MAY 2024: THERAPY IN THE FORM OF A 1959 EDSEL RANGER—’59 WAS A BIG YEAR

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The Edsel was never the most popular name in the car industry back in 1958.

They were the victim of bad press plus they had a few built-in problems like the electronic push-button transmission and quirky styling, so there was a stampede away–instead of toward Edsel dealers.

Jerry Sutherland

None of that mattered to Terry Bunes because he was more impressed with the build year of his ’59 Edsel Ranger. 1959 was the year he left Britain for Canada, so the Edsel’s birthday year marked a huge moment in his personal biography. This particular Edsel was sold at Healy Ford in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  

Terry was looking for a unique 50s era car because he likes cars that don’t fall into the cookie-cutter category. He learned about this car’s history and thought it was the perfect candidate for his vision of what makes a car cool.

The previous owner was an auto tech, so he knew his way around a 1959 Edsel. He turned the car into a major project for kids who had been abused—it was a form of therapy for them.

They were kids so they had a different vision for the old Edsel. Terry opened the trunk to show the massive sound system they installed to make the car a lot cooler. This car could pump out enough sound to cover a Def Leppard concert—it would definitely set off car alarms.

Terry realizes the sound system is overkill, but he likes the connection to the kids who helped build the Edsel—plus he cranks it up when he’s on the road.

The previous owner also focused on the mechanical side of the Edsel, so everything was rebuilt. The front end is all brand new plus the front brakes were upgraded to discs—and the master cylinder is also upgraded to a dual system from the factory single master cylinder. They also re-cored the radiator because the kids were learning how to make an old car reliable and safe. The driveshaft is also a custom fit for the Edsel—again a big part of the learning curve for the kids.

The kids wanted a rumble in the Edsel so there’s a new and louder dual exhaust setup. Terry likes the sound when he’s on the road because he believes a big 50s land yacht should have a throaty rumble. The kids completely soundproofed the car so when he rolls the windows up, he doesn’t hear the exhaust sound, but Terry likes the option of more throaty noise.

They left a few things on the table for Terry to upgrade. For example, Terry was unimpressed with the factory vacuum windshield wipers so he’s going to switch to electric after an incident in a rainstorm when the wipers quit working going uphill.

Terry also wants to repaint the car. He said he’s not a perfectionist, but he’d like to put a new finish on his Edsel.

He doesn’t drive the Edsel on major road trips but when he does Terry likes to run at freeway speeds or better. He had a problem with the car wandering on the road, but a steering box adjustment solved the issue. Terry said it drives better than his vintage Jaguar.

The Edsel was never a fan favorite back in 1959, but this one has a special meaning to its current owner—because of its year and its history.     

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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