Feigl 1960 Starliner
10 Year Itch
One Couple's Take on a Limitless Platform
How long have you been working on your hot rod? Waiting for parts, waiting for a hired shop to complete their part, waiting for money, waiting for time; there’s a lot of waiting involved in building a custom car, not to mention the time it takes to actually put the pieces together. Hours upon hours go into fitting each component just right, and that’s after you either found the perfect part, or fabricated your own.
Fullsize cars of the early sixities have to be the most difficult vehicles to build. I’m not talking about physically; there’s room for any drivetrain or rolling stock you want, but what approach do you take? Out of the box, they’re already styled to the max, looking like low-orbit spaceships that never broke free of the gravitational pull. Fins, swoopy lines and rocket booster taillights make them a shoe-in for a mild kustom; nosed and decked on chrome reverses and whitewalls. On the other hand, let’s not forget about early NASCAR as a potential influence; dumped hard over 15x10 steelies with a function-over-form interior and a nasty V8 under the hood. Of course, NHRA Super Stock racing was really gaining traction (get it) in the early sixties, and the lightweight 406 Galaxies cannot be overlooked. Any of these classic looks can be twisted with modern styling cues, and advances like air suspension and large-diameter wheels can give an old body style a new lease on life.
Gerard and Lynnette Feigl spent nearly 10 years crafting their version of the perfect ’60 Starliner in their own garage. The catalyst was a Thom Taylor sketch from an issue of Hot Rod magazine dated 1995, and the first step toward that vision was to get the big hardtop on the ground. No vintage weight transfer theory here, just air transfer through a Ride Tech bag at each corner. Foose wheels measuring 20” and 22” necessitated a rework of the front wheelhousings, and total custom jobs in back. While he was at it, Gerard smoothed the firewall and shaved nearly every barb from the body. With the exterior custom work complete, the flanks were sprayed with Axalta candy apple red and topped with their complementing clear coat.
Turning to the expansive interior, the Feigl team decided on a color-matched center console to locate the shifter just behind the Dakota Digital climate and air ride controllers. An Alpine head unit serves to blend the console into the dash, which has been extensively smoothed. Despite all the custom work done to the dash, the stock gauge opening remains and is now filled with a one-off Dakota Digital VFD3 digital instrument system. Dan Vance wired the car, making all of the technological goodies functional. Gerard had the seats from a Lincoln Mark VIII and a vision, and Hal Blast made it a leather-wrapped reality with his trusty sewing machine.
The very same Lincoln was pillaged of its drivetrain and wiring harness, all of which was incorporated into the Starliner. The enormous 4.6L fits the engine bay just fine with the required electronics mounted in a sanitary fashion. The EFI and overdrive transmission make the miles go by with ease, while a custom-built exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers make sure it sounds as good as it looks gliding across the heartland.
Can you imagine the reactions if the Feigl Starliner rolled into the 1962 Autorama? Show goers wouldn’t know what to think as they watched the body gently hug those out-of-this-world wheels when the bags deflated. They would appreciate the smooth bodywork and phantom grille shrouding the headlights, but the electronics inside would throw them for a loop, for sure. It’s safe to say the Starliner has been thoroughly modernized and reflects the owner’s tastes (in addition to showcasing his considerable and varied talents) without losing the space-age charm. Lynnette gave the car its name, Big Sexy, and no better title comes to mind when visually exploring its every curve. Even 10 years in the making, the car doesn’t look like it was designed a decade ago; it’s current and fresh, standing out at every show it attends and is sure to turn heads for years to come.
Photos courtesy of Lynne Peters Photography, copyright 2015