In the early 1960s, my Mom bought Annie from her hairdresser – she wanted her own wheels to run us five kids around town while Dad was working for the Sheet Metal Union. The car was manufactured in Canada, with chrome front window sprayers, a rear wiper blade run on vacuum motors, a sprayed on thick black undercoating, exterior chrome plates on the front fenders, and chrome down the side to follow the length of the car. We installed an electric motor for the rear wiper blade from Bruce Davis in Sierra Vista. Growing up, I felt so tiny in the back seat that it seemed like I was in a cave. My siblings drove it to South Mountain High School, and I had a decal made for the rear window with the date of ‘74’ when Bob and I graduated from South. (We have been together since we were fifteen and married 46 years.) Sadly, a mishap with the radiator cracked the Flat Head V8 engine, so the car was parked on our property next to the oleanders in the irrigation flow.
In 1988, Mom asked us to pull the car out of the mud. The stipulation was to give her a ride in it before she died. We arrived to put tires on it, drug it out from the oleanders, and towed it home to park inside the shop. I told my parents that it wouldn’t remain the same midnight blue color and the entire car would be changed. Over time we gradually worked on it. We replaced the flat head with a 351W and RV cam. The threes peed on the column was replaced with an automatic on the floor shifter. Leo Highway rebuilt the tranny. Our friend Earl Woods made a list of needed parts and labor. Westside Crane lifted the body off, and Bob made a custom cart to roll the body on. We bent all new brake tubes, ran them on the chassis, and then Westside Crane remounted the body onto the rolling chassis. We cut and molded the Dynamat inside the car from the roof, down the doors, and onto the floor. Jimmy Jenkins installed the Edelbrock fuel injection system and fine tuned it for efficiency.
The theme for the car is Western since we ride horses and compete in several arenas. MAACO accommodated my idea of color shooting the worn out Elk Hyde wallet I’d carried for years. Select Glass replaced all of the glass except the original curved rear window and installed new rubber gaskets. Bell Auto Upholstery ran with the theme, using all leather material, of a western ranch entry along with two vertical upright poles, one vertical overhead pole from which the name of the ranch sign hangs down. You can see the diagonal supports to the poles. The seats are the gates. When either door opens, the visual of the actual gate corresponding to the seats allows you to enter into the ranch. Ellison Keomaka channeled my vision of real wood grain on the beauty rings and the dash. Inspired by the Bonanza TV show’s opening credits, ANNIE was branded onto the glove box.
Mom saw Annie’s restoration and rode in the front passenger seat, thrilled to experience her car on the road again. Annie was present and nearby for her birthday celebrations until Mom passed away at age 103. Thank you to my Mom for making the call and saving Annie from the crusher! Thank you to my husband Bob Westfall for all of the mechanical labor and assistance to get Annie back on the road!