Rod Stewart once sang, "Some guys have all the luck." He wasn't lying, because no matter what angle you look at it some really do seem to have all the luck. When it comes to Gary Naworski and his '56 Ford, luck seems to be an understatement.
Gary, a Bakersfield, California native, bought the Ford out of the classifieds for $3,600. For the next year he drove the Ford regularly, until one day the 429 Cad motor got hot and turned in its resignation. Upon the news Gary decided it was time to show the ol' Ford a little love, and that day marked the beginning of a new era for the Ford.
When it came to building the Ford, Gary didn't exactly break things down and build the truck over a certain period. Instead, the truck was driven regularly through the years, and built through the course of random "right time, right place" incidents. Not to mention it was built mostly with parts he had lying around. For starters, it so happened that when the Cad motor blew Gary had another chassis lying around that was always meant to find its way under the Ford, and now was the time. The new chassis was equipped with a Volare frontend and stepped No Limit A-arms. In the rear Gary had C-notched the frame and ditched the factory leafs. He also relocated a set of Nissan Hardbody leafs under the frame. For stability an ADCO 1 1/4-inch sway bar was installed up front and a Speedway Engineering sway bar was mounted in the rear. Seeing that the Cad motor was shot, Gary needed a Plan B, and he had just the idea. In his garage ready to go was a 351 Windsor, built by Marling's Machine. During the build Marling's installed forged 9.25:1 pistons, an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and 625 carburetor, double-roller timing chain and theydeburred the exhaust ports on the heads and hard seals. Needless to say, the Windsor was ready to run. Gary choose a Ford AOD, built by AAA Transmission Doctor, to back the 351. On a Thursday night Gary and some friends began transferring the Ford onto its new running gear. They finished up Sunday night, and Gary drove the '56 to work Monday morning! Bored one day, and tired of moving stuff around in the garage in order to work, Gary decided to clear up some space and throw his Frankland quick-change rearend into the Ford. The spool in the rearend ate a set of tires in a few months; therefore, Gary installed a D.P.I. Black Gold Track Differential (stock car equipment he had lying around) into the Frankland, much better for street use. Gary also had to upgrade the master cylinder with a new No Limit unit in order to get the new rear disc brakes, outfitted with Hurst/Airheart calipers, to bite.
It wasn't too long before Gary began to look at the Ford and wonder what it would look like with a real paintjob on it. In order to make the transition from patina to gloss, first some bodywork was in order. The truck was taken to Ryan Hanshaw, where he made a few small repairs and fixed the usual suspects. Gary then installed a custom roll pan and widened the rear fenders 3 inches. The filler neck was also shaved, since the tank was relocated out back. The '56 was then taken to A&R Custom, in Bakersfield, California, where Adam laid down a custom blend of Aqua and Blue PPG paint. Then once again, Gary fell into the right place. Gary had done some work for a friend, and his friend offered him a proposal instead of ponying up the dough. Gary's friend offered to hook him up with a set of brand new Weld wheels of his choice for the work, and seeing that the wheels outweighed the amount of dough involved in the work, Gary didn't refuse. He decided to throw a set of Weld Rodlite XP 18-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber on the '56.
Inside the cab Gary restored the dash with parts from Sacramento Vintage Ford. As for the seats, he took them from a '97 Tahoe. Then the truck was taken down to be upholstered so the door panels, headliner, and carpet would match. A Southern Air A/C and heater unit was installed, due to the fact the '56 was meant to be driven in all conditions. (In fact, when we first spotted Gary's ride at a show he drove through multiple showers and snow just to get there!) For now Gary is pretty content with the Ford, but you know what they say, "Idle hands are the devil's playground," so who knows what's in store for the Ford. But our guess is probably some parts lying around Gary's garage.