By on February 27, 2011

This faithful TTAC writer enjoys his break from reality to be a judge at the 24 Hours of LeMons. That said, a perk to having the great Murilee Martin on board is that my LeMons coverage now embellishes his: take a look at the ’58 Edsel Ranger pace car we “procured” from a race team.

One thing about the “rat rod” school of design is how great it makes an otherwise junky heap look in the hearts and minds of most bystanders.  An ugly flat black paint job on one of the ugliest cars known to man is a Reeses peanut butter cup of automotive design!  That said, the 1970s forged (yes really) Lincoln mag wheels and 390 V8 from a ’67 Ford Galaxie make the theme cooler than cool.  And the white shag carpet seemingly taken from Dirk Digler’s rumpus room?  Why not, it’s Rat Rod!

Also note the wicked body roll in turn one here at MSR Houston.  And yes, that’s during pace car laps!  Which begs the question, maybe we need more Rat Rod themed rides in Lemons?

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12 Comments on “Edsel: The Official Pace Car of 2011 Gator-O-Rama 24 Hours of LeMons...”

  • avatar

    It actually looks like an Edsel “PACER” model.   So it should become the official PACER vehicle for the 24 hours of Lemons.    That will make it worth big bucks in a few years!  

    I see the vacuum wipers are holding in the famous acceleration sport position. In this mode the wipers are more areodynamic, then they flogg rapidly during de-acceleration to assist braking!

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Hm. Looking at that front end arrangement makes me wonder if it was the inspiration for the first-gen Subaru B3 Tribeca? Uh oh.

    • 0 avatar

      I have heard in the old days the Edsel front grille was referenced as a horse-collar or a women’s vag…   
      Does this mean it has come full circle to the Subaru Tribeca?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Which begs the question, maybe we need more Rat Rod themed rides in Lemons?

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  First baby step, next pace car should be a Buick with a Nailhead V8. 

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Did a double-take on that Edsel’s throttle return spring. Reliable and safe.
    How about this as the next L.P.C.?

  • avatar

    Speaking of rat rods, I was at the Detroit Autorama on Friday, shooting for Cars In Depth (I hope to start posting photos and videos later today). The main hall in Cobo is mostly devoted to the high end customs, hot rods and drag racers, and businesses’ displays, while the Michigan Hall downstairs is filled with rat rods, unfinished projects and other enthusiast level cars. One of the cars downstairs had a sticker in a window that said “built not bought”, and a lot of the cars and trucks downstairs had a lot of cool factor but frankly, with the occasional exception like the rat rod military Jeep dragster, most of the rat rods are about as interchangeable as all the ’69 Camaros or S-10 pickups there are upstairs.
    There was one rat rod made from a trashed late 60s early 70s pickup based wrecker. A crude chop job on the roof, and the engine had four one identical one bbl carbs. The thing is, if you’re going to do it wrong, do it wrong. There should have been four different kinds of carburetors. It can be done – I had a friend when I was young that had a Falcon with an inline six. He made an intake manifold adapter out of wood and mounted three different carbs for his version of tri-power.
    Matte finishes and patina can be a cliche too.

  • avatar

    Thanks to Sajeev and the whole Lemons crew for allowing me to be the pace car. My father first bought this car from the original owner in 1994 (a very cool elderly gentleman who worked for Nasa his entire life and had left all the security clearance stickers, since 1958,lined up in the rear window). . The motor on the car was locked up but the body and interior where in decent shape. After a little research we discovered that the E400 was a FE block motor, which worked out well since we had just purched a 67 galaxie 4 door with a 390 from a lil old lady in town. I drove this car to college and around town for a year or so before my father decided it was time to sell her(this was a common theme at our house)in 1998. The Edsel was purchased buy a gentleman that unfortunatly passed away not long after purchasing the car. So it was placed out in the back yard where it stayed, and set, and rusted, and rotted till 2007 when a friend of the families told me that he had it at his shop and the owner wanted to sell it. So like a 3 way deal in basketball, she got $500 from both me and the family friend, he recieved a 4dr 54 chevy parts car and i got the Edsel(minus cool Nasa security stickers someone had scraped off). Since then i have replaced the rocker panels(same as a 57 fairlane) quarter panels(puchased of a guy in Dallas found on craigslist) fabricated and replaced floor pans, swapped the front dog house with one pulled off a 4 door parts car found in an old barn where it had been setting since 1968(also from Dallas and Craigslist) distibutors swapped to upgrade to electronic ignition(got tired of filing points), Front disc brakes and rear axle from a 1980 lincoln versaille(Spidles and rear end bolt up with very little fabrication), Brake master cylinder and booster from a 1978 corvette and fire wall adapter from Transdapt(thus giving me 4 wheel power disc brakes). I primed the car just in time to make a local “rat rod” show and havent had time to get anymore of my plans for the car done. Ive owned Novas, Mustangs, Falcons, Camaros, 55-57 chevys, 69 cutlass, 71 el camino, (and a ton of other cars and trucks) and nothing draws attention like this car. I was truely an honor to be included in the 24 hours of Lemons and will be back in June at MSR with a lil more paint and body work done….maybe.

  • avatar

    Its a Ranger, and yes, I asked the owner if it was a Pacer almost immediately after we got it for our Pace Car.

  • avatar

    I never got how these were ugly, if anything they look better then the new Fiesta, easily better then anything out of Mazda in the last year. The wheels are nice but the flat black looks as bland as ever, though with a few touches you could make this a nice Edsel cop car.

    • 0 avatar

      2door cop car?…ill keep my bland old primer till i get a lil more body work done then im going to finish with a satin black body, white top and on the inlay that wraps around the back, Heavy flack white with a pearl coat tinted with a lil blue/green to tie it into the interior colors. slap all the chrome back on and shave the white walls.

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