Wally Troy's 1953 Buick

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An under construction photo of the Troy Custom. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Wally working on the new grille opening. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Wally used to complain about cars being lowered at the time were not drivable when the springs were cut in order to lower the profile of the car, so instead he sectioned 9 inches out of the entire body, retaining the original suspension. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Featuring Cadillac taillights, quarter panels and bumper, the Wally Custom looked like a sectioned Cadillac from behind. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Wally's wife Janet with the Buick. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
The Troy Custom at the 1954 Speedorama Auto Sports Show in Minneapolis. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
Wally receiving the award for best custom at the 1954 Speedorama Auto Sports Show. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
The Troy Special displayed at the 1954 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show. Photo from the Wally Troy collection, provided by Tim Riordan.
In 2012 The trophy Wally won at the 1954 Speedorama Auto Sports Show for having the best custom. In 2012 the trophy is still in the family. Photo courtesy of Tim Riordan.
Photo courtesy of Tim Riordan.

1953 Buick convertible owned and restyled by Wally Troy of Wally's Garage in Springfield, Illinois. The Buick was Wally's second full custom job, after building a 1950 Oldsmobile named the Troy Special. The Troy Special won the "Special Award for Outstanding Design" at the 1952 Indianapolis Custom Auto Show gaining Wally national recognition in several national magazines. Two years later he was invited to attend the 1954 Speedorama Auto Sports Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For that show he set off to build another custom, dubbed the Troy Custom, out of a 1953 Buick convertible. The Buick frame was modified with Buick and Cadillac body sections. The taillights, quarter panels and rear bumper on the car were mostly late model Cadillac parts, and the engine and running gears were also borrowed from a 1953 Cadillac. Wally used to complain about cars being lowered at the time were not drivable when the springs were cut in order to lower the profile of the car, so instead he sectioned 9 inches out of the entire body, retaining the original suspension. After the body was sectioned, Wally enlarged the rear wheel well openings as well. A custom pneumatic spare tire Continental kit lifted the spare tire for removal by the push of a button. During fabrication, the air cylinder was tested on the car by placing Janet's younger brother Billy DeRosa on the trunk deck mount. Air was applied with a shop hose shooting Billy across the garage. Wally proclaimed the cylinder was good to go. As with the Troy Special, the "Troy Custom" was also fit with a machine turned dash. The radio could be turned on by lowering the armrest, and the car rolled on Auburn knock-off spoke wire-wheels.[1]


When Wally arrived at the Speedorama Auto Sports Show in Minneapolis, the Troy Custom could be driven directly down the ramp to the convention center hall with no issues, while many other lowered customs had to be dollied sideways down the ramp to prevent them from bottoming out. The show provided $50 a day to Wally as an invited participant. He was also given a brand new Jaguar to drive while at the show, since entries could not be removed until after the show. At the show, the "Wally Custom" was parked next to GM's new Buick cars of the year, and show attendees wanted to know how to buy the sleek convertible. The dealers had to explain potential customers that it was not a production car being offered. Due to this, Wally's car was eventually moved to accommodate Buick and their display. Wally won the best custom award at the show, and according to Wally, George Barris had entries at the show as well. When George heard the news about Wally winning best custom he got furious and attempted to remove one of his cars. Security stopped him as soon as he started it up. When they told him he couldn't remove his car until the show was over, George punched the accelerator with the car in neutral redlining the engine, blowing a rod out of the side of the engine block. The explosion rocked the convention hall and spilled oil everywhere.[1]


Where is it Now?

Wally was not the sentimental type when it came to his vehicles, and as with the Oldsmobile, he sold the Buick not long after it was completed. The car may have been totaled in an accident, but this is not confirmed as it could have been the Oldsmobile. If you know anything about the whereabouts of Wally's Buick we would love to hear from you at mail@kustomrama.com as the family of Wally is currently looking for the old custom.


References



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