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1958 Ford Edsel - Junkyard Crawl

Do you ever wonder where Edsels go to die?

Photography by Steve Magnante

It's weird that the debut '58 Edsel lineup included semi-loser model names like ranger, Pacer, Citation, and Corsair. The Citation and Pacer nameplates would later be used to doom Chevy front drivers and toaster-shaped AMC offerings, while Ford revived the ranger nameplate for use on a series of extremely popular light truck models. Compare the wilder '58 grille design on the two closest cars with the toned down configuration used on the '59 model (third car in).>>>

Take pity on the poor Edsel. Though it has gone down in automotive history as one of the worst marketing disasters of all time, Ford's original plan was to slot the new $250 million Edsel division between its well- established Ford and Mercury divisions, with Lincoln maintaining its place at the top of the heap. At the time, GM was carpet-bombing the marketplace with no fewer than five brands-Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. GM founder Alfred P. Sloan's strategy of a "car for every purse and purpose" was in full bloom. So it was a natural decision for FoMoCo to follow suit by adding the Edsel. By increasing the size of the arsenal from three to four divisions-Ford, Edsel, Mercury, and Lincoln-customers had more FoMoCo cars and price points to choose from before competing (non- Dearborn) models caught their attention. But in the end, the Edsel's bizarre horsecollar grille design, the recession of 1958, and a growing interest in compact cars from AMC, Studebaker, and overseas flawed the plan. By 1960, Ford threw in the towel and dropped the Edsel barely two months into the model year.

Groovy Factoids
* The '60 Mercury Comet was originally intended to be an entry level Edsel model.
* Before settling on Edsel, FoMoCo considered over 6,000 names, including utopian Turtletop, Silver Sword, and Intelligent Bullet.

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