Griffin Ga.'s Frank Harris has taken a childhood interest and turned it into a lifelong obsession. Harris boasts a collection of 35 cars, many of them rare, including a 1958 Edsel Pacer that earned him the first runner-up trophy in the Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags Series Show N' Shine car show at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
"I restored my first car, a 1955 Mercury, when I was 16-years-old and I have been doing it ever since," Harris said. "Showing cars has taken me all over the country and has allowed me to meet some very interesting people."
Harris' collection includes 21 Ford Edsels and everything from a twin-turbo Dodge Stealth to a custom Dodge dually truck. Harris moved to the peach state in 1979 from Massachusetts and funds his Edsel addiction through his business, Frank's Head & Engine Service, located in Griffin, Ga.
Harris' Edsel addiction has even led him to use a rare Edsel station wagon as his daily mode of transportation. There were just 59 Edsel Villager station wagons built in 1960 and Harris can be seen roaming the streets of Griffin on any given day in one, rain or shine.
"I had to go to Kansas to get it and I drove it all the way back Georgia," Harris noted of his wagon. "I have put wheels on it, upgraded the brakes and stuff like that, and I drive it everyday."
Among his Edsels, Harris calls his 1960 convertible his rarest. Taking five years to complete, Harris restored the car for his father who purchased it in the mid-1980s.
"It was the eighth Edsel built in 1960, but it was the first convertible," Harris explained. "That car has its own climate-controlled room it stays in. It is a very rare, unique car."
While Harris' prized car may be the 1960 convertible, it is his 1958 turquoise Edsel Pacer he calls his favorite. The Pacer had been featured in many magazines before he purchased it, but Harris tore it apart and made wholesale changes before finally achieving an end product he would put his stamp of approval on. Since the rebuild, Harris can't count the trophies and plaques his custom '58 has won.
"The car was nice when I bought it, but as of now, the only thing that is still on it from when I got it is the wheels," Harris said. "I put a supercharged engine out of a Mustang Cobra under the hood and a new transmission and axle under it as well. The trophies that car has won are just uncountable."
Harris has driven the '58 to Oklahoma, Canada, Florida, New York and everywhere in between, racking up more than 60,000 miles since 1996.
"My wife Janice and I love traveling to car shows in the '58. That car is just a pleasure to drive," Harris said smiling. "It has air conditioning, power everything, it rides great and best of all it gets better than 21 miles-per-gallon."
For more information about Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags and the Show N' Shine car show, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.