Mike Perello's 1960 Ford

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The Starliner as it looked when Mike bought it around January 1964. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
The Starliner as it looked after Larry Watson had painted it for the first time in June of 1964. This version was painted Peril Gold with a Candy Root Beer top. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
Mike's Starliner in front of Larry Watson's shop. This photo was taken after Larry had repainted it in Abalone Peril Gold 3 months later. Photo from the Larry Watson collection, provided by Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive.
This photo shows the bright affect light had on the paint. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
Mike had Bear install "lifts" up front on the car. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
The Starliner was fit with 13" wheels up front, and according to Mike, a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes wouldn't fit under the front license plate with the lifts down. With the lifts down, the idler arm would drag the ground, and Mike had to replace it about every third month. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
An interior shot. The dashboard was painted Peril White with Candy Root Beer fades, and the upholstery was done in white rolls and pleats by an upholstery shop in Hawthorne. According to Mike, it costed about three times as much as an interior stitched in Mexico. Photo courtesy of Mike Perello.
A photo of Mike's Starliner hanging in Larry Watson's personal museum. Photo by Dennis McKee.

1960 Ford Starliner owned by Mike Perello of Torrance, California. Mike bought the Starliner around January 1964. After buying the car, Mike and his dad restyled the car by removing two of the headlights and installing a tube grille. At the time the Starliner was restyled, Mike was working off a six month suspension of his driving license. As Mike wanted Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style to paint his car, he had Larry lined up so the car would be finished almost to the day his license would come back. With about three weeks to go, Mike was driving with a friend to the local A&W. About a block before A&W they passed a friends house. The friend, Jim Boyd, had just finished a full customization on a 1963 Ford, and the car was parked at the curb lying on the ground. Mike had never heard of lifts, or seen anything like it, so he asked his friend if he knew what had happened to the car. He wondered why it was broke. The friend told Mike that the car had lifts. When Mike learned about lifts, and how you could raise and lower a car from the inside with a switch, he flipped out. He had three weeks left before his license came back, and was really up for a set of lifts. They found out that Larry Watson knew the person who did the installation, so they took the Starliner to Watson, who directed them to a guy called Bear. Bear was in his early twenties, and he worked out of his parents house in Downey, Paramount or Lakewood, about a mile from Larry's paint shop. Mike had Bear install hydraulics up front on the Starliner. In June of 1964, after the hydraulics had been installed, Mike took the Starliner to Watson's House of Style for a paintjob. Larry painted the car in a Peril Gold with a Candy Root Beer top. The color was great, but it didn't have the gold Mike was looking for, so he had Larry repaint the car three months later in an Abalone Peril Gold. When the sun hit the Peril Gold paint, the car would change color, much like the chameleon paint of today. The Abalone Peril went from dark gold to a bright, almost blinding gold. The dashboard was painted Peril White with Candy Root Beer fades, and the upholstery was done in white rolls and pleats by an upholstery shop in Hawthorne. According to Mike, it costed about three times as much as an interior stitched in Mexico. The Starliner was fit with 13" wheels up front, and according to Mike, a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes wouldn't fit under the front license plate with the lifts down. With the lifts down, the idler arm would drag the ground, and Mike had to replace it about every third month. When Mike's Starliner was done, the car was called a custom, and not a lowrider. Mike had the Starliner for about a year and a half. He sold it because he had so many tickets for being too low. He was 18 or 19 years old at the time, and a judge told him in court that the average person gets a ticket every four and a half years. According to Mike's driving record, he should be 104 years old according to the statistics. Mike believes the judge was trying to do everything possible not to take his license again, so he decided that Mike should take the lifts out. That wasn't an option for Mike, he came back with fake paper work showing that he had junked the car. The meant that if he ever got caught driving the car in Torrance, the judge would really bring the max down. Feeling like a fugitive in the city where he grew up, he decided to sell the car. He sold it to a very close friend, who later sold it to another good friend, who later sold it to a third very good friend.[1]


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