Sy Gregorich's 1955 Ford

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Once completed in 1959 the Victorian was painted black. By April of 1960 it had been painted white with scallops. Teddy Zgrzemski did the scallops on the car when he was 14 years old. "I went over to his garage and taped them all off," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019, "then my uncle (Bill Hines) painted them." The next day Teddy came in and pinstriped around the edges. "I got 15 dollars for doing it," he still recalled in 2019. "Back then I was into customizing, and money wasn't that important. It was the second or third scallop paint job that I ever did on a car." Known as the Victorian, Sy's Crown Victoria went on to become a pretty famous car. "White Pearl with Candy Apple Red scallops. That was a beautiful car. The nicest car the Alexander Brothers built I thought." Photo from The Dave Jenkins Collection.
Photo by Dave Jenkins.
Photo by Dave Jenkins.
Photo by George Barris
Photo by George Barris
Sy-gregorian-the-victorian.jpg
Sy-gregorich-the-victorian.jpg
Sy-gregorich-1955-ford-indoor.jpg
A photo of Sy with a third iteration of the Victorian. When this photo was taken, Sy had replaced the stock sidetrim with custom trim and repainted it. Photo from The Robert Genat Collection.
A Candy red version of the Victorian was shown at the 1963 Portland Roadster Show. This version was owned by Buddy Parazoo of Portland.
Photo courtesy of Dick Page.
Photo courtesy of Dick Page.
By June of 1963 pearl white trim had been added to the body to repair chipped areas. Photo courtesy of Dick Page.
Byddy-parazoo-1955-ford2.jpg
A photo of the Victorian taken about 1980, after Larry Johnson sold it to a friend. The car is parked next to a Canadian 1955 Ford Meteor Convertible that was visiting in the photo. Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson.
Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson.
The Alexander Brothers reunited with the Victorian. Photo courtesy of Transforming the Pickle.
Photo courtesy of Transforming the Pickle.
A photo of Chad Folkema and Bob Neuman with the Victorian. Bob bought the car about 1982, and he kept it mostly hidden away while he owned it. Chad bought the car from Bob around 2018. His mission is to restore the old custom back to how it originally appeared back in the 1950s. Photo by John Jackson, provided by Chad Folkema.
A photo of the Victorian taken the day Chad got her out of hiding. Photo courtesy of Chad Folkema.
One of the 10 Best Customs - 1960 Car Craft Magazine Awarrd. One of many awards that Sy won with the car. Sy sent this old plaque to Chad after he had bought the Victorian from Bob. Photo courtesy of Chad Folkema.

1955 Ford Crown Victoria restyled by the Alexander Brothers for Sy Gregorich of Detroit, Michigan. Sy worked for the AMT Model Company in Detroit in the late 1950s and the early 1960s, and he helped develop the company's successful line of 3-in-One customizing kits. In 2020 Rick Rothermel told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that when George Barris became a consultant to AMT he would stay at Sy and Kathy's house in Detroit.[1]


Restyled by the A Bros

Sy's Victoria was originally all black with a red and white interior, and it came with a 272 2v engine and a 3-speed standard shift transmission.[2]

It took Mike and Larry Alexander two years to turn Sy's Victoria car into an award-winning custom car. The A bros formed new front and rear panels out of 1953 Studebaker shells. The front bumper was a narrowed 1959 Chevrolet unit. Chromed mesh filled both cavities on the car. The front headlights came from a 1955 Oldsmobile, and the taillights were 1955 Mercury Station Wagon units. The hood was rounded and peaked. The exhausts were routed through custom shrouds below the doors. Inside, the interior was done in red and white pleated Naugahyde.


Scalloped by Teddy and Uncle Bill

Once completed in 1959 the car was painted black. By April of 1960, it had been painted pearl white by the Alexander Brothers. This iteration was also dressed up with scallops. Teddy Zgrzemski did the scallops on the car when he was 14 years old. "I went over to his garage and taped them all off," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019, "then my uncle (Bill Hines) painted them." The next day Teddy came in and pinstriped around the edges. "I got 15 dollars for doing it," he still recalled in 2019. "Back then I was into customizing, and money wasn't that important. It was the second or third scallop paint job that I ever did on a car." Known as the Victorian, Sy's Crown Victoria went on to become a pretty famous car. "White Pearl with Candy Apple Red scallops. That was a beautiful car. The nicest car the Alexander Brothers built I thought."[3] The white iteration of the car was dressed up with Dodge Lancer hubcaps with bullet centers.[2]


Mike and Larry redid the Victorian three times for Sy, and the Victorian became the first car ever to wear an Alexander Brothers' Trademark Badge.


Sold to Buddy Parazoo

In 1963 a Candy Wild Cherry version of the Victorian was shown at the Portland Roadster Show, by then it had been sold to Buddy Parazoo of Portland, Oregon. By June of 1963, pearl white trim had been added to the body to repair chipped areas.[4] Later owner Larry Johnson believes the white version had the stock Crown Victoria seats with some modifications to the seat upholstery, and with modified door panels. "The early Cherry version had the same interior but later had custom plywood seats with padding and total custom interior," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in April of 2021.[2]


Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson of Portland, Oregon owned the Victorian sometime in the 1970s. "The body had been stripped and primered," he told Sondre Kvipt. Checking inside the door opening under the windshield, Larry found the following paint layers in order: Metal, Black, White, Gold, Red, Gold, Black, Gold, Black, White, Maroon. "Magazine articles said the Victorian had a 1956 Thunderbird 312 with dual 4s. When I owned it, it had an original 1955 272 2v block and heads like the car originally came with but had some of the correct parts of a 1957 dual 4 setup but the manifold and carburetors were 1957 Ford 4 V. This suggests that the 272 in the Victorian had once had a dual 4 setup."[2]


The Portland Swap Meet

According to Larry Johnson, the car was seen at the Portland Swap Meet 2 or 3 owners later.[2] Dick Page spotted the remains of the car in the lot at a Portland swap meet. It was totally trashed in crude primer, filthy and stripped.[4]


Chad Folkema to the Rescue

In 2018 Chad Folkema of Holland, Michigan bought the car. Bob Neuman, a friend of Chad, had been owning the car since about 1982. Bob mostly kept the car hidden away while he owned it. Chad, who also is the caretaker of Miles Masa's Moondust Victoria, bought the Victorian with intentions of restoring it back to how it appeared back in the 1950s. Early in 2021 Chad told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that he intended to start the restoration after completing a couple of projects he had in the works. Projects he had started when he acquired the car. "I have been collecting parts in preparation," Chad explained.[5]


Magazine Features and Appearances

Customs Illustrated September 1959
Custom Cars August 1960
Rodding and Re-styling August 1960
Car Craft September 1960
Rodding and Re-styling January 1961
Car Craft February 1961
Customs Illustrated November 1961
Trend Book 197 Custom Cars 1961 Annual
Trend Book 205 Restyle Your Car
Speed and Custom February 1962
Customs Illustrated November 1962
Hot Rod Magazine November 1963

References




 

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