91,000 Miles: 1958 Edsel Pacer

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Yes, it’s a four door. Get over it–some of us actually like them! And to answer the next question, the original wheel covers are in the trunk, along with some other spare parts. This relatively original example of Ford’s not-so-great styling idea is languishing in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it’s had the same owner since 1969. It’s now up for sale here on eBay, with a reasonable buy it now of $7,300 and you are welcome to make a lower offer.

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Like many other 50’s American cars, the two tone pastel colors suit the lines of the Edsel well. Although the seller states “all body panels perfect,” I believe they are speaking of dents and dings, because I can see some surface rust in spots. That being said, I think we are looking at either original paint or a very old repaint. Chrome is a little dull with some surface rust in places, but I’ll bet it would respond well to some polish and would certainly be fine for a driver. I also like the fact that the owner has been enthusiastic enough to get the “EDSEL” personalized plate, even if the car hasn’t been on the road in the past eight years.

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Here is the Edsel signature “horse collar” grille. While I don’t find it the most attractive nose, I don’t dislike it as much as the public did. And now it’s so much an iconic symbol of product development gone wrong (my “real” job is in new product development, so it’s a good case study) that I’d drive it proudly.

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Several closeups of the paint reveal fine cracks throughout, like this. I’ve never had any luck doing anything other than stripping a substrate like this to bare metal, but perhaps a reader has a better experience to report? That being said, somehow it doesn’t bother me a lot with this car. Maybe just clean, wax and drive, right? Oh, there’s that little matter of not having been licensed for the past eight years. The seller represents the car as running and driving, but also states that it was put away eight years ago, so I’m not exactly sure which is correct.

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While I’m pretty sure velour seats weren’t original to this Pacer, nor the shifter (which puzzles me in itself–the automatic is supposed to be controlled by push buttons in the center of the steering wheel but has been “updated”?), I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in it! Looks comfy, too!

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Here’s the E400 engine, which according to the seller is a 300 horsepower, 361 cubic inch V8 with a 4 barrel carburetor. I do hope the seller means it is running and driving now, because that would make the price point pretty appealing to me. Does it appeal to you as well?

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Comments

  1. Ed P

    This looks to be a solid example of the ’58 Edsel. The paint is cracking and rust is showing in spots. The rust looks like it is on the surface and repairable. The floor shifter is an unfortunate change. I wonder what it would take to get the ‘Teletouch’ controls working again? There is work to be done here, but it is a good project for the right person.

  2. Jerrold berg

    With a little research and help from the Google Edsel club people, the shifter can once more be functional. Sadly I feel the price is too high. You have to find the right buyer. Not much interest in Edsels especially in the mid west. I had a nice 58 Corsair 2 door a few years ago, just needed a little extra attention to make very nice. Health and space forced me to put it up for sale.Could not find any buyers interested. Ended up giving it away to someone with the desire of ownership but no money to buy it. Many times I wish I still had it.

  3. waynard

    I recently appraised a similar Edsel with an inoperative Teletouch transmission. This owner too had replaced his with a floor shift as the original transmissions are so tricky to repair. It can be done, but requires a fair amount of special knowledge apparently.

    There are two people in Albuquerque I know that have this knowledge and have worked on them.

  4. Loco Mikado

    Paint cracks look to be from expansion and contraction due to high temperature heating and cooling cycles common to hot climates. Looks very much like old bondo repairs but in this case I doubt it. Looks to have the amp gauge replaced with an aftermarket one. Looks to be a good driver but a restoration? How many buyers are out there chomping at the bit for a #1 or 2 restored Edsel at the price it costs to restore them? I’ll bet you I could count them on one hand. I would drive it and maintain it and repair or upgrade as necessary, but to fix the very troublesome even when new Teletouch is a waste of money IMO. Maybe on a high dollar restoration but on a driver, NO. Even when they were almost new the fix for troublesome Teletouch’s from most dealers was conversion to column shift which was standard. The floor shift option as done on this car and many others has been the only cost effective method as there are no NOS automatic shift column and again the number of used used ones are less than the number of fingers on one hand. The repair of a Teletouch is costly and problematic. If they did not want to or could not repair them back in the day, what makes you think anyone today can do any better? Maybe get it going for a #1 show car for maybe 20 miles of driving over the next 30 years just to have it operable for judging, but for 97% of owners,no.

  5. RollerD

    The Pacer has the best roof styling of the Edsel line, to me.

  6. Brad

    Love it – the cracks and age, in this case, exemplify the whole story of how unloved this make was.

  7. JW454

    I could live with the 1960 version but before that…. Not a fan. Overall, not a bad looking car but, what was Ford thinking with that front fascia?

  8. Grr

    The more I look at it, the more it grows on me. Weren’t these doomed by a combination of poor assembly quality and the 1958 recession? The design itself isn’t that far off other contemporaries.

    Like 1
  9. Tony

    My friend Gordon had tose same paint cracks on his 78 Vette, he used colored wax, and after a couple of applications, you could barely see them. Cheaper than a paint job.

  10. Eddie Pacer

    Most Teletouch problems required the electric motor to be replaced so provided you can get under the car it’s not a big problem. I’m told that rarely was the problem in the column. I’ve replaced the motor and if I can do it anyone can! Half a dozen bolts and a few push in wires. You can buy reconditioned motors for about $400.00. The seats should be vinyl not that velour and you can get reproduction material from SMS Auto Fabrics. The Edsel is probably the only car I have seen that I actually prefer with 4 doors rather than 2. Sadly still not valued highly in the States so many go overseas particularly to Europe…

    Like 1
  11. Mike Williams

    It would make a nice driver, but beware not to invest to much $ in restoration, it’s to easy to get underwater compared to the value. Rangers and Pacers have the regular Ford roof-line that is so pleasing.

  12. robin douglas

    Does anyone recall what was the deal when these cars were new? Why was the public so quick to condemn the Edsels styling elements … When Buick and Oldsmobile with their tasteless, heavy handed, chrome plated Hippopotamus/Rhinoceros styling made them distinctively the ugliest cars in America?

    • Ed P

      As I recall, Edsel sales were brisk at introduction time but faltered shortly there after. There was a recession that hit in the fourth quarter of 1957 and lasted about 6-8 months. This event strangled all car sales and the mid priced cars most of all. There were also quality problems as Edsels did not have dedicated production lines. They were mixed in with Ford and Mercury assembly lines. The workers had difficulty adapting to the differences. Also, this was a time when cars from the independents were disappearing. Potential customers were probably afraid Edsel would also become an orphan. The car had some questionable features, but it was a time of outlandishment. Once the questions started, sales dropped and Fomoco could not stop the slide.

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