And though it was discontinued only three years later and named one of Time magazine’s 50 worst cars of all time, the Edsel still had Bevers’ eye, even 50 years later.
Now retired, Bevers, a Sparks resident, is ready to show off his Edsel at the 22nd annual Hot August Nights to prove that the Edsel still has what it takes.
“A lot of people nowadays don’t know what it is,” Bevers said, explaining that he often draws crowds of people when he drives his Edsel around town. “There’s not many around. I think I saw one last year at Hot August Nights.”
And Bevers is right. During its three years of production, the Ford Edsel featured four models and sold fewer than 200,000 cars.
Today, Bruce Walter, Hot August Nights executive director, said the car is extremely unusual, explaining that he handles 5,500 registered cars for the classic car show event, with nearly 3,000 other cars on a waiting list.
“The Edsel is very rare,” Walter said. “It’s quite an unusual car.”
Having painted his Edsel black, to match his Edsel he had when he was younger, Bevers said he has been working on the car for the past 10 years. And last year he finally finished it. Originally purchased for $1,800, Bevers estimated another $50,000 has been put back into the car.
“You don’t really want to talk about how much money goes into it,” Bevers said with a laugh about car renovations. “I just enjoy it. It’s a hobby.”
Working out of his home garage, Bevers said he has remained true to the state of the car, refraining from chopping or modifying the body work. Chopping is common in car restoration, Bevers said, as many older cars have a higher roof line. This high roof line is then chopped out by cutting the frame work and glass to essentially shorten the height of the vehicle.
Bevers also maintained and rebuilt the original engine and transmission by overhauling them and replaced the upholstery and some framing.
“All the original components are in place,” Bevers said, referring to the nostalgia of restoring a classic car. “It’s still a gas guzzler.”
This will mark Bevers’ second Hot August Nights entrance, but he said he’s not new to restoring cars. His wife owns a 1957 Thunder Bird, which they both worked on to fix up.
But ultimately, Bevers said, it’s not the satisfaction of fixing the car he enjoys most, but really he just appreciates the cars and how they were crafted decades ago.
“I think the older cars have character to them,” Bevers said. “Many new cars today, if it wasn’t for the name tag on the side of them, they look about the same. Cars back then were very distinct.”
For more information about Hot August Nights visit the Web site at www.hotaugustnights.net.