ron's Corvette used lifts to lower and raise the front suspension only, Jim's Ford was fit with lifts on all four corners, and it can be acknowledged as the first car having hydraulics installed all around. The hood on Jim's Ford was also operated by hydraulics.
It Began with a Bang!
Jim's father bought the car as a 1954 Ford Business Coupe in Dearborn, Michigan in 1954. In 1955 the car was crashed, and Jim bought the remains so he could turn it into a custom. Jim had always wanted a car that was different when he set out to build his first custom car, so he combined talents with his father to create the innovative award-winning convertible. The rear portion of the body was completely hand built one-piece construction with all seams filled-in. The trunk compartment and deck lid were eliminated, and a molded-in Continental kit was strictly ornamental. A 1957 Oldsmobile hubcap spinner was installed on the "Connie Kit". The rear fenders were lengthened 12-inches, and 1956 Lincoln taillights were mounted in the frenched openings. Three metal plates were used to form a step effect at the base of the taillights. A cut down 1949 Buick rear bumper featuring 1956 Lincoln exhaust tips was installed in the rear. Up front, an extremely wide grille cavity was filled with grille teeth from three 1956 Chevrolet Corvette center sections. Mesh was installed behind the sections. A 1955 Cadillac front bumper fitted with a 1956 Cadillac crossbar graced the front of the car along with frenched headlights from a 1955 Mercury. A 1957 Ford convertible windshield and cowl were blended into a sculptured portion of the cowl and door panels, and an indentation in the hod flared back to the windshield. Jim told later owner Andy Lodi that the windshield was done this way because Jim didn't know how to chop it. Inside, a late model dash and steering wheel served as a substitute for the original equipment. The seats were upholstered by Jim's dad in white and gold Boltavex material, and the front seat was separated into three parts. When Jim's Ford was featured in Custom Cars February 1959, it was powered by the stock mill. The engine had been hopped up though, and it was equipped with a three-carb intake manifold. Photos showing the engine room shows two large cans in the engine compartment that were supposedly reservoirs for the hydraulics. This was not correct, as the "cans" were actually covers covering the hydraulics. The first restyled version of the car featured the stock roof. By September 1958 the car had been converted into a convertible.
Jim's Ford was shown at the 10th annual National Roadster Show in February, 1959. At the show, Jim's Ford won the "Clyde Giraldo Memorial Award" for contributing the most to the automobile industry. This was the first year the award was given out to tribute the well know Bay Area sports writer Clyde Giraldo. Jim was 23 years old when he won the award, and according to a story about Jim published in the Independent Long Beach newspaper from February 28, 1959, he was in the army at the time. The same story states that Jim spent two years restyling the car. The car was only displayed at four shows while Jim owned it. As he was in the army at the time, it was his dad that took the car to the shows. These four shows were the 1959 National Roadster Show, the 1959 Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama, the 1959 Pasadena Motor Pageant and the 1959 Las Vegas Rod & Custom Autorama. The car did also appear briefly in the movie The Time Machine from 1960.
Sold to Andy Lodi
When Jim returned from the army, he bought a house and established a family, so the car was set aside. It sat outside in Jim's backyard for the next 38 years, until the city demanded Jim to remove this and several other cars from his property. When Jim had to remove the cars, he called Andy Lodi and asked if he was interested in buying the old custom. Andy, who had been trying to buy the car for years jumped at the opportunity to save this milestone custom car.
Magazine Features and Appearances
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