1954 Edwards America Convertible


The 1954 Edwards America convertible coupe had a massive hood housing a huge V-8 engine. See more classic car pictures.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1954 Edwards America convertible coupe actually debuted in the autumn of 1953 as Sterling Edwards's European-style grand touring car with American components and abundant power.

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Heir to a steel cable business, Edwards was a successful race-car driver on the West Coast in the early- and mid-1950s. He constructed his own race cars.

The first was a sports racer with four-wheel independent suspension and Ford V-8 engine. The second used a Chrysler "hemi" stuffed into a Henry J chassis.

Competition from Jaguars and Ferraris ultimately convinced Edwards to buy ready-made race cars. Instead, he started constructing road cars in South San Francisco.

Though financed by Edwards, actual work was carried out by Phil

Remington -- who later did fabrication and engineering on the Ford GT-40.

The America sported European styling with American components. The America sported European styling with American components.
The America sported European styling with American components.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Styling was influenced by an Italian Cistitalia Edwards saw at the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland. The Edwards America had clean, delicate lines, but with a massive hood housing a huge American V-8.

The prototype seen here used a strengthened 100-inch Henry J chassis powered by an Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 with Hydra-Matic transmission. To keep costs reasonable, the body was fiberglass with trim from the parts bins of various U.S. manufacturers.

Taillights were 1952 Mercury; headlight rings came from the 1953-1954 Studebaker.

The Henry J frame was not quite strong enough, however. Later cars used a 1950-1952 Mercury wagon frame reinforced and cut down to 107 inches. The Olds was replaced by Lincoln or Cadillac V-8s. A hardtop coupe also was offered.

The style of the Edwards America was influenced by an Italian Cistitalia. The style of the Edwards America was influenced by an Italian Cistitalia.
The style of the Edwards America was influenced by an Italian Cistitalia.
©007 Publications International, Ltd.

A well-trimmed leather interior and Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels added to the sporting luxury image Edwards sought to create. Workmanship was first-rate throughout.

In spite of saving money by using mass-produced parts, the America was costly to build. Price initially was $6,769, but rose to about $8,000. Even then, Edwards lost money on each car.

Production ended in late 1954 after only five cars, including the prototype, had been built.

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