Lot 7558 View Catalog
San Francisco industrialist Sterling Edwards was enamored with sports cars, from his first glimpse of a Cisitalia at the 1948 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz. Rather than assemble a stable of Europe's finest, however, Edwards was convinced that America could build a model that would compete with the best of them. He engaged race car designer Norman Timbs and contracted with renowned constructors Lujie Lesovsky, Phil Remington and Emil Diedt of Culver City to build one. On a tubular frame, they mounted four-wheel independent suspension and an aluminum body. Power came from a Ford V8-60 engine, modified by Eddie Meyer, driving through a Ford three-speed with Lincoln Zephyr gears. In its first year, the car won races at Palm Springs, Reno, Santa Ana and Pebble Beach, the latter especially significant because it also won Best of Show at the inaugural Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, which then featured sports and GT cars rather than historic classics. The Edwards R-26, so-called because of its race number, was fitted with Ardun overhead valve heads for 1951, and competed at Palm Springs. It showed promise, but retired after overheating. Later that year, Edwards embarked on a second-generation Edwards America in 1954, using Chrysler Hemi engines and fiberglass bodies, with plans to market a limited number to the public. He had decided to buy turn-key racing cars for his own campaign, and bought a succession of C-Type Jaguars. In 1953 bought a Ferrari from Luigi Chinetti, which he drove in the 1954 SCCA National season. The R-26 was sold to Edwards' friend Hamilton Reidy and rebodied as a cycle-fendered racer, which continued to compete with some success. The original aluminum body was removed and kept by Reidy. Lee Roy Hartung reportedly obtained it from Reidy's widow. At some point, either before or after acquired by Hartung , it was mounted on the current chassis. The front section is from an unidentified production car, perhaps the early 1950s Ford that furnished the steering column, dashboard controls, radio, brakes and wheels. The rear of the frame, however, has been modified to accommodate DeDion suspension, much like the original car but with coil springs instead of torsion bars. It currently has a Jaguar XK-120 engine and transmission. The body is in largely original condition, having been repainted once in red with a white racing strip. The interior is the original maroon leather, crafted by Dale Runyan. The car has a tan canvas top, which fits very loosely.
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