How cool does a junkyard car have to be before we acknowledge that it’s just too far gone to return to street duty? A first-year Edsel wagon? Very, very cool. This one, however, appears to have been baking/freezing in a Great Plains field for a few decades, and there isn’t a whole lot of Edsel-ness left. Still, such cars allow us to contemplate Ford’s Edsel Nightmare.
GM’s strategy of having a progressive ladder of increasingly prestigious marques worked very well for them, and so Ford decided they needed a new marque to plug in between aspirational Mercuries and got-it-made Lincolns: Edsel! Everyone agrees on that part of the story, but then the usual single-interest-partisans-versus-everyone-else conspiracy theories get rolling (yes, there are single-interest Edsel fanatics. Hell, there are Cavalier X-11 and Wolseley Six fanatics).
Probably things would have gone OK for the Edsel if the late-50s recession— the worst since the end of World War II— hadn’t jabbed conspicuous-consumption car sales in the liver with a rusty catfish knife. As it sorted out, the few car buyers who were shopping decided that regular Fords were just fine with them. Meanwhile, one of the main architects of US military involvement in Southeast Asia consolidated his power at Ford Motor Company, using his influence to kill the Edsel in favor of the much smaller Falcon; by the time McNamara took over as FoMoCo president, the Edsel was doomed. Sure, the Falcon flew out of the showrooms and was the basis for the insanely successful Mustang… but that just proves to Edsel fanatics that Americans are idiots. Why, you’d be able to buy a 2011 Edsel Xtreme GT right now, had McNamara not exercised his evil powers. Edsel nuts hate McNamara even more than the Corvair Jihad hates Ralph Nader, and that’s saying something.
A really devoted rat-rodder might have done something with this car, but it would have been far easier to pay $200 over scrap value and get a somewhat less hopeless example.
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