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ford edsel pacer-58, beauty or a beast?

1958 Ford Edsel, beauty or a beast??   34 votes

  1. 1.

    • Beautiful
      8
    • Good looking
      14
    • Looks ok
      4
    • not so pretty
      8

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19 posts in this topic

Posted

well since the -58 continental beauty/beast poll got a lot of attention,

i thought id add a poll about this well discussed, (wow that word is hard to spell)

different looking machine, its aother of my favourites, but many other people think it looks kinda like a sick dog, this was has in this case

been a fact since it first entered production, no one wanted it because of the "toilet seat-front", so it was a fiasko from the start.

but really its not that ugly, i like the different thinking on that front, why

should it have a specific shape? why not try something new?

i must admit, im not one for the rear, but otherwise its basicly a

good looking car., if you ask ME.

edselpacer58ht.jpg

edselpacer58ht2.jpg

edselpacer58ht4.jpg

edselpacer58ht3.jpg

edselpacer58ht5.jpg

edselpacer58ht6.jpg

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Posted

Like I said in the Lincoln thread, the cars of the late 50's have to be seen and appreciated in context of the era. Today they look lumbering and painfully over styled like a 68-year-old woman with too much jewelry wearing leopard print leotards.

The styling of the Edsel was not really what killed this car however. Mostly it was the price. FordMoCo thought there was a market for a mid level car between the Fords and the Mercury’s. They were wrong!

The styling and build quality may have been additional reasons for poor sales. But the build quality was no worse than any other Ford of the period. Sure, a lot of people made fun of the grill but that was much later when the cars were sitting on used car lots. There is a great story about the styling in an issue of Collectable Automobile - June '99. Personality Profile of Robin Jones who was the primary designer of the '58's. Truly the drawings of the car look much better than the final result!

Jairus

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Posted

Like the Lincoln, I find them pretty ugly, but again '58 wasn't a stellar year in design for Ford or GM. They're neat, but I suspect over time I've grown accustomed to them so they're not a slap in the face like the Aztek; which also doesn't seem to even get my attention anymore...heck, if it was (dirt) cheap enough I'd own one...never buy something like that new, but they're supposed to be one of GM's most reliable vehicles.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beerholder :wink:

Oh, and one of my favorite cars of all time was a chopped '58 Edsel which was the inspiration for the Modelhaus chopped Edsel which is one of my favorite builds of all time. Sometimes fugly cars make great customs 8)

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Posted

Since we seem to be finding mid-50s Fords to be a worthwhile styling exercise, I thought I'd put in another 5 cents worth....add fuel to tha fire.. :twisted:

Tha only mid 50s Ford thet deserved a Crown is thisun....

56ford27065-1Victoria.jpg

for a milder interpretation....

56ford26785-1RedVictoria.jpg

and despite tha popular infamy that tha "Y" Block received, FOMOCO made more exotic stock parts for this engine than they have ever done for any since.....here's a drooler.....

56ford26785-3_tRedVicysengine.jpg

a Thunderbird 312.......

and ifn I evah git it finished, yall will see my idea of a Custom 56 Victoria......

On tha Edsel, I kinda thought, when I was old enuff to think, :lol: that Henry Sr. was being shined on by his son.....Edsel put a Horse Collar on his Daddy's Ford......nyuk, nyuk....

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Posted

>As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beerholder

for the edsel, beer is a must! preferably more than one.

:lol:

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Posted

The styling of the Edsel was not really what killed this car however. Mostly it was the price. FordMoCo thought there was a market for a mid level car between the Fords and the Mercury’s. They were wrong

Actually Jairus, while that did indeed play a role, that's not the MAIN reason it was killed.

The main reason was then Ford president (IIRC) Robert McNamara, the same one who was on JFK's staff, absolutely hated the car, hated the concept and did everything in his power to kill it before it got off the ground, including putting a high price tag on it. From what I have read....He was going to kill the brand unless it became the #1 seller in the country.

The Edsel, particularly the 58, is one of my all time favorite cars, and I hope to own one someday. In full size. Park in the driveway kind of own.

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Posted

wow, were learning, AND having FUN!! :):):D

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Posted

Actually Jairus, while that did indeed play a role, that's not the MAIN reason it was killed.

The main reason was then Ford president (IIRC) Robert McNamara, the same one who was on JFK's staff, absolutely hated the car, hated the concept and did everything in his power to kill it before it got off the ground, including putting a high price tag on it. From what I have read....He was going to kill the brand unless it became the #1 seller in the country.

The Edsel, particularly the 58, is one of my all time favorite cars, and I hope to own one someday. In full size. Park in the driveway kind of own.

Billy,

You might want to go back and re-read that history a bit more carefully. Robert McNamara wasn't the president of Ford, quite yet, when Edsel was introduced--Ernest Breech, another one of the WW-II "Whiz Kids" was still in the driver's seat, but reporting directly, and very subserviently to the Ford brothers, Henry II, Benson, and William Clay (father of the current Chairman of Ford).

I've always thought of the Edsel in the words used on a popular history of Studebaker--"Less than they promised". Ford's forthcoming E-car (the Edsel name hadn't been decided on yet), was talked up by Ford Motor Company in press releases, "focus groups" (Yup, Edsel came about with the consulting of focus groups, something that didn't catch on with the other makers until decades later). Rumors abounded in the years 55-57, of a new and unique car from Ford, and as '56 drew into '57, those rumors got pretty hot and heavy. Trouble was, Ford Motor Company was trying to get into a "car for every pocketbook", as was the case at both Chrysler and General Motors.

However, when Edsel hit the stands in the fall of 1957, the country was just into the freefall that became known as the "Eisenhower Recession", which while historically short in duration, cut steeply into car sales, mostly in the mid-price range (as recessions and the Great Depression historically have done), leaving too many makes competing for too few customers. All the mid-price cars suffered, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Chrysler, DeSoto, top level Dodges. Hudson and Nash also were fatally wounded by the sales decline in this level of cars. Odd, gorpy styling certainly hurt Edsel, but that could also be said across town at GM. Chrysler was in pain, trying to rectify the build-quality and severe rusting problems that plagued the gorgeous "Forward Look" 57's--and Nash & Hudson were just plain UGLY! So, styling probably didn't alone kill Edsel.

Robert McNamara stepped into the position of Vice President, in charge of product and product development just as the 58 Edsel was unveiled. He had to notice the considerable disappointment dealers had, as the cars sat, gathering dust on new car lots all over the place. If nothing else, McNamara was a very competent "bean counter" (and nothing endemically wrong with that, IMHO). But before McNamara could say, or do anything about Edsel, the decisions had been made to blend the '59 Edsel into the Mercury line, with one body shared with Mercury, and greatly simplified styling. But, when sales numbers barely reach half what they were projected to be, the handwriting was on the wall.

By midyear '59, Edsel sales simply didn't even justify the expenses of advertising, marketing and such. L-E-M (Lincoln, Edsel and Mercury)dealers weren't ordering them, regardless of promotional efforts from the company. So, the make just sat there, and by the time 1960 models had been in production for 4 months, the numbers just weren't there, not at all. McNamara did what any competent executive would (and should!) have done, by that time he was President of Ford--convince the Chairman of the Board to let the car go.

What is interesting though, is that the 1960 Comet was conceived as an Edsel compact--with a bit of last minute facelifting, Comet emerged as a Mercury, and fared far better in the marketplace than any full-sized Edsel could have done.

Basically, Edsel was the wrong idea at the wrong time, born of both false pride at Ford, and of faulty market research, little more than that.

But still, it has its place, and actually the Pacer and Citations were pretty darned good looking cars for their day.

Biscuitbuilder

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Posted

great historians lurk here; yes, the edsel was the wrong car at the wrong time; well made for the period, with great options; but without a market and during a recession which saw off the last packards and spelled doom for studebaker some 8 years later. compare the edsel to the bloated 58 buick or oldsmobile; it looks positively LEAN compared to them. set beside the imperial or new yorker, it looks like a track star next to your old aunt fanny. SO; against it's target competitors, it looked as good or better. against say, a 1962 impala hardtop; it loses the bet. me? i'd own it just because it (and me) is weird.

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Posted

I've been on the fence on Edsel's, not really my bag, but don't dislike them either, ambivalent I guess.

I do know now what would make a great model vignette though, thanks to Jairus. (What a visual...)

That 68 year old woman dressed and made up as he described in an Edsel with a matching interior...

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Posted

The Edsel got a bad rap because of bad timing. 58 was a very bad year for all midpriced cars. Pontiac, Buick, and Olds sales were off between 40 and 60 percent that year. Other brands like Packard, and Desoto were on the skids or went under all together. Before the Edsel launch Ford had hoped to get between 3 and 6 percent of the midpriced car market, they actually achived this goal with a 5 percent share. However they hadnt counted on the entire market being down by 50 percent! If the Edsel would have been introduced a few years earlier or a few years later chances are it would have been a great success.........you know what they say "Timing is everything!"

Raisin

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Posted

.....was the Edsel. The 58 Ford is ugly but cute. The Lincoln was atrocious and Mercury only slightly better then that! GM 58s were quite well done as were most Chrysler corp cars. Ford drastically improved starting in 59 with the Ford and 61 with Lincoln. They went from dismal to spectacular in a few short years but 58 was BAD! :lol:

Andy

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Posted

...... The 58 Ford is ugly but cute.

Andy

Oh I have to disagree with this sentiment, I actually think tha tha 58 Ford was an Everyman's T-Bird....

58FordPoster1.jpg

but my '58 Ford was closer to this Model

1958_ford_custom300_ad_003.jpg

and I wonder, is this one of tha Chat Police's Pursuit cars, probably has a Police Interceptor V-8

1958FordSedan.jpg

but Ford wasn't sitting on their hands in 1958, check out this La Galaxie

FordLaGalxie.jpg

or even this La Tosca

58ford_latosca_3.jpg

found this on a rather interesting web page, but I'll put them in another posting, even have some for Izzy.

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Posted

.....was the Edsel. The 58 Ford is ugly but cute. The Lincoln was atrocious and Mercury only slightly better then that! GM 58s were quite well done as were most Chrysler corp cars. Ford drastically improved starting in 59 with the Ford and 61 with Lincoln. They went from dismal to spectacular in a few short years but 58 was BAD! :lol:

Andy

Oh, I dunno, Andy!

I think you had to be there to appreciate most cars of the 50's frankly. When the '58 cars were unveiled, I was a 13-yr old 8th grader, car crazy just like most of my friends then.

Call me moved by glitz, uplifted by glamor, if you will, but I saw in those cars a lot to like (perhaps though, the '58 Lincolns were a bit too bizarre for even me to take though). Chrysler was perhaps the exception for '58, beyond Plymouth, none of their other cars did much for me--a mix of last year's styling, with some ill-thought updating, such as the mess they made of that gorgeous Desoto hairpin front bumper.

58 introductions were at the height of Dad and my "tradition" back then, of making the rounds of all the new car dealerships, checking out the new cars, me grabbing one of every brochure that I could lay my hands on (wish I'd been smart enough to save all those!). Dad, by then the ripe old age of 54, had a pretty jaundiced eye for most new cars (after all, he knew all the old ones by the shape of their radiator shells!), where I drank in each and every one.

Time, of course, has a way of maturing one's viewpoints, and with cars that is no exception. Much of what I was enamored with back then, wore somewhat (even very) thin, over the intervening years, only now can I look back and see some of the artistry of stylists back then.

Biscuitbuilder

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Posted

hmmmm, in 1958 I wuz 9 yrs. old and already a kar krazy knut. Probably becuz of my Hot Shot Chair Force Jet Pilot Daddy. Tha furst car I remember ridng in wuz my Dad's hopped-up '49 Merc, 3/4 race cam w/ 3 Strombergs....

1949-Mercury-Black-fa-sedan-s-2-le.jpg

but tha Merc that I really fell in luv with wuz my Daddy's next car...

1956MercuryPhaeton4drhdtp.jpg

but it's color was as thisun is....

1956MercuryMonclair2drHdtp.jpg

luved that Merc. Uh oh......me rear view mirror.....Oh darn.....it's that durn Chat Cop, dogging my backtrail agin.....

auto090.gif

gotta go, go, Go yallll.....

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Posted

This is a car that I can't call pretty. But, like the sweet little ol' aunt that ain't much to look at, you still love her and would never want harm to come to her. IMHO, that's the Edsel.

BB

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Posted

Like I said in the Lincoln thread, the cars of the late 50's have to be seen and appreciated in context of the era. Today they look lumbering and painfully over styled like a 68-year-old woman with too much jewelry wearing leopard print leotards.

From my perspective (born 1974), the late '50s cars are pure, unmitigated coolness. But- and it's a big but!- I can't see how people could ever take some of them seriously as daily transportation.

That being said, the Fords and Ford-based Edsels weren't anywhere near as extreme as the Lincolns, Mercurys, senior Edsels and most of GM and Chrysler offerings of the period.

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Posted

Welcome Yoda!

:D

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Posted

Hey Hey Yoda, welcome to Tatoine, check out tha Spacers Bar and Grille, lots of very interesting folks in here. :D:D

Further thoughts concerning tha Edsel, every time I see that distinctive grill piece, tha "Horsecollar" it reminds me of that cartoon character ---tha hayseed horse that has buck teeth, wears a staw hat w/ holes for his ears and also wears a horsecollar.......just pops into mah head everytime. :twisted:

Zeb

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