Edsel History

M-E-L Engine powered Mercury Car General Discussion
Post Reply
User avatar
Air Education & Training Command
Air Education & Training Command
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed 24. Dec 2008, 06:03
Gender: male
Music instruments you're playing: Acoustic Guitar ... when I was young
Location: South Jersey 08062

Edsel History

Post by 59lincolnrag » Fri 2. Jul 2010, 15:59


"There has never been a car like the Edsel. It is a magnificent automobile. Behind it lie all the resources of Ford Motor Company, all the experience and engineering skill. The results are clear"
The results were clear alright, perhaps Webster's Dictionary clarifies it best by stating the Edsel has become synonymous with loser.
In the early 1950s, the Ford Motor Co. became a publicly traded corporation that was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family. They were then able to sell cars according to then-current market trends following the sellers' market of the postwar years. The new management compared the roster of Ford makes with that of General Motors, and noted that Lincoln competed not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile. Since Ford had an excess of money on hand from the success of the Ford Thunderbird, a plan was developed to move Lincoln upmarket, with the Continental at the top, and to add another make to the intermediate slot vacated by Lincoln. Research and development had begun in 1955 under the name "E-car," which stood for "experimental car." This represented a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same body.
The first Edsel appeared to the public via a two page layout in Life Magazine in July 1957. The Edsel cars were shown "wrapped" in paper, and the images blurred with the idea being to create anticipation for the upcoming release. The Edsel was introduced with a advertising campaign spouting "More new Ideas, More Your Ideas!"
The Edsel was introduced amidst considerable publicity on "E Day"—September 4, 1957. It was promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show, on October 13, but it was not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car's styling and conventional build. For months, Ford had been circulating rumours that led consumers to expect an entirely new kind of car, when in reality, the Edsel shared its bodywork with other Ford models.
The Edsels were shipped to dealers undercover, and much like the magazine layout, wrapped in paper. Some 2.5 million people showed up in dealer showrooms to check out the new line of Ford automobiles on "E-Day".
The Edsel name, was chosen after about 6,000 different names were considered, including the "Utopian Turtletop," "Mongoose Civique," "Pastelogram" and others. Over time the name "Edsel" has become synonymous with "failure" or "lemon car," but, somewhat unfairly. The car may have been a huge marketing failure, but it is now generally agreed that it was not an engineering failure. The top speed of Edsels' 303 and 345 hp V8 motors was kept hush hush, in deference to some state law makers who were considering establishing legal limits on horsepower. Unique features on the new Edsels included a Steering wheel mounted "Teletouch Drive" push button transmission, a "Cyclops Eye" rotating speedometer head, remote control door locks, self-adjusting brakes, and with the exception of the rear view mirror, power everything.
The Edsel was to be sold through a new Ford division. It existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsels were made by the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as M-E-L). Edsel was sold through a new network of 1,500 dealers. This briefly brought total dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with the other two companies of the Big Three: Chrysler had 10,000 dealers and General Motors had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, Ford of Britain, or Ford of Germany franchises to their dealerships with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed.
For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models, including the larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation came in two-door and four-door hardtop and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer was available as a two-door or four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, or two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116″-wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models. It included several innovative features, among which were its "rolling dome" speedometer and its Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel. Other design innovations included ergonomically designed controls for the driver and self-adjusting brakes (often claimed as a first for the industry, even though Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade).

In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the U.S., with another 4,935 sold in Canada. Though below expectations, it was still the second-largest car launch for any brand to date, exceeded only by the Plymouth introduction in 1928.

For the 1959 model year, there were only two Edsels, the Ranger and the Corsair; the two larger cars were not produced. The new Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtop, two-door and four-door sedan, and the Villager station wagon. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 cars were sold in the U.S., with an additional 2,505 sold in Canada.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel's last, only the Ranger and Villager were produced. The 1960 Edsel, in its final model year, emerged as a Ford. Its grille, hood, and four taillights, along with its side sweep spears, were the only real differences separating the Edsel from the Ford.

End of the Edsel

Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, cars continued being produced until late in November, with the final tally at 2,846 1960 models. Total sales were approximately 84,000, less than half of the projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million on the venture.

On Friday, November 20, United Press International's (UPI) wire service reported that book values for used Edsels had decreased by as much as $400 (based on condition and age) immediately following the Ford press release. In some newspaper markets, dealers scrambled to renegotiate newspaper advertising contracts involving the 1960 Edsel models, while others dropped the name from their dealership's advertising "slugs." Ford issued a statement that it would distribute coupons to consumers who purchased 1960 models (and carryover 1959 models) prior to the announcement, valued at $300 to $400 towards the purchase of new Ford products to offset the decreased values. There were no expiration dates on these coupons, and to this day, about 150 of them have never been redeemed. The company also issued credits to dealers for stock unsold or received following the announcement.

Almost Fifty years have gone by and now the Edsel is a highly collectible car, commanding huge prices at auctions, especially the rare Edsel convertibles

CNN Money:
Value: Over $100,000 for convertible in good condition
The name Edsel has become synonymous with "flop." When Ford developed the Edsel car line in the 1950s, it was intended to offer customers something a bit nicer and more distinctive than Mercury cars but not quite as luxurious as a Lincoln.
Ford spent about $400 million to develop the cars, or about $3 billion in today's money, according to Hagerty Insurance, a company that insures collectible cars. During Edsel's short life, only 118,000 cars were sold, about half of what Ford needed to break even.
Edsels are valuable today in part simply because most cars from that chrome-and-fins era are increasing in value, said McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance. The more chrome and the bigger the fins, the better.

The line was named for Edsel Bryant Ford, Henry Ford's son.

Edsel Advertising Slogans:

"Once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. Once you've owned it, you'll never want to change"
"The car for the young man on his way up"
"A car for the man whose taste is sure"
"Its an open secret in Detroit, The Edsel is going to be copied"
58_edsel.jpg (31.96 KiB) Viewed 14521 times
2002 Lincoln Blackwood
1959 Lincoln Continental Coupe blk on blk
430 Tri-Power Super Marauder
1959 Lincoln Continental Convertible wht on wht
2006 Lincoln Town Car

User avatar
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun 26. Sep 2010, 20:17
Gender: male
Music instruments you're playing: Piano

Re: Edsel History

Post by a58pacer » Fri 18. Nov 2011, 08:41

Total sales were approximately 84,000, less than half of the projected break-even point.
59lincolnrag, I'm not sure where you got that number. While sales generally lag production in the auto industry, the actual three-year production total for Edsel was 110,847 in the U.S. with 7,440 more 1958 and 1959 models assembled in Canada for a total of 118,287. These totals are believed to include knock-down export units shipped to Ford final assembly plants on other continents and in Mexico.

The new Edsel registration total for the U.S. at the end of calendar year 1959 stood at 105,894. If we assume the registration rate remained steady through the entire year, we might pro-rate the 40,732 1959 registrations and deduct 4,687 units as having taken place after the November 19 announcement. That would still yield 101,207 new Edsel registrations in the U.S. alone as of the announced discontinuance of the Edsel.

Post Reply

Return to “MEL Cars General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests