Yard Art Find! 1959 Edsel Villager Wagon

From whence it came, it shall return, or something like that. This 1959 Edsel Villager station wagon is returning to its elemental form in the great outdoors of Morley, Michigan. It appears to have been sitting neglected since 1973, so let’s review this archeological dig. This wagon, or what’s left of it, is available, here on craigslist for the best offer. Thanks to Gunter K for this fantastic find!

The Edsel story is an oft-told tale and the entire matter was quite a black eye for the Ford Motor Company. But the Edsel wasn’t the first automotive flop to occur and certainly won’t be the last. With a production count of 68K units in Edsel’s inaugural year of 1958, sales slid by 30% to 47K in ’59 in spite of some “adjustments” made to help with its “striking” appearance. The model lineup was altered a bit too with two trim levels, the higher-brow Corsair, and the base-level Ranger. Both the Corsair and the Ranger were now planted atop the same 120-inch wheelbase while the Villager wagon, such as our outdoor find, was on a shorter 118″ wheelbase. And speaking of the Villager, less than 8K copies saw the light of day in ’59.

The attached Michigan tag is from 1973 and this wreck of a car looks like it has been sitting out in Mother Nature for at least that long. The seller surmises, “It’s basically a parts car with plenty of hard-to-find parts“. It’s difficult to say with any certainty what’s usable, perhaps the bumper, grille, “EDSEL” hood lettering, and some of the remaining trim. Most of the body panels, with the possible exception of the hood, look beyond redemption.

Research indicates that the engine should be a 225 HP, 332 CI “FE” V8 engine but that is not known with assurance. Minus the air cleaner assembly, it looks complete but probably beyond any hope of operational ability. An automatic transmission is still supposedly in place, the ’59 Edsel sales brochure points to a Mile-O-Matic two-speed unit.

There are no images of the interior but it is logical to assume that its condition is probably as deleterious as the exterior. Villagers were built in both six and nine-passenger capacity versions, but this return-to-nature example’s configuration is unknown.

This is probably the first “Barn (or forest, or outdoors, etc.) Find” that I would recommend leaving alone – just let it rest in peace. There may be a part or two that could be pinched to support an ongoing effort with another, but not much hope beyond that. Sometimes artifacts just need to remain exactly that, an artifact.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Rust in Peace. Crust in piece.

    Like 10
    • Mike

      “A parts car with plenty of hard-to-find parts“.

      Let me fix that:

      “Hard to find” any parts left to salvage.

      Like 11
  2. Pat

    Red with what looks like a spotlight control by the steering wheel, fire chief’s car?

    Like 4
  3. Bob C.

    She’s a goner.

    Like 9
  4. Classic Steel

    Drive train , interior and glass plus some chrome items to refurbish could help someone out. I think the guy is trying to offer up some hard to find parts on the cheap and commend him for it 👍

    Like 11
  5. Howard A Member

    No, I don’t think so. I see a LOT of great NONEXISTENT parts here. Edsel is one of those cars from our past, that will always garner attention. Remember the story of the farmer in Central Illinois I told about with probably 75 Edsels on the property( that number goes up everytime I tell the story) not so much for it’s styling, all late 50’s cars were pretty absurd, but the Edsel story will make ANY Edsel a wanted classic. Of course this is too far gone for any restoration, but parts are all but gone, and this won’t be around long, for sure. Someone will buy it just for the grill, the most famous part of an Edsel, alone.

    Like 5
  6. sir_mike

    Why do people do this to cars??? And it was a wagon.

    Like 6
  7. Steve R

    Anytime an ad on Craigslist has a $1 price along with the words, “best offer”. They are telegraphing they aren’t serious, but are instead on a fishing expedition. He’s right, it’s a parts car, but he’s unwilling to put in the work needed to sell the parts himself.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  8. Will Fox

    I fail to see enough left to restore. Give it to the scrapper, and let him make his $5 off of it. At least it will clear some space in the yard.

    Like 1
  9. Rodney - GSM

    November 6, 1893
    On a dark and cold night somewhere in Detroit, Clair Bryant Ford said lovingly to Henry,
    “Let’s name him Edsel”
    Henry responded,
    “Why is he making that funny shape with his mouth?”

    Like 6
  10. Steve Clinton

    How much for just the grille?

    Like 1
  11. Jack Quantrill

    Leave this hideous toad in the bushes!

    Like 1
    • 57Chevy

      And cover it with More Dirt!!!!!

      Like 2
  12. Howie Mueler

    It might be yard art to you, but your neighbors will not think so!!

    Like 2
  13. ERIK

    Looks comparable to cars listed for $5k. Guess since it’s an Edsel the stigma still makes it worth less.

  14. Paul R.

    Front grill definitely, lettering, glass, window trim, other exterior trim, seat frames , maybe some gauges , radio? , window cranks , engine unknown, engine parts ——
    One man’s yard art is another man’s treasure.
    Who knows?

    Like 4
    • 57Chevy

      This Rust bucket wouldn’t even be a treasure at the bottom of the ocean for the Octopus’s to look at!

    • chuck dickinson

      90% of that stuff is the same as Ford, so the Edsel specific parts (grille, t’lights, moldings) are all that’s really ‘rare’.

      Like 2
  15. DavidL Member

    Transporting it is going to be a problem. If the rust that’s visible is an indication there is not likely to be anything to tie a chain to to pull it onto a trailer. And at that you’re likely to be leaving a trail of pieces and parts any time you hit the slightest bump in the road. Only if the seller will let the buyer strip it in place will it be worth piecing out.

    Like 1
    • Derek

      “Remove the engine from the Alfasud; a few sharp tugs should achieve this.”

      (from a Minari kit car manual, apparently.)

      Like 1
  16. Dave

    This is what my dad’s Villager would have come to had he not paid to have it towed away ten years after he parked it under a big maple tree in his yard. It had a three speed auto trans and a four barrel V8.

    Like 1

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