PER­FEC­TION­IST

Ed Borges drives fast … straight down the mid­dle

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT: Ro McGone­gal | PHO­TOS: Robert McGaf­fin

Ed Borges drives fast … straight down the mid­dle

Ed Borges has al­ways loved fast cars and early on had been a For­mula 1 crazy. His family left Por­tu­gal in 1969 to come to the United States, clearly ex­pect­ing that it was the way to a bet­ter fu­ture. They weren’t wrong. When he came to Amer­ica “we got a TV set where I could watch rac­ing on the Wide World of Sports.”

Time cranked on and this go-fast pro­cliv­ity was soon man­i­fested in Eddie Ma­rine, his first com­pany. Time con­tin­ued to crank on and when things be­gan to turn up a bit in 1994, he bought a ’71 Mus­tang Mach 1 and made it his mule. He grad­u­ally re­stored it and when he kicked off Eddie Mo­tor­sports in 2009, it was the first one to as­sume his bil­let trim bits and sil­very wis­dom. His think­ing was pure; cre­ate a pro­duc­tion bolt-on part that looked like a cus­tom one-off part, the likes of which the car-build­ing elite would in­clude with pride. It was Ed’s vi­sion to make that part ac­ces­si­ble, af­ford­able, and easy to in­stall.

“It wasn’t un­til I started Eddie Mo­tor­sports that I re­ally got into hot rods. Be­ing in the in­dus­try and go­ing to Goodguys shows and SEMA, I started to see what guys were build­ing. See­ing our parts on so many high-end builds got me ex­cited,” Ed said.

“I wanted to build an iconic mus­cle car to show­case our prod­ucts and I’ve al­ways loved ’69 Ca­maros. I had pur­chased a re­ally nice ’67 for the project but my heart just wasn’t in it for that car. I couldn’t get mo­ti­vated. For the ’69, I hired a lo­cal guy to do the body and ini­tial assem­bly but that didn’t work out so well. Bob Fron­tino was the one who straight­ened it up and re­ally got all of the fit and fin­ish and de­tails right. Right now, he’s work­ing on his sixth build for me. I’d put his work up against any­body’s.”

Ed spent a cou­ple of years rip­ping through lists on the In­ter­net for a de­cent roller that wouldn’t need a ton of met­al­work. He never got a solid hit. In his mind, he re­luc­tantly re­vis­ited the ’67 … for a mo­ment or two, un­til some­body made him a fat of­fer and he sold it. Quite by accident, an old neigh­bor of his had a ’69 and wanted to sell it. Ed jumped on it the next day. He said that he prob­a­bly paid too much, but the body was in great shape.

Though he didn’t know it, the ’69 would be his cherry-buster. “The big­gest chal­lenge was en­dur­ing the amount of time it took to com­plete the thing,” he said. “I had never done a body-off restora­tion. I’m not the most pa­tient person, so I was bid­ing my time and watch­ing the project crawl along. It drove me nuts. When things aren’t

pro­gress­ing the way I think they should, I dive in and make it hap­pen. It’s ironic. The big­gest dis­ap­point­ments I ini­tially had with the car were that the orig­i­nal builder was im­pa­tient and hadn’t taken the time to fin­ish things cor­rectly,” he quipped. The Camaro gut-punched him, slowed him and showed him that there is no way to move along a cus­tom build un­til it is the time.

Once sep­a­rated from the clean body shell, the ’rails got what was com­ing to them. The frame was sod­ablasted and then an­other one of Eddie’s tac­ti­cal arms called Fu­sion­coat ap­plied the matte-black seal­ing paint. Though the Camaro was en­vi­sioned as a show­case car and hap­pens to have a Pro Tour­ing aura, it isn’t nec­es­sar­ily one and doesn’t re­quire all the rough­est and tough­est high-pro­file equip­ment that usu­ally at­tends those cars. Ed just used what made sense to his bud­get and his sen­si­bil­i­ties.

Re­gard­less, he had set up the chas­sis with drop spin­dles, put a Pro Tour­ing clip on it, ad­justable coilovers, big­ger bars, four-pis­ton discs at each point, and then il­lu­mi­nated the sil­hou­ette with mod­u­lar wheels and gummy rub­ber. When it came to mo­ti­va­tion, Ed could have eas­ily by­passed hard-core and set­tled on a crate en­gine or some such. No. Brag­ging rights ruled, said he had to have a Dart SHP small-block turn­ing forged com­po­nents suck­ing sus­te­nance through Holley heads. And just when you thought he might con­vert it to elec­tronic fuel de­liv­ery he didn’t, and posted a tra­di­tional Holley 750 on the pin­na­cle in­stead. Out­put is 450 lb-ft, just about per­fect for en­er­giz­ing the

3,200-pound Camaro’s power-to-weight ra­tio.

For all his busi­ness-like de­meanor, Ed’s a comfort crea­ture, too. He wouldn’t do without air con­di­tion­ing or stereo­phonic sound. Raul Ledesma put him the seat. He and his Auto Trim shop in On­tario, Cal­i­for­nia, have been mak­ing grumpy people happy for decades, like they came in wear­ing a burlap suit and went out in an old flan­nel shirt and worn-soft Le­vis.

The en­tire point of the ex­er­cise was ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion, not mind­less cruis­ing or re­clin­ing-with-a-cock­tail men­tal­ity. Ed likes to rev the en­gine, drop the clutch, and go through the gears just like the rest of us. And like the rest of us, Ed likes to drive, but this isn’t about go­ing long haul or any­thing like it. For him, it’s tool­ing lo­cal, check­ing the scene, and mak­ing men­tal notes; wher­ever he’d be go­ing he wouldn’t need an over­driven top gear, much less a sixth one. He went no fur­ther than a five-speed ca­pa­ble of 600 lb-ft.

So, be­yond the hy­per­bole and the rhetoric, Ed re­ally has cre­ated a main­tain­able idea that will still be per­ti­nent years from 2018. It’s his pal­ette piece and one that he will keep re­plen­ish­ing as his scope con­tin­ues to ex­pand. Not many of us can say that. CHP

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