Get to know your classic car community! Here are some area car and truck enthusiasts' pride and joy. To submit your vehicle, please email your contact information, vehicle description/story, and photos to email@example.com.
1957 Ford Thunderbird
This '57 Ford Thunderbird proved to be the fun sports car he always wanted. The special "diamond black exterior & white diamond leather exterior"would make any owner proud. This car also has three tops for you to enjoy depending what you desire for the day. New for 1957 Thunderbird styling were a redesigned bumper and grille along with a 312 c.i.d 285 bhp. The tail lights were canted and were special for the 1957 Bird. Optional port holes on the top along with the spare tire could be on the outside.
1950 Mercury Coupe Full Custom
Enduring the test of time - even after 67 years this car is still desired by collectors. A product of Ford Motor Company, it was built to withstand every type of abuse mother nature could throw at it. The Desota grill was a popular add-on even to this day. These cars were chopped, dropped, lowered, well to say it all, it was a dream machine to customize. When Ike & Rita found this car for sale it was in Dallas, Texas. They drove from Casper, Wyoming to buy it. In doing so they had a bonus when they met the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. They are now retired and have a very nice motor home with an enclosed trailer to keep their baby in.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
The classic that never faded from the most popular of all cars. What ever kind of car you ever wanted, this was it. Style, comfort, ride, speed, room and a very low cost of operation. Thru the years we have chopped, lowered, removed emblems and just made it our own. From the 1955, 56, 57 these cars became know as the "double nickel cars". These cars command our attention more now than when they were in the show rooms around our nation. Sometimes the story of how a person ends up with a car can also be very intersting. Upon returning to Montana to the family farm he just parked this car next to the barn where it sat for the next 25 years. The car could be seen from the road and thru the years many have stopped to buy it. He was getting tired of this as every week at least one person would stop. Then one cold morning while at the local town cafe out of frustration he said I'm going to sell that Chevy just to get it out of my hair, another man overheard him and asked what he wanted for it. He thought for a moment and said $6000, the other man said "sold" and paid him on the spot. This car sold new for $2,229 with only 166,500 made.
1950 Chevrolet Deluxe 2 door post As with any project, restoration of an old classic can be a challenge. This car was no exception. It sat in a grove of timber for more than a quarter century waiting for someone like myself to come along. It never was on a paved road, never had a radio, and a half bale of hay was still in the trunk. There were no brakes and needless to say the tires were all flat. A home made trailor hitch hung sadly from the bumper.
Our goal when we started this project was to keep this "old school" like we had it in the 50s. We replaced every component. We installed a GM small block 305 cid, turbo 350 transmission and a nova rear end. Without any rust the body work and paint were relatively easy. The interior was done to reflect the 1950s. We added disc brakes, air conditioning and seat belts for safety.
In 1950, gas was 21 cents per gallon and the license plates were only $3.50. A drive-in-movie was just $ .50 per person. Many a teen would hide in the trunk to get in free. Often times, entertainment during the intermission involved a rabbit running around on the big screen while the cars with spotlights would try to "catch it". Like many teenagers, Joanne and her girlfriends would put $ .50 worth of gas in her dads car and cruise the drag for a couple of hours!! Off the show room floor, this Chevy sold for $1,523 ... you can hardly buy a TV set for that today.
1966 Ford Thunderbird
It was a very proud moment for the top brass at Ford when the 1966 Ford Thunderbird first came off of the production line. The styling was superb with its full width tail lights and its cruise control and steering wheel buttons. Only 5049 of these 1966 Ford Thunderbirds were built. Unique to this car was the 428 cid power plant upgrade for just $64 when ordered new. It also came with real leather seats, three-tone paint with Candy Apple Red. It was a bitter cold day when the present owners made the trip to Ohio to haul this car to Montana. It sold new in Gary, Indiana for $4,734.23 and still has matching numbers. Clay & Joyce Busch of Stanford, Montana are the proud owners.
1970 Oldsmobile 442
There were many muscle cars produced during the '60s and '70s that would become the most sought after classics of our time. Oldsmobile produced just such a car with its 442. This car came with a 455 cid V-8 putting out 370 bhp. Oldsmobile came up what could best termed a cartoon character when they were marketing the 442 AS Doctor Oldsmobile W-Machine. There were quite a few problems due to the governments new emission control standards. Fortunately, GM had the type that the buying public wanted. They were in the top 10 in the nation. This was only one of 830 produced with a Hurst 4 - speed. New selling price was $3,151,00.
1947 Willys C-J 2 A Jeep
This Jeep was the civilian version of the world famous "Jeep" that helped us win World War II. A few minor changes had to be made after the war. The war version had eleven leafs per spring, that was reduced to seven leafs, the 4-inch headlights that folded to light up the engine were replaced by large headlights. A tail gate and a brake light was added with the spare being moved to the side. During WW II all production of vans, trucks and tractors were halted as the iron was used for the war effort. Willys sold these Jeeps as an Ag Jeep, it was then used on the farms across America until production of large tractors could once again hit the ag market. You could get up to 14 pieces of equipment - from plows to buzz saw's. The radiators were about 4 inches thick for farming, so if you did add a heater you would never get any heat out of it. If this were today, OSHA would have a fit. The best after market heater was a Gas Heater that sat next to the gas tank, by the way the driver also sat on top of the tank. It would keep you warm and also reduce your mileage to 4 mpg. Lewistown, Montana sold more Jeeps in 1947 and 1948 than any other city in the nation.
1961 Corvette Convertible
When talking to Corvette owners they mostly agree that this is the true Corvette with the solid rear axel. Corvette nationwide is considered the true American Sports Car. I agree to that having owned a total of 86 cars from the time I was in high school. Only one of them happened to be a Corvette. The 1961 with its external trunks were history after 1962, these trunks allowed for space to secure golf clubs and other personal items. The overall construction of the '61 Corvette was considered the best in history for quality of those built in Saint Louis. In 1957, General Motors went along with a ban on factory participation auto racing. Corvettes had to find a way to satisfy both the racing driver and also the person who just wanted street performance. To purchase a Corvette of this year you can pay from $50,000 and on up, that is if you can find one for sale. Serial numbers range from 10867S100001 to 10867S110939.
1929 American LaFrance Fire Truck
America has a long tradition of honoring the courage and dedication of our firefighters. Ron Lucero of South Ogden, Utah decoded to restore this old 1929 American LaFrance, it was more than just a fire truck. It became a way to preserve our heritage. The restoration took nine years to complete. The seat was comprised only of a frame.
It was built in Elmira, New York in 1929, it can pump 750 gallons per minute. Its water tank would only hold 60 gallons of water making it completely dependent on fire hydrants. The body is 22 feet in length and a full 7 feet in width. It is powered by a 150 horse power 6 cylinder in line engine. It has a brass bell for the driver to ring while on the way to a fire along with the siren. "This fire truck is a tribute to all our firefighters" past and present.
1964 Ford Fairlane 500
A rare one, indeed. This Ford Fairlane 500 Sport Coupe is completely stock. This car has all matching numbers, paint, power train, upholstery. Out of 21,431 sport coupes produced in 1964 only 4000 carried the "K Code." Only 110 were known to have survived. The Guardsman Blue is the original factory color. The sport coupes came with a sportier trim, bucket seats and a console and gauges. It was equipped with a "289 Hipo engine." On the drag strip it was a strong competor against the Chevrolet 409. This car sold for about $2500
1951 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
Yes, this is a true story, It was the fall of 1978. Mick's dad had been looking for a Sedan Delivery to use in his business to make deliveries of flowers. He wanted this to look like the one that he and his bride started the business with. It needed a ton of body work, which proved to be the tip of the iceberg to make it what it is today. Just four months later Mick's dad passed away. The job now would become the task of the family to make his dream come true. To give you an idea what they were faced with, both doors were welded shut, the bumpers were also welded on and the roof was caved in. The old 216 cid engine was in need of major work, from the looks of the oil it had never been changed. It now runs like a dream with the old 3-speed on the steering wheel. Mick called upon his friends with the Big Sky Street Rod Assoc. to help. In just 45 days, this sedan delivery was up and running, all painted along with graphics and lettering. How did it get its name ? Mick's "MOM" was the driver with 3 kids in tow in the back end while flowers were being delivered around town. What better name than "PANIC WAGON" could you come up with. This Delivery Van represented the first Christmas with out their dad, "The Founder" and to their mom Betty, The "Panic Wagon Driver."
1956 Airstream Luxury Trailers
The first Airstream was built in the 1920s in a backyard out of Masonite by a student lawyer by the name of Wally Byam. It was in southern California where the weather was warm year round. The name was not given to it until 1936, over 80 years ago. The rounded design of this trailer made it very aerodynamic when pulling on the highway, cross winds did not affect it. The fuselage was like that of our airliners. It received its name after the very first trans-Atlantic seaplane. During the great depression of 1936, there were over 400 trailer builders, yet only Airstream survived. Airstream had a guideline for who would be the best prospect to buy an Airstream. If you drove a Chevrolet you might afford the smallest trailer, if you drove a Oldsmobile you were considered more likely to purchase the next step up in size.
After World war II, Airstream Parks sprang up and the public had a new form of recreation. A major buyer was the military who would place them in the cargo hold and would have an Airstream to stay in where ever they were.
1957 Ford "Thunderbird"
The wind in your hair and the warm sun are just what the Doctor ordered for a nice Sunday drive with your favorite girl. Mine happens to be my wife of 58 years. The two major sports cars of the '50s were the Corvette and the Thunderbird, both great cars made to express who we really are, and the youth we never want to lose. Restyled for 1957, the Thunderbird was given a new grill and front bumper. This Bird came with the optional 312 cid engine with had 285 bhp. This became one of the most recognized iconic sports cars of the year, it has been on postage stamps, television, movies and advisements. Ford GM Lewis Crusoe could not understand why we could not have a sports car like Europe had at the "Paris Auto Show." Crusoe asked Designer George Walker about it. He made a call to Michigan and told them he wanted a sports car by the time they got back from the Paris show. It had been on hold for some time. This T-Bird came with bucket seats, hard top and a soft top which was a power top. Many options like push button radio, automatic windshield wipers, Dial-O-Matic power seat which controlled the volume of the radio. The T-Bird could hit 146.3 mph, during the Daytona Speed Weeks, although speed wasn't what the new Bird was all about. Rather it was a stylish, luxurious, upper-middle-class cruiser. Yes, this was the perfect car to give your girlfriend or wife for a cruise up-town for showing off.
2014 Shelby Cobra GT500
"Yes" its fast by any standards, when you add a 662 bhp power plant you better hold on to the seat of your pants and grit your teeth. The electronic Line-Lock is a special feature that should be used only on the track. This feature allows for you to keep the front brakes locked up which will allow you to smoke the rear tires for a solid quick start. The launch control will integrate the brakes, traction control along ensuring a smooth consistent start. The message center will provide instance performance metrics in the center of your instrument cluster. You know there is power when your car provides longitudinal g-forces and acceleration times plus automatic and countdown starts. Some drivers like to adjust their powersteering. You have 3 options, Normal, Sport settings and comfort. The fun just gets better with the manual six speed transmission. It is the smooth shifting that the owners like the most.
1956 Ford F-100 1/2 Ton Pickup.
When this truck was made, Ford Motor Company made the height of the tail gate a main selling point by being just 24 inches off the ground. Ford knew that if they did their job they would not have to worry about Chevrolet. The wrap around windshield and the option of a large back window gave this truck a "Back To The Future" look. The larger 272 cubic inch V-8 offered 167 brake horse power. The Canadian version of this truck was called a Mercury. This truck possesses quality that would never be repeated in later years. Seat belts were just made available however very few ever ordered by the dealers do to the cost which added about $9 to the base price.
For the collector this is a crown jewel that the person restoring can do so many different things.
1957 Chevrolet Hard Top
The '57 Chevrolet defines the car of the 50s that we all wanted with its style, comfort and that "wow" factor. The colors that were available for these cars have never been offered in the cars of today.There has got to be a reason we love these cars like we do.Perfection comes with a price and this car happens to be one of those. This was a frame-off rotisserie restoration. An "Art Morrison Frame" with a new LS-3 engine complete with a 9-inch rear end. 4 link with coil overs, Dakota Digital dash instruments, House of Kolor "Sun Pearl & Sunset. Vintage air and to top it off it has real leather with bucket seats front and rear. No car like this would be complete with out Budnick wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Tires.
The GTX had fake hood scoops, the important part was the heavy duty suspension and became a true muscel car. The name GTO became so well known Plymouth decided to follow by using the letters GTX.
1956 Buick Century 4 door hardtop
For the true car collector, the 1956 Buick has proven to be one of the most elusive of all makes. It may be the production numbers or the demand for these cars, who knows. Buick fine-tuned the styling of the '56 to make it one of the greatest body styles of all times. The addition of a new grill and a pointed hood with open rear wheel wells was what it needed. It had a price tag of around $3,000 and production numbers of just 20,891. Sporting a 255 bhp Iron head engine it would power this Buick Century from 0-60 in 10.5 seconds. The author of this article has had 28 Buick's to this date and knows these cars very well.
1948 Chevy Loadmaster Truck Cab All Chevy
3/4 ton Chevy van chassis, 1994 Chevy pickup box over original 48" 2 ton truck frame.
1936 Chevy sedan rear fenders, Color-1950s GM Coral w/Pearl Clear.
Custom interior, Air bags, Rear air shocks, tilt steering w/custom interior.
1947 JEEP CJ2A
It’s always great when you can trace the history of a vintage automobile back to its origins. This fully restored 1947 Jeep CJ2A was bought new from Davis Motors in Butte, Montana. It was then sold to Leipheimer Ford in Butte and used for business purposes, then on to the family farm in Belgrade. Les Roth purchased the Jeep from a Leipheimer grandson and brought it to his home garage for a full restoration.
That’s when the fun really started…new body, tailgate, front fender; and then transmission work, steering gear, brakes and transfer cases. Luckily, the engine had been rebuilt in 2008 at Engine Rebuilders in Denver.
Les’ goal was to make the Jeep as authentic as possible; based on the Jeeps he drove during his years in the military. Les served in the US Navy from 1960 to 1966 and even wanted to name the Jeep after the ship he served on…the USS Washtenaw County LST 116. He painted it battleship gray and it is authentically restored to match the Navy CJ2A’s he used in Viet Nam.
The serial numbers soon to be added under the windshield will reflect his grandchildren’s birthdates. This Jeep CJ2A was certainly a work of love for this Billings classic car buff.