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Edsel Ranger

The Edsel Ranger was an automobile produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958. Rangers were built on the shorter, narrower Edsel platform, shared with Ford and with the Pacer.

The Ranger was the base trim option for Edsel in its first and second years as an automotive marque. Rangers were available in two-door coupes, four-door sedans, and two and four-door hardtops. The model range did not offer a convertible in 1958 or 1959, but did offer that body style in 1960.

Ranger is one of two of Edsel's model nameplates re-used by Ford, Villager being the other.

1958-1959

The Ranger's base trim appointments included arm rests, a cigarette lighter, rear-view mirror, two coat hangers and black rubber floor mats. On the exterior, Rangers received chrome around the rear quarter panel cove molding. Two-tone paint was also optional. The main visual cue that makes it possible to tell the difference between most Rangers and the upmarket Pacer was the lack of stainless trim on the front doors and fenders. A very rare, optional, Ranger-only door trim was available from dealers early in the model year to be used together with the Pacer fender trim. A basic heater (as a US$92 option) and radio (at US$95) were available, and air conditioning was optional as well (at $417), along with seat belts, warning lights, automatic trunk opener, and child-proof rear door locks.

The Ranger rode on Ford's 118 in (2997 mm) wheelbase (except the wagons, which used a 116 in (2946 mm) wheelbase) and a 303 hp (226 kW) 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8 with a two-barrel carburetor was standard, as was a three-speed manual transmission. Buyers could upgrade to a three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column mounted gear selector, or could choose Edsel's highly promoted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub, as a US$231 option. (The 345 hp {257 kW} 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8, standard in the Corsair and Citation, was not available.)

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford and for Ford's corporate strategy for meeting General Motors' product line for product line. Total U.S. and Canada Ranger output for the model stood at an estimated 21,301 units. Of those units, 4,615 were U.S.-built two-door Sedans, 7,414 were four-door sedans (6,576 U.S./838 Canada), 6,005 were two-door hardtops (5,546 U.S./459 Canada), and 3,667 were four-door hardtops (3,077 U.S./190 Canada). Prices ranged from US$2,529 to $2,990.

In regrouping for the coming model year, the best-selling Pacer and the premium Citation models were dropped for 1959, as was the trouble prone Teletouch transmission feature, which was replaced with the Mile-O-Matic.

For 1959, the Ranger and the new top-line Corsair both shared the same 120 in wheelbase. The frame was ladder-type. Styling for the cars became more conservative, with the horsecollar grille being replaced by a shield shape filled with rows of bars. Body styles for the Ranger remained at two-door sedans and four-door sedans, and two and four-door hardtop bodies. 7,778 two-door sedans (all U.S.-built), 14,063 four-door sedans (12,814 U.S./1,249 Canada), 5,966 hardtops (5,474 U.S./492 Canada), and 2,451 four-door hardtops (2,352 U.S./99 Canada)were produced for 1959 in the U.S. and Canada. Prices ranged from $2,629 to $2,756.

Different Platforms

The model year of the Edsel's introduction was a post WW II high point of sorts for the Ford Motor Company. Three full-size platforms of distinctly different interior widths were in use each by Lincoln, Mercury and Ford, a situation that lasted until Ford received a much wider platform in 1960. Edsel shared both Mercury's and Ford's platform in 1958 and so offers an insight into their differing interior dimensions.

1960

Introduced on October 15, 1959, the 1960 Edsel Ranger was now the only car Edsel offered, while the Edsel Villager name applied to two station wagons, a six and a nine passenger model. The decision was made to eliminate not only the Corsair, but the vertical grille element as well. The new grille had an "hourglass" appearance. By this point, the 1960 model shared so many body panels and interior trim features with the Ford, that the defining characteristics that distinguished the Edsel from the Ford were its taillights, grille, signal/parking lights and trim at the front of the sides of the fenders, and of course, name badges. It came with a latter type frame and a 120" wheelbase.

On November 19, 1959, Ford discontinued the Edsel marque and the final car rolled off the assembly line by the end of the month, so the 1960 model never reached its own model year. The car was effectively orphaned, since Ford stopped making parts for Edsels at that point. For its shortened and final model year, a total of 2,571 Rangers and 275 Villager units were produced (all in the U.S.), the rarest models being the convertible (76) and the 4-door 9-passenger Villager wagon (59, the rarest). The Villager is mentioned here so as to highlight the fact that the Ranger convertible was the second rarest of all Edsels produced. Original prices ranged from $2,643 to $3,000.

1960 Edsel Facts:

-Chief Stylist: Bud Kaufman -All 1960 Edsels were produced in the Louisville, KY manufacturing plant. (Although a few cars from the Allen Park, MI pilot plant are still in existence) -The 1960 Edsel introduced such innovations as horizontal coolant flow through the radiator to improve cooling, and placement of the muffler away from the passenger compartment to reduce heat. -Production of the 1960 Edsel began on September 14, 1959 -Introduction of the 1960 line was made on October 15, 1959 -The last official day of Edsel assembly was November 19, 1959 -Total Production for all 1960 Ranger models: 2,571 (2,846 including Villager wagons)

-With such a limited production run-time, the 1960 model included some of the rarest Edsel models of any of the three model years

Counterfeit Convertibles

Because of the low production volumes in its three years, all Rangers are collectible; however, the 1960 Ranger convertible is frequently found as being counterfeit.

The process for converting a 1960 Ford Sunliner convertible into a 1960 Edsel model involves the simple swapping of trim parts and refashioning of the rear fenders, a simple task for those who have an Edsel parts car. Edsel enthusiasts are generally wary of 1960 Edsels that have been "found" or are offered at lower prices than the going rates. Buyers and enthusiasts can check the manufactures code to verify if the VIN matches Edsel production numbers for November 1959.

Gallery

Videos

50's TV Edsel Commercial (1957)02:35

50's TV Edsel Commercial (1957)

Edsel Commercial

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