Formation of The MEL Division

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KULTULZ
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Formation of The MEL Division

Post by KULTULZ » Sun 26. Sep 2010, 14:05

In the middle of 1958, FORD MOTOR COMPANY decided to combine the operations of MERCURY, EDSEL, LINCOLN and the ENGLISH FORD lines to create a new MERCURY-EDSEL-LINCOLN Division. The group was headquartered at 3000 Schafer Road in Dearborn, MI which was formerly LINCOLN Division headquarters.
The new organization, under the control of James J. Nance (the former President of PACKARD), was responsible for engineering, manufacturing and marketing of MERCURY, EDSEL, and LINCOLN cars, plus the marketing of ANGLIA, PREFECT, CONSUL, ZEPHYR and ZODIAC passenger cars and the THAMES van trucks.

-55 Years of MERCURY
John A. Gunnell

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Re: Formation of The MEL Division

Post by a58pacer » Tue 28. Sep 2010, 14:31

To be a bit more precise, the MEL division was announced on January 15, 1958 according to C. Gayle Warnock in "The Edsel Affair" page 222. The first Edsel technical bulletin issued with "MEL Division" in the header was January 23, 1958, but I have a sales report dated February 10 from the Edsel Division Planning and Programming Department hand-written on August 1957 form ED-7172, "ED" indicating this was an Edsel Division-produced form. In contrast, the February 1958 sales report came from the Sales Statistics and Analysis Department hand-written on October 1957 form S-3064o, evidently from the recently reformed Lincoln-Mercury Division. The first Sales Report in my collection that actually bears the name "M-E-L" is dated April 24,1958. "M-E-L DIVISION" is typed in the lower left-hand corner.

Despite the apparent gradual nature of the operations change, the third full week of January 1958 can probably be cited as a reasonably accurate point in time for the formation of the MEL Division.

A building at Oakwood Blvd. and the new freeway (later to become I-94) using the mailing address 3000 Schaefer Road was Edsel Division headquarters starting, I believe, in late summer of 1956 but at that time it was still known as the Special Products Division, since the naming of the car wouldn't be announced until November. Previous to that, the building was the Continental (not Lincoln) Division Headquarters.

Question: Could this have been Lincoln-Mercury headquarters before it was Continental headquarters? i wonder if Gunnell cited any sources or kept any records of that in the course of his research.

In 1955 and 1956 Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Edsel and Continental were all separate divisions of the Ford Motor Company. Lincoln Division Headquarters in actuality were located at the new Novi Township assembly plant, later known as "Wixom" about 20 miles northwest of Dearborn. Not sure where Mercury was headquartered.

In 1958, the same building and the shop facilities directly behind it became a Ford pilot production facility sometimes referred to as the "Allen Park plant" where assembly line production equipment and operations were developed and tested. At least one photo exists of a 1959 Ford being assembled using what looks to be an assembly-line hoist, except there is no assembly line under the car. The personnel tending to the task are in white lab coats, and the photo is believed to have been taken inside that very same Allen Park facility that today bears the address 17000 Oakwood Blvd. Since the facility was meant to test production methods, the jigs and hoists were meant for full production, but the car assemblies were wheeled about on carts rather than on assembly line conveyors. The facility still operates today in essentially the same capacity.

BTW, compare the appearance of this building to the front of the Louisville assembly plant. It's been noted that this was a design that was used repeatedly for Ford facilities all over the world. It was easily expanded to two wings either side of the center entrance.

Shortly after the Edsel Division was absorbed into Lincoln-Mercury Division, it moved to the existing Lincoln-Mercury Division headquarters in the old Ford World Headquarters building (built in 1928) directly across Schaefer Road from the Rotunda. It appears this building had already been serving as a mailing address for multiple FoMoCo facilities in the area, hence the confusion on the physical location of these various sites. That same old building on Schaefer Road later served as Ford Parts and Accessories Division headquarters which subsequently became Ford Customer Service Division. The building was razed in 1997.

gauss
cont.jpg
cont.jpg (63.69 KiB) Viewed 4438 times
Attachments
Ford World HQ 1928.jpg
Here's an early view of the building at 3000 Schaefer Road. It was to become known as the Ford World Headquarters Building until 1956, when Lincoln Division moved in. It soon after became the Lincoln-Mercury Division Headquarters, and then still later the MEL Division. Oh, not to mention the English Ford sales department, which was melded into the MEL shortly thereafter (thus, perhaps, camouflaging the "E" for Edsel as "E" for English!"
!!.jpg
Louisville Assembly plant front entrance from Google maps.
1956 Lincoln Continental MkII in front of Division office headquarters (0401-6739).jpg
The guy in the foreground looks obviously posed, and I think his only purpose in this photo is to hide the white lamp post that's visible in some of the other views!
1957 Edsel Division Building entrance (0401-6756).jpg
View of the same building from the front.
1958 Edsel Citation convertible (0401-0380).jpg
These last three images can be ordered in a large size suitable for framing from the Ford Archives online (fordimages.com).
Last edited by a58pacer on Fri 18. Nov 2011, 21:43, edited 14 times in total.

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Theo
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Re: Formation of The MEL Division

Post by Theo » Wed 29. Sep 2010, 05:45

a58pacer wrote:...............In the intervening time after the Edsel Division was absorbed into MEL, the MEL headquarters *may* have been located in the same building, but I can find no pictures or references.

http://www.lcoc.org/History/images/MARK ... TOTYPE.jpg

http://edsel.110mb.com/images/edselpic4c.jpg
The Mark II is probably my favorite Lincoln. Nice graphic. What happened to the second link? Doesn't work on my end.
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Re: Formation of The MEL Division

Post by a58pacer » Wed 29. Sep 2010, 12:10

What happened to the second link? Doesn't work on my end.
The server for that link must have gone down. I've uploaded both graphics as in-line attachments. Go back to my first post, and they'll both be there for comparison.

gauss
Last edited by a58pacer on Tue 15. Nov 2011, 15:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Formation of The MEL Division

Post by Theo » Wed 29. Sep 2010, 12:23

Now, that looks much better. You may have noticed all those broken links in the old posts from the former forum. If you use the in board up load function your pics will stay forever w. your post. This is very important IMO whene building up a source to last. I've once postet this recommendation.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=342

Thanx for the photos
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Theo
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