Well, this Probably won't help. But, I'll tell you anyhow.
A long time ago my Pa had a 1955 F100 Ford pick up with a 1956 Mercury engine. Every morning when he tried to crank the truck, it would wind and wind and wind, that is, turn over but never start up. We would push it just a short way and it would fire up and run like a scalded dog. It would crank the rest of the day with no problem.
He gave up and took it to the auto electric shop. They discovered the battery had been charged up backwards. Well, that's what they said.
Whether this has any thing to do with it or not, I don't know. But, I think a 1955 Ford pick up had a positive ground system. The ground cable had to be connected to the positive post of the battery.