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The Edsel

04/26/96

Ford's Edsel, named after the only son of Ford's founder, was designed as a two ton, mid-priced, monster so that Ford's customers would have something to "trade up" to that wasn't a GM or a Chrysler. Ford launched the giant car in 1957, just prior to a recession and just before America decided they preferred smaller cars. The Edsel promptly developed a reputation as a lemon because early models were full of bugs. Production halted after 3 years; total production for the Edsel rang in at 110,000 cars.

Today, however, the Edsel has a fierce loyalty, and at least two Edsel clubs holding annual national get-togethers: the Edsel Owners Club (in 1996 they meet in Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 1-3), and the International Edsel Club (August 8-11 in Janesville, Wisconsin). About 100 cars and 300 Edsel lovers attend each meeting, although many Edsel owners belong to both clubs, so there's some degree of cross-pollination.

A show-quality Edsel convertible is worth nearly $50,000 today, while the ones that are not in mint condition sell for between $1,500 and $2,500. Others, mostly cars used for parts, will sell for $25 a ton.

Paul Dever -- The Auto Channel