(Words and Photos by Matt Graves/American Powertrain) Powertour 2012 is upon us again. Last year an ill conceived plan involving me, my wife, Jon Clark and three vehicles in various states of disrepair hit the road. We survived sweltering South Georgia heat, vapor lock, Jimmy Carter museums and a blown Gear Vendors OD switch. We had the 48HourCamaro, Cherry Bomb D100 and Jon’s A100 van. Two of those vehicles made it all the way. This year now I am helping American Powertrain try to pull off another moronic idea-Powertour a 59 Edsel Wagon and a 68 Plymouth Valiant. So you say “ok your taking some odd ball vehicles but there has been worse”. Lets rewind the story first.
Gray Fredrick and Robert Hall owners of American Powertrain called me just 3 weeks ago and said “hey we found our Powertour car!”. The picture that came up on my iPhone was shocking. It was a 1959 Edsel station wagon full tilt surf wagon style. The owner was ready to sell quick and they got a great (??) deal on it. The car is actually in pretty good running shape. It’s a got a late model 302 with a/c, power steering, all new radiator etc. Now the for the wrench in the works. Since American Powertrain specializes in modern manual transmission kits. They wanted to swap in a 5-speed——-Two days before we left for the Powertour….Probably the only 5-speed Edsel station wagon in existence (if you have one let me know). So the thrash is on. We started out the swap with a Tremec T-5. It has a smaller case and can easily handle the power of the mild 302 in the wagon. It actually fit perfectly. All we had to do was shorten the drive shaft. A quick search of eBay netted us a clutch pedal. The picture you see is the crew trying to install our Hydramax kit to convert the car over to hydraulic clutch. The engine bay believe it or not is very small and hard to work in. So 3 full grown men all their luggage and tools will fill up a wagon fast.
Once we leave today in the wagon (hopefully) we will then head to Detroit. Home town of our partner in stupidity- Jon Clark. Jon has a new project car that he is handing the keys over to me. A 68 Valiant called the Flat Bastard. The car was built by Matt Delaney way down in Shreveport, LA. It has a Ray Barton 528 Wedge with full Holley EFI, APT prepped 6-speed and full road race suspension. The car was just in a photo shoot for Popular Hot Rodding and is nominated in PHR’s Muscle Car of the Year. (Pics coming soon) Sounds great eh? WRONG the car has never been driven but down the road and back but a few times at Jon’s house. So he decided to let me go and “sort it out” on the Powertour, meanwhile while he is all comfy in his well oiled A-100 luxury van. We all know how this going to end. So stay tuned here at Bangshift.