Four Wheeled Q Ship: 1968 Ford Custom

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If you believe that all’s fair in love and war, then you probably wouldn’t object to a little subterfuge on the high seas or at the stoplight.  Often in battle, the sight of a warship can make a lesser, but no less deadly, enemy slither off to fight another day.  However, a disguised vehicle can often become more than a foe can handle at the drop of a hat.  Feast your horsepower hungry eyes on this 1968 Ford Custom two door for sale on craigslist in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It looks like a grandma’s car or the ride of the cheapest guy in town.  Until you look under the hood and lay eyes on a 428 cubic inch tire burner.  You can put this Q-ship in your garage for a cool $33,500.  Thanks to Pat L. for the tip on this fast Ford!

The Q-ship is a time-honored tradition in naval warfare.  The idea is to either heavily arm a merchant ship or disguise a warship as a merchant ship to draw out the enemy.  Whether it be pirates from the era of wooden ships and tall sails or in the rough seas of the Atlantic during World Wars I and II.  The term came from the fact that heavily armed merchant ships built for the British to fight the U-Boat Wolfpacks of the German navy were primarily built in Queenstown, Ireland.  Anyone who wants to learn more about U-Boat warfare off our coasts should read “Operation Drumbeat” by Michael Gannon.

This particular Ford may have snuck back onto our Barn Finds radar.  A similar car was for sale earlier this year written up by our own Russ Dixon.  That car was in Carbondale, Illinois at the time and was being sold for $25,500.  This one is currently in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is for sale for a much steeper price.  While it seems quite the coincidence, the pictures are different, so I doubt it is a scam.  Maybe someone bought it and had their fun hunting unsuspecting Corvettes in their hometown.

Looking at the big block Ford under the hood, it is apparent that this would be a very desirable automobile to go hunting higher profile prey with.  This car boasts a 428 cubic inch Ford engine with a four-barrel carburetor.  The whole affair looks stock despite no mention in the ad of the engine’s originality.  Only the auxiliary electric fan and aluminum radiator look out of place.  We are not told really any history about the car.  Some parts of the car look to be restored, while others look like a well-preserved grandma’s car.

The ad tells us that the car is also equipped with a Toploader four speed transmission, power steering, power brakes, “poverty” hub caps, a bank of hidden gauges below the dash, and a hidden tach nestled against the steering column.  If you were going to build an unassuming Ford for Q-ship duties, you probably couldn’t do a better job.

So, is this the one featured earlier in the year?  Maybe, but some cars deserve a second act merely for their uniqueness.  This Ford is an awesome machine, and it totally looks the part.  It even has a vinyl bench seat for heaven’s sake.  It would be nice to add more to the story, but for some reason ads on craigslist, which are free, seem to have very little information about the vehicle included.  There is more to this car’s story, and we would like to hear it.

If anyone talks to the owner of this car, please let us know more about it in the comments.

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Comments

  1. CadmanlsMember

    Nice flip if seller get their asking price.

    Like 6
  2. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz

    Flippers gonna flip – still don’t know the VIN.

    Like 4
    • 57150guy

      I believe this car was put together in southern Ontario in about 2009. If the VIN is 8B50V158039 it was an original 6 cylinder car with an automatic. At that time it has about 75k miles. Regardless, it’s a good original body even though now cloned

      Like 3
  3. Frank DMember

    Rare car big engine and standard on the floor.

    Like 5
    • stillrunners

      Rare….?…like Oldog4tz said….no info provided for reassurance it was built from the factory this way……….

      Like 8
      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

        An obvious application for a Marti Report.

        Like 16
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Question for the Ford guys … It’s reads power brakes so where is the brake booster? Was there something different in 68? Otherwise that’s a cool plain Jane to drive around. Thanks..🐻🇺🇸

    Like 3
    • Robt

      No power brakes with this one. Does have a dual master but as you noted no power booster.

      Like 5
      • Big Bear 🇺🇸

        Thanks.. I thought so.. but the seller listed power brakes. Maybe he was confused.😂

        Like 0
  5. CCFisher

    Funny you should call it a Q-ship. If it’s genuine, the engine code in the fifth digit of the VIN would most likely be “Q.” Unfortunately, the seller (both sellers) has chosen to keep that information confidential.

    Like 4
  6. Robt

    Nice sleeper, big blocks for big cars. Pricy, but nice. 4spds rule.

    Like 4
  7. art

    Nice car. A few things of note…someone re-sprayed the trunk as you can see the vinyl plugs should be black, they sprayed over them. Hopefully no rust was covered. Secondly, Ford never painted inner fenders, radiators, brackets, radiator core supports, fan shields, etc. in high gloss black. Ford and most other manufacturers used a low sheen satin black. Somebody was busy under the hood.
    I have to laugh…that black tire track laid out next to it was probably where the owner demonstrated the engine performance.
    At $33K, one could hope for more pictures, especially the underside, and some history on the car. A Marti report?
    It’s a rare car.

    Like 7
  8. Michael Garner

    Nice car, but the ad that is up has a sweet looking Comet/Falcon parked to the side of this big Ford. I’d be more interested in that ruby Red jewel to the side!

    Like 2
    • Mikefromthehammer

      That red jewel is definitely a piece of eye candy.

      I blew up the picture and the front of the hood has 4 letters on it (F o r d?), so it would be a Falcon I guess.

      Like 0
  9. Bultaco

    Cool rare car, but the idea of a muscle car sleeper in 2022 is kinda funny. A nanny in a Tesla (or an old V6 Accord for that matter) would pull ahead from a stop light while chatting on their smartphone.

    Like 12
  10. HoA Howard AMember

    If Bill Gannon had a musclecar,,,just the facts.

    Like 5
    • alan leonardMember

      Joe Gannon……..me thinks….Dragnet??

      Like 1
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Close.

        It was Bill Gannon and Joe Friday. (And no, the names weren’t changed to protect the innocent). LOL

        Like 3
    • LMK

      RIP Harry Morgan..

      Like 3
  11. Bill Pressler

    Someone had added the side stainless trim from a Custom 500.

    I know when it’s your car you can do whatever you want, but I never understand why people do stuff like this that’s quite readily apparent, when they’ve gone to such other lengths to otherwise make the car look so original and authentic.

    Like 1
  12. Little_Cars Little_CarsMember

    Love it. Had a 68 parts car in that color I should have kept. The Galaxie convertible I was rebuilding had severe rust out and my XL fastback parts car got towed away by the city for being viewable from the street.

    Like 0
  13. MorleyMember

    Last time this car was featured I added my sleeper so I am doing it again.

    Like 7
  14. MorleyMember

    Last time this car was featured I added my sleeper so I am doing it again.

    Like 3
  15. Michel Guzzetta

    That’s what I know as a “SLEEPER “

    Like 0
  16. Ffred

    Those aren’t the original seat covers. For one they dont’ match the color of the door panels and second….. That pattern is the same pattern Legendary Interiors uses for a 1964 Plymouth Savoy! I’m not member of Barn Finds so I can’t post pictures of my Savoy.

    Like 2
  17. Thomas Crum

    I was assigned to assist in the construction of a manufacturing plant in Mexico. I had a company car that was a Ford Fairlane with a large V 8 engine and no other options. It was a fun car and i sure did not hold up traffic. I would use it to take trips to various cities on weekends. I have visited 19 of the 31 states in Mexico.

    Like 0
  18. Piper62j

    It does have power brakes.. The booster is black and barely visible. I would grab it if my knees would hold up under the clutch pressure..

    Like 1
    • Robt

      Piper, I think you are right. Hard to see but looks like there is a booster painted black back there. No factory with it painted, not that it matters.

      Like 0
  19. Claudio

    Just like in that Burt Reynolds/Ned Beatty movie…

    Like 1
  20. Miminite

    Wow, I like it. Good input on lack of info and possibly flip of this car. Regardless if it’s original or clone, still looks put together well. That era was all about in your face graphics, wheels and exhaust, but I tend to like the plain jane examples like this one. The ’68 Galaxie was a clean design esp the non hide away headlight models like this one.

    As with any old car, would bear a good inspection but I’d be proud to have it. Value? IDK in this crazy time with classic cars. Clone vs original will make a difference but would think an original 428 4 sp car in this condition would be worth way more, but will let the experts chime in on that.

    Like 1
  21. Thomas Crum

    I remember at Kelsey Hayes there was a company car for sale. A Ford LTD sedan with a 460 engine and with all the options offered. The car was purchased for engineering and testing then served in the company mail fleet to deliver mail between our plants. Never would there be a company car like this 1968 Ford around. I have great memories from my days at the company

    Like 0
    • Miminite

      There was a KH plant @ Jackson, Michigan back in the day; would that be the one? Lots of work in those days – up to late 70s or so – but it’s all gone now, just empty buildings for the most part.

      Like 0
  22. JoeNYWF64

    Are these front disc or drum brakes? Not sure if the brake pedal design would tell you so.

    Like 0
  23. alan leonardMember

    Craigslist charges $5 per ad for cars and trucks now because of all the spam/not their vehicle ads…..still cheap to put a vehicle out there to sell IMHO

    Like 2
  24. Tom Crum

    Wanting to expand on Mininite’s comment about the KH plant in Jackson. Mi. I was a midle level exec in rge corporate offices which were in Romulus, Mi. In Jackson we had three plants. One for manufacturing drum brakes and another for disc brakes and an aluminum foundry for producing the finned wheels for the Corvette and other cats. In order to obtain a perfectly round aluminum wheel we had to have the patteron oval because of the changes aluminum takes in the conversion from liuid to solid.

    Like 1
    • Miminite

      Tom, great info. I never worked at KH but knew some that did including my brother, not sure which one of the three. I worked for General Products that made parts for Ford including twin I beam axles, pitman arms, thermostat housings, and other bits. I joined the Navy later on and when I came back many of the plants were closing.

      Like 0

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