Tim Musico's 1957 Ford

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A photo of the Ranchero taken in the late 1990s, after Fernando Rodriguez had fixed it up. Photo courtesy of Fernando Rodriguez.
The Ranchero as it appeared in 2008, after Steve Villa had purchased it and painted it flat black. According to later owner Brian Neu, Villa either lost or sold the rare Edsel Two-Door Wagon side trim while he owned it. Photo courtesy of Steve Villa.
In this photo the taillight housings have been painted black to match the color of the body. Photo courtesy of Steve Villa.
Villa installed a black tuck and roll interior with red piping in the Ranchero. Mechanically, he rebuilt the 360 Ford engine and the FMX transmission. The engine was bored .30 over and Villa installed a homemade floor shifter. Photo courtesy of Steve Villa.
Villa sold the car to Tim Musico in 2008. This photo was taken the day Musico came to pick it up and take it home. Photo courtesy of Steve Villa.
The Edselero as it appeared in 2009, after Tim Musico had given it a burgundy red paint job. Photo by Tim Musico.
Tim installed a 1958 Edsel passenger rear bumper to match the front bumper. The bumper had to be sectioned to fit the Ranchero. Photo by Tim Musico.
Tim pained the dash and roof in an offset 1980s Ford silver metallic base with a real fine Metalflake. Photo by Tim Musico.
Photo by Tim Musico.
Photo by Tim Musico.
Photo by Tim Musico.
Photo by Tim Musico.
After enjoying the Ranchero for one season, Tim decided to put it up for sale in July, 2010. Photo by Tim Musico.
Brian Neu bought The Edselero from Tim Musico in December of 2010. "This custom was exactly what I was looking for to make my long term daily driver," Brian told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
Brian installing the parking brake after work one night early in 2011. Photo courtesy of Carl Adamski.
It took three 1958 Edsel dashes to piece together one complete functioning dash in the Ranchero. Brian also replaced the homemade floor shifter with a Lokar unit. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
A photo of the Ranchero taken in 2011, after Brian had exposed the Edsel taillight bezels. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
In 2011 Brian constructed a plywood tonneau cover that he wrapped with a marine canvas. This version did also feature an off white roof. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
Brian and his wife stopping by Masterson Kustoms in 2012. Photo courtesy of Janne Lepola.
Brian piecing together new side trim, while also working out the plate relocation on the rear in 2013. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
While living in Chicago, Brian repainted the whole car a custom-blended mid-1980s GM Deep Burgundy and Pearl White. He also focused on finishing the interior. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
A photo of Brian with the Ranchero taken in 2018. 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. Photo courtesy of The Daily Driver Project.
A photo of the Dragin' Fly taken at the 2019 Detroit Autorama. A month before the show, Brian decided to strip off the paint and do some bodywork before painting it in white primer. The white primer version featured a reversed red cove and lake pipes. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
The Detroit Autorama iteration did also feature a reworked tailgate where Brian had added a horizontal feature line above the recessed license plate. The license plate area was 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." Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
The new interior. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
A photo of the Ranchero taken late in 2019, after Brian had cut out the rear wheel openings. Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.
Brian working on the new 1958 Edsel Corsair rear wheel openings in January of 2020. "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." Photo courtesy of Brian Neu.


1957 Ford Ranchero originally owned and restyled Fernando Rodriguez of Whittier, California.


Fixed up and Edselized by Fernando Rodriguez

Rodriguez bought the Ranchero with a destroyed front end. The roof was crushed, so he replaced it and repaired the passenger side of the car. While rebuilding the Ranchero, he changed the appearance of the car by installing a 1958 Edsel front clip and taillights along with rare Edsel two-door Wagon Round-up side trim. Rodriguez completed the build in the late 1990s. Back then, it ran a two-tone flat black primer with white scallops.[1]


Steve Villa buys the car

Rodriguez sold the Ranchero to Steve Villa of Orange, California. Villa painted it flat black with red trim while he owned it. He also installed a black tuck and roll interior with red piping. Mechanically, Villa rebuilt the 360 Ford engine and the FMX transmission. The engine was bored .30 over and he installed a homemade floor shifter. The car was upgraded with Ford Granada disc brakes and a late 1960s Ford 9" truck rear end, before Villa lowered the front about 2 inches by cutting the coils. He also redid the dual exhaust system with short stainless racing mufflers before selling it to Long Beach Cavaliers member Tim Musico of Anaheim, California in July of 2008.[1]


Tim Musico turns it into the Edselero

Musico continued the build, turning the Ranchero into the Edselero. He began the transformation by shaving away trim, emblems, and handles. Door poppers replaced the door handles, while Airbags were installed in the rear of the car to adjust the height. During the rebuild, Tim installed a 1958 Edsel passenger rear bumper to match the front bumper. The bumper had to be sectioned to fit the Ranchero rear, and nearly all the chrome and stainless steel were re-chromed or polished. All body seams were filled in before Musico and a group of good friends gave it a burgundy mid-1980s Chrysler color called Vivid Red. The paint was custom-mixed, and Tim added more brown tones, and less purple. The dash and roof were painted in an offset 1980s Ford silver metallic base with a real fine Metalflake. Whitewall tires with Dodge Lancer hubcaps wrapped up the style. After working on the car for about one year, Tim finally completed the build in July of 2009.[2]


Brian Neu buys the car and restyles it further

After enjoying the Ranchero for one season, Tim decided to put it up for sale in July, 2010. Advertised for sale on The HAMB, Tim's asking price was US $15,000.[3] Brian Neu of Ventura, California bought The Edselero in December of 2010. "This custom was exactly what I was looking for to make my long term daily driver," Brian told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019.[1]


Daily driver

Within the first week, Brian 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."[1]


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."[1]


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."[1]


Brian Neu 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."[1]


Edsel dash

"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."[1]


Off white

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.[1]


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.[1]


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.[1]


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.[1]


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."[1]


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.[1]


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."[1]


References




 

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