Is an Edsel a street rod?
Don't look now, but this 1958 Edsel Ranger, built by Bobby Alloway and the Alloway's Hot Rod Shop team, is Street Rodder Magazine's 2019 Street Rod of the Year.
The puzzled looks on people's faces when Kathy Lange's extraordinarily out-of-the-ordinary custom made its debut at the 2018 SEMA Show were identical to the expressions when her Edsel appeared on the cover of Street Rodder's Sept. 2019 issue. But puzzlement turned to praise as soon as people got a closer look at the burgundy and silver beauty.
What did they see that makes this the world's coolest Edsel?
Salvage-Yard Exterior Components and Upcycling
The raw material for this project was a worn-out 1958 Edsel Ranger, but illustrator/designer Eric Brockmeyer saw something different and created the concept art for the transformation. His vision, shared by Lange and Alloway, was for a car with numerous modifications, all of which kept the linesâand identityâof the Edsel intact. Alloway found many of the exterior components in salvage yards, since there's not a big aftermarket for Edsel parts (that might change after this). Front fender trim from an Edsel Pacer and rear quarter trim from a Citation model might be unnoticed by everybody except hardcore Edsel buffs, but to those buffs, those details are pretty cool.
This Edsel is carried by a custom Art Morrison Enterprises chassis with Strange Engineering suspension parts, plus electric rack-and-pinion steering. The 17- and 18-inch 5-spoke wheels were designed by Alloway and manufactured by Billet Specialties. Packing muscle car style rollers into those Edsel fenders was a great detail and adds one more item to the car's "cool" list.© Jorge Nunez
The Edsel interior brings its own cool to the party in the form of the famous factory "rolling dome" spinning speedometer at the center of the instrument panel. The same goes for the 3D-printed replicas of the original Bakelite toggle switches below the gauges, the Corvair steering wheel, and the leatherbound 1964 Thunderbird seats. The gray Moore and Giles leather provides a great color contrast to the burgundy paint throughout and brightens the fullsized interior.
Coyote 5.0L Engine: Heart of a Horse
Maybe the final surprise, and one more convincing argument for the Edsel's coolness is the engine choice. What better powerplant than the one Ford built for the Mustang GT? The Coyote 5.0L modular engine in Lange's Edsel comes from Roush Performance. It features a Roush supercharger, manifold, and fuel injection system, Greening Auto Company coil covers, and headers and exhaust pipes from Barillaro Speed Emporium. A Tremec TKO 500 5-speed and Currie Enterprises 9-inch rearend back up the mighty 700hp Coyote.
Now that Kathy Lange's 1958 Edsel Ranger has proved Edsels can be cool, will we be seeing an onslaught of Ford's maligned marque in 2020? Not likely. As Bobby Alloway told us, "I must have every original Edsel piece out there, so nobody can build another one!" But we would like to see more enthusiasts and builders turning their attention and talent to overlooked cars, just like Lange and Alloway did by creating the world's coolest Edsel. And if you're still wondering whether or not an Edsel is a street rod, here's our answer. This Edsel is. In fact, it's Street Rod of the Year.