Inspiration is quite possibly the most important part of building a car. Without it, time is wasted, expectations can’t be met, and motivation can soon disappear. For Ryan Kertz, a fabricator that owns a custom shop at Sonoma Raceway, inspiration flies by him on a daily basis. Building his 1960 Ford Starliner to look like a weathered retro NASCAR stock car came from, well, watching the retro NASCAR races that are still held at the Northern California raceway.
Kertz’s Ford Galaxie Starliner racer started off as an unfinished project that really needed a complete restoration. He swapped out the tired old 325 CI V8 for a 390 sporting 3 Rochester 2 barrels. Replacing the engine was just the start of this primarily mechanical restoration as Ryan added air ride suspension, four-wheel power disc brakes, custom side pipe exhaust that runs through the frame, new wheels and tires, and a floor-mounted shifter to replace the factory “three on the tree.” The interior looks mostly original as he left the bench seat and didn’t install a roll cage.
Kertz did, however, make some of the neatest door panels around. To simulate vintage NASCAR panels, he made them out of aluminum. The cool part is that he made the aluminum look like it has a grain to it, like a factory vinyl or leather panel, so at first glance, it still looks factory. Simply put, the styling on this is absolutely incredible.
Ryan’s project is now complete and he accredits a lot of his success with this retro race car and his shop builds to years of vocational training. We see many high school trade classes disappearing and host Mike Musto, along with Ryan, go into detail on why that’s a sad sight to see with how important that type of education can be.
Enjoy the video, and don’t be afraid to rewind a few times to hear that amazing side pipe exhaust.