Classic Classics: 1960 Edsel Ranger Is Not A Pontiac

1960 Edsel Ranger

Jack Beahm’s 1960 Edsel Ranger Is One Of Only 2,846 1960 Edsel’s Built

By Vern Parker – Special to Focus Daily News May 11, 2016

At first glance, Jack Beahm’s 1960 Ford is frequently mistaken for a 1959 Pontiac because of the similar split grilles. However, his car’s true identity is a 1960 Edsel Ranger. The short-lived Edsel phenomenon came to an end when Ford Motor Company determined it had lost enough money on a vehicle that the motoring public did not seem to want.

When the first Edsel was introduced as a 1958 model, it was known for its “horse collar” vertical grille while the rest of the automotive industry was trending toward a h orizontal look. By the end of production, Edsel stylists had made many changes including dropping the vertical grille in favor of the horizontal one easily mistaken for the grille of a 1959 Pontiac.

Only 2,846 Edsels were built for the 1960 model year. One of them, a four-door Ranger model, was sold at the O’Brien and Rohall dealership in Arlington, Va., on October 24, 1959.

After 17 years and several owners, the Edsel was offered for sale, along with two other Edsels. Jack Beahm responded to the advertisement and found the three pastel-shaded cars in rough shape; two of them weren’t too bad but the third one seemed only good for parts.

He passed on the green Edsel and in February 1976 bought the white one to restore and the blue one for its parts. A towing company hauled his purchases home. The odometer on the white Edsel read 95,000 miles. When warm weather returned, Beahm began to disassemble his Edsel. The 262-cubic-inch V-8 engine was overhauled so it could once again deliver 185 horsepower.

Safety features on the car include a padded dashboard, padded sun visors, and a deep dish steering wheel. Lighting abounds throughout the car.

Beahm found that many of the trim pieces on his Edsel were shared by other 1960 Fords, which made it helpful to find parts. The original Polar White paint has been replaced in the same color. The headliner is also white and the carpeting is black. The upholstery has been replaced in the original two-tone Silver Moroccan vinyl and Black Pebble cloth.

When new, the Edsel Ranger had no power-assisted equipment. Beahm finally located an original power steering pump but refused to install it on his car until he could acquire a hard-to-find steering wheel horn ring with the label “Power Steering.” Eventually another Edsel collector provided the elusive horn ring.

Beahm says the first restoration of his Edsel took until 1980 to complete. “You learn so much along the way,” he says.

By 2011 he decided to restore his 18-foot-long Edsel again, to ensure all the details were correct. The gas tank still holds 20 gallons of gasoline, the crankcase holds 5 quarts of oil, and 20 quarts of coolant keep the temperature under control.

Under the expansive engine hood are green valve covers, as well as a green air cleaner. The 185-hp engine presumably is capable of pushing the speedometer up to its limit of 120 mph, and a two-speed Mile-O-Matic transmission transfers power to the rear wheels.

The odometer now has recorded 141,000 miles, which Beahm believes to be accurate. He completed the second restoration of his Edsel in only three and a half years, finishing the task in 2014.

Since then he takes delight in correcting spectators at car shows that his Edsel is definitely not a Pontiac.