The Ten Most Desirable Edsels

By Jay Lehr - Oregon Chapter of the Edsel Owners Club

I have been hanging around Edsels and the Edsel Owners' Club for about nine years now. I have seen cars come and go from my own garage, and seen transactions among many members. I have seen which cars gather the crowds at our meets, and which ones people are unsure if it is "really an Edsel." I have also been able to collect a lot of information from magazines, other chapters around the nation, and 1950's road reports. From all of this, and with a big dose of my own subjective judgment, I think it will be interesting to count down the Top Ten Most Desirable Edsel models ever made.

Before I start, it should be clear that this is not a list that ranks the value of cars. Because market value changes constantly, this would be almost impossible to do. Plus, there is no exact correlation between the value and desirability of a car - value can hinge on other factors such as rarity, previous owners, mileage, color, etc. I am going to pretend that all those things are equal, and rank just the models which I feel most people would like to own.

From the bottom of the list:

#10 Any Year 4-door Hardtop These cars are friendly and classy at the same time. The postless roof hints of an open air experience, and the four-doors are a welcome invitation to friends - "Come ride with me in my "almost-a-convertible" Edsel!" It is also a nice compromise between the best Edsel styling and practical family hauling (if you, like me, need to "justify" Edsel purchases.)


#9 '60 Ranger 2-door hardtop This is, at least to my eye, the most attractive '60 made. Many seem to agree, for they always seem to draw a crowd when they come to the meets or shows. All the advantages of the '60 Fords (they were practically the same car), but with the Edsel's stand-up taillight pods that worked extremely well with the slowly arching roofline. For those who like their cars long and lean.
#8 '59 Corsair 2-door Hardtop Top of the line hardtop for '59, it carried over the squareback roofline theme of the '58 Corsair/Citations, but on a smaller and less grand scale. Plus, the '59s are an excellent mix of Edsel design and Ford part interchangeability, making upkeep easier than it would be otherwise.


#7 '59 Villager More and more of these wagons are popping up, which indicates their popularity with the Edsel crowd. '59s are still widely available, and are sleeker and less boxy than the '58s, while still looking very "Edselish". The weakest part of owning a '59 wagon would probably be keeping the cardboard headliner from warping, and keeping the rain out of the contoured rear window.


#6 '58 Pacer/Citation 2-door Hardtops It has all the styling of the convertible, without the leaks. The swooped roofline of the Pacer model is more rakish than the stately Mercury-derived roofline of the Citation, But both benefited from the elimination of the "B" pillar, with the resulting accent on the horizontal. This body style, in a slightly less desirable trim packages, was also available in the '58 Ranger and '58 Corsair series.


#5 '60 Ranger Convertible Although this is the second rarest Edsel ever with 76 produced (only 59 '60 Villager 9-passengers were made), it is not the highest ranking on this list. Its pros are the drop top and the improved handling of all '60s, while the negatives include the boring styling (by Edsel standards) and very hard-to-find body parts. Cloth roofs and rarity win out in the price category, as these are some of the most expensive Edsels today.


#4 '59 Corsair Convertible This car has a lower beltline than the '58, and a wider range of engines to choose from. Plus, all '59s chucked the Teletouch, which made serviceability and reliability much better. The '59 is still distinctively Edsel with the horsecollar on the front. The only other model that offers a pink convertible is the Citation, and those cars can be a real handful to drive and own.


#3 '58 Bermuda Wagon When the excesses of '50s styling are pointed out, the Edsel is often noted; but the premiere wagon for '58 is an exceptional case. It has the two-toning, the horsecollar and the spear, plus wide splashes of wood paneling on both sides and the tail gate, framed in a white birch-like fiberglass trim. These stylish (some say "over-styled") wagons offer a lot for the current collector and driver, including a large carrying capacity for picnics or meets, and a short wheelbase and stiff-suspensioned ride that is said to be the best of any '58 Edsel. If you want an Edsel and your spouse wants a practical family car, then buy a 9-passenger and do some minivan-capacity hauling. The Villager for '58 ranks a close second, but forgoes the wood and fancier interiors of the Bermuda. The Villager's starkness makes it more like a sedan with a huge trunk. The two-door Roundup is even more basic than the Villager, and seems to have a fairly limited appeal. The functionality of the wagon body, combined with the relative inaccessability of having only two side doors, makes the Roundup almost an anachronism.


#2 '58 Citation Convertible THE biggest, heaviest, most option-laden Edsel ever made. If you get one "loaded", you'll have power seats, windows, steering, brakes, top, and lubrication, along with signal-seeking radio, air conditioning, tachometer, and much more. Everyone would love to own one, but not as many would like to restore, maintain - or even park - one of these. From what I know, nothing but the instrument cluster and the inner horsecollar ring interchanges with the smaller Edsels. And try to find parts for an E-475 engine today.


#1 '58 Pacer Convertible The Pacer is the car that Roy Brown (the designer of the Edsel) said came closest to his original design. It is well-proportioned, not too huge, and everybody loves a convertible. And, it has the definitive, memorable '58 look. Compared to the Citation convertible, this car is more serviceable (with the 361cid engine) and can run on regular gas. It was also more commonly available (1876 made) than the Citation (930 made), making parts easier to find. Overall, this seems what people want as the Edsel of their dreams.

I like most of these cars, but I certainly have my own personal "Top Ten" - as I'm sure you do, too. Maybe next month, at the risk of stepping on some toes, I'll put together my list of the Ten Least Desirable Edsel Models. Again, this is only what I think You think. See you then!!

The Ten Least Desirable Edsels

By Jay Lehr - Oregon Chapter of the Edsel Owners Club

At the risk of getting a lot of feedback "correcting" me on my choices, here I go with my list of the Ten Least Desirable Edsels that can be owned. Of course - EVERY Edsel is beautiful in our eyes! I know that. But, if you could choose any Edsel at all to fill your driveway, these would probably not be the first ones that you think of:

#10. Any all-White or all-Tan There are a lot of Edsels in which the paint doesn't match the data plate. On these cars, the correct color is usually EEE or NNN (58); E or H (59); or M or N (60). These White or Tan cars just aren't very exciting.(In some cases, they two-toned the white and tan, which isn't as bad) These colors are usually are accompanied by the most boring interiors Edsel ever made. You don't seek out a white or tan "end up" with one. I did. (NOTE: I almost added monotone green cars to this list. But, although they weren't necessarily pretty, they were pretty "Fifty-ish.")


#9. 1958 Ranger 4-door sedan It's a low-end Ranger. It's got four doors. There's a pillar between the doors and frames around the windows. There were only three interiors offered (green, blue, black). The dash has this dull aluminum plate behind the switches. Sound pretty boring? Frankly, it is.


#'s 7 and 8. 1960 2 or 4-door sedan These are the bottom-end cars for the final year. They have the sedate squared sedan rooflines. These two models represent two-thirds of 1960 production, so they're fairly plentiful. And as we know, the '60 is simply a Ford with a split grill and the taillights rotated a quarter turn. You gotta really want a '60 to want one of these.


#6. 1959 Ranger two-door sedan This is the second most produced Edsel ever made, at 7778 units. I see a lot of these in green and in white (see #10 above). Many are two-toned, but many are not. These probably made good cars for traveling salesmen. But, the miles would likely be high, because a salesman driving up in an Edsel would often be laughed at, and would have to make a lot of calls to get a sale.


#5. Any three-speed stick There are an unusually high number of stick-equipped Edsels out there. They win points for serviceability (you can still buy clutch kits at Schuck's) but it makes driving an Edsel more of a workout than it already is. A general lack of power steering and brakes on these cars doesn't help. Plus, third gear just doesn't seem quite high enough. However, the overdrive-equipped units are another matter. Supposedly only offered in '58 (but seen in later Edsels), these cars are wonderful cruisers, getting as much as 18 mpg with the 361, and even better with smaller engines.


#4. 1958 Ranger 2-door sedan In '58, they had eighteen models to choose from. This was the most basic Edsel for that year. Of the ones I have seen, they have little or no options and are generally (again) green or white. I don't know why. They seem to look best with blackwall tires, button hubcaps and body-colored rims.


#3. 1958 Roundup I discussed these cars a little bit in my "Most Desirable" list last time. I have yet to see many people clamoring for them. I personally like them, maybe because they are among the oddest of an odd make. Sure, they're the third-rarest '58, but when it comes down to it, they're just weird two-door wagons. And, because it shares its body with no other Edsel, you have to have a second Roundup for parts. Talk about double jeopardy!


#2. Any 1958 Corsair I hate to condemn an entire series like this, but frankly, why did Edsel make the '58 Corsair? It only came in two body styles. It's practically a Citation, minus the distinctive scallop insert. And today, when people are looking for a nice '58 restoration project, they either want a basic Ranger, a sporty Pacer, or an opulent, fully loaded Citation. Even new, few people wanted a Corsair; they only made up 14% of '58 production. No wonder they carried this name to the top-of-the-line '59; they had so many '58 Corsair fender scripts left over.


#1. 1959 Ranger 4-door sedan This is the highest production Edsel ever, at 12,814 units. And, it seems as if every single one of them survived. If there were a "typical" Edsel, this would be it. You can watch the Edsel ads in the Greenline or other old car publications and see '59 4S cars linger on, and on, and on until finally the ad disappears. I always hope that the car sold, instead of the owner pushing it off a cliff.

Now, I must admit that some of the most beautiful '59s I have ever seen (including many in this chapter) are Ranger 4S cars. But, unless it is immaculate or in great original shape, it's not a very desirable car. On the other hand, if you enjoy driving Edsels on a daily basis, then buy one and motor happily until it collapses. Then simply go and buy another since there are plenty more where that came from.

Well! That was an adventure! But, don't think I'm done yet. Next Month, We'll explore: The Ten Silliest Edsel Paint Names!

The Ten Silliest Edsel Paint Names

By Jay Lehr - Oregon Chapter of the Edsel Owners Club

A freshly-restored Edsel, done in it's original colors, is a beautiful, breathtaking sight. Just don't ask the owner the name of the color on his Edsel. It just might sour your admiration.

For example, Edsel really had a hard time with the color "pink." The '58 name was just poorly thought out. They tried to hide it in '59 by describing it as some shade of "red". They finally got it right in 1960 - they got rid of the color entirely.

Here are ten names that leave a little (or a lot) to be desired:

#10. Snow White (59-code E) This reminds me less of a winter wonderland and more of seven small men.


#9. Moonrise Grey (59-code B) Strange and kind of creepy. Maybe the car can only come out of the garage at night. During a full moon. On Halloween. Oooooooooooo.


#8. Sea Foam Green (60-code W) Maybe back in 1960 this name evoked a beautiful image, but after the Exxon Valdiz spill, I picture something entirely different.


#'s 6 and 7. Alaskan Gold Metallic (60-code H) and Hawaiian Blue (60-code F) These were named in honor of the 1959 admission of these two states. Not necessarily bad names, but it's an obviously strained attempt to fit the color to the name, when it should be the other way around.


#5. Jonquil Yellow (58-code Q) I'm probably the dumbest person on earth, but I did not know what a jonquil was. I do now - it's a yellow flower. Any name that has to be looked up in the dictionary is a bad name.


#4. Redwood Metallic (59-code D) An odd juxtaposition of terms, conjuring up conflicting images of a forest and of a foundry.


#3. Mist Green (59-code R) The words "green" and "mist" don't go together - they shouldn't go together. It sounds kind of evil, like that stuff wafting out of Dr. Frankenstein's beakers.


#2. Chalk Pink (58-code T) A custom color, that through a patented Edsel process is pre-oxidized at the factory. Say goodbye to that annoying "new car" shine forever! (Or so it's name seems to imply.)


#1. Talisman Red (59-code G) This exercise in self-deception is another outrageous example of how Edsel continually relied on "image" over substance. This pink color is no more "red" than the Edsel itself is a "revolutionary automotive breakthrough." However, both the color and the car itself are pretty nice, if only allowed to be simply what they are.

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