Last Plated In 1982! 1959 Ford Edsel Villager

The Edsel debuted with a lot of fanfare and hoopla in 1958 as Ford executives were convinced there was a need for a fourth brand in the company’s stable. But it turned out to be the wrong car at the wrong time as car sales were off that year due to a poor economy. After production dropped by 30% in 1959, Ford pulled the plug early into the 1960 model year and had to swallow a huge loss (some estimates are $350M) and move on. This ’59 Villager is one of two station wagons built that year and they were only differentiated by seating capacity (6 vs. 9 people). Located in Pickford, Michigan, this running survivor could use some cosmetic work and is available here on craigslist for $9,500. Thanks for the cool tip, T.J.!

More than 60 years after the demise of the Edsel, most people remember it for the “horse collar” grille and technical doodads, like a pushbutton automatic transmission with controls in the middle of the steering wheel. A little more than 68,000 Edsel’s emerged from the assembly lines in 1958, so Ford scaled back the number of models and did some dealer and manufacturing consolidation. The looks of the cars were “improved” for 1959 and the vehicles looked more like their Ford counterparts, confusing buyers even further. 47,000 or so Edsel’s were built in 1959 of which 8,000 were Villagers with multiple seating configurations.

The seller is no doubt a fan of Edsel’s as he/she has at least three of them, one from each of the model years. It spent its early days in Arizona, so the dry climate there may have helped preserve it in terms of rust. The car was last registered in 1982 and those AZ plates are still on the auto. Sometime after that, the wagon found its way to a barn in Michigan where the seller discovered it. Surface rust is a-plenty on the sheet metal, but if you like that patina look, you could skip doing a restoration/repaint.

A cadre of new parts was installed to make the Edsel drivable again. That includes a new gas tank and fuel sending unit, radiator, carburetor, brakes, freeze plugs, starter, and a full tune-up. It’s powered by a 332 cubic inch V8 with automatic transmission (Ford did away with the push buttons in ’59), and power steering and brakes. To further its rat rod appeal, the seller is throwing in three surfboards that can hang out the back or from the roof rack. Though it’s not shown in the photos, the seller indicates that the interior will need to be redone.  The car is being sold because the seller has run out of garage space.

Comments

  1. Jim in FL

    Okay, nobody is commenting and this is actually a pretty interesting car. I don’t think the Edsel is ugly – just unconventional. I know I’m supposed to keep it focused on the car so why only one hubcap? Take it off and put it in the back.

    The seller seems totally focused on showing his Edsel collection. It’s cool, for sure. But no pictures of the interior at all in the CL ad. Kind of weird.

    Sorry this is turning into a rant, but as a surfer I’m always annoyed by people who say “surf buggy” because they bought a couple of impossible to ride short boards and stuck them on the roof where the UV completely ruins the boards. As a surfer, I know the process of building a board is not environmentally friendly at all. Give the boards to a grom who can actually ride them. Leaving them racked kind of ruins them. So not good for the environment to stage your car. And it honestly doesn’t look authentic. If you’re old enough to be driving an Edsel wagon, you’re probably on a longboard.

    Anyway, cool car – like the look, but the seller needs more info for me.

    Like 7
  2. local_sheriff

    I think it’s remarkable – considering the brand’s bad rap – just how many Edsels are still around and strikingly many of those are of the ’59. This guy is lucky enough to have scored the unusual ’60 and also appears to have created a very car friendly environment for his wheeled pets.

    More than once have I thought, maybe the Edsels weren’t really bad after all…? While I personally find the ’59 to be the least distinctive of the Edsels it’s still a desirable wagon and considering the rarity and completeness of this longroof the seller shouldn’t be out of line on his price

    Like 4
  3. tom hofstad

    I miss my 59 Ranger to this day. It was a very low option car with a 6, 3 on the tree and power nothing. Bullet-proof reliability, good on gas and adequate power. Since it was basically a Galaxy parts were available everywhere.

    Like 4
  4. Edsel" Al Leonard

    Interior photos added…..

    Like 1
  5. alan leonard

    interior photos added…

    Like 2
  6. robert lewis

    the ‘Tele-touch’ push buttons in the steering wheel of a 58 must be a nightmare to service……1958 was a big year for body changes for the auto industry….e.g. 58 impala,coupled with a re-session helped with the Edsel demise imho

    Like 2
    • alan leonard

      working on one now…….the 58 recession and the “pencil pushers” ruined what is a great car…

      Like 5
      • Todd J. Member

        The marketing campaign initiated for the Edsel did a lot of damage.

        Like 3
  7. GitterDunn

    A good-looking and rare old-school station wagon that needs the interior restored, rear bumper re-chromed, and some body and paint work. A set of hubcaps could turn up on eBay. I’d add A/C too, and I’d lose the surfboards and rack. Looks like a solid buy for somebody at the asking price.

    Like 4
  8. Emel

    Never knew they made an Edsel Station Wagon. The question is; why ?

    Like 1
    • "Edsel" Al Leonard

      First SUV for growing families…………..

      Like 1
    • "Edsel" Al Leonard

      early “SUV”…

      Like 1
    • alan leonard

      Early SUV…..

      Like 1
    • DON

      Why wouldn’t they ? The Edsel was available in all body styles as a Ford, with the exception of the Skyliner, and had the Edsel been a huge success , there may have been one in 59.

      Like 2
  9. Big C

    What cool old wagon. He can keep the surfboards. There’s no surf in Cleveland.

    • alan leonard

      I’ll keep them…and the gutter clamp luggage racks :>)

      Like 1
  10. alan leonard

    Todd,

    We can thank Robert McNamara for Edsel’s demise…Yea that Robert…Sec Of State….

    Like 1
  11. Terry

    I like Edsels, I thought they were as nice looking or better than the GM offerings and most of the Chrysler offerings. The sixty is my favorite and I knew a guy that had several 60 convertibles and about 20 other body styles, all restored or survivors.

    Like 1
  12. Kurt Rogahn

    Russ, why is this piece headlined as a “Ford Edsel?” Edsel was a brand by itself, just like Mercury. You wouldn’t write about a “General Motors Pontiac” or a “Chrysler DeSoto,” would you? Calling it a “Ford Edsel” implies that it was a model available at any Ford dealer, as in Ford Fairlane. Yes, Edsels were built by Ford, but sold through Edsel franchises.

    Like 4
  13. alan leonard

    You will not believe the number of times I’ve had to tell people who don’t know what this car is….a SEPERATE division of Ford is what it is…..

    Like 2

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