Dusty Barn Find Project: 1958 Edsel Pacer

Ford Motor Co. had high hopes for the Edsel. Innovative for the times, market research told them there was a niche for a new car sandwiched between Ford and Mercury and yet another between Mercury and Lincoln. So, the Edsel Division was launched in 1958 with the expectation of selling 200,000 cars the first year. They ended up selling only one-third of that number, so Ford regrouped for 1959. This first-year Pacer, based on Ford underpinnings, is covered with dust in Cynthiana, Kentucky, and looking for someone to bring it back to life. It’s available here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,000.

The Edsel got the jump on its perceived competition by going on sale two months before everyone else did in 1957. They were attempting to carve out another niche for themselves which was really two market segments. Segment #1: Between Ford and Mercury, they launched the Ford-based Ranger and Pacer built at Ford plants. Segment #2: Between Mercury and Lincoln, they launched the Mercury-based Citation and Corsair built at Mercury plants. $250 million and years of planning told them this was the right thing to do. Apparently, they were wrong as just 68,000 cars saw the light of day for 1958. With red ink flowing everywhere, Edsel scaled back in 1959 to just the Ford-based models, yet the downward spiral continued. Just two months after announcing its 1960 models, the Edsel wake was over. If you want to know all there is to know about the Edsel, go to Edsel Club for a history lesson.

The seller’s 1958 Pacer 4-door sedan is one of 7,100 made that year. All Pacer body styles totaled 21,000 units out of division tallies of 68,000. While these numbers might sound good to most, they were bad compared to expectations and what Ford and Mercury sold individually. We don’t get told much about the seller’s car other than it’s said to have 60,000 miles on the odometer, but we don’t know how long it’s been living in this barn which has a dirt floor and open access, or why it’s there in the first place. Given the layers of dust and dirt, years may have easily turned into decades.

Assuming they’re original colors, the exterior is off-white which would be set off nicely by the blue interior. Under the hood is likely a 361 cubic inch V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor that was rated at 303 hp. That would have been more than ample power to move this machine along back in the day. This car looks to have the “Tele-Touch” automatic transmission with the shifter buttons in the steering wheel (shades of George Jetson; they would jettison that for 1959 as being expensive and not always reliable).

And there ends the seller’s input. Does it have any rust? Well, the lip on the hood appears to, but we can’t attest to anywhere else. The body looks generally straight, with no obvious dents or craters. The infamous horse collar front grill looks no worse for the wear, but the chrome is so dirty that who really knows. The interior may be intact, but the one close-up photo provided is fixed on the dashboard. What’s there looks mighty dirty and the carpet has likely seen better days. Because of their history and the limited supply of surviving Edsel’s today, nice originals or restored examples can command big bucks, but less so for project cars.

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Comments

  1. mackey4cars mackey4cars

    i love old 4dr. cars

    Like 8
  2. Fred W

    I don’t say this often about barn finds, but this one may be better than it looks. I’d love to see what it looks like with a quick bath and vacuum.

    Like 11
    • Will Fox

      I got the same impression. Overall, what can be seen doesn’t look too bad. Usually, the headlamp buckets rot out early, and so do the rockers. Yes, a good bath and a vacuum would be a huge help here.

      Like 4
  3. Michael Halloran

    stop the emails! The ability to opt out is the ethical thing to do.

  4. Bob C.

    Two Edsel quotes- “Aim was right, but the target moved” and “Looks like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.”

    Like 2
  5. Hank Kaczmarek

    Looking to Cash in—This car is worth about half the asking price, and would need about 25-40K to get to proper condition. To want 5K is pushing it out of sight.

    Like 2
  6. pwtiger

    It would be a good parts car if you knock a zero off the price…

  7. local_sheriff

    If one is willing to adjust the price level it’s not unusual to stumble upon 4door post Edsels in both driving AND fairly good-looking condition at 7-10k. They can potentially offer tremendous value for money if one doesn’t mind the extra doors.

    As long as the engine turns a realistic price for this one would hardly be more than 2.5k. Cool car though

  8. Phlathead Phil

    Ok, this is NOT that bad of a car. Wash it, air up the tires fresh battery, gas I.V., drain the oil and put 5/20 wt. back in and see if it cranks. Many old “sleepers” start right up.

    A steal at $3,000.00 but not 5 large. IMHO. 🧐

    Like 3
  9. David Nelson

    My grandfather bought a 58 Pacer HT coupe new and I have owned 3 – so these 4 a good percentage of total 58 Pacers produced! His only had like 15k miles when he passed in 62 and parents could only get $400.

  10. HC

    Id love to blast it with a pressure washer first and get back to you. Looks all there but who knows?

  11. mackey4cars mackey4cars

    i love this old car.

  12. Edsel Al

    Don’t do facebook..would like to talk to the owner……

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