You’re four years old. Your dad sits you down on the garage floor with an old supercharger to tinker with. In minutes it’s pulled apart, and in under an hour you have it back together again. Not all of us can say this is exactly how we got our start as gearheads, but August Cederstrand of Edelbrock can.
“My background was growing up with British cars. My dad was part of the British sports car movement post-WWII,” says Cederstrand. But despite this influence and his early competence with reassembling British superchargers, Cederstrand wasn’t drawn to those models. Heck, you might think that working for Edelbrock would have pulled him to the more popular Ford or Chevy lineups. But when you stand 6’7 and are built like a bear, you just can’t squeeze into a Mini Cooper or pony car. No, you need a ride with impact. You need something that enters a space like you do. For Cederstrand, that car is the 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner.
Boy Meets Car
Back in 1986, August was after a car. He grew up in southern California before laws and regulations cracked down on street racing. And, at that time, what did it better than the high-powered muscle cars of the ’50s and ’60s? With a lifelong passion and some money in his pocket, he set out on a quest to find his perfect car. He looked at a Chevelle, a ’57 Chevy, and a Coronet RT. But when he laid eyes on that canary yellow Roadrunner, his heart was stolen. It was a car that belonged to his high school buddy’s older brother. He paid a premium price for it then but sometimes, you just know.
As a man whose spent a lifetime as an engine builder and working for the legendary industry-giant Edelbrock, there’s no way he wouldn’t spend some time under the hood.
“One of the first things I did early on was head down to the local Dodge dealer … the guys behind the counter said ‘What’d you buy kid? Here you need these,’ and they put the Mopar performance books up there, the engine book, and the chassis book. I bought ‘em. That’s my car bible right there. I just followed what they did.”
Throughout the car’s lifetime, it’s been built, it’s been abused, and as Cederstrand puts it, “That car has been ridden hard and put away wet—I don’t even know how many times.”
But this is a build profile, so what’s the breakdown? “Right now it’s a mild 383. It’s one I threw together to get to a friend’s wedding,” shares Cederstrand. However, when you take into consideration that he tossed in a .528 flat tappet cam with an adjustable Isky valve train, combined with closed chamber 516 heads and a Torker manifold—you can already tell it’s not so mild. That engine ramps out, and when he threw a set of 1 7/8 inch Hooker Headers and a Holley 750 cfm Double Pumper on top, it literally adds up to the 1980s definition of diabolical.
So, as the Roadrunner sits now, it’s got a hot 383 sitting under the hood that’s backed by a 4-speed. (Since the car is an original 4-speed, that’s only appropriate. Besides, it’s a Mopar. And who can resist that bullet proof A-833?) But what’s out back? “I swapped a Dana with 4:10’s in it. Best thing I ever did.”
Roadrunner, Pure Muscle
Now, we get it—everyone has twin turbo, LS-swapped, 1000-hp machines in the paper. But jump in a car like this and tell us it isn’t a blast. These rides are big; they don’t turn and they don’t stop, but August loves the way they run in a straight line. The suspension is set up for just that. No sway bars—the fanciest thing it’s got going is a set of Competition Engineering drag shocks and disc brakes. Nothing cray either, just a factory Mopar swap.
Cederstrand is a real muscle enthusiast, though. Just like the name implies, it’s all about building. Even though he describes the Roadrunner as an 18-year-old boy’s dream, his heart is pulling him to the modern age. As of the time we spoke, he’s only weeks away from a 5-speed swap and the upgrade to Edelbrock’s Proflow EFI. He wants the comfort of overdrive and amenities like air conditioning.
However, he’s also August Cederstrand, Edelbrock’s Mopar Man. He’s on the prowl to build a massive 520 wedge or even a 600 Hemi, which suits his stature. As it stands, this car is exactly what every Muscle Car should be: powerful, high performance, and rare.