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1958-60 Edsel Parts

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For its inaugural model year, Edsel introduced a seven-model product line, including four sedans and three station wagons. The Edsel model line offered multiple design features that were considered innovative for the time. In place of a horizontal strip or a round dial, the speedometer was a rotating dome; in line with aircraft design, the dashboard adopted warning lights for conditions as low oil level, parking brake engaged, and engine overheating. Edsel also had a speed warning on the speedometer if the driver exceeded a preset speed limit. While a standard column-mounted transmission shifter was offered (as a delete option), Edsel marked the introduction of the Teletouch push-button shifting system (mounted in the steering wheel hub).

 

The Edsel also integrated many elements of the Ford Lifeguard safety package into its design. Along with optional seatbelts, the Edsel featured a deep-dish steering wheel, double-latched doors, and childproof rear door locks; the model line was among the first to introduce remote-operated trunk opening and self-adjusting brakes.

 

In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the United States, and 4,935 were sold in Canada. Though below expectations, this nevertheless represented the second-largest launch for any new car brand to date, exceeded only by the DeSoto introduction in 1929. There was one four-door Citation model purchased and delivered in October 1957 to the United Kingdom for the Duke of Bedford. Its current whereabouts are unknown. In January 1958, the free-standing Edsel division was added to Lincoln-Mercury, with the re-christened Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division (M-E-L) adopting Edsel sales and marketing operations. As the model year progressed and sales fell under expectations, multiple Edsel-only dealers closed or expanded their brand offerings with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company, including Lincoln-Mercury or imported Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany franchises.

 

For the 1959 model year, Edsel was pared down to its highest-selling model lines, the Ranger and Corsair sedans and Villager station wagon. In an effort to position the Edsel closer to Ford in price, the Mercury-based Edsels were discontinued, with all Edsel vehicles now sharing their bodies with Ford; sedans were moved to a 120-inch wheelbase.

 

Following the widely negative response to the exterior design, Ford stylists toned down the appearance of the exterior body panels. While a vertical center grille made its return (following heavy revision), a redesign of the hoodline moved the headlamps to the enlarged outer grilles (placing greater emphasis on the front bumper). A similar revision of the rear body panels introduced new taillamps moved below the trunklid.

 

The interior saw several 1958 features to increase its commonality with Ford. The trouble-prone Teletouch transmission shifter and the rotating-dome speedometer were withdrawn, replaced with a slightly restyled version of the Ford Fairlane 500 dashboard (the fully padded dashboard and optional climate control remained[16]). Along with retaining separate interior trim from Ford, Edsel continued the 70/30 split-bench seatback for Corsairs.

 

In the 1959 model year, 44,891 Edsels were sold in the U.S., and 2,505 were sold in Canada.

 

For the 1960 model year, Edsel offered only the Ranger sedans, hardtop, and convertible and the Villager station wagon. Coinciding with the redesign of the 1960 Ford, the 1960 Edsel adopted much more conservative styling than its 1958 namesake. The vertical grille was abandoned in favor of a split grille (similar to the 1959 Pontiac), allowing for a single-piece front bumper for the first time. The rear fascia was distinguished by four oblong taillamps inset into the tailfins (the latter design, shared with Ford).[18] Distinguished primarily by their grille and taillamps, 1960 Edsels were also fitted with model-unique hoods, bumpers and body-side trim.

 

Edsel shared nearly its entire body with Ford; the four-door Ranger hardtop had no Ford equivalent, combining the Fairlane roofline with the doors of the Galaxie (all Fairlane four-doors were pillared sedans). All Edsels were produced on a 120-inch wheelbase (one inch longer than Ford) with a different rear suspension configuration.

For the 1960 model year, 2,846 vehicles were produced between October 15 and November 19, 1959; all vehicles were assembled at Louisville Assembly (except for pilot prototypes).

 

Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on November 19, 1959. However, production continued until late in November, with the final tally of 2,846 model year 1960 cars. Total Edsel sales were approximately 116,000, less than half the company’s projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million, or the equivalent of $2.4 billion in 2019 dollars,[19] on the venture.[20] Only 118,287 Edsels were built, including 7,440 produced in Ontario, Canada. By U.S. auto industry standards, these production figures were dismal, particularly when spread across a run of three model years.

On Friday, November 20, United Press International‘s (UPI) wire service reported that book values for used Edsels had declined by as much as $400 based on condition and age immediately following the Ford press release. In some newspaper markets, dealers scrambled to renegotiate newspaper advertising contracts involving the 1960 Edsel models, while others dropped the name from their dealerships’ advertising entirely. Ford issued a statement that it would distribute coupons to customers who purchased 1960 models (and carryover 1959 models) prior to the announcement, valued at $300 to $400 toward the purchase of new Ford products to offset the decreased values. The company also issued credits to dealers for stock unsold or received following the announcement.

 

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