I got my first car in 1963. It was a '56 Ford with a big engine and an unfortunate color scheme: Pink and White. And it was my first true love.
So the other day I was driving down the main drag in my town when I saw this car at gas station. A 1956 Ford Fairlane with the same color scheme. I had to stop and introduce myself to the owner, who fortunately was still there after I had time to turn around and head back to the station. Johnny, the owner, very graciously let me take pictures with the only camera I had with me … an iPhone. My Ford was a plain Fairlane hard top convertible It wasn't a convertible, but there was no frame between the side windows, so when they were rolled down, it was very open. Johnnie's classic ford (right) is the Crown Victoria, similar to more plain model, with a lot of extra chrome and a rear deck for the spare. The Crown Victoria was upscaled in a few other ways, too.
When I was 17, pink and white did not seem like the right colors for a guy wanting to be macho, so I painted the car gray… with a paint brush. I wasn't breaking any actual laws at the time, but true classic car enthusiasts understand the value of original colors and would certainly judge my paint job to be a crime. Ford offered that color scheme only in its '55 and '56 models.
In 1963, a '56 Ford was not a classic; it was just an old car. Today, 7 or 8 years does not make a car seem old, but in the '50s and '60s, the styling changed every year. The '57 Ford looked very different. So a '56 Ford represents just a moment in American history, a moment that was unique, memorable, and wonderful.
Those of us old enough to remember the 1950's and early '60s remember that it was the "Jet Age," the age of great American modern. The '56 Ford with its clean, bold lines, the chrome V stripe on the side and its jet airplane hood ornament, fit right it. It was also a time when cars had no shame in sporting huge V-8 engines. I worked at a Mobile station in the summer of '65. Gas was 29.9 cents a gallon.