It often takes a village to raise a child, and in the case of Terry and Beverly Bryant’s ’60 Ford Starliner, it was a tight-knit community of shops that brought it into maturity.
Our tale begins with Scott Walton of Walton Customs in Round Mountain, Texas. He says Terry and Beverly Bryant stopped in one day to look around. They were car people and Beverly’s family had a ’60 Ford Starliner in the past that had left quite an impression. They were interested in seeing what it would take to have one of her own. After 30 minutes of chatting Terry said he’d be back with a car.
“We get a lot of people through the doors who say all kinds of things,” Scott said. “But sure enough, two weeks later Terry comes pulling up to the shop with a ’60 Ford Starliner in an enclosed trailer.”
The couple had found the car at a classic car consignment shop in Fort Worth and it was in very good shape. It ran and drove and was white with a blue interior. Many people would have been content with just that. But as they talked Terry looked around Scott’s shop, and then at a nicer project with a Coyote engine. Terry said that level of quality was what they wanted, and the project took on a life of its own.
Eric Brockmeyer was consulted and whipped up concepts for both the exterior and the interior as they discussed options. Eric is one of those guys who also builds cars, so he designs things that can be built to look like the renderings. Work began and the Starliner started to take shape.
The original chassis was replaced with a fresh one from the Roadster Shop. Walton massaged their Ford Galaxie chassis to fit and built all-new floors to get the look he was after. The chassis utilizes a modern performance IFS, rack-and-pinion steering, and a Ford 9-inch rearend on a four-bar suspension. Big 14-inch Wilwood brakes were added (six-piston calipers up front, four-piston out back) and a set of 18- and 20-inch Billet Specialties Legacy wheels were chosen for their timeless good looks and ’60s-style compatibility.
Power came from a Ford Performance four-cam 5.0-liter engine with billet valve covers from MMR and a 6R80 transmission from Power by the Hour. Walton custom-fabricated the headers and 3-inch stainless exhaust with a crossover pipe and Borla mufflers. The engine bay was tidied up with one-off panels from Levi Green of Hammer Fab. He’s right up the road from Scott and was more than happy to help out. Check out the trick fender toppers and core support panels that were shot in a satin finish.
Other body modifications include extended rockers and narrowed and tucked bumpers. They had all the metal, aluminum, and stainless trim chrome plated by John Wright at Jon Wright’s CustomChrome Plating in Grafton, Ohio. Yes, that’s one word on purpose. This gives all of the brightwork a uniform presentation against the striking blue paint.
Once the car’s metalwork was complete it was taken to Randy Borcherding at Painthouse in Cypress, Texas. Randy and his crew handled all of the gapping, block sanding, paint, wet sanding, and polishing on the car after showing the Bryants several spray-out panels. They had taken inspiration from a Toyota hue and eventually settled on Randy’s “Bluecherding Pearl,” one of more than 30 custom formulations he offers.
Painthouse not only paints cars, but they also sell their own proprietary-formulated paint colors (in PPG products) to the public. Randy’s previous forays into collision work have led him to develop custom-looking hues that can easily be spotted-in for repairs and upgrades. “They are very user-friendly with great results,” he says.
Once the paint was complete, the Starliner was taken to Cato Custom Upholstery in Temple, Texas. Phil Cato and Aaron Davis worked from the Brockmeyer renderings and brought them to life. Walton had already smoothed the dash, fitted the A/C vents, and picked out the awesome reduced-diameter ’55-’57 T-bird steering wheel. They also used a ’65 T-bird console for its striking chrome trim that fit the rest of the build. It houses the modified Lokar shifter. They had to do a little work to accommodate the transmission’s “SelectShift” feature that offers Sport Auto and Sport Manual shifting.
The interior features 2010 Mustang seats, modified into low-backs and expertly trimmed by Cato’s, along with all other surfaces, in light and dark tan Relicate leather. Square weave carpeting was laid on the floors and what wasn’t trimmed in leather was painted to match. Dakota Digital gauges were added to the dash, along with an ididit tilt column. When all was said and done, the Starliner was comfortable enough to haul four grown adults around the Goodguys PPG Nationals Columbus all weekend with no complaints.
With all of these talented shops in communication and working together, the ’60 Starliner turned out perfect. It’s a distinctive car that’s easy to mess up, but their cohesive direction and design choices have given the Bryants a cool classic that will run and hang with any modern muscle car. As a bonus, as time rolls on 10 years from now, this one will still look fresh.
Photos by John Jackson