49 Ford stands out from the rest

Sam McNeish
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LeBlancs conversion of Thunderbid has tongues wagging at Cruisin Amherst 2007

AMHERST A portal to the past may be the best way to describe Leo LeBlancs show car.

AMHERST A portal to the past may be the best way to describe Leo LeBlancs show car.

When he was a younger man, he and a few friends ventured west to work the oil rigs in Alberta. When that didnt work out, the four friends piled into a 1949 Ford and drove non-stop to the east coast.

That car never left his mind and when he found a man in New Jersey during an auto show in Daytona Beach that made kits (www.easyrods.com) to affix to 1990s model Ford Thunderbirds, he bought the parts and began to transform his car into his ride home from the rigs.

At first glance, it is an extremely well-kept white Ford.

Then as you get a little closer, you realize its not what it appears. He converted a 1996 Ford Thunderbird with a nose and tail clip kit from a 1949 Ford, a rebuild that drew rave reviews from the car buffs.

Ive always liked the lines of the 49 Ford so that was my incentive to do this project, he said following the Cruisin Amherst 2007 show in Amherst where his car was voted the most popular car by fellow competitors.

I wanted something I could drive every day and this one cruises along at 70 to 80 miles an hour. I have a lot of fun with it and go to a lot of shows, he added.

LeBlanc grew up just 25 minutes from here in Dorchester, N.B., and summers there spending time showing his 1949 Ford replica Thunderbird show car.

He has over 200 hours of work tied up in his car, done for him by body men who work for him in his home in Waltham, Mass. , where he operates a gas station and a lift-truck repair company.

While he was born in Waltham, he was raised in Dorchester when his father took a job at the Dorchester Penitentiary when he was just nine months old.

After he attempted to work in the west, he returned to Oshawa, Ont. where he worked in the General Motors plant building cars very similar to Fraser Goodwins 1955 Chevy that parked next to him at the show.



smcneish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Ford Thunderbirds, General Motors

Geographic location: Alberta, New Jersey, Daytona Beach Dorchester Amherst Waltham, Mass. Waltham Oshawa

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