George Contaoi's 1955 Ford
1955 Ford F-100 owned by San Bernardino Krankers member George Contaoi of San Bernardino. In 1954, 20 year old George went down to Los Angeles to buy a brand new Ford pickup. He already owned a full custom 1947 Mercury, however he needed a truck in order to build his house. He bought it at Frank Taylor Ford on Washington and Los Angeles street near downtown LA. It was painted red, and was powered by an inline six. George wanted more juice in the truck, so after a month or so, he took out the six cylinder Ford engine and sold it. Chevrolet had just introduced the new V8 powerplant, and George ordered a brand new engine with a 3 speed transmission with overdrive from the Chevrolet dealership in San Bernardino where he currently worked at. He made the engine fit and put 4:11 gears in the rear axle, which fit nicely with the overdrive. George, Al Andradeas and Dick Richardson C'd the frame, and lowered the truck by removing some of the leaves. He installed a set of 1955 Ford passanger car hubcaps, and bought a set of Appleton S-552 spotlights from Rose Auto Supply on 2E street, San Bernardino. Dick Richardson installed a set of 1941 Chevrolet taillights, dual "belly burner" pipes. The running boards were chromed, along with the spring perches, door latches, strikers, garnish moldings, and bumpers. A white tonneau cover was made and fastened with snap buttons. Dick shaved the emblems on the hood and fenders. The 4 rows of louvers were punched into the hood. When all the work was done, he painted it black lacquer.
In 1956, George thought the truck was bulky and too much in black. Cadillac had just come out with their new color Iridescent Gold, and George really liked the color. He repainted it at the Chevrolet dealership where he worked. The interior was painted 1953 Buick Red lacquer, and a 1947 Mercury radio was installed. Von Dutch did all the pin striping both on the inside of the truck, and the outside. On the tailgate, Von Dutch, along with Dean Jeffries made a big painting of a guy, getting his hand eaten up by a snake. When Barris filled the tailgate in 1957, George gave them strict orders not to destroy the painting. He took it down there in the spring of a1957, and they rounded the corners, filled the tailgate, installed quad 1950 Mercury taillights and made a new roll pan on it. George spotted the custom work with the lacquer paint he had left. After this, he installed Lincoln rims, with baby moon hubcaps and beauty rings. George did not like how the stock grille looked like, so he got a 1956 Ford grille which he got chrome plated. The upholstery was done in ranch pattern hazel brown, with a matching headliner and door panels. Gold sparkly shag carpet was installed as well.
In the 1960's he heightened the truck and replaced the louvered hood. He installed a second tank behind the seat, and made a camper for it. He used the truck for hunting in Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and around the west coast of the US. In 1969, the new Chevy 350 came out, and George decided to update it. He got a fairly used engine from a wrecked 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 that he tore out and installed. The last time he drove it, was in 1978.
George had the truck sitting in his field in San Bernardino from 1978, until Olav Kvipt bought it in april 2014. Olav's daily driver had been stolen, and he needed a new one. It was advertised on Craigslist for $5500. At first, Olav thought it was Richard Axcell's 1955 Ford, but after talking to George, he got the whole story from 1954, up to 2014. It was trailered to where Olav lived in Long Beach, then he tore it apart and restored the chassis. The engine was rebuilt by Aries Engine Rebuild in Cudahy, and the truck was assembled in the old Barris Kustom shop in Lynwood. The tailgate with the Von Dutch & Dean Jeffries painting was still on the truck, but it was hard to tell if it was still intact. Roby Ballard assisted with a bore scope, which allows you to see through a hole with the size of a pen. After drilling a hole, the camera was put in, and it turned out the painting was in pristine condition. Olav and Alex Barrios removed the panel and unveiled it for the public.
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