Nate Sutton is the consummate hotrodder. And by that, we mean he sees things through a different lens than the rest of us. As one of the newest members of Team Hemmings, Nate brings that Southern California style – and a custom ’59 Edsel Villager wagon – to his position with one of the longest continuously-published automotive enthusiast titles in the world.
As a California native, Nate understands two things: what it takes to keep an old car on the road and what it takes to keep it on the spaghetti bowls of freeway concrete in the heaviest traffic in North America. But, in a modern world of SUVs and automotive design inspired by an egg, Nate took Yogi Berra’s fork in the road and found this 60-plus year-old station wagon to accommodate his young – and very active – family of four.
When Ford launched the Edsel nameplate in 1958, girth, horsepower and chrome measured in square acres were the new-car selling points of the day. Gas prices? At mere cents per gallon, this Villager boasted 6mpg parked overnight and a little less than that, gliding over the nation’s new highways. And as thirsty as that big V8 was, it was equally as comfortable for a family of four heading to the mountains for a week, the beach for a day trip or even a quick run to the grocery store.
By the time Nate took ownership of this rare bird, it had been lowered a few inches for a better stance and its 361c.i.d. V8 swapped for the legendary Ford 429. And what’s the best way to keep that engine cool in the Southern California sunshine? Peak’s 50/50 Prediluted coolant, of course! For a classic that sees so much action with Nate’s busy family, he makes sure its vintage radiator is properly filled with the stuff made to keep that temperature gauge steady: