B Jake Moran

1959 Edsel Convertible

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https://ames.craigslist.org/cto/d/conrad-1959-edsel-convertible-ford/6952312179.html

 

Not mine.  I seldom post cars I see on CL but when something as unusual as this comes up, for what appears to a good private seller to private seller price, I like to read the comments.  Plus, with our Iowa corn at high green, some of these photos are worthy of an old car calendar. 

 

I doubt I could be satisfied with one car in the garage but this would be one.  I am NOT an Edsel fan, but like the 59 GM cars, especially Cadillacs which I am not a fan either, they are forever stamped in time.  And that time is a nostalgic optimistic one for me.  Therefore I do not see it as a poor styling decision but rather as an interesting and attractive time stamp.

 

00M0M_if8pOTTL9kf_600x450.jpg

 

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Overall I don't think they had bad styling for the time.  Not the best,  but looking at what Detroit was turning out it's not terrible.  It works well in that color combo as well.  If i was closer I would take a look.  Not many ragtops that look as good with as nice of an interior in this price range.  Usually another 10G and that's not for perfect.  Manual Top and no tele touch shifting in the steering wheel are nice bonuses.  Should be alot easier to maintain. 

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

 Manual Top and no tele touch shifting in the steering wheel are nice bonuses.  

 

You may know that Teletouch (transmission

push-buttons in the center of the steering wheel)

was an option only in 1958.  According to the book

The Edsel Affair, Ford Motor Company didn't want

to bother with the expense of Teletouch in 1959.

They were moving the Edsel down-scale, and I infer

were already mentally distancing themselves from 

their failing car.

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John

I did not know that, and I wouldn't mind getting that book.  I'm all over the place collecting wise so I don't just get books from one marque.  The rear quarter/trunk shot from above shows a nice car, and the horse collar isn't as big a deal now as it was then. 

 

Beautiful period stamped color.  If I was one of those baby boomers retired and that show up at the local town car shows, show n' shines, etc - I would rather have this than one of the muscle cars I see them plop a yard chair down behind. 

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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

You may know that Teletouch (transmission

push-buttons in the center of the steering wheel)

was an option only in 1958.  

 

Teletouch was not an option. It was standard equipment on all '58 Edsels with an automatic transmission....

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1 hour ago, Lebowski said:

 

Teletouch was not an option. It was standard equipment on all '58 Edsels with an automatic transmission....

 

Yes, but for clarification:

it was the Automatic transmission that was the option,

and if you opted for the extra-cost automatic tranny,

it was controlled by Pushbutton 

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1 minute ago, Marty Roth said:

 

Yes, but for clarification:

it was the Automatic transmission that was the option,

and if you opted for the extra-cost automatic tranny,

it was controlled by Pushbutton 

 

He said Teletouch was an option. He didn't say that an automatic transmission was an option. There's no need for you to clarify anything... :(

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Posted (edited)

Actually, according to Mr. Gayle Warnock, who was

one of the lead men involved in the Edsel and the

author of The Edsel Affair, the Teletouch automatic

transmission was not the only automatic transmission

in 1958.  According to him, there was also a type shifted

the usual way, with a lever on the steering column.

I have never seen the latter, but Mr. Warnock was there.

 

3 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

John,

I did not know that, and I wouldn't mind getting that book. 

 

It is an interesting book and gives insights into the Edsel

that many people don't know of.  It covers the expectant

and hyper-promotional period of its development, and the

disheartening that settled in when its sales were poor almost

from the start.  He said that afterward, Ford Motor Company

seemingly wanted to expunge the record of its monumental

failure--much documentation disappeared from its files--

so he was sure to record the history for posterity's sake.

I have written a couple of Edsel articles based on the

late Mr. Warnock's recollections in his book.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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12 minutes ago, Lebowski said:

 

He said Teletouch was an option. He didn't say that an automatic transmission was an option. There's no need for you to clarify anything... :(

 

According to John's notes, apparently there was

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On 8/22/2019 at 10:37 AM, auburnseeker said:

Overall I don't think they had bad styling for the time.  Not the best,  but looking at what Detroit was turning out it's not terrible.  It works well in that color combo as well.  If i was closer I would take a look.  Not many ragtops that look as good with as nice of an interior in this price range.  Usually another 10G and that's not for perfect.  Manual Top and no tele touch shifting in the steering wheel are nice bonuses.  Should be alot easier to maintain. 

Absolutely! This is a nice looking car.

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Never understood what caused the Edsel to fail while bug eye yachts in the Chrysler camp never got as much scrutiny.  It must be a time frame issue.  What was it the public saw in disgust that made the edsel fail?  The name? 

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Mr. Warnock gave several reasons in his book, and some

of those reasons were unknown to me until I read it.

Here's a brief summary.

 

(1)  The styling, especially the front.  They wanted the car to

be immediately recognizable from a distance.  The front

vertical element was originally conceived as a solid

"impact bar," but was widened and opened to admit air

for cooling as the design progressed.  The whole

styling package ended up as a cacophany of

colliding shapes. 

 

(2)  The economy.  As the Edsel was introduced, the

country was entering a brief but sharp recession, and

sales of all cars except the economical Rambler were

away down.

 

(3)  The price.  Ford Motor Co. introduced sharp 8%

price increases on all its 1958 models.  The Edsel came out

in Sept. 1957--before all the other cars, to get a jump on

sales--but came out just when all the other makes were

offering great DISCOUNTS on 1957 models to clear them out. 

 

(4)  Internal company strife.  Some executives were

actually against the Edsel, thinking it would detract from

Ford sales.  One man, Robert McNamara, actually worked

against it.

 

(5)  The promotion.  The car was so extensively over-hyped

that the whole country followed its progress during development

for a couple of years, but had no idea what the car would

actually look like.  When it came out, it was nothing particularly

special.

 

(6)  The quality.  Many quality problems were experienced,

especially with the smaller, Ford-based models.  McNamara

decided that the Edsels didn't have to be perfect, but

could be shipped when they achieved only a certain

percentage of acceptability.  When the dealers got their cars,

some dealers were actually cannibalizing one car in their

inventory for parts to fix problems for others in inventory!

 

(7)  The name.  Ford executives couldn't agree on an

acceptable name and thrust aside months of market research.

They instead chose "Edsel" to honor family member

Edsel Ford.  The name was thuddingly dull and meant

nothing to potential buyers. 

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Thanks for sharing.  I didn't know any of that either.   I have basically just known for all my years that "Edsel" was always associated with "Failure" or Junk.  Not that was a correct rap to hang on it but that is where pop culture has embraced it. The name is about as popular as a brick as well.   Would you rather buy a Sport Fury or an Edsel.

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Yes that is a great summary.  I NEED TO GET THAT BOOK.   Just 1 or 2 of those points would work against a new introduction, here you have 7.   But, as mentioned, most of us like the Edsels now. 

 

1

 

The horse collar does not look so pronounced in this shot, and the horizontal fill of it harmonize with the rest of the grille which is in my opinion tasteful and elegant. Placing the turn signal lamps at the far reaches of the bumper emphasizes width, a big deal at the time. 

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Posted (edited)

Some see the 1959 Edsel redesign as a slight improvement from the 1958,

which was at the time politely described as a "Mercury Sucking a Lemon",

and less politely rediculed with anatomical reference.

 

The bigger issue was that it became an unwanted solution for a problem which didn't exist. Ford already had three distinct price/luxury ranges fielded with ford at the bottom end, Lincoln handling toward the more elegant, and Mercury as the inbetween. It seems that FMC wanted more models as in the GM business model. Therefore Edsel was positioned inbetween Ford and Mercury with four models. The lower range Pacer and Ranger were, in reality, little more than gussied-up Fords with a less-than-appealing descriptive name, a "face" designed by committee which generated so much poor press that many who might have actually liked the idea were turned toff by the thought of it, and an economic downturn to be known as the "1958 Eisenhower Recession". The two larger models, Corsair and Citation, while potentially decent automobiles, we essentially seen be some as Mercury-based step-sisters wearing the "Bridesmaid" attire. They just didn't have the Pizzaz or the raison d'etat (goals and ambitions, whether economic, military, cultural or otherwise) to nail the interest of the targeted portion of the buying public.

 

The 1960 version was just more and more boring, in my opinion.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)

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On ‎8‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 3:26 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

Actually, according to Mr. Gayle Warnock, who was

one of the lead men involved in the Edsel and the

author of The Edsel Affair, the Teletouch automatic

transmission was not the only automatic transmission

in 1958.  According to him, there was also a type shifted

the usual way, with a lever on the steering column.

I have never seen the latter, but Mr. Warnock was there.

 

 

It is an interesting book and gives insights into the Edsel

that many people don't know of.  It covers the expectant

and hyper-promotional period of its development, and the

disheartening that settled in when its sales were poor almost

from the start.  He said that afterward, Ford Motor Company

seemingly wanted to expunge the record of its monumental

failure--much documentation disappeared from its files--

so he was sure to record the history for posterity's sake.

I have written a couple of Edsel articles based on the

late Mr. Warnock's recollections in his book.

 

John:

 

Yikes, that book is $65 plus shipping on Amazon.  I'll have to pass for now. 

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I prefer the front end of the 59 over the 58. But I like the 1960 over both. Yes I know I'm in the minority, and I'm okay with that.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ed Luddy said:

I prefer the front end of the 59 over the 58. But I like the 1960 over both. Yes I know I'm in the minority, and I'm okay with that.

 

I agree with you totally, Ed.

 

And Jake, to get the book, you might consider

an inter-library loan if your local library does not

have it.  There's no need to own the book if it

costs $60!

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Ed Luddy said:

I prefer the front end of the 59 over the 58. But I like the 1960 over both. Yes I know I'm in the minority, and I'm okay with that.

I too think the 60 was the best, and cleanest of the Edsels. We're beginning to form a quorum!

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