There's nothing quite like cruising around in a convertible with the top down, radio up and hair blowing in the wind—especially one decked out with an ice cream sundae bar, a working gumball machine and a table to enjoy a refreshing Coke. Sounds like a dream car, right?
That's what we thought, too, when we first heard of this 1955 Ford Fairlane customized to suit a classic taste:
Owner Bob Haas and his wife Lorraine traveled from their home in South Lyon, Mich., to the World of Coke in Atlanta to show off the vintage beauty. Check it out for yourself in these pictures from their recent visit.
Adding to the Collection: Haas has collected 1954, '55 and '56 Fords for the last 25 years. Although he normally seeks them out, he says this particular car found him. Back in 2003, he received a phone call from a buddy of his practically begging him to take the 1955 Ford Fairlane off his hands. Haas, who admits he didn't have a need for the vintage ride at the time, bought it for $300.
A Labor of Love: Instead of restoring the four-door sedan to its former glory, Haas says he wanted to create something totally unique. He welded up the back doors, cut off the roof and filled it with Coke collectibles.
Burning Rubber: The Ford Fairlane sat in Haas' shed for five years before he began restoring it. After taking a closer look, he realized it only had 35,000 miles and thought, “If I could get this thing running, I’ll see what I can make out of it.”
Putting the Pedal to the Metal: Working through the heat of the summer, he finished the restoration job in three months. The car, which was rusted out, needed a lot of TLC, but he's proud to say he did all the body work himself. “To tell you the truth, it’s a very good-running car. I wouldn’t be scared to drive it anywhere,” says Haas.
On Display: “People display
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream!: Haas loves to surprise local car show on-lookers with a sweet treat. Occasionally, he'll buy a gallon of ice cream, fill up the chocolate syrup dispenser and serve ice cream sundaes. And for an added bonus, the gum machine dispenses jelly beans!
Open Door Policy: “Everybody loves the car,” Haas exclaims. Many owners at antique car shows ask that you "look not touch," but Haas has an open-door policy. He welcomes people to climb on in and take pictures with the mannequin in the back.
Join the Club: Haas is a proud member of Crown Victoria Association, a club that "promotes the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of all 1954-1955-1956 Ford Automobiles." About 450 U.S. members of 2,400 members worldwide get together at an annual convention. For Haas, his membership goes deeper than just a love for cars. “Once we’re there, we’re like family. We know everybody. I could travel anywhere in the United States and know somebody in a local town because of it. It’s a beautiful club to join and have friends with,” he says.
Lover's Lane: Haas and his wife Lorraine celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary this year. The two love birds turned "snow birds" travel from Michigan to their second home in Palmetto, Fla. each winter where they have fun showing off their award winning ride.
Showing Off: Lorraine enjoys riding along to the car shows but leaves the handy work up to her hubby. Haas says he's happy just to share the experience with his life partner.
A New Coke Collector: Haas admits he was never Coke collector until this project. "But," he concludes with a playful laugh, “I would definitely classify myself as a Coke collector now.”