Quick Stats: Edwin McCain, singer-songwriter
Daily Driver: 1989 Ford F-250 (Edwin's rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: Greenville S.C. to Brevard, N.C.
Car he learned to drive in: 1979 Toyota Corolla
First car bought: Plymouth Valiant Scamp
When Greenville, South Carolina-based singer-songwriter Edwin McCain is not out on tour, he's wrenching on his cars, boats, and even his tour bus.
McCain's daily driver is a 1989 Ford F-250, which is a perfect car for this gearhead. "It's redneck fabulous. I like it because I can tinker on it and it'll still run," he says, laughing. "I don't need a computer. I have a really great mechanic that looks over my shoulder so if I screw something up, he'll come and fix it. But most of the stuff I did."
McCain bought the used F-250 15 years ago at a gas station on the side of the road in Boone, North Carolina. It was going to be his farm truck for the property he once owned with a friend, but when he sold his half of that property, he kept the truck and fixed it up. Prior to that, the truck was used as a snowplow as well as a forestry truck. "Over the last five years, I put new fuel lines and new shocks. I spent weeks scrubbing all the rust off the frame. I've redone everything," he says. McCain also repainted the truck and fitted it with an old back seat from a King Ranch.
"I like everything about it, I like all the little quirks," he says. "I don't know why I like it so much. It's imminently useful. It's four-wheel drive, it has the granny gear, there's not any situation you can't get out of. It can pull anything. It's a really dependable vehicle. It's got a 351 5.8-liter Windsor motor in it and those motors are great."
The F-250, which is called the "green truck" by everyone, is now used as a verb among McCain's friends. "If you spend too much time fixing and/or adding on to, restoring a vehicle past any reasonable financial reality, all my friends call it 'green truckin' - adding on, adding on, and then they realize they've got too much crap on there," he says.
"My wife says I have an unnatural love for that truck," he says. But while McCain often works on the truck, he also gives credit to his diesel mechanic. "He's my best friend. He's a really good resource. He's one of these all-around mechanics. He goes to mechanic rodeos and people drop out as soon as he gets there because he wins every time."
1986 Porsche 928 S
The Porsche, McCain's second 928 S, is another labor of love. "That was the car I imprinted on when I was 16, it was THE car back then. This is the one I've always wanted, the five-speed. Great cars. As long as you do the maintenance it's a fantastic car. I jokingly call that car 'the Sweater' because if you pull on one little thing the wrong way the whole thing will come apart."
McCain drives this car whenever he's going somewhere by himself and for him, it's the best road car. "I get 28 miles to the gallon and it's a 300-some hp V-8, aluminum block, five-speed and tops out at I think 167 miles an hour. I've never taken it that fast but I'm sure it will do it. I laugh when everybody's like 40 miles to the gallon is some kind of miracle. I remember my dad had a 1982 Volkswagen diesel Jetta and we regularly got 50 miles to the gallon in that thing," he laughs.
McCain gives the 928 a 9 rating because he has to drive four and a half hours to Raleigh, North Carolina to get it fixed by a specialized mechanic. "He's a former John Deere engineer," he says. "If you've got a good mechanic then the 928 is joy to own, but you specifically need a 928 mechanic, not just a Porsche mechanic." He continues, "The good news is that when I'm traveling, I'm usually coming up and down Interstate 85 or 40, so I can drop it off and jump on the bus and go to the next gig and pick it up on my way home." McCain is also a pilot, so he sometimes takes a plane ride to pick up the car.
When he has time, McCain also works on his project car, a 1965 Kaiser Willys CJ-5 that he bought last summer. He loves the motor in the CJ-5. "There's lots of great history in those motors, those little four-cylinders. If you look at the little F134 Hurricane motor, that Jeep will go anywhere you want it to go and it's 73 hp."
As if the Jeep weren't enough to tinker with, McCain is also restoring a Hatteras motor yacht. "I originally bought it because I was going to use it as an apartment, but when I was doing research on the company, I was really touched by the American story," he says. "It's a truly American story. Here you have this company in North Carolina building these tank-like boats and they're using Detroit Diesel engines and Michigan Wheel supplied the screws and Morse Cable and all these American companies. It was a moment of American ingenuity and engineering. So I decided I was going to bring it back to its glory." Besides cars, boats and planes, McCain also enjoys riding his custom Springer Softail bike.