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Jim Beeson's 1960 Ford Starliner


Photo: Jim Beeson

Jim Beeson of Paramount, CA, Dutchmen of Paramount car club member, owned a 1960 Ford Starliner. Jim bought the Starliner in the spring of 1960 when he was a senior at Paramount High School. Before buying the Starliner, Jim had a 1953 Plymouth two-door that he had lowered and shaved most of the exterior chrome off of. The Plymouth featured fancy hubcaps and a tonneau tarp from the back of the front seat to the package tray.

Jim's Starliner was not ordinary. He special ordered the Starliner with power windows, seats, steering, and brakes and upgraded to the 352 cubic inch 360 horsepower engine and interceptor suspension. Jim had the Starliner painted Orchid Gray, which was a Ford option. Jim first installed spinner hubcaps on the car, but later got chrome reverse rims when they came out. He lowered the front end, put blocks in the rear end and had 4 large tail pipes hanging below the rear end. According to Jim's wife Jackie, "it sounded so cool when he'd 'rap' them. We used to get pulled over so the cops could measure the distance from the bottom of the wheel rim to the ground, and then they would run their piece of equipment under the car to be sure the car was 'legal', meaning no part of the car was lower than the rim. After awhile the cops in our area recognized the car so we didn't get stopped as much."

In 1959, Jim became a member of the Dutchmen. He was at the club meeting in March of 1959 when members of the Townsmen car club broke into the building, started a rumble, and killed one Dutchmen member. Later, in 2012, he told Kustomrama that they were just having their meeting, messing around when the Townsmen busted through the door and the windows. "We were outnumbered by about two to one, but to make it even worse, the attackers had various weapons, they came fully prepared. I had never run away from a fair fight in my life, but being no dummy, me and my friends got out of there as fast as we could. The Townsmen members, for the most part, were older guys. We were high school kids. I was 16."


Photo: Jim Beeson

 

Jim graduated high school in 1960 and began working steadily, and he gradually hung out with the kids less and less. He had moved to Downey, and on the weekends and evenings that he wasn't taking college classes, he was usually with Jackie. In the fall of 1961, Jim was rear ended and decided to change the color of the Starliner to a deep burgundy.  Jim and Jackie would cruise from town to town, visiting the different drive-ins like Hody's in Long Beach, the A&W in Bellflower, Harvey's Broiler in Downey, Jerry's BBQ in Compton. They especially liked going up to Hollywood to cruise.

This article was originally published on Kustomrama.