Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part IX)

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We instrumentality to our Edsel coverage contiguous during the 2nd exemplary twelvemonth of the company’s entry-level car, the Ranger. When it debuted amongst the six different Edsel models successful 1958 it was the cheapest and the slightest ornamented of them all. However, it was inactive much costly than the nicer Fairlane 500 upon which it was based, and so priced likewise to a much upscale Mercury, the Medalist. 


Though it was the best-selling Edsel of 1958, it was criticized for its styling (much similar the remainder of the line). Ford listened to the feedback and made styling changes for 1959 which toned Ranger’s looks down rather a bit. The ‘59 Ranger besides received a lengthened wheelbase that it shared with the much costly Edsel Corsair. With its caller level and partially caller expanse metal, however would the Ranger fare successful ‘59?


Despite its mediocre first-year sales, Ford accrued the Ranger’s terms considerably for 1959. Recall that successful 1958 the basal pillared models asked $2,484 ($25,723 adj.) portion hardtops started astatine $2,643 ($27,369 adj.). The pursuing year, the basal four-door sedan asked $2,685 ($27,421 adj.), portion the four-door hardtop was $2,760 ($28,187 adj.). Coupe pricing was adjacent higher, with the hardtop two-door commanding $2,690 ($27,472 adj.).


In comparison, the 1959 Fairlane did not summation its price, and remained betwixt $2,360 and $2,600 ($24,102 to $26,553 adj.) and made astir versions cheaper than the Ranger. The short-lived Mercury Medalist was replaced by the much upmarket Monterey successful 1959, with all-new styling. It was lone somewhat much costly than the Ranger and asked betwixt $2,770 and $3,150 ($28,289 to $32,170 adj.), but that highest fig was for the luxurious convertible.


The changes made to the Ranger for 1959 should beryllium considered successful discourse to the greater changes that occurred that twelvemonth astatine Edsel. With its caller slimmer lineup of conscionable 3 cars, Ranger needed to seizure buyers who would’ve antecedently purchased the much costly Pacer. In addition, the 63,110 income the institution managed successful 1958 were a reasonably catastrophic result, and that needed to alteration too. 

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Unfortunately, Edsel’s popularity slipped from its debut twelvemonth low, down to 44,891 wide successful 1959. However, the edits to the Ranger astir surely succeeded arsenic it sold overmuch amended than it had successful 1958. Over 67 percent of the Edsels sold successful 1959 were Rangers. Once again, the cheapest assemblage benignant was the astir popular: the four-door sedan astir doubled its income and sold 14,063 copies (7,414 successful 1958). The lone different exemplary to summation its income was the two-door sedan, which recovered 7,778 customers implicit the anterior year’s 4,615.


The remaining 2 assemblage styles some mislaid income successful 1959. The two-door hardtop was antecedently the second-best-selling Ranger with 6,005 income but sold 5,966 successful 1959. Finally, the costly four-door hardtop was astir nobody’s favorite. Its dilatory 1958 income fig of 3,667 fell to 2,451 successful 1959.


No substance however the mathematics was done, the Ranger was yet again a large nonaccomplishment against its sibling the Fairlane. Ford sold 178,800 Fairlanes successful 1959, with styling that was aged chapeau and successful its last exemplary year. Yet again, the executives astatine Edsel needed to instrumentality drastic action!


In the lens of history, the drastic enactment Ford took seemed to beryllium the astir evident course. For 1960 the Ranger was new, yet again. This clip it was overmuch much intimately associated with the palmy Fairlane, which entered its 3rd procreation successful 1960.


Ranger was absent from immoderate relation with the mid-market Corsair successful 1960 due to the fact that it was canceled. That meant for 1960 the Ranger headed to dealerships arsenic the lone Edsel sedan model. The lone different Edsel successful 1960 was the mid-level Villager wagon. Ranger would request to prime up income from each the ill-fated Edsel sedans of yore. 

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On the Ford broadside of the house, the Fairlane’s occurrence meant its scope was owed for expansion. Beginning successful 1960, the Fairlane took implicit for the Custom 300 line, portion the Fairlane 500 was demoted to a mid-level offering. Newly disposable arsenic Ford’s flagship full-size was the Galaxie. 


Galaxie appeared successful 1959 arsenic a apical trim of the Fairlane 500, arsenic Ford prepared to rework the lineup. 500 Galaxie was officially introduced successful precocious 1958 and appeared astatine dealers during the ‘59 exemplary year. It became its ain exemplary successful 1960 and was somewhat little bedazzled than the chrome and gingerbread looks of the ‘59.


Though the Ranger, Fairlane, and Galaxie were each connected the aforesaid chassis, for immoderate merchandise differentiation reasons the Ranger had an inch other successful wheelbase implicit its siblings: 120 inches versus their 119”. Edsel utilized a somewhat longer assemblage too, which spanned 216 inches implicit the 213.7 inches of the Fords. In much weirdness, Ford’s models were 81.5 inches wide, portion the Ranger was 79.8 inches successful width. 

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One triumph for the caller Ranger was a boost successful disposable assemblage styles. Excluding a wagon, the Ranger benefited from the Galaxie’s assemblage lineup. Ranger was offered with 2 doors arsenic sedan, hardtop, and convertible, and with 4 doors arsenic a modular sedan oregon hardtop. 


Normally the comparisons would halt there, but Ford offered different competing enactment from its Mercury part successful 1960. The larger Monterey introduced successful 1959 continued successful 1960 and was priced astir the aforesaid arsenic the Ranger. It rode connected a longer 126-inch wheelbase and spanned 219.2 inches successful 1960 with its revised styling (three much than the Ranger). 


Adding to the mixed messaging betwixt its divisions, the Ranger continued with a much constricted motor offering than the Fairlane. Edsels were equipped with the 223 cubic-inch (3.7L) Mileage Maker inline-six, oregon the 292 cubic-inch (4.8L) aged Y-block V8. Top spec was erstwhile again the 361 (5.9L) FE bid V8.

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The Fairlane was disposable with galore antithetic engines babelike upon trim but shared lone the 223 Mileage Maker I6 with Ranger. Its different engines included a 292 cubic inch V8 from the Thunderbird, which was much modern than the Y-block successful the Ranger. Two much V8s from the Thunderbird were connected connection too, and included a 352 (5.8L) and yet a 390 (6.4L), though the second did not get until 1961.


For the aforesaid Ranger money, the Monterey was offered with a V8 arsenic standard, the 312 (5.1L) Y-block V8. Optionally Monterey was equipped with the 383 (6.3L) MEL V8, an upscale motor off-limits to Ford. With threats from each absorption internally, it was shaping up to beryllium a precise mixed and confusing container for the Edsel Ranger of 1960.


And that was the lawsuit earlier immoderate styling was considered due to the fact that the Ranger nary longer utilized Edsel-specific assemblage panels. Instead, Ford decided to separate its Edsel merchandise via the usage of antithetic trim pieces and lighting elements. We’ll prime up adjacent clip with a reappraisal of the ‘60’s styling, arsenic good arsenic its pricing and income successful the look of stiff contention from Fairlane and Monterey.


[Images: Ford, Dealer]


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