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Trendy or Tacky? 1959 Edsel Ranger Hardtop Project

In 1946, Henry Ford II welcomed a cadre of outsiders to Ford’s executive ranks. Known as the Whiz Kids, these ten were veterans of WWII and had very particular ideas about Ford’s direction, including the pursuit of a new model in the mid-market segment of the sales spectrum. The Whiz Kids were management tacticians, and their approach was to study the market intricately before making a move. After spending $250 million over several years, the effort culminated in the formation of Edsel as a new division of Ford and eighteen new body styles designed by Roy Brown Jr. The Edsel was introduced in 1957, just in time for a recession to hit consumer pocketbooks. Here on eBay is a 1959 Edsel Ranger two-door hardtop project car with an asking price of $5,000. This car is located in Gray Court, South Carolina. The Ranger was the base trim model on the short platform it shared with the Edsel Pacer. Unfortunately in 1959, the cars lost the “bubbletop” styling that lent appeal to the 1958 model.

Countless words have been written about Edsel’s collapse after just three years. The car’s styling was reviled, its name was confusing, the middle market for cars disappeared in the recession, its Whiz Kid technologies were unreliable…. But today, perfectly restored Edsels are showing up at Cars ‘n Coffee and even respectable shows. This car will need plenty of work to reach the driving stage, let alone be worthy of showing. The 292 cu. in. Y block V8 was paired with a two-barrel carburetor and made about 200 bhp from the factory. This car has an automatic transmission, but not the problematic Teletouch with buttons on the steering wheel. The seller indicates the motor, transmission, brakes, and carburetor have been rebuilt. The tires are new.

The interior is slightly better than the exterior. The headliner is decent, the dash is crisp and distinctively styled. The odometer reads just shy of 80,000 miles.

Only 5474 two-door hardtops were made in 1959. Hopefully, the parts cache in the trunk includes side trim, because plenty of that is missing. The rarity of the car doesn’t help the parts situation but a quick search on eBay turned up a few Edsel vendors, and of course, there’s at least one Edsel club. This car won’t reel in every car fan, and most likely the price here needs some downward adjustment, but for a cheap project with at least a partial start, what do you think? Is it worth a phone call?


  1. Cadmanls Member

    I know this sounds over the top, but hear me out. My generation built model cars. One I put together was an Edsel, but the brand I don’t recall, maybe Revell? One of the possibilities of the kit was build a gasser version. Yep straight axle and of course the moon tank had to be up front. Was crazy good looking. Yeah did waxed thread plug wires and other crazy details. I was a gear head at 12 maybe 13 years old. Anyway frontend is already up, now squint and see if you see it? 5K for a solid start not unreasonable.

    Like 6
    • Sam61

      Also a model car protege…I had so many I couldn’t wreck/melt/simulate car accidents fast enough. The paper route money paid for many a kit and my used car.

      Like 3
  2. Woofer Woofer Member

    Doesn’t look like a 292 Y block to me. Maybe you are just talking about Edsels in general and not this car. Kinda looks like an FE (390) engine to me. Distributor in front, spark plug arrangement, exhaust, intake manifolds. Looks to be in fair shape for a project at $5,000. There are some Edsel freaks out there that might want to save this one.

    Like 6
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      The seller identifies it as a 4.8L V8 which would be the 292, but I wasn’t sure either, that’s why I said “The motor … from the factory” to refer to this model in general, yes.

      Like 1
  3. Wayne

    It’s not a 292 Y block that’s an FE engine.. it’s likely the anemic 332 my 59 had.. also optional was the 352 FE a much better choice, that would have likely been a 4bl ..so yes this has the wheezing 332 .2v ..runs good , smooth, just wasn’t a real get up and goer in a car it’s size .. reason why it was dropped .

    Like 2
  4. "Edsel" Al Leonard Member

    This is definately NOT a 292..prob a 332 with a “B” beginning the VIN #.
    225 HP..plenty to move this 3200 lb beauty…Most parts are readily available if you look for them..a lot are FORD parts… The “whiz” kids destroyed any chance this car had for a long run…Thanks Robert McNamara!!!!!!..and of course the recession of 1958..would be a candidate for my fleet if price is right…..

    Like 2
  5. "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    the “fleet””..and don’t forget about the “IEC”- International Edsel Club…lots of info AND good people to help you with whatever you need for an Edsel…

    Like 13
    • John E. Klintz

      WAY cool, AL; I really like the 1960 coupe. Rare, and it looks to be in pristine condition. Enjoy them!

      Like 3
      • "Edsel" Al leonard Member

        Thanks..1 of 777 made…1 family- 3 generations before I found it…amazing ride….they are all keepers..piece of history…

        Like 9
  6. "Edsel" Al leonard Member

    This 59 Edsel has languished thru months on EBAY..with a couple of price drops to entice a new owner…started out as a “C” code 292…

    Like 3
  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    There was a lady who drove ’59 wagon who worked at
    our junior high school.It was a light Green metallic color,& in
    really nice shape.I wonder if it’s still around?

    Like 1
  8. George Birth

    Have a friend has two Edsel’s rebuilt both and both run great.
    Weird car to some, but to each his own.

    Like 2
  9. Sam61

    Only a few people knew Subaru offered an Edsel homage…first year Tribeca. I liked it, overruled by wife then, ex now.

    Like 1
  10. John Traylor

    When did they do away with the bush button shifter?

    Like 0
    • "Edsel" Al leonard Member

      About 4 months after they introduced it…bad electonics and wiring directly above the exhaust pipe on the outside of the trans….stick shift was offered after that..

      Like 2

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