The Edsel was introduced for sale on September 4, 1957 as a 1958 model, 6 to 10 weeks before all other makes of ’58 models hit the showroom. There were two market segments Ford Motor Company believed they were missing, a gap between Ford and Mercury and a perceived gap between Mercury and Lincoln. The Citation and Corsair models were built on a Mercury chassis in select US Mercury assembly plants. They were priced and equipped to sell between Mercury and Lincoln. All other models were on Ford chassis’ and assembled in several Ford assembly plants in the US and Canada. The Ford based Edsels were aimed at the market segment between Ford and Mercury. Combined first year sales were expected to be over 200,000 units and increase with each subsequent model year. Actual 1958 model sales were less than 69,000 cars across US & Canada.
The ‘radical’ interior and exterior styling was toned down for ’59 in an attempt to stop the sales slide. The ‘Tele-touch’ pushbutton transmission was dropped. The upscale market between Mercury and Lincoln was abandoned by Edsel. Edsel, Mercury, and Lincoln were merged into the Mercury Edsel Lincoln division (MEL). Only Ford chassis were used for ’59 Edsels, although the wheelbase was stretched 1″by the use of longer rear springs and driveshaft. More Ford parts rather than Edsel exclusive parts were used to lower production costs. The Citation, Pacer, Bermuda, and Roundup models were discontinued for ’59. Sadly, none of these changes helped and sales for ’59 Edsels ended even lower than for the ’58 model year.
1960 Edsels were assembled through November 19, 1959. Only the Ranger & Villager models were produced for the 1960 model year. They share many styling cues with 1960 Fords although the 1″ wheelbase stretch was retained. Just over 2,800 ’60 Edsels were built. All 1959 and 1960 Edsels were built at the Ford assembly plant in Louisville, KY. That plant is still in operation assembling the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC. For many years it assembled Ford light trucks, including the Ranger pickup. When Ford introduced the compact Falcon in 1960, Edsel was to have introduced the Comet based on a 5″ stretch of the Falcon designed by the Edsel stylists. The Edsel badges were quickly deleted and the Comet was sold at Lincoln Mercury dealerships beginning in the Spring of 1960, although the name Mercury appears nowhere on the Comet until the 1962 model year…