Beginning of the Edsel Owners Club
It’s Summer, 1967 in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Summer Of Love! Over in Oakland, Edsel Henry Ford was thinking it’s the Summer of Edsels! He had been noticing the growth in clubs for “orphan cars”, Packard, Kaiser, Studebaker….all had clubs. “Someone should start an Edsel Owners Club”, he kept telling his wife, Hazel. After hearing this so many times , she said ” well, why don’t you?” So Edsel started placing ads in the newspapers around the Bay Area, looking for other folks that really liked their Edsels…then just a cheap used car, but many original owners, including Edsel, were still driving and pampering them. These ads caught the attention of several newspaper columnists in Oakland and San Francisco……and they found it humorous that someone would be interested in saving and collecting Edsels of all things. A modest response to these ads gave Edsel some hope. One of those who read about Edsel and his project was an 18 year old car nut, just out of high school……..yours truly.
I found out where Edsel lived, and one evening, drove to his home and introduced myself. I asked if he knew of anyone wanting to sell an Edsel, and did he need help getting his club off the ground? Well , that started an almost Father-Son relationship that lasted until Edsels passing in 2013. He said sure, need all the help I can get, so we started a list of those who had contacted him, and had a form printed up about the new club that we would leave under the windshield wiper of Edsels we would see on the street. On Dec. 8, 1967, 7 Edsel owners met at Edsels home for the first meeting of the Edsel Owners Club. At the 2nd meeting in Feb. 1968, we had 20 people in attendance, and had learned of a fellow in Illinois, Perry Piper, who was starting the Edsel Auto Club! The two men got together, and with that magic name of Edsel Henry Ford, the two groups became the Edsel Owners Club! The club grew rapidly, and Edsels name always was good for publicity in print, radio and TV stories .
By 1969, plans were underway for our 1st convention, held in August 1969 at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway! This event was thoroughly covered by the First Tuesday TV news show, and Charles Kuralts “On the Road” segment on CBS as well!
Here we are , 50 years later getting ready to celebrate a half century of Edsel fun, and life long family friendships that have been formed because of this club and the Edsel…….indeed, there will be people attending the 50th Annual Convention in Keizer, OR that attended that first meet at Indy! For many of us this is truly a family reunion, and the family members all own Edsels!
As we start our second half century, we look back at all of our dear friends no longer with us, and when we gather we still talk fondly of them, and in many cases their children and grandchildren still own and attend our meets!
Dave Sinclair, Founder