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Their 1961 Ford Starliner is a recreation of the race car that Wood Brothers Racing founder and 2012 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Glen Wood drove in six races during the 1961 Grand National (NASCAR) series. The car was also raced that season by Curtis Turner (in five races), Banjo Matthews (one race), and Speedy Thompson (one race).

Last year, the Wood Brothers team, under the guidance of Leonard Wood, built a 1963 Ford Galaxie tribute car similar to the original that Tiny Lund drove to victory in the 1963 Daytona 500, giving Ford its first win in "The Great American Race." That car kicked off its "tour" at the 2013 Daytona 500 and was featured in Leonard's NASCAR Hall of Fame "Hall of Honor Display."

The project started with a conversation at the Michigan race in August with Joey Arrington, son of NASCAR racer Buddy Arrington and noted NASCAR engine builder. "Joey and I talked, and he said he had some old Fords that we might be interested in," explained Len Wood.

The conversation continued with a discussion about two 1961 Ford Starliners (hardtops) and one 1961 Ford Sunliner (convertible) that were parked on Arrington's Dad's property. A deal was made for the Wood Brothers to acquire the cars and the wheels started turning on how to source the correct parts to build a period-correct "tribute car."

A rollback delivered the three cars to the Wood Brothers' shop, and the team started looking over each car to determine exactly what could be used to complete the final project.

Leonard Wood, cousin Butch Moricle and Carl Smith were the three men that worked on the majority of the build. One hardtop was selected as the foundation and it was disassembled and prepared for media blasting.

"The web site www.StarlinerConnection.com was a great site for an image of the original race car," Len Wood said. "There was only one color photo of the car which had Curtis Turner standing next to it at Daytona. It was a valuable resource as to how the car looked in 1961."

Len recounted how back in 1961, his father Glen and uncle Leonard went to a local Ford dealer to acquire a brand-new Starliner to build for NASCAR competition. Back in the day, the team stripped out the rear seats and took off the back of the passenger seat and fabricated a period-correct roll cage that had minimal bars added. The driver's bench seat was reinforced with padding and a side brace was added.

The original car was painted Monte Carlo Red (Ford paint code #M1232) and featured a red dash, red tri-spoke steering wheel and two-tone door panels with a red metal top and white vinyl door panel cover. To recreate the Starliner stock-car interior to a period-correct look, the Wood team worked with Leon Brown Upholstery of Concord, N.C., to complete the seat and door panel updates.

Powering the 1961 Starliner project is a 390 cubic-inch V-8. The team worked with Stuart, Va.-based Jay Foley Racing Engines to rebuild the powertrain. The original 390 engine was torn down, cleaned and the block was over-bored in preparation for a complete rebuild. Once the long block was completed, the engine was painted satin black and topped with period-correct gold valve covers.

After a quick online search for an intake, a Police Interceptor aluminum high-rise intake manifold was acquired and installed. The engine is topped off by a Holley four-barrel carburetor. For exhaust, the Wood Brothers found a set of cast-iron shorty headers and fabricated a period-correct side-exit exhaust system.

After the build, Jay Foley placed the fully dressed motor on the engine dyno and it produced 385 horsepower -- actually 10 more horsepower than the NASCAR-rated output for 1961.
The transmission on the original car was a three-on-the-tree manual setup. Len Wood noted that later in 1961, for racing and high-performance duty, Ford dealers offered a heavy duty four-speed transmission and shifter setup that mounted on the transmission tunnel. This layout fabricated on the Glen Wood Starliner tribute car in an attempt to make the driveline as historically correct as possible.

For rolling stock, Towel City Retreading Company in Kannapolis, N.C., made the Trac-Master Classic tires just like they did back in the 60's. The tire sidewalls were ground down to look like the original Trac-Master race tires. The original style wheels that Wood found came from stock car parts collectors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Massachusetts and they were either Kelsey Hayes or Firestone Racing-built outer rims with a Holman Moody-designed double center that was welded on to the existing wheel.

The 1961 Starliner body was painted in the Wood Brothers Racing paint booth with acrylic enamel in the original Ford Monte Carlo Red. Chrome trim and chrome pieces from the three cars were inspected, refinished and carefully re-installed on the tribute car. Dennis Carpenter Restorations was a great source for the various trim parts and pieces that were needed. The rear finish panel and tail light buckets were updated with a Joe's Rust Emporium rear finish panel decal kit.

To recreate the hand lettering and numbers on the car, NASCAR's Buz McKim was enlisted to hand-paint the project car. McKim spent 3 days at the Wood Brothers Racing shop lettering the Courtesy Ford, plus the big "21" door, deck lid and roof numbers and the "375 H.P." Period-correct contingency decals were recreated using Motorsports Designs graphics shop.

This special Wood Brothers Racing Glen Wood tribute car made its public debut on Jan. 11 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Glory Road 2.0 display, along with 17 other significant race cars in NASCAR history.

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