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In a nod toward safety, Mr. Wood has installed seat belts in his red and white Ford, a feature not offered in 1954. As for performance, he said, he only once ran the needle on his see-through speedometer up to 70 mph.

From start to finish the project took only about nine months, proof that a reward awaits those who keep an eye on the prize and don’t get distracted. In the past three years, Mr. Wood has driven his Ford only 1,200 miles, and always in good weather. “It’s a rare car,” he said.

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