1958 Edsel Pacer 4dr sedan, taken Sept 2003.
|This image has been (or is hereby) released into the public domain by its author, Loungelistener at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible: Loungelistener grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.|
The Edsel was a make of automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. The car brand is best known as one of the most spectacular failures in the history of the United States automobile industry.
In the early 1950s, Ford Motor Co. became a publicly traded corporation that was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family and was able to sell cars without being hindered by Henry Ford's antiquated preferences following the sellers' market of the postwar years. The new management compared the roster of Ford makes with that of General Motors, and noted that Lincoln competed not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile. So since Ford had a lot of money on hand from the success of the Ford Thunderbird the plan was developed to move Lincoln upmarket and put another make in beneath it, with yet another model, the Continental, at the very top. Research and development had begun in 1955 under the name "E-car," which stood for "Experimental car." This represented a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same body.
The Edsel was introduced amidst a considerable amount of publicity on "E Day"—September 4, 1957. It was promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show on October 13, but it was not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car's styling and conventional build; the rumors that Ford had circulated led consumers to expect an entirely new kind of car when in reality the Edsel shared its bodywork with other Ford models.
The Edsel was to be sold through a new Ford division. It existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsels were made by the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as M-E-L). Edsel was sold through a new network of 1,500 dealers. This briefly brought total dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with the other two companies of the Big Three: Chrysler had 10,000 dealers and General Motors had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, English Ford and/or Taunus dealerships to their lines with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed.
For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models, including the larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller, more affordable Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation came in two-door and four-door hardtops and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer came in two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116" wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models.
It included several features that were, at the time, cutting-edge innovations, among which were its "rolling dome" speedometer and its Teletouch transmission shifting system, on the center of the steering wheel. Other, less-touted but more enduring design innovations included a primitive attempt at ergonomically designed controls for the driver, and self-adjusting brakes (often claimed as a first for the industry, although this was not so—Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade).
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Edsel
Technorati tags: Public Domain Clip Art and clip art or public domain and Edsel Pace or Ford Motor Company and Presidential Podcast 10/13/07 and Portrait of Picasso by Juan Gris and Imaging quantum entanglement