It was early autumn 2009. As the leaves on the trees around Long Island turned from green to red and yellow, classic car aficionados’ thoughts turned to getting their vehicles roadworthy or simply spending many hours in the garage going over them with the proverbial fine-tooth comb. And some may even need a nudge.
Such is the case of Fred J. because, as it turned out, his daughter loved his 1958 Edsel, too! So much so that she wanted it to be the car to take her away after her upcoming spring wedding. So Fred did as any good father who loved his car (and child) would: he called the experts at Long Island Classic Restorations (LICR) in Farmingdale, New York to see about getting his garage-kept car back to its previous glory!
Because the Edsel hadn’t been running in several years, he requested that Bill Carberry, owner of LICR, check out the entire vehicle. After all, it would be beyond embarrassing if something were to happen at his daughter’s wedding as they were pulling away.
Having been kept indoors, the body of the Edsel still looked great, but it was the mechanicals that concerned its owner, and for good reason; a car that hasn’t run in a long time is likely to have a lot of damage and most of it will be internal.
The Edsel was towed in to LICR, where the engine was the first thing that was to be checked. While the engine did turn over, it didn’t do so willingly. It cried, whined smoked and leaked. Fred was presented with two options: the cheap way out was to do a “band aid” repair including valve guide seals and some gaskets to stop the leaks. Fred wisely chose the second option, which was to remove the engine and do it the right way: a complete rebuild.
Having decided to fix the biggest problem, Fred also chose to take care of all the other less-important options, so while the motor was at the machine shop getting its precision repairs, the technicians at LICR took care of the
rest of the problems, including:
New brakes all around
Rebuild the transmission
New rear leaf springs
Replace the hydraulics for the convertible top
Rebuild the front suspension
New Pertronix ignition system.
New wiper motor
Weld stress cracks in the chassis
And a good, thorough cleaning and degreasing of the engine compartment
Along with all of these repairs (most of which were simply caused by being parked for a long period of time), Fred was able to get major repairs done to the garage that the car called home, which we’re certain made for a happy homecoming for this 1958 Edsel!