Most guys don’t hang onto anything from Grade 11.
The clothes don’t fit anymore, the bookshelf you built was used for firewood at a grad party and the girl you took to the prom couldn’t pick you out of a police lineup years later.
None of them built a ’32 Ford hot rod in Grade 11.
Gord Leeson did build a hot rod back in 1967 and he still has it 47 years later as he explained, “I built it in Grade 11 and I have the marks to prove it”. Those marks must have been top of the class because this old truck has held up better than the Sphinx in Egypt.
There have been a few changes over the years because Gord admitted, “I drove it all through high school but somebody moved the steering wheel closer to my stomach”—clearly the truck itself is a testimony to a good build and youthful talent back in the Summer of Love.
He explained how the truck “is a part of everyone’s memory growing up” and right on cue a guy who hadn’t seen Gord in decades recognized the hot rod at the show long before he recognized the owner. The two former classmates realized they had worked on the truck together in that same class.
This old Ford is a testimony to a hot rod from the 1960s because it is a hot rod from the 60s. This is a classic example of how they were built back in the day right down to the tires as Gord explained:“It still has recapped Goodyear wide whites, it’s got a Chevy chassis and it’s ’58 Chevy 283 powered, ’54 Olds rear end and it’s a Powerglide. The rad and the box are from a ’27 Model T”.
Gord’s personal misspent youth is clearly represented in this ‘32 Ford: “I had it in Banff at the very first Western Canada Rod in Banff 44 years ago and it was at the 40th. I did stuff then in this car that I couldn’t do now but when the Mounties came to my hometown I got a ticket for doing just about anything”.
Gord’s hot rod was a key piece of his social life back in the Swinging Sixties and he had all the bases covered with his cool ride and a few other things as he recalled, “I played in a band and drove a hot rod. We played at places like Sylvan Lake so I cruised all night out there”.
This hot rod survived for many reasons but one of them was by design, “I took twenty years off to be a cowboy so I gave it time off too. Worst thing you can ever buy is a sea-can because it’s like a time capsule- you can dust it off and drive it”.
Gord’s biggest problem is resisting the urge to tinker with the past: “I look at it now and I’m so tempted to take the Model T cowl lamps off it but you don’t mess with it. It still steers pretty nice but it’s old and I don’t to mess with it”.
Lately, Gord is happily reunited with his faithful old ’32 Ford and he’s positive about its future: “I’m blessed, my son is a car guy”.
Clearly this Grade 11 project is going to stay in the Leeson family.
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