Jim Robertson's 1961 Ford

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A photo of Jim with the Ford in their backyard, right after his dad had given it to him in 1968. Jim was 16 years old at the time. Photo courtesy of Jim Robertson.
Jim's Ford as it appeared fresh out of Bill Carter's paint shop in 1969. Photo courtesy of Jim Robertson.
Jim's Ford was pinstriped by Walt Prey, who worked for Bill Carter in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Jim Robertson.
The second version of the Ford as it appeared after the "Animal" had repainted it around 1970. Walt Prey had painted the name of the car, "Graveyard Train", in the rear side window. Photo courtesy of Jim Robertson.

1961 Ford owned by Jim Robertson of Simi Valley, California. The Ford was passed down to Jim from his dad in 1968. In the late spring of 1969, while Jim was a junior in high school, he had Bill Carter of Carter Pro Paint paint it. The car received a custom fadeaway paint job with pinstripes by Walt Prey. The whole job was $150.00. It was an enamel job, which Jim preferred, because enamel was more durable than lacquer and less expensive. Jim's Ford rolled on chromed and reversed wheels with fake removable spokes. Jim remembers the spokes were called "baskets" back then. Later on, he bought a pair of medium-depth Astro Supremes from a buddy across the street, that he mounted in the rear of the car.[1]

Jim's Ford was a regular on the Wednesday night Van Nuys Boulevard "Club Night" activities. Due to a wreck, the car was repainted about a year after Bill Carter painted it. This time, the job was executed by a San Fernando Valley painter who went by the nickname of "Animal". The Animal had a shop in Canoga Park. This version was painted a dark sky blue with panels that were blended wine shade overlayed with gold cobwebbing. The top was the same color, with small multicolored metalflake added. This version was also fit with dual dummy spotlights. Jim named his Ford the "Graveyard Train". The dark tinted windows and inner decor of the rear interior prompted the name, so he had Walt Prey paint the name on the back rear window. The car had a rough life, and after going through several wrecks and consequent repairs, it was finally totaled by a girl Jim was involved with in 1973.[1]

In 2014 Kustomrama asked Jim if he ever considered having lifts installed on the Ford. It was always a special treat for me to watch lifted cars in action, but in those days they were illegal and brought a $500.00 fine if they were discovered in your car. I was being pulled over regularly for the cars being too low as it was, and I didn't want to compound that situation with lifts. Also, I was well aware of the problems they presented at that time: 2 girls I knew went to a party in the Valley one night and borrowed a friend's '59 Thunderbird, which was lifted front and back, to make a run to the store. They decided to take a run around town instead, and in the course of their joy-ride one of the hoses blew and the car sank to the ground. Undaunted, the girls continued their cruise into the next day, and finally returned the 'Bird to its very angry owner. I didn't like the idea of this possibility, and this was another reason for my abstinence from those cool hydraulic gadgets.[1]


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