Brian Neu's 1957 Ford
1957 Ford Ranchero owned by Brian Neu. Formerly known as The Edselero, Brian bought the car from Tim Musico of Anaheim, California in December of 2010. Brian wanted to use the car as his long term daily driver, and within the first week, he had replaced the worn-out steering box and the upper A-arms. He also got an alignment as it drove with a "death wobble" at speeds over 55 mph. "At the time I lived in Ventura, California and drove daily on the 101 to and from work."
After getting more familiar with the car and coming up with a hit list of missing items and where he wanted to take it, Brian set out to put his own spin and personalize the car. "A trip up to Palmdale, California to a salvage yard to retrieve missing pieces for the interior proved worthwhile. I was not only able to get the missing stainless windshield trim but the complete interior garnish moldings, like the inside of windshield, the dash surround, a-pillars, missing back window garnish, visors, headliner bows, seat skirts, armrests, a better set of door hinges and door handles along with the window cranks. And the most important – the parking brake lever, cable, and yoke."
It was up in Palmdale, that the owner of the yard mentioned something that made Brian want to learn more about the car’s history. "He asked if the car came out of Orange County and when I replied yes, he said that makes sense since everyone that has owned that car over the years has been up here taking parts off these same 3 cars you are."
Brian starts to personalize the car
The first bit of customizing on a budget was to strip the paint and filler of the Edsel Wagon taillights. "To me, those one year only taillights are so unique and stylized, as smooth and custom as they looked blended into the rear quarters." Brian was able to expose them. "Luckily and to my surprise, the chrome was good driver quality under years of paint and filler."
"The second bit of customization I did was to remove the silver Metalflake 1957 Ford dash. It wasn’t the style I was aiming for and none of the gauges were functioning. With the dash removed, I drove around for a few weeks with the steering column c-clamped to the brace bracket while I hunted for a 1958 Edsel dash to replace the void." Brian also replaced the homemade floor shifter with a Lokar, as the homemade one had a habit of popping out of gear into park or neutral while driving. "This was all temporary while I hunted for the parts to reconvert it back to a column shift. It took me 3 Edsel dashes to piece together one complete functioning Edsel dash."
The next phase was painting the roof an off white, covering over the last bit of Silver Metalflake. "I also constructed a plywood tonneau cover and wrapped it with a marine canvas." Shortly after this, Brian moved to Chicago for a few years for work. "During the Chicago winter is when I had time to start rewiring the whole car," Brian told Kustomrama.
Two-tone paint job and recessed license plate
In 2013, while living in Chicago, Brian recessed the license plate into the tailgate. "This was attempt #1 to resolve the plate location issue as it rattled up against the back window behind my head, but also to be able to install the Edsel passenger car bumper." A custom license plate light was placed on the sill under the plate. He also fixed the lower tailfin blade to reverse the point to upward, which helped with the flow of the rest of the car, before he repainted the whole car a custom-blended mid-1980s GM Deep Burgundy and Pearl White. He also focused on finishing the interior.
Chicago to Portland to Long Beach
Brian kept moving around the country for work while working on the car. Because of heating issues, and to shave off some weight, he rebuilt the top end of the engine and installed Porter mufflers while he was living in Portland. He finally returned to SoCal where he installed new correct lowered coils, aligned the front end one more time, rebuilt the transmission, and installed lake pipes.
The Draggin' Fly
After seeing the car with its new two-tone paint and trim, Long Beach Cavaliers member "Aladdin" conined the car the "Draggin' Fly." A name that Brian liked and decided to stick with.
Long Beach to Detroit
Work took Brian to Detroit, Michigan, and a month before the 2019 Detroit Autorama he decided to perform a major overhaul on the car. He stripped off the paint and did some bodywork before it was painted in white primer. The white primer version featured a reversed red cove and a reworked tailgate. Brian added a horizontal feature line above the recessed license plate. The license plate area was also reworked with a recessed plate light and a hidden third brake light behind the mesh screen. "The bumpers also got smoothed out along with some new custom Studebaker hubcaps."
Show must go on
Starting off 2020, Brian was getting ready for another phase of The Draggin' Fly. "Becoming a more full custom with a roof chop and different rear wheel openings." Brian also wanted to take the car back to a true static drop, perform an engine swap, install a fresh interior, install real Jimmy Jones Bubble Skirts, and give the car a new paint job.
Brian began the rebuild by cutting out the rear wheel openings, replacing them with openings from a 1958 Edsel Corsair. "I had played around with some different opening all summer long before settling on the Edsel one," he told Kustomrama, adding that it was the obvious choice, "it just took a bit to find a good donor."
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