One of the most sleek and sinister-looking production Ford’s from the ’50s had to be the 1957 Ford. Gone were sleek and popular shoebox Fords of the late ’40s and early ’50s as Ford Motor Company was quickly catapulting itself toward the ’60s that would become known as the muscle car era. In the process, the Blue Oval sought to keep pace with General Motors and its popular Tri-Five Chevy lineup. With the introduction of its 1957 lineup of cars, Ford were able to do just that.
The 1957 Ford had a classic look that would quickly win the hearts of hot rodders across the country. The 1957 gained even more popularity after being featured in the Robert Mitchum classic moonshine film Thunder Road in which Robert’s character, “Lucas Doolin,” drove a basically untouchable 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 as he ran illegal moonshine across the South. If Lucas drove a 1957 Ford modified like Freddy Merritt’s 1957 Ford 300, those pesky revenuers might still be chasing him!
(Photo Credit: Shawn Brereton)
Freddy’s car is highly modified from one end to the other. Much like the moonshiners of the past, Freddy went after the fastest and most readily available Ford engine on the market to power his ride, the Coyote 5.0-liter. Backed up by a C4 Ford automatic transmission and a Currie 9-inch Ford rearend with a 3.00:1 gear. Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners handle the stopping duties. With all these modifications, this 1957 is ready to run some whiskey or take on a Sunday evening cruise down a mountain back road, or most anything in between.
Just like the drivetrain, the interior on Freddy Merritt’s 1957 is modernized. Gone are the factory gauges and in their place are super trick set of 1966 Mustang-style VHX Dakota Digital gauges. Paul Atkins from Alabama built the custom, leather-wrapped interior and it looks great. A simple radio and HVAC control unit sit in a nice center console featuring two large cup holders that are certainly big enough to hold your favorite insulated tumbler of choice.
This car also features a push-button start and a push-button shifter. As cool touch to pay homage to the classic history of the car, the original steering wheel still resides atop the column. It reminds the driver that even with all the modern accessories, they are still driving and enjoying a cool, classic car.
Freddy is the first to admit, the body was in pretty rough shape on his 1957 when he started due to years of wrecks, repairs, and abuse. Thanks to a two and a half year painstaking restoration with the help of Carl Quinn in Folkston, Georgia, the car is back in better-than-new condition. The car is painted in a sinister Chrysler black-and-silver two-tone combination. A set of appropriately colored 17-inch Riddler wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber finish off the look of the exterior. Making Freddy’s 1957 Ford 300 an awesome show-or-go hot rod that is sure to grab attention wherever it goes. It definitely grabbed ours.