The Edsel FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)


I've been running a web site for Edsel fans for nearly 5 years now, and have been an Edsel owner, driver, club newsletter editor, etc..etc.. for 26 years. There are some questions that I get asked over and over again. This FAQ is based on the questions that I constantly receive in e-mails from visitors to this page. Hopefully, you'll find the information you need here.

How Much Is My Edsel Worth? I probably have 10 people ask me this question every week. How much is it worth? That depends. It may be worth darn near nothing. It may be worth a you anyway. Like any collectible, this question has no answer. If you're buying, it's worth how much you are willing to pay. If you're selling, it's worth how much you'll let it go for. I've seen people try to sell rusted out hulks with no good glass, broken off chrome, frozen engines, destroyed interiors, for a couple thousand dollars...."it's an EDSEL for cripes of the rarest cars in the world"..... they'll say. A rusted hulk is, to me, worth it's junk value, unless you can get needed parts from it. A nice, drivable Edsel can be worth a few thousand dollars. An Edsel that's been sitting for 25 years in the barn, doing nothing, may be worth a few hundred dollars. A totally restored convertible may be worth tens of thousands of dollars. A guy who is in love with his Edsel may consider it priceless, and won't let 'er go for under a million bucks. It can depend on the model, which options it has, 2 dr, 4 dr, sedan, hardtop, which year, what series it is, and even then, there are no hard and fast rules. I bought a perfectly good, drivable '58 Corsair 2 door hardtop for $600. I bought a complete, but not running '58 Ranger two door hardtop for $200. Bought my current Corsair 4 door hardtop, complete, rust free, ready to drive for $2250. Now, I've invested another $3000 in it. Is the complete car worth the total of the investment? Maybe. Lots of you write and ask something like "I've got a 1959 Edsel blah blah needs total interior, paint, engine's frozen, blah question much should I spend on it before I've spent more than the finished car is worth" The answer is..sell it to someone who wants it. If you're looking it as an investment, as far as I'm concerned, you're going about it all wrong. Restore it, repair it, drive it because you ENJOY it, not because you hope to cash in on it someday. If you REALLY need to have a price guideline, stop at the library or news stand, and pick up the most recent copy of the Old Cars Price Guide. It'll list the Edsel in it's various forms and conditions, with an idea of value. You'll be depressed to find out that Grandpa's Edsel out in the back 40 isn't worth enough to retire on! It's also a good idea to join the Edsel club of your choice, and read their newsletters. Get price ideas from their classified ads, and of course, visit the classified section of this web page to get an idea. Also check the Links page of this web site for club information.

Is there an Edsel club in my area? The answer is easy to find. Check this web site, in the links page, and find links to the national Edsel clubs. At their sites, you'll find information on area chapters. Odds are, there is one near you.

Look at Edsel pickup! Nope. Lots of people have e-mailed me about seeing Edsel pickups. No such thing. At least, Edsel never made one. But there are plenty of folks who have put an Edsel front end on '57 Ford Ranchero's. They call 'em "Edcheros" Also, I've seen plenty of '57 Fords with Edsel front ends on 'em, called "Fordsels" Visit the scrapbook section of this web site for photos of these Edsel aberrations. Also, Robert English built an "Edsel Ranchero" a few years ago. You can see it, and read about how he built it at his website:

What does the line "Edsel is a no go" in the Billy Joel Song "We didn't Start The Fire" mean? This is a VERY popular question during the school year. Apparently teachers think it's a keen idea to have kids work their way thru this song and research the various historical references. Kids, the answer in a nutshell is: Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel for the 1958 Model year. After sales fell below expectations, they decided to discontinue the car. There were fewer Edsels made in '59, and even fewer in the last model year, 1960. To put it bluntly, the car was a flop. A "no go". Hence, the line in the song.

Why Was the Edsel a flop? Tough question, and any Edsel buff will give you a different answer, based sometimes on facts, rumors, stories and statistics. Here's the spin I give it. Flop? What flop? They sold over a hundred thousand of 'em! It took a long time before Chevy sold that many Corvettes and no one called those a flop! OK, the Edsel failed to meet sales expectations, or so they say. The car offered radical styling. Remember, the lead time to design and build a car is several years, and the Edsel project was started several years before it hit the streets--started when flash and chrome and horsepower was all the rage. By the time it was introduced American was in somewhat of a recession, car sales for ALL makes was falling dramatically, and we were shopping for more economical cars. It was a bad time to introduce a new marque, and an even worse time to introduce a BIG car. Were the cars defective? Mechanically unsound? No. Nothing wrong with them. There were a few problems with a few of the gadgets, but that would be expected with any new car. However, it's been said that Robert MacNamara, head of the Ford division then, was upset that FordMoCo introduced a new car that would compete with the Ford models. The story goes that he "skewed" quality inspection scores from his plants so that "defective" Edsels could pass inspection and get to dealers causing mucho troubles. This would have affected small series models (Rangers and Pacers) from the plant in California. You need to realize that Edsels were made on Ford and Mercury assembly lines, the small series in Ford plants, and the big Corsair and Citation models in the Mercury plants. More on this aspect of the cars demise and a lot more is available in the book "The Edsel Affair" by Gayle C. Warnock. It's long out of print but you can sometimes fine it at libraries and used book stores. Radical styling, big car in a small car market introduced in a bad year for car makers, with some "bad" eggs getting into the basket all stacked the cards against the Edsels survival.

What years were the Edsel Built? 1958, '59 and '60. That's it. If someone tells you they have a '57 or '61 Edsel, they're full of beans. I've had plenty of people write and tell me they have a '57 Edsel in the garage. Yeah. Right. See the "Fordsel" reference above!

How many Edsels were built? 1958 they made 63,110. 1959 it was 44,891, and for 1960 just a scant 2,846 were built. Total 110,847. This does NOT count Edsels produced in Canada.

What size is the motor in my Edsel? Edsel confused everyone with this, and the confusion lives on in parts manuals around the world today. Write this down. in 1958 the large series Edsels (Corsair and Citation) had the E475 engine, which was, actually, 410 cubic inch displacement. The small series Edsels (Ranger and Pacer) had the E400, which was 361 cubic inches. The 475 and 400 signified foot pounds of torque produced (and at 475 the Edsel has more torque than a new Dodge Ram truck with a V-12 turbo diesel engine in it!). This refers to the 1958 model year. The other years, I believe, the engines were actually named for cubic inches, so there is no confusion there.

How can I sell the Edsel I have? Well, you can list it for FREE in the classified ad section of this web site. I also suggest Hemmings Motor News, and Cars and Parts magazines. Classified ads in those publications are very reasonably priced. You can also join an Edsel club, and take advantage of FREE advertising in their publications, directed right to Edsel fans/owners.

What was the original color of 1. the engine, 2. the upholstery, 3. the carpets, etc.. Unfortunately, I don't have the paint code information for engines. For paint code information on the body of your Edsel, head back to the table of contents and head for the Data Plate Decoder page for your year Edsel. Also, take a moment and send your data plate information to Phil Skinner (address and information on the Edsel News page). Phil will in return send you a complete data plate decode breakdown for your specific car, with a lot of other neat information relating to your specific car. It's free, and certainly worth the time.

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