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’54 Willys Aero Eagle is Back on the Road

Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am from upstate New York, and now live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I have been a car nut since I was a kid and have had many cool cars over the years—both classic and mild custom. There is nothing more gratifying to me than bringing a classic car back to life or doing something to make that car unique.

How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?
I found out about Cool Rides when I saw a post in my Facebook feed. I had to take a look and am glad I did. It is a cool site 🙂

What Cool Rides do you currently own?
Currently I have a 1954 Willys Aero Eagle and a 1968 Buick Skylark Custom Convertible.

Now tell us a little about your favorite “Cool Ride”; what makes it special?
My cool ride that drew your attention is a 1954 Willys Aero Eagle hard top. Aeros were built in the US only from 1952-1955. Only 1,500 or so Eagles were built that year. This car was traded in to a Ford dealer in 1971 and kept till the dealership closed in 1998, and then kept at home until I found it for sale a couple of years ago. It was still titled to the original 1954 owner. These cars were the first unibody cars and were about 10 years ahead of their time. With the 161 F-head six and overdrive it got about 30mpg, with room for six people. There are so few bone stock examples left, in this condition, I knew I had to save it.

What’s next for your Cool Ride?  Planning additional work for it or maybe a special trip/cruise?
I hope to finish bringing everything mechanical back up to specs this year. I have a friend in Georgia that has owned and driven another ‘54 Eagle for nearly 40 years. His car needs some TLC to get back on the road. I’d love to make the road trip in my car and help him get his back on the road so that we could do a cruise somewhere together.

What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?
So far, I’d have to say my favorite memory with this car was the day I titled it and put plates on it. Then, going for a ride knowing it was the first time since 1971 it had been on the road!

What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?
What comes to mind for me as the most difficult mod I have done was years ago when aftermarket parts were not easy to get. I had a 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible. It was 383 with a torqueflite trans. I found a parts car that had everything I needed to convert it to a 4spd car. It was a pretty straight-forward conversion until you try to put the trans in place with the linkage. It did not fit—4spd cars had a special hump on the trans tunnel to make room for that. The parts car was long gone, so I had to cut and modify the tunnel to make it fit. The moment that you start cutting, you ask yourself….what have I gotten into?! It all worked out and I got over my fear of mods 🙂

What is your dream car to own if money was not an issue?
If money was no issue there would be many cars I would have—the key word being many. If I could only choose one, it would be a 1968 Skylark GS Stage 1 4spd convertible with upgraded suspension, brakes, and perhaps a 5spd upgrade.

Taking care of collector vehicles is not easy.  Do you have any special tips on how to take care of your Cool Rides in and out of storage?
As far as tips for caring for your classic or custom, the best thing you can do for your car is use it! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen beautiful cars degrade from non-use. Even in storage they should be started and run.

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?
Aside from being a car guy, I have a recording studio and love all types of music. I am also the Tech Director for Soo Theatre Project, a 1930’s 1000 seat theater.

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