The Southlanders: The Thrills Start With the Grilles
July 27, 2018
The dramatic styling of an Edsel isn’t for everyone. It never was! Although Edsels and their horse collar grilles were widely unpopular upon their introduction for the 1958 model year, the fact that only about 100,000 were ever produced over three model years means that they are now unique, rare, and very collectible… which is something that’s not lost on fans of the much-maligned marque, including the members of the Southlanders Edsel Owner’s Club. The Southlanders got their start in 1968, making them one of the oldest Edsel clubs in the country. We’re happy to say that fifty years later, the Southlanders are still going strong, and they’ll be cruising into the August 12, 2018 Pomona Swap Meet as our featured car club!
In 1968, though the Edsel was only 10 years old, the car was unappreciated by the majority of the public. The Edsel was a popular car to make fun of, even on TV shows like “The Munsters” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. And finding parts to keep these beauties on the road was already becoming difficult. This was obviously pre-internet, but it was also pre-Pomona Swap Meet! To help each other preserve the Edsel marque and keep their cars running, a handful of owners put their heads together and started the Southlanders. A national Edsel club started soon after, and today there are 3 major national clubs with hundreds of chapters, as well as many other small local clubs.
The Southlanders currently have about 80 members, and they’re always accepting new members. Most members are located here in SoCal, but the Southlanders also have members as far away as New Zealand, Finland, and the Netherlands. Oh, and you don’t necessarily have to own an Edsel to join. The Southlanders is open to anyone, even if you’ve never owned a classic car. In fact, one member drives a ’55 Chevy, and even Mopars play nice with this group! If you would like more information on joining the Club, you can contact them directly through their Facebook page.
The Southlanders are really just a caring, fun loving group of classic car enthusiasts. Yes, they are a VERY knowledgeable group when it comes to restoring and repairing Edsels and like autos, but they’re also just looking to share experiences with like-minded people. The Club meets once a month, and plans various outings throughout the year. Their big event is the Southlanders EOC Annual Rollin’ to the River Event, which takes place in Laughlin, Nev., and includes a group cruise to Laughlin from SoCal. Look for that next March! Of course, they also have some local outings planned, including a tour of the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, Calif., coming up in late August, and an annual camping trip to Lytle Creek, Calif., in October.
If you would like to see some truly unique and cool classic cars, come visit the Pomona Swap Meet on August 12th and meet the Southlanders in person. They truly are a great bunch of people, with an incredible amount of knowledge about one of America’s most, shall we say, misunderstood car marques!
Do you belong to a car club? Would you like your club to enjoy a free day at a future Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show? Contact Adam by email or at (714) 538-7091 for info.