1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible: A Forgotten Gem of the Automotive World


In the realm of classic automobiles, one name that often gets overlooked is the 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible. In this article, we’ll explore the story of this forgotten gem of the automotive world, from its highly anticipated launch to its unfortunate demise. Join us on a journey back in time to discover the distinctive features and styling of the Edsel Pacer Convertible that make it a fascinating piece of automotive history.

The Birth of Edsel: A Dream in Turmoil

In 1958, Ford embarked on a bold venture, unveiling their long-rumored mid-range model, the Edsel, aiming to rival General Motors’ lineup. Unfortunately, the timing was unfavorable due to a national recession that dampened the mid-price market. Additionally, the car’s controversial styling, particularly its vertical grille likened to a ‘horse collar,’ garnered mixed reviews.

Filling the Gap: Edsel’s Purpose and Brief Existence

The Edsel line of automobiles aimed to bridge the price gap between Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln while securing a stronger market share against GM and Chrysler. Despite the anticipation surrounding its launch, the Edsel’s existence was short-lived, spanning only from 1958 to 1960.

1958 Edsel Pacer photo

The Hyped Arrival and a Shrinking Market

Before its official debut on September 4th, 1957, the Edsel received unprecedented hype as the most eagerly awaited car in American history. Ford went all out, establishing a new sales and marketing organization, constructing a new factory, and signing up over 1,000 dealers in advance. However, by the time the Edsel Division came to life, it faced a shrinking market that ultimately led to its downfall.

Bold and Experimental Styling of the 1950s

The 1950s witnessed an era of flamboyant and daring automotive designs influenced by aircraft aesthetics, tailfins, and jet-age elements. Notable experiments with new brands included Lincoln with the Continental, Chrysler with the Imperial, and Ford with the Edsel – all with relatively brief lifespans.

1958 Edsel Pacer photo

Edsel’s Pricing and Diverse Models

Priced higher than Ford but similar to Mercury, the Edsel offered a range of models like Ranger, Pacer, Corsair, Citation, and station wagons. Body styles included sedans, hardtop coupes, convertibles, and station wagons, with prices ranging from $2,480 to $3,800.

The Pacer Convertible: Standout Features

The Pacer Convertible, with its vibrant turquoise exterior, stood out as one of the most popular models in the lineup. Boasting the 303hp E-400 engine and a pushbutton automatic transmission in the steering wheel, it offered a unique driving experience.

1958 Edsel Pacer photo

Interior Luxuries and Options

The Pacer sedans and convertibles came with luxurious interior features, including ashtrays, armrests, and a white vinyl headliner. The convertible tops were available in various colors, allowing buyers to personalize their Edsel.

Powerful Engine Options and Transmission

The Pacer Convertible was equipped with a robust 361 CID V8 engine with hydraulic valve lifters and a four-barrel carburetor. While the 410 CID V8 was not available on the Pacer, buyers had the option of a three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column-mounted gear selector.

Demise and Legacy

Despite its initial hype, the Edsel struggled to gain traction in the market. Ford decided to discontinue the Edsel line in 1960, marking the end of a short-lived automotive venture. Today, the 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible remains a rare and sought-after collector’s item, cherished by classic car enthusiasts worldwide.

1958 Edsel Pacer photo

Conclusion

The 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible may have been a victim of unfortunate circumstances, but its unique design and bold styling make it a fascinating piece of automotive history. Though short-lived, its legacy lives on in the hearts of car enthusiasts who appreciate its distinctiveness and rarity. The Edsel Pacer Convertible is a testament to the ever-evolving world of automobiles, reminding us of the fascinating journey of innovation and experimentation in the automotive industry.

FAQs:

Q: How many Edsel Pacer Convertibles were produced? A: Approximately 1,876 Edsel Pacer Convertibles were produced in 1958.

Q: What were the distinctive features of the Pacer Convertible? A: The Pacer Convertible boasted a turquoise exterior, a 303hp E-400 engine, and a pushbutton automatic transmission in the steering wheel.

Q: What led to the demise of the Edsel line? A: The Edsel’s lack of sales was attributed to a national recession, controversial styling, and a shrinking market.

Q: Is the Edsel Pacer Convertible a collector’s item today? A: Yes, the 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible is highly sought-after by classic car collectors.

Q: What makes the Edsel Pacer Convertible unique in automotive history? A: The Edsel Pacer Convertible stands out for its bold styling and its role in the experimentation and innovation of the 1950s automotive industry.






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