FORD Motor Company Dearborn Michigan USA 1903 – still going strong Part II

FORD Motor Company

1903 Ford logo

Dearborn Michigan USA 1903 – still going strong Part II

1896 Quadricycle at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI

1896 Quadricycle at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI

1899 Ford Model T

1899 Ford Model T

1903 Ford logo

1903

1903 Ford Model A - original sales leaflet

1903 Ford Model A – original sales leaflet

Ford Model A (1903–04)

Ford Model A
1903 Ford Model A
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Fordmobile
Ford Model AC
Production 1903–1904
1700 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Body style 2-seat runabout
rear-entry 4-seat tonneau
Powertrain
Engine Flat-2 1668 cc (101.788 cu in) 8hp.
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 72 in (1.8 m)
Curb weight 1,240 lb (562 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Quadricycle
Successor Ford Model B
Ford Model C

The original Ford Model A is the first car produced by Ford Motor Company, beginning production in 1903. Ernst Pfennig, a Chicago dentist, became the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903. 1,750 cars were made from 1903 through 1904. The Model A was replaced by the Ford Model C during 1904 with some sales overlap.

1903 ford model A a

1903 ford model A a

The car came as a two-seater runabout or four-seater tonneau model with an option to add a top. The horizontal-mounted flat-2, situated amidships of the car, produced 8 hp (6 kW). A planetary transmission was fitted with two forward speeds and reverse, a Ford signature later seen on the Ford Model T. The car weighed 1,240 lb (562 kg) and could reach a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). It had a 72 inch (1.8 m) wheelbase and sold for a base price of US$750. Options included a rear tonneau with two seats and a rear door for $100, a rubber roof for $30 or a leather roof for $50. Band brakes were used on the rear wheels. However, it was $150 more than its most direct competitor, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, and so did not sell as well.

1904 Ford Model A

1904 Ford Model A

The company had spent almost its entire $28,000 initial investment funds with only $223.65 left in its bank account when the first Model A was sold. The success of this car model generated a profit for the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford‘s first successful business.

1904 Ford Model A-C

1904 Ford Model A-C

Although Ford advertised the Model A as the “most reliable machine in the world”, it suffered from many problems common to vehicles of the era, including overheating and slipping transmission bands. The Model A was sold only in red by the factory, though some were later repainted in other colors.

Model AC

Some 1904 Model A cars were equipped with the larger, more powerful engine of the Model C and were sold as the Model AC.

Ford Model B (1904)

See also Ford Model B (1932)

Ford Model B
1905 Ford Model B
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1904–1906
500 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Body style 2-row 4-passenger touring car
Related Cadillac 8 1/2
Powertrain
Engine 283.5CID 24hp Straight-4
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 92 in (2337 mm)
Curb weight 1700lbs.
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model A
Successor Ford Model K

Ford Model B was an upscale touring car (with polished wood and brass trim) introduced in 1904. It was Ford’s first car to use the front-engine layout, with a large 24 hp 4-cylinder engine positioned at the front behind a conventional radiator. The smaller Model A-derived Model C positioned its flat 2-cylinder motor under the seat.

1904 Ford Model B Touring

1904 Ford Model B Touring

Priced at $2000 (equivalent to $52000 today), the Model B was a high end car. Produced for three years, sales were predictably slower than the Model C which was priced at 1/3 the cost. The Model B was replaced by the derivative Model K in 1906.

Ford Model C

1904 Ford C
Ford Model C
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1904–1905
800 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Body style 2-seat runabout
rear-entry 4-seat tonneau
Powertrain
Engine 120.5CID 10hp Flat-2
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 78 in (198 cm)
Curb weight 1,250 lb (567 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model A
Successor Ford Model F

The Ford Model C was a version of the first Ford Model A with more modern look. It had a slightly more powerful engine and 15 cm (6 inches) longer wheelbase. It was the entry-level car in the Ford model lineup, slotting below the upscale Model B. Production ended in 1905 with 800 cars made. The Model C was replaced by the derivative Model F in 1905.

1904 Ford Model C a

1904 Ford Model C

Both Models A and C were produced at the same time, but the Model A could also be bought with a Model C engine, an option called Ford Model AC. The Model C engine was a flat-2 giving 8 hp (6 kW) at first and 10 hp (7 kW) by 1905 with a claimed top speed of 38 mph.[1] The Model C was sold for $850 (equivalent to $22000 today), with the option of making it a four-seater for an extra $100. The top cost extra, rubber for $30 and leather for $50.

1904 Ford Model C b

1904 Ford Model C

Although the Model C had a protruding front “box” like a modern car, unlike the flat-front Model A, this was purely ornamental — the engine remained under the seat (the gas tank was what was under the hood).

1904 Ford Model C runabout a

1904 Ford Model C runabout

1904 Ford Model C Runabout

1904 Ford Model C Runabout

1904 Ford Model C

1904 Ford Model C

1904 Model C

1904 Ford  Model C

The Model C was the first vehicle to be built at Ford Motor Company of Canada.

Ford Model F

For the tractor, see Fordson tractor#F Series.
Ford Model F
1904 Ford Model F
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1905–1906
1000 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Class Entry-level car
Body style 2-row phaeton
Powertrain
Engine 127CID 12hp Flat-2
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 84 in (2134 mm)
Curb weight 1400 lb (635 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model C
Successor Ford Model N

The Ford Model F is an automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company. It was a development of the Model A and Model C, but was larger, more modern, and more luxurious. It was a four-seater phaeton withrunning boards and a side-entrance tonneau standard. Production started in 1905 and ended in 1906 after about 1000 were made. In 1905, it was priced at US$2,000 ($52,496 in 2015); by contrast, the Colt Runabout was $1,500, the FAL was $1,750, the Cole 30 $1,500, the Enger 40 $2,000, and the Lozier Light Six Metropolitan $3,250. All had green bodies.

Ford Model K

Ford Model K
1907 Ford Model K Tourer (Warbirds & Wheels museum)
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1906–1908
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Class Upscale
Body style 2-row touring car
Powertrain
Engine 405CID cast iron block 40hp Straight-6
Transmission planetary 2-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114 in (290 cm)
Curb weight 2,400 lb (1,089 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model B

Ford Model K was an upscale automobile produced by the Ford Motor Company. It was introduced in 1906 and replaced the earlier Model B. The model K was aimed at the top end of the market and featured an inline-6 (the only Ford six until 1941) giving 40 hp (30 kW). The wheelbase was 120 in (2896 mm) and could be ordered either as touring or roadster. Contrary to popular folklore, the Model K was a good seller for Ford Motor Company. In 1906, the first year it was offered, the Model K produced over eighty five percent of Ford Motor Company’s new car profit (1906 Ford Motor Company internal audit records). In 1907, the second, and primary sales year of the Model K, almost five hundred Model K were sold, the best selling six cylinder model in the world. As period journals reported, Ford Motor Company went in another direction, moving to one chassis, a mid priced car, the Model T, leaving the multi-line business model used by most auto makers of the period. However, sales and profits from the Model K helped Ford Motor Company become the largest automaker in number of sales in 1907, and along with the Model N, was the only Ford model sold through three model years (1906-1908) prior to the advent of the Model T.

Ford Model N

This article is about the automobile. For the tractor, see Ford N-Series tractor.
Ford Model N
1906 Ford N
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Ford Model R
Ford Model S
Production 1906–1908
13,250 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Class Entry-level car
Body style 2-row phaeton
Powertrain
Engine 149CID 15hp Model N EngineStraight-4
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 84 in (213 cm)
Curb weight 800 lb (363 kg) (1906); 1,050 lb (476 kg) (1907 Model N); 1,400 lb (635 kg) (1907 Models R and S)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model F
Successor Ford Model T

The Ford Model N is an automobile that was produced by the Ford Motor Company. It was introduced in 1906 as a successor to the Models A and C as the company’s inexpensive entry-level line.

The Model N diverged from its predecessors in that it was a front-engine car with a 4-cylinder engine. The 15 hp straight-4 drove the rear wheels via a long shaft. This was also the first American car to use vanadium steel. The car had a wheelbase size of 84 in (2.1 m).

A successful model, 7000 cars were made until production ended in 1908. At US$500 the car was viewed as highly affordable at the time; by contrast, the high-volume OldsmobileRunabout went for $650, Western‘s Gale Model A was $500, the Brush Runabout $485, the Black went for as low as $375, and the Success hit the amazingly low $250. Maroon was the only factory color for the Model N.

Ford Model R

1907 Ford Model R

1907 Ford Model R

The Model R was a higher trim level of the Model N with a larger body, wheels covered by full cycle fenders, running boards, and an oil lamp. Model R was $750, $150 above the $600 base Model N. The Model R was only produced in 1907, from April through October, and 2500 were sold. Its color was red.

Model S

1907 Ford Model S Drivers Side Front View

1907-ford-model-s-drivers-side-front-view

The Model S was another adaptation of the Model N. Ford’s last US market right-hand-drive model, it featured a more modern cowl, with hood and fenders that flowed into full running boards. Another notable difference was the optional extra third mother-in-law seat behind the front bench. The basic model sold for $700. Extras such as a convertible top, gas lamps, as well as umbrella holders were available. 3750 cars were sold between 1907 and 1909.

1907 Ford Model S Runabout

1907 Ford Model S Runabout

1907 Ford Model S Drivers Side Front View 1907 Ford S side

1907 Ford S side

1908 Ford Model S Image

1908 Ford Model S Image

1908 Ford Model S Runabout

1908 Ford Model S Runabout

1909 Ford logo

1909 logo

Ford Model T

  (Redirected from Model T)
Ford Model T
1919 Ford Model T Coupe

1919 Ford Model T Coupe
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1908–1927
Assembly
Designer Henry Ford, Childe Harold WillsJoseph A. Galamb andEugene Farkas
Body and chassis
Class Full-size Ford, economy car
Body style
  • 2-door touring (1909–11)
  • 3-door touring (1912–1925)
  • 4-door touring (1926–1927)
  • no door roadster (1909–11)
  • 1-door roadster(1912–1925)
  • 2-door roadster (1926–1927)
  • roadster pickup (1925–1927)
  • 2-door coupé (1909–1912, 1917–1927)
  • 2-door Coupelet (1915–17)
  • Town car (1909–1918)
  • C-cab wagon (1912)
  • 2-(Center) door sedan (1915–1923)
  • 2-door sedan (1924–1927)
  • 4-door sedan (1923–1927)
  • Separate chassis were available all years from independent coachbuilders
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 177 C.I.D. (2.9 L) 20 hp I4
Transmission 2-speed planetary gear
Dimensions
Wheelbase 100.0 in (2,540 mm)
Length 134 in (3,404 mm)
Curb weight 1,200 pounds (540 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model S
Successor Ford Model A

The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Tin Lizzy, T‑Model Ford,Model T, or T) is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford‘s Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-classAmerican; some of this was because of Ford’s efficient fabrication, including assembly lineproduction instead of individual hand crafting.

The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Type 1, and still makes top ten list of most sold cars (ranked nr. 8) as of 2012.

Although automobiles had already existed for decades, their adoption had been limited, and they were still mostly scarce and expensive. Automobiles were considered extreme luxury for the common man until the Model T. The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular for the mass market. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at hisfactory in Highland Park, Michigan.

There were several cars produced or prototyped by Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903 until the Model T was introduced. Although he started with theModel A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S, an upgraded version of the company’s largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A (rather than any Model U). The company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A.

The Model T was Ford’s first automobile mass-produced on moving assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class. Henry Ford said of the vehicle:

I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.

Although credit for the development of the assembly line belongs to Ransom E. Oldswith the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901, the tremendous advancements in the efficiency of the system over the life of the Model T can be credited almost entirely to the vision of Ford and his engineers.

Characteristics

 1908 Ford Model T advertisement

The Model T was designed by Childe Harold Wills, and Hungarian immigrants Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas. Henry Love, C. J. Smith, Gus Degner and Peter E. Martin were also part of the team. Production of the Model T began in the third quarter of 1908. Collectors today sometimes classify Model Ts by build years and refer to these as “model years“, thus labeling the first Model Ts as 1909 models. This is a retroactive classification scheme; the concept of model years as we conceive it today did not exist at the time. The nominal model designation was “Model T”, although design revisions did occur during the car’s two decades of production.

Engine

Main article: Ford Model T engine
1926 Model T engine

 1926 Model T engine

The Model T had a front-mounted 177-cubic-inch (2.9 L) inline four-cylinder engine, producing 20 hp (15 kW), for a top speed of 40–45 mph (64–72 km/h). According to Ford Motor Company, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13–21 mpg-US(16–25 mpg-imp; 18–11 L/100 km). The engine was capable of running on gasoline,kerosene, or ethanol, although the decreasing cost of gasoline and the later introduction of Prohibition made ethanol an impractical fuel for most users.

The ignition system used an unusual trembler coil system to drive the spark plugs, as used for stationary gas engines, rather than the expensive magnetos that were used on other cars. This ignition also made the Model T more flexible as to the quality or type of fuel it used. The need for a starting battery and also Ford’s use of an unusual AC alternator located inside the flywheel housing encouraged the adoption of electric lighting, rather than oil or acetylene lamps, but it also delayed the adoption of electric starting.

Transmission and drive train

The three pedal controls of the Model T

 The three pedal controls of the Model T
1920 A driver's controls

 A driver’s controls in 1920

The Model T was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Its transmission was a planetary geartype billed as “three speed”. In today’s terms it would be considered a two-speed, because one of the three speeds was reverse.

The Model T’s transmission was controlled with three foot pedals and a lever that was mounted to the road side of the driver’s seat. The throttle was controlled with a lever on the steering wheel. The left pedal was used to engage the gear. With the floor lever in either the mid position or fully forward and the pedal pressed and held forward the car entered low gear. When held in an intermediate position the car was in neutral. If the driver took his foot off the left pedal, the Model T entered high gear, but only when the lever was fully forward – in any other position the pedal would only move up as far as the central neutral position. This allowed the car to be held in neutral while the driver cranked the engine by hand. The car could thus cruise without the driver having to press any of the pedals. There was no separateclutch pedal.

When the car was in neutral, the middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and the right pedal operated the transmission brake – there were no separate brakes on the wheels. The floor lever also controlled the parking brake, which was activated by pulling the lever all the way back. This doubled as an emergency brake.

Although it was uncommon, the drive bands could fall out of adjustment, allowing the car to creep, particularly when cold, adding another hazard to attempting to start the car: a person cranking the engine could be forced backward while still holding the crank as the car crept forward, although it was nominally in neutral. As the car utilized a wet clutch, this condition could also occur in cold weather, where the thickened oil prevents the clutch discs from slipping freely. Power reached the differential through a single universal joint attached to a torque tube which drove the rear axle; some models (typically trucks, but available for cars as well) could be equipped with an optional two-speed Ruckstell rear axle shifted by a floor-mounted lever which provided an underdrive gear for easier hill climbing. All gears werevanadium steel running in an oil bath.

Transmission bands and linings

There were two main types of band lining material used:

  • Cotton – Cotton woven linings were the original type fitted and specified by Ford. Generally, the cotton lining is “kinder” to the drum surface, with damage to the drum caused only by the retaining rivets scoring the drum surface. Although this in itself did not pose a problem, a dragging band resulting from improper adjustment caused overheating transmission and engine, diminished power, and—in the case of cotton linings—rapid destruction of the band lining.
  • Wood – Wooden linings were originally offered as a “longer life” accessory part during the life of the Model T. They were a single piece of steam bent cottonwood fitted to the normal Model T Transmission band. These bands give a very different feel to the pedals, with much more of a “bite” feel. The sensation is of a definite “grip” of the drum and seemed to noticeably increase the feel, in particular of the brake drum.

Suspension and wheels

1925 Ford_model_t_suspension.triddle

 The suspension components of a Ford Model T. The coil-spring device is an aftermarket accessory, the “Hassler shock absorber”.

Model T suspension employed a transversely mounted semi-elliptical spring for each of the front and rear beam axles which allowed a great deal of wheel movement to cope with the dirt roads of the time.

The front axle was drop forged as a single piece of vanadium steel. Ford twisted many axles eight times and sent them to dealers to be put on display to demonstrate its superiority. The Model T did not have a modern service brake. The right foot pedal applied a band around a drum in the transmission, thus stopping the rear wheels from turning. The previously mentioned parking brake lever operated band brakes acting on the inside of the rear brake drums, which were an integral part of the rear wheel hubs. Optional brakes that acted on the outside of the brake drums were available from aftermarket suppliers.

Wheels were wooden artillery wheels, with steel welded-spoke wheels available in 1926 and 1927.

Tires were pneumatic clincher type, 30 in (76 cm) in diameter, 3.5 in (8.9 cm) wide in the rear, 3 in (7.5 cm) wide in the front. Clinchers needed much higher pressure than today’s tires, typically 60 psi (410 kPa), to prevent them from leaving the rim at speed. Horseshoe nails on the roads, together with the high pressure, made flat tires a common problem.

Balloon tires became available in 1925. They were 21 in × 4.5 in (53 cm × 11 cm) all around. Balloon tires were closer in design to today’s tires, with steel wires reinforcing the tire bead, making lower pressure possible – typically 35 psi (240 kPa) – giving a softer ride. The old nomenclature for tire size changed from measuring the outer diameter to measuring the rim diameter so 21 in (530 mm) (rim diameter) × 4.5 in (110 mm) (tire width) wheels has about the same outer diameter as 30 in (76 cm) clincher tires. All tires in this time period used an inner tube to hold the pressurized air; “tubeless” tires were not generally in use until much later.

Wheelbase was 100 inches (254 cm); while standard tread width was 56 in (142 cm), 60 in (152 cm) tread could be obtained on special order, “for Southern roads”, identical to the pre-Civil War track gauge for many railroads in the former Confederacy.

Colors

By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model Ts. However, it was a monolithic bloc; Ford wrote in his autobiography that in 1909 he told his management team that in the future “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.

However, in the first years of production from 1908 to 1913, the Model T was not available in black but rather only grey, green, blue, and red. Green was available for the touring cars, town cars, coupes, and Landaulets. Grey was only available for the town cars, and red only for the touring cars. By 1912, all cars were being painted midnight blue with black fenders. It was only in 1914 that the “any color so long as it is black” policy was finally implemented. It is often stated that Ford suggested the use of black from 1914 to 1926 due to the cheap cost and durability of black paint. During the lifetime production of the Model T, over 30 different types of black paint were used on various parts of the car. These were formulated to satisfy the different means of applying the paint to the various parts, and had distinct drying times, depending on the part, paint, and method of drying.

Body

1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City

 1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City
DCF 1.0

 Ford Speedster T
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 1925 Ford “New Model” T Tudor Sedan

Although Ford classified the Model T with a single letter designation throughout its entire life and made no distinction by model years, there were enough significant changes to the body over the production life that the car can be classified into five distinct generations. One of the most immediately visible and identifiable areas of change were in the hood and cowl areas although there were also many other changes made to the vehicle.

  • 1909–1914 – T1 – Characterized by a nearly straight, five sided hood, with a flat top containing a center hinge and two side sloping sections containing the folding hinges. The firewall was flat from the windshield down with no distinct cowl.
  • 1915–1916 – T2 – The hood design was nearly the same five sided design with the only obvious change being the addition of louvers to the vertical sides. There was a significant change to the cowl area with the windshield relocated significantly behind the firewall and joined with a compound contoured cowl panel.
  • 1917–1923 – T3 – The hood design was changed to a tapered design with a curved top. the folding hinges were now located at the joint between the flat sides and the curved top. This is sometime referred to as the low hood to distinguish if from the later hoods. The back edge of the hood now met the front edge of the cowl panel so that no part of the flat firewall was visible outside of the hood. This design was used the longest and during the highest production years accounting for about half of the total number of Model T’s built.
  • 1923–1925 – T4 – This change was made during the 1923 calendar year so models built earlier in the year have the older design while later vehicles have the newer design. The taper of the hood was increased and the rear section at the firewall is about an inch taller and several inches wider than the previous design. While this is a relatively minor change, the parts between the third and fourth generation are not interchangeable.
  • 1926–1927 – T5 – This design change made the greatest difference in the appearance of the car. The hood was again enlarged with the cowl panel no longer a compound curve and blended much more with the line of the hood. The distance between the firewall and the windshield was also increased significantly. This style is sometimes referred to as the high hood.

The styling on the fifth generation was a preview for the following Model A but the two models are visually quite different as the body on the ‘A was much wider and had curved doors as opposed to the flat doors on the T.

Diverse applications

A Model T homemade tractor pulling a plow

 A Model T homemade tractor pulling a plow
1918 Pullford auto-to-tractor conversion advertisement

 Pullford auto-to-tractor conversion advertisement, 1918

When the Model T was designed and introduced, the infrastructure of the world was quite different from today’s. Pavement was a rarity except for sidewalks and a few big-city streets. (The sense of the term “pavement” as equivalent with “sidewalk” comes from that era, when streets and roads were generally dirt and sidewalks were a paved way to walk along them.) Agriculture was the occupation of many people. Power tools were scarce outside factories, as were power sources for them;electrification, like pavement, was found usually only in larger towns. Rural electrification and motorized mechanization were embryonic in North America and Europe, and nonexistent elsewhere.

Henry Ford oversaw the requirements and design of the Model T based on the realities of that world. Consequently, the Model T was (intentionally) almost as much a tractor and portable engine as it was an automobile. It has always been well regarded for its all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a rocky, muddy farm lane, ford a shallow stream, climb a steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub for a flat belt to drive a bucksaw, thresher, silo blower, conveyor for filling corn cribs or haylofts,baler, water pump (for wells, mines, or swampy farm fields), electrical generator, and countless other applications. One unique application of the Model T was shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his Model T into a mobile church, complete with small organ.

During this era, entire automobiles (including thousands of Model Ts) were even hacked apart by their industrious owners and reconfigured into custom machinery permanently dedicated to a purpose, such as homemade tractors, ice saws, or many others. Dozens of aftermarket companies sold prefab kits to facilitate the T’s conversion from car to tractor. The Model T had been around for a decade before the Fordson tractor became available (1917–1918), and many Ts had been converted for field use. (For example, Harry Ferguson, later famous for his hitches and tractors, worked on Eros Model T tractor conversions before he worked with Fordsons and others.) During the next decade, Model T tractor conversion kits were harder to sell, as the Fordson and then the Farmall (1924), as well as other light and affordable tractors, served the farm market. But during the Depression(1930s), Model T tractor conversion kits had a resurgence, because by then used Model Ts and junkyard parts for them were plentiful and cheap.

Like many popular car engines of the era, the Model T engine was also used on home-built aircraft (such as the Pietenpol Sky Scout) and motorboats.

Many Model Ts were converted into vehicles which could travel across heavy snows with kits on the rear wheels (sometimes with an extra pair of rear-mounted wheels and two sets of continuous track to mount on the now-tandemed rear wheels, essentially making it a half-track) and skis replacing the front wheels. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a time. The common name for these conversions of cars and small trucks wassnowflyers. These vehicles were extremely popular in the northern reaches of Canada where factories were set up to produce them.

A number of companies built Model T–based railcars. In The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux mentions a rail journey in India on such a railcar. The New Zealand Railways Department‘s RM class included a few.

Production

Mass production

1913 Ford assembly line

 Ford assembly line, 1913

The knowledge and skills needed by a factory worker were reduced to 84 areas. When introduced, the T used the building methods typical at the time, assembly by hand, and production was small. Ford’s Piquette plant could not keep up with demand for the Model T, and only 11 cars were built there during the first full month of production. More and more machines were used to reduce the complexity within the 84 defined areas. In 1910, after assembling nearly 12,000 Model Ts, Henry Ford moved the company to the new Highland Park complex.

As a result, Ford’s cars came off the line in three-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, reducing production time by a factor of eight (requiring 12.5 hours before, 93 minutes afterwards), while using less manpower. By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923, instead it became so famous that people now considered it a norm; more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually, more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $260 (or about $3,230 in 2015 dollars). Model T production was finally surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.

Henry Ford’s ideological approach to Model T design was one of getting it right and then keeping it the same; he believed the Model T was all the car a person would, or could, ever need. As other companies offered comfort and styling advantages, at competitive prices, the Model T lost market share. Design changes were not as few as the public perceived, but the idea of an unchanging model was kept intact. Eventually, on May 26, 1927, Ford Motor Company ceased US production and began the changeovers required to produce the Model A. Some of the other Model T factories in the world continued a short while.

Model T engines continued to be produced until August 4, 1941. Almost 170,000 were built after car production stopped, as replacement engines were required to service already produced vehicles. Racers and enthusiasts, forerunners of modern hot rodders, used the Model T’s block to build popular and cheap racing engines, including Cragar, Navarro, and famously the Frontenacs (“Fronty Fords”) of the Chevrolet brothers, among many others.

The Model T employed some advanced technology, for example, its use of vanadium steel alloy. Its durability was phenomenal, and many Model Ts and their parts remain in running order nearly a century later. Although Henry Ford resisted some kinds of change, he always championed the advancement of materials engineering, and often mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

In 2002, Ford built a final batch of six Model Ts as part of their 2003 centenary celebrations. These cars were assembled from remaining new components and other parts produced from the original drawings. The last of the six was used for publicity purposes in the UK.

Although Ford no longer manufactures parts for the Model T, many parts are still manufactured through private companies as replicas to service the thousands of Model Ts still in operation today. On May 26, 1927 Henry Ford and his son Edsel, drove the 15 millionth Model T out of the factory. This marked the famous automobile’s official last day of production at the main factory.

Price and Production

The assembly line system allowed Ford to sell his cars at a price lower than his competitors due to the efficiency of the system. As he continued to fine tune the system, he was able to keep reducing his costs. As his volume increased, he was able to also lower the prices due to fixed costs being spread over a larger number of vehicles. Other factors affected the price such a material costs and design changes.

The figures below are US production numbers compiled by R.E. Houston, Ford Production Department, August 3, 1927. The figures between 1909 and 1920 are for Ford’s fiscal year. From 1909 to 1913, the fiscal year was from October 1 to September 30 the following calendar year with the year number being the year it ended in. For the 1914 fiscal year, the year was October 1, 1913 through July 31, 1914. Starting in August 1914, and through the end of the Model T era, the fiscal year was August 1 through July 31. Beginning with January 1920 the figures are for the calendar year.

Year Production Price for
Runabout
Notes
1909 10,666 $825 ($21,650 in 2015) Touring car was $850
1910 19,050 $900
1911 34,858 $680
1912 68,773 $590
1913 170,211 $525
1914 202,667 $440 Fiscal year was only 10 months long due to change in end date
from Sep 30 to July 31
1915 308,162 $390
1916 501,462 $345
1917 735,020 $500
1918 664,076 $500
1919 498,342 $500
1920 941,042 $395 Production for fiscal year 1920, (August 1, 1919 through July 31, 1920)
Price was $550 in March but dropped by Sept
1920 463,451 $395 Production for balance of calendar year, August 1 though Dec 31
Total ‘1920’ production (17 months) = 1,404,493
1921 971,610 $325 Price was $370 in June but dropped by Sept.
1922 1,301,067 $319
1923 2,011,125 $364
1924 1,922,048 $265
1925 1,911,705 $260 ($3,500 in 2015) Touring car was $290
1926 1,554,465 $360
1927 399,725 $360 Production ended before mid-year to allow retooling for the Model A

Recycling

Henry Ford used wood scraps from the production of Model Ts to make charcoal. Originally named Ford Charcoal, the name was changed to Kingsford Charcoal after Ford’s brother-in-law E. G. Kingsford brokered the selection of the new charcoal plant site.

First global car

1921 The first Ford assembly plant in La Boca, Buenos Aires

 The first Ford assembly plant in La Boca, Buenos Aires, c. 1921
1923 Ford T in Canada

 A 1923 Ford T in Canada

The Ford Model T was the first automobile built by various countries simultaneously since they were being produced in Walkerville, Canada and in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, England starting in 1911 and were later assembled in Germany,Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan, as well as several locations throughout the US. Ford made use of the knock-down kitconcept almost from the beginning of the company as freight cost had Ford assembling on the west coast of the US.

The Aeroford was an English automobile manufactured in Bayswater, London, from 1920 to 1925. It was a Model T with distinct hood and grille to make it appear to be a totally different design, what later would have been called badge engineering. The Aeroford sold from £288 in 1920, dropping to £168-214 by 1925. It was available as a two-seater, four-seater, or coupé.

Advertising and marketing

Ford created a massive publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and advertisements about the new product. Ford’s network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in virtually every city in North America. As independent dealers, the franchises grew rich and publicized not just the Ford but the very concept of automobiling; local motor clubs sprang up to help new drivers and to explore the countryside. Ford was always eager to sell to farmers, who looked on the vehicle as a commercial device to help their business. Sales skyrocketed – several years posted 100% gains on the previous year.

Car clubs

1919 Ford Model T stakebed

 1919 Ford Model T stakebed

Cars built before 1919 are classed as veteran cars and later models as vintage cars. Today, four main clubs exist to support the preservation and restoration of these cars: the Model T Ford Club International, the Model T Ford Club of America and the combined clubs of Australia. With many chapters of clubs around the world, the Model T Ford Club of Victoria has a membership with a considerable number of uniquely Australian cars. (Australia produced its own car bodies, and therefore many differences occurred between the Australian bodied tourers and the US/Canadian cars.) In the UK, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Many steel Model T parts are still manufactured today, and even fiberglass replicas of their distinctive bodies are produced, which are popular for T-bucket style hot rods (as immortalized in the Jan and Dean surf music song “Bucket T”, which was later recorded by The Who). In 1949, more than twenty years after the end of production, 200,000 Model Ts were registered in the United States. In 2008, it was estimated that about 50,000 to 60,000 Ford Model T remain roadworthy.

In popular media

Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and aesthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than about the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared. Pliers ceased to be privately owned and a tire iron belonged to the last man who had picked it up. Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few were born in them. The theory of the Anglo Saxon home became so warped that it never quite recovered.

  • In Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World, where Henry Ford is regarded as a messianic figure, graveyard crosses have been truncated to T’s. Additionally, the calendar is converted to an “A.F.” system, wherein the first calendar year leads from the introduction of the Model T.
  • The phrase to “go the way of the Tin Lizzie” is a colloquialism referring to the decline and elimination of a popular product, habit, belief or behavior as a now outdated historical relic which has been replaced by something new.
  • The Tin Lizzie is mentioned (simply as “Lizzie”) in George and Ira Gershwin‘s song They All Laughed.

Gallery

Model T Ford Automobile Chronology
1908 Runabout - Note flat firewall
1908 Runabout – Note flat firewall
1910 Runabout
1910 Runabout
1911 Touring
1911 Touring
1913 Runabout
1913 Runabout
1914_Ford_Model_T_Touring
1914 Touring
1915_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1915 Runabout – Note curved cowl panel
1916_Ford_Model_T_touring_car
1916 Touring
1917_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1917 Runabout – Note new curved hood matches cowl panel
1919_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_GMR995
1919 Runabout
1920_Ford_Model_T_Touring_3
1920 Touring
1921_Ford_Model_T_Touring_2
1921 Touring
1923_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_AZW456
1923 Runabout (early ’23 model)
1924_Ford_Model_T_Touring_CX_894
1924 Touring – Note higher hood and slightly shorter cowl panel – late ’23 models were similar
1925_Ford_Model_T_Touring
1925 Touring
1926_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_ECH956
1926 Runabout – Note higher hood and longer cowl panel
1926_Ford_Model_T_Touring_EOT835
1926 Touring
1927_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1927 Runabout
1927_Ford_A_40A_Standard_Roadster_pic6
1927 Model A – Shown for comparison, note wider body and curved doors

(1932–1937, UK)Ford Model Y

Ford Model Y
Ford model Y
Overview
Manufacturer Ford of Britain
Ford SAF
Ford Germany
Production 1932–37
175,000 made.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon 4-door saloon
2-door estate
2-door van
2-door pickup
Powertrain
Engine 0.9 L Straight-4
Dimensions
Wheelbase 78 in (1,981 mm)
Length 141 in (3,581 mm)
Width 55 in (1,397 mm)
Height 64 in (1,626 mm)
Curb weight 1,540 lb (700 kg)
Chronology
Successor Ford 7Y

The Model Y is the first Ford automobile specifically designed for markets outside the United States of America, replacing the Model A in Europe.

Production locations

It was in production in England, where it is sometimes remembered as the “Ford Eight”,reflecting its fiscal horsepower rating, from 1932 until September 1937,

1932 ford gb y1932 Ford Model Y pickup1933 Ford Model Y Tudor1933-37 Ford Y 8 hp 933 cc SV BWW1934 English Ford model Y pickup1934 Ford Model Y estate car woodie1935 Ford Model Y ad VF7951937 Ford Y Type Hot Rod Engine 3528cc

The car was also produced in France (where it was known as the Ford 6 CV, despite actually falling within the 5CV French car tax band) from 1932 to 1934, and in Germany as the Ford Köln from 1933 to 1936.

Smaller numbers were assembled in Australia (where a coupé version was also produced), Japan, Latvia (branded as the Ford Junior) and in Spain (branded as the Ford Forito). Plans to build it in the U.S. were scrubbed when a cost accounting showed that it would only be slightly cheaper to build than the Ford Model B.

The car

The car was powered by a 933 cc, 8 (RAC)hp Ford Sidevalve engine. The little Ford was available in two and four-door versions. In June 1935 a reduced specification two-door model was the only closed-body car ever to sell in Britain for just £100, a price it held until July 1937.

The suspension was by the traditional Ford transverse leaf springs front and rear and the engine drove the rear wheels through a three-speed gearbox which, right from the start, featured synchromesh between the top two ratios. The maximum speed was just under 60 mph (95 km/h) and fuel consumption was 32 miles per imperial gallon (8.8 L/100 km; 27 mpg-US).

Even by the standards of the time, the UK-built Ford 8, like its major competitor the Austin 7, was found noteworthy for its “almost unbelievable lack of brakes.”

Evolution

For the first 14 months the original model with a short radiator grille was produced, this is known as the “short rad”. After this in October 1933 the “long rad” model, with its longer radiator grille and front bumper with the characteristic dip was produced. By gradually improving production efficiency and by simplifying the body design the cost of a “Popular” Model Y was reduced to £100, making it the cheapest true 4-seater saloon ever, although most customers were persuaded to pay extra for a less austere version. Both 4-door (Fordor) and 2-door (Tudor) saloons were produced and these could be had either with a fixed roof, or the slightly more expensive sliding “sun” roof.

Additional body version

Also offered was an attractive 5 cwt van, which proved very popular with small businesses.

Ford did not produce an open-top car because it was thought that the chassis was too flexible, but several specialist coach builders produced a range of Model Y tourers.

Commercial

Market reaction in Britain

Although of American design, the Model Y took the British market by storm, and when it was first introduced it made a major dent in the sales figures of Austin, Morris, Singer, and Hillman. It went on to take more than 50 per cent of the 8(RAC)HP sales.

Volumes

Some 175,000 Model Ys were produced worldwide (153,117 in England, 11,121 in Germany) and the ‘Y’ and ‘C’ Register has knowledge of approximately 1250 survivors.

Ford Model C:a successor in Germany but not in Britain

In Britain the larger and faster 10(RAC)hp Model C never sold in such great numbers as the Model Y although there was a very attractive factory produced tourer. In 1935 the styling was enhanced with some small modifications and the model was designated the CX.

In Germany the position was reversed. The locally produced Ford Model C was branded as the Ford Eifel, and remained in production for four years after the manufacturer had given up on the locally produced Type Y, the Ford Köln. The Ford Köln was outcompeted by the Opel 1.0/1.2 litre, and only 11,121 Kölns were produced, while a more respectable 62,495 Ford Eifels were manufactured between 1935 and 1940.

End of Part II

FORD Motor Company Dearborn Michigan USA 1903 – still going strong Part I

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company
Public company
Traded as NYSEF
(S&P 500 Component)
Industry Automotive
Founded June 16, 1903; 111 years ago
Founder Henry Ford
Headquarters Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
Services
Revenue Increase US$146.91 billion (2013)
Increase US$5.42 billion (2013)
Increase US$7.15 billion (2013)
Total assets Increase US$202.02 billion (2013)
Total equity Increase US$26.38 billion (2013)
Owner Ford Family (2%)
Number of employees
181,000 (2013)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Slogan
  • Go Further
  • Built Ford Tough
Website www.ford.com

The Ford Motor Company (commonly referred to as simply Ford) is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford also owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer, Troller, and Australian performance car manufacturer FPV. In the past it has also produced tractors and automotive components. Ford owns a 2.1% stake in Mazda of Japan, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom, and a 49% stake in Jiangling of China. It also has a number of joint-ventures, two in China (Changan Ford Mazda and Ford Lio Ho), one in Thailand (AutoAlliance Thailand), one in Turkey (Ford Otosan), and one in Russia (Ford Sollers). It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family, although they have minority ownership. It is described by Forbes as “the most important industrial company in the history of the United States.”

Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines; by 1914 these methods were known around the world as Fordism. Ford’s former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover, acquired in 1989 and 2000 respectively, were sold to Tata Motors in March 2008. Ford owned the Swedish automaker Volvo from 1999 to 2010. In 2011, Ford discontinued the Mercury brand, under which it had marketed entry-level luxury cars in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East since 1938.

Ford is the second-largest U.S.-based automaker (preceded by General Motors) and the fifth-largest in the world based on 2010 vehicle sales. At the end of 2010, Ford was the fifth largest automaker in Europe. Ford is the eighth-ranked overall American-based company in the 2010 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues in 2009 of $118.3 billion. In 2008, Ford produced 5.532 million automobiles and employed about 213,000 employees at around 90 plants and facilities worldwide.

The company went public in 1956 but the Ford family, through special Class B shares, still retain 40 percent voting rights.

History

Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Ford Model N

This article is about the automobile. For the tractor, see Ford N-Series tractor.
Ford Model N
1906 Ford N
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Ford Model R
Ford Model S
Production 1906–1908
13,250 produced
Designer Henry Ford
Body and chassis
Class Entry-level car
Body style 2-row phaeton
Powertrain
Engine 149CID 15hp Model N Engine Straight-4
Transmission 2-speed planetary
Dimensions
Wheelbase 84 in (213 cm)
Curb weight 800 lb (363 kg) (1906); 1,050 lb (476 kg) (1907 Model N); 1,400 lb (635 kg) (1907 Models R and S)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model F
Successor Ford Model T

The Ford Model N is an automobile that was produced by the Ford Motor Company. It was introduced in 1906 as a successor to the Models A and C as the company’s inexpensive entry-level line.

The Model N diverged from its predecessors in that it was a front-engine car with a 4-cylinder engine. The 15 hp straight-4 drove the rear wheels via a long shaft. This was also the first American car to use vanadium steel. The car had a wheelbase size of 84 in (2.1 m).

A successful model, 7000 cars were made until production ended in 1908. At US$500 the car was viewed as highly affordable at the time; by contrast, the high-volume Oldsmobile Runabout went for $650, Western‘s Gale Model A was $500, the Brush Runabout $485, the Black went for as low as $375, and the Success hit the amazingly low $250. Maroon was the only factory color for the Model N.

Model R

The Model R was a higher trim level of the Model N with a larger body, wheels covered by full cycle fenders, running boards, and an oil lamp. Model R was $750, $150 above the $600 base Model N. The Model R was only produced in 1907, from April through October, and 2500 were sold. Its color was red.

Model S

The Model S was another adaptation of the Model N. Ford’s last US market right-hand-drive model, it featured a more modern cowl, with hood and fenders that flowed into full running boards. Another notable difference was the optional extra third mother-in-law seat behind the front bench. The basic model sold for $700. Extras such as a convertible top, gas lamps, as well as umbrella holders were available. 3750 cars were sold between 1907 and 1909.

1910 Ford Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City

 A 1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City

20th century

Henry Ford’s first attempt at a car company under his own name was the Henry Ford Company on November 3, 1901, which became the Cadillac Motor Company on August 22, 1902, after Ford left with the rights to his name. The Ford Motor Company was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car, assembling it from parts made mostly by supplier companies contracting for Ford. Within a decade the company would lead the world in the expansion and refinement of the assembly line concept; and Ford soon brought much of the part production in-house in a vertical integration that seemed a better path for the era.

Henry Ford was 39 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world’s largest and most profitable companies, as well as being one to survive the Great Depression. As one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world, the Ford Motor Company has been in continuous family control for over 100 years.

After the first modern automobile was already created in the year 1886 by German inventor Carl Benz (Benz Patent-Motorwagen), more efficient production methods were needed to make the automobile affordable for the middle-class; which Ford contributed to, for instance by introducing the first moving assembly line in 1913.

In 1908 Ford introduced the first engine with a removable cylinder head, in the Model T.

Ford Model T

  (Redirected from Model T)
Ford Model T
1919 Ford Model T Coupe

1919 Ford Model T Coupe
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1908–1927
Assembly
Designer Henry Ford, Childe Harold WillsJoseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas
Body and chassis
Class Full-size Ford, economy car
Body style
  • 2-door touring (1909–11)
  • 3-door touring (1912–1925)
  • 4-door touring (1926–1927)
  • no door roadster (1909–11)
  • 1-door roadster(1912–1925)
  • 2-door roadster (1926–1927)
  • roadster pickup (1925–1927)
  • 2-door coupé (1909–1912, 1917–1927)
  • 2-door Coupelet (1915–17)
  • Town car (1909–1918)
  • C-cab wagon (1912)
  • 2-(Center) door sedan (1915–1923)
  • 2-door sedan (1924–1927)
  • 4-door sedan (1923–1927)
  • Separate chassis were available all years from independent coachbuilders
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 177 C.I.D. (2.9 L) 20 hp I4
Transmission 2-speed planetary gear
Dimensions
Wheelbase 100.0 in (2,540 mm)
Length 134 in (3,404 mm)
Curb weight 1,200 pounds (540 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Model S
Successor Ford Model A

The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Tin Lizzy, T‑Model Ford, Model T, or T) is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford‘s Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford’s efficient fabrication, including assembly lineproduction instead of individual hand crafting.

The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Type 1, and still makes top ten list of most sold cars (ranked nr. 8) as of 2012.

Although automobiles had already existed for decades, their adoption had been limited, and they were still mostly scarce and expensive. Automobiles were considered extreme luxury for the common man until the Model T. The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular for the mass market. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.

There were several cars produced or prototyped by Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903 until the Model T was introduced. Although he started with the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S, an upgraded version of the company’s largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A (rather than any Model U). The company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A.

The Model T was Ford’s first automobile mass-produced on moving assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class. Henry Ford said of the vehicle:

I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.

Although credit for the development of the assembly line belongs to Ransom E. Olds with the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901, the tremendous advancements in the efficiency of the system over the life of the Model T can be credited almost entirely to the vision of Ford and his engineers.

Characteristics

 1908 Ford Model T advertisement

The Model T was designed by Childe Harold Wills, and Hungarian immigrants Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas. Henry Love, C. J. Smith, Gus Degner and Peter E. Martin were also part of the team. Production of the Model T began in the third quarter of 1908. Collectors today sometimes classify Model Ts by build years and refer to these as “model years“, thus labeling the first Model Ts as 1909 models. This is a retroactive classification scheme; the concept of model years as we conceive it today did not exist at the time. The nominal model designation was “Model T”, although design revisions did occur during the car’s two decades of production.

Engine

Main article: Ford Model T engine

1926 Model T engine

 1926 Model T engine

The Model T had a front-mounted 177-cubic-inch (2.9 L) inline four-cylinder engine, producing 20 hp (15 kW), for a top speed of 40–45 mph (64–72 km/h). According to Ford Motor Company, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13–21 mpg-US (16–25 mpg-imp; 18–11 L/100 km). The engine was capable of running on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol, although the decreasing cost of gasoline and the later introduction of Prohibition made ethanol an impractical fuel for most users.

The ignition system used an unusual trembler coil system to drive the spark plugs, as used for stationary gas engines, rather than the expensive magnetos that were used on other cars. This ignition also made the Model T more flexible as to the quality or type of fuel it used. The need for a starting battery and also Ford’s use of an unusual AC alternator located inside the flywheel housing encouraged the adoption of electric lighting, rather than oil or acetylene lamps, but it also delayed the adoption of electric starting.

Transmission and drive train

The three pedal controls of the Model T

 The three pedal controls of the Model T

1920 A driver's controls

 A driver’s controls in 1920

The Model T was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Its transmission was a planetary gear type billed as “three speed”. In today’s terms it would be considered a two-speed, because one of the three speeds was reverse.

The Model T’s transmission was controlled with three foot pedals and a lever that was mounted to the road side of the driver’s seat. The throttle was controlled with a lever on the steering wheel. The left pedal was used to engage the gear. With the floor lever in either the mid position or fully forward and the pedal pressed and held forward the car entered low gear. When held in an intermediate position the car was in neutral. If the driver took his foot off the left pedal, the Model T entered high gear, but only when the lever was fully forward – in any other position the pedal would only move up as far as the central neutral position. This allowed the car to be held in neutral while the driver cranked the engine by hand. The car could thus cruise without the driver having to press any of the pedals. There was no separate clutch pedal.

When the car was in neutral, the middle pedal was used to engage reverse gear, and the right pedal operated the transmission brake – there were no separate brakes on the wheels. The floor lever also controlled the parking brake, which was activated by pulling the lever all the way back. This doubled as an emergency brake.

Although it was uncommon, the drive bands could fall out of adjustment, allowing the car to creep, particularly when cold, adding another hazard to attempting to start the car: a person cranking the engine could be forced backward while still holding the crank as the car crept forward, although it was nominally in neutral. As the car utilized a wet clutch, this condition could also occur in cold weather, where the thickened oil prevents the clutch discs from slipping freely. Power reached the differential through a single universal joint attached to a torque tube which drove the rear axle; some models (typically trucks, but available for cars as well) could be equipped with an optional two-speed Ruckstell rear axle shifted by a floor-mounted lever which provided an underdrive gear for easier hill climbing. All gears were vanadium steel running in an oil bath.

Transmission bands and linings

There were two main types of band lining material used:

  • Cotton – Cotton woven linings were the original type fitted and specified by Ford. Generally, the cotton lining is “kinder” to the drum surface, with damage to the drum caused only by the retaining rivets scoring the drum surface. Although this in itself did not pose a problem, a dragging band resulting from improper adjustment caused overheating transmission and engine, diminished power, and—in the case of cotton linings—rapid destruction of the band lining.
  • Wood – Wooden linings were originally offered as a “longer life” accessory part during the life of the Model T. They were a single piece of steam bent cottonwood fitted to the normal Model T Transmission band. These bands give a very different feel to the pedals, with much more of a “bite” feel. The sensation is of a definite “grip” of the drum and seemed to noticeably increase the feel, in particular of the brake drum.

Suspension and wheels

1925 Ford_model_t_suspension.triddle

 The suspension components of a Ford Model T. The coil-spring device is an aftermarket accessory, the “Hassler shock absorber”.

Model T suspension employed a transversely mounted semi-elliptical spring for each of the front and rear beam axles which allowed a great deal of wheel movement to cope with the dirt roads of the time.

The front axle was drop forged as a single piece of vanadium steel. Ford twisted many axles eight times and sent them to dealers to be put on display to demonstrate its superiority. The Model T did not have a modern service brake. The right foot pedal applied a band around a drum in the transmission, thus stopping the rear wheels from turning. The previously mentioned parking brake lever operated band brakes acting on the inside of the rear brake drums, which were an integral part of the rear wheel hubs. Optional brakes that acted on the outside of the brake drums were available from aftermarket suppliers.

Wheels were wooden artillery wheels, with steel welded-spoke wheels available in 1926 and 1927.

Tires were pneumatic clincher type, 30 in (76 cm) in diameter, 3.5 in (8.9 cm) wide in the rear, 3 in (7.5 cm) wide in the front. Clinchers needed much higher pressure than today’s tires, typically 60 psi (410 kPa), to prevent them from leaving the rim at speed. Horseshoe nails on the roads, together with the high pressure, made flat tires a common problem.

Balloon tires became available in 1925. They were 21 in × 4.5 in (53 cm × 11 cm) all around. Balloon tires were closer in design to today’s tires, with steel wires reinforcing the tire bead, making lower pressure possible – typically 35 psi (240 kPa) – giving a softer ride. The old nomenclature for tire size changed from measuring the outer diameter to measuring the rim diameter so 21 in (530 mm) (rim diameter) × 4.5 in (110 mm) (tire width) wheels has about the same outer diameter as 30 in (76 cm) clincher tires. All tires in this time period used an inner tube to hold the pressurized air; “tubeless” tires were not generally in use until much later.

Wheelbase was 100 inches (254 cm); while standard tread width was 56 in (142 cm), 60 in (152 cm) tread could be obtained on special order, “for Southern roads”, identical to the pre-Civil War track gauge for many railroads in the former Confederacy.

Colors

By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model Ts. However, it was a monolithic bloc; Ford wrote in his autobiography that in 1909 he told his management team that in the future “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.

However, in the first years of production from 1908 to 1913, the Model T was not available in black[24] but rather only grey, green, blue, and red. Green was available for the touring cars, town cars, coupes, and Landaulets. Grey was only available for the town cars, and red only for the touring cars. By 1912, all cars were being painted midnight blue with black fenders. It was only in 1914 that the “any color so long as it is black” policy was finally implemented. It is often stated that Ford suggested the use of black from 1914 to 1926 due to the cheap cost and durability of black paint. During the lifetime production of the Model T, over 30 different types of black paint were used on various parts of the car. These were formulated to satisfy the different means of applying the paint to the various parts, and had distinct drying times, depending on the part, paint, and method of drying.

Body

1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City

 1910 Model T, photographed in Salt Lake City

DCF 1.0

 Ford Speedster T

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 1925 Ford “New Model” T Tudor Sedan

Although Ford classified the Model T with a single letter designation throughout its entire life and made no distinction by model years, there were enough significant changes to the body over the production life that the car can be classified into five distinct generations. One of the most immediately visible and identifiable areas of change were in the hood and cowl areas although there were also many other changes made to the vehicle.

  • 1909–1914 – T1 – Characterized by a nearly straight, five sided hood, with a flat top containing a center hinge and two side sloping sections containing the folding hinges. The firewall was flat from the windshield down with no distinct cowl.
  • 1915–1916 – T2 – The hood design was nearly the same five sided design with the only obvious change being the addition of louvers to the vertical sides. There was a significant change to the cowl area with the windshield relocated significantly behind the firewall and joined with a compound contoured cowl panel.
  • 1917–1923 – T3 – The hood design was changed to a tapered design with a curved top. the folding hinges were now located at the joint between the flat sides and the curved top. This is sometime referred to as the low hood to distinguish if from the later hoods. The back edge of the hood now met the front edge of the cowl panel so that no part of the flat firewall was visible outside of the hood. This design was used the longest and during the highest production years accounting for about half of the total number of Model T’s built.
  • 1923–1925 – T4 – This change was made during the 1923 calendar year so models built earlier in the year have the older design while later vehicles have the newer design. The taper of the hood was increased and the rear section at the firewall is about an inch taller and several inches wider than the previous design. While this is a relatively minor change, the parts between the third and fourth generation are not interchangeable.
  • 1926–1927 – T5 – This design change made the greatest difference in the appearance of the car. The hood was again enlarged with the cowl panel no longer a compound curve and blended much more with the line of the hood. The distance between the firewall and the windshield was also increased significantly. This style is sometimes referred to as the high hood.

The styling on the fifth generation was a preview for the following Model A but the two models are visually quite different as the body on the ‘A was much wider and had curved doors as opposed to the flat doors on the T.

Diverse applications

A Model T homemade tractor pulling a plow

 A Model T homemade tractor pulling a plow

1918 Pullford auto-to-tractor conversion advertisement

 Pullford auto-to-tractor conversion advertisement, 1918

When the Model T was designed and introduced, the infrastructure of the world was quite different from today’s. Pavement was a rarity except for sidewalks and a few big-city streets. (The sense of the term “pavement” as equivalent with “sidewalk” comes from that era, when streets and roads were generally dirt and sidewalks were a paved way to walk along them.) Agriculture was the occupation of many people. Power tools were scarce outside factories, as were power sources for them; electrification, like pavement, was found usually only in larger towns. Rural electrification and motorized mechanization were embryonic in North America and Europe, and nonexistent elsewhere.

Henry Ford oversaw the requirements and design of the Model T based on the realities of that world. Consequently, the Model T was (intentionally) almost as much a tractor and portable engine as it was an automobile. It has always been well regarded for its all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a rocky, muddy farm lane, ford a shallow stream, climb a steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub for a flat belt to drive a bucksaw, thresher, silo blower, conveyor for filling corn cribs or haylofts, baler, water pump (for wells, mines, or swampy farm fields), electrical generator, and countless other applications. One unique application of the Model T was shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his Model T into a mobile church, complete with small organ.

During this era, entire automobiles (including thousands of Model Ts) were even hacked apart by their industrious owners and reconfigured into custom machinery permanently dedicated to a purpose, such as homemade tractors, ice saws, or many others. Dozens of aftermarket companies sold prefab kits to facilitate the T’s conversion from car to tractor. The Model T had been around for a decade before the Fordson tractor became available (1917–1918), and many Ts had been converted for field use. (For example, Harry Ferguson, later famous for his hitches and tractors, worked on Eros Model T tractor conversions before he worked with Fordsons and others.) During the next decade, Model T tractor conversion kits were harder to sell, as the Fordson and then the Farmall (1924), as well as other light and affordable tractors, served the farm market. But during the Depression(1930s), Model T tractor conversion kits had a resurgence, because by then used Model Ts and junkyard parts for them were plentiful and cheap.

Like many popular car engines of the era, the Model T engine was also used on home-built aircraft (such as the Pietenpol Sky Scout) and motorboats.

Many Model Ts were converted into vehicles which could travel across heavy snows with kits on the rear wheels (sometimes with an extra pair of rear-mounted wheels and two sets of continuous track to mount on the now-tandemed rear wheels, essentially making it a half-track) and skis replacing the front wheels. They were popular for rural mail delivery for a time. The common name for these conversions of cars and small trucks wassnowflyers. These vehicles were extremely popular in the northern reaches of Canada where factories were set up to produce them.

A number of companies built Model T–based railcars. In The Great Railway Bazaar, Paul Theroux mentions a rail journey in India on such a railcar. The New Zealand Railways Department‘s RM class included a few.

Production

Mass production

1913 Ford assembly line

 Ford assembly line, 1913

The knowledge and skills needed by a factory worker were reduced to 84 areas. When introduced, the T used the building methods typical at the time, assembly by hand, and production was small. Ford’s Piquette plant could not keep up with demand for the Model T, and only 11 cars were built there during the first full month of production. More and more machines were used to reduce the complexity within the 84 defined areas. In 1910, after assembling nearly 12,000 Model Ts, Henry Ford moved the company to the new Highland Park complex.

As a result, Ford’s cars came off the line in three-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, reducing production time by a factor of eight (requiring 12.5 hours before, 93 minutes afterwards), while using less manpower. By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car. That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. The Model T was a great commercial success, and by the time Henry made his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. It was so successful that Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923, instead it became so famous that people now considered it a norm; more than 15 million Model Ts were manufactured, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually, more than any other model of its day, at a price of just $260 (or about $3,230 in 2015 dollars). Model T production was finally surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle on February 17, 1972.

Henry Ford’s ideological approach to Model T design was one of getting it right and then keeping it the same; he believed the Model T was all the car a person would, or could, ever need. As other companies offered comfort and styling advantages, at competitive prices, the Model T lost market share. Design changes were not as few as the public perceived, but the idea of an unchanging model was kept intact. Eventually, on May 26, 1927, Ford Motor Company ceased US production and began the changeovers required to produce the Model A. Some of the other Model T factories in the world continued a short while.

Model T engines continued to be produced until August 4, 1941. Almost 170,000 were built after car production stopped, as replacement engines were required to service already produced vehicles. Racers and enthusiasts, forerunners of modern hot rodders, used the Model T’s block to build popular and cheap racing engines, including Cragar, Navarro, and famously the Frontenacs (“Fronty Fords”) of the Chevrolet brothers, among many others.

The Model T employed some advanced technology, for example, its use of vanadium steel alloy. Its durability was phenomenal, and many Model Ts and their parts remain in running order nearly a century later. Although Henry Ford resisted some kinds of change, he always championed the advancement of materials engineering, and often mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

In 2002, Ford built a final batch of six Model Ts as part of their 2003 centenary celebrations. These cars were assembled from remaining new components and other parts produced from the original drawings. The last of the six was used for publicity purposes in the UK.

Although Ford no longer manufactures parts for the Model T, many parts are still manufactured through private companies as replicas to service the thousands of Model Ts still in operation today. On May 26, 1927 Henry Ford and his son Edsel, drove the 15 millionth Model T out of the factory. This marked the famous automobile’s official last day of production at the main factory.

Price and Production

The assembly line system allowed Ford to sell his cars at a price lower than his competitors due to the efficiency of the system. As he continued to fine tune the system, he was able to keep reducing his costs. As his volume increased, he was able to also lower the prices due to fixed costs being spread over a larger number of vehicles. Other factors affected the price such a material costs and design changes.

The figures below are US production numbers compiled by R.E. Houston, Ford Production Department, August 3, 1927. The figures between 1909 and 1920 are for Ford’s fiscal year. From 1909 to 1913, the fiscal year was from October 1 to September 30 the following calendar year with the year number being the year it ended in. For the 1914 fiscal year, the year was October 1, 1913 through July 31, 1914. Starting in August 1914, and through the end of the Model T era, the fiscal year was August 1 through July 31. Beginning with January 1920 the figures are for the calendar year.

Year Production Price for
Runabout
Notes
1909 10,666 $825 ($21,650 in 2015) Touring car was $850
1910 19,050 $900
1911 34,858 $680
1912 68,773 $590
1913 170,211 $525
1914 202,667 $440 Fiscal year was only 10 months long due to change in end date
from Sep 30 to July 31
1915 308,162 $390
1916 501,462 $345
1917 735,020 $500
1918 664,076 $500
1919 498,342 $500
1920 941,042 $395 Production for fiscal year 1920, (August 1, 1919 through July 31, 1920)
Price was $550 in March but dropped by Sept
1920 463,451 $395 Production for balance of calendar year, August 1 though Dec 31
Total ‘1920’ production (17 months) = 1,404,493
1921 971,610 $325 Price was $370 in June but dropped by Sept.
1922 1,301,067 $319
1923 2,011,125 $364
1924 1,922,048 $265
1925 1,911,705 $260 ($3,500 in 2015) Touring car was $290
1926 1,554,465 $360
1927 399,725 $360 Production ended before mid-year to allow retooling for the Model A

Recycling

Henry Ford used wood scraps from the production of Model Ts to make charcoal. Originally named Ford Charcoal, the name was changed to Kingsford Charcoal after Ford’s brother-in-law E. G. Kingsford brokered the selection of the new charcoal plant site.

First global car

1921 The first Ford assembly plant in La Boca, Buenos Aires

 The first Ford assembly plant in La Boca, Buenos Aires, c. 1921

1923 Ford T in Canada

 A 1923 Ford T in Canada

The Ford Model T was the first automobile built by various countries simultaneously since they were being produced in Walkerville, Canada and in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, England starting in 1911 and were later assembled in Germany, Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan, as well as several locations throughout the US. Ford made use of the knock-down kit concept almost from the beginning of the company as freight cost had Ford assembling on the west coast of the US.

The Aeroford was an English automobile manufactured in Bayswater, London, from 1920 to 1925. It was a Model T with distinct hood and grille to make it appear to be a totally different design, what later would have been called badge engineering. The Aeroford sold from £288 in 1920, dropping to £168-214 by 1925. It was available as a two-seater, four-seater, or coupé.

Advertising and marketing

Ford created a massive publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and advertisements about the new product. Ford’s network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in virtually every city in North America. As independent dealers, the franchises grew rich and publicized not just the Ford but the very concept of automobiling; local motor clubs sprang up to help new drivers and to explore the countryside. Ford was always eager to sell to farmers, who looked on the vehicle as a commercial device to help their business. Sales skyrocketed – several years posted 100% gains on the previous year.

Car clubs

1919 Ford Model T stakebed

 1919 Ford Model T stakebed

Cars built before 1919 are classed as veteran cars and later models as vintage cars. Today, four main clubs exist to support the preservation and restoration of these cars: the Model T Ford Club International, the Model T Ford Club of America and the combined clubs of Australia. With many chapters of clubs around the world, the Model T Ford Club of Victoria has a membership with a considerable number of uniquely Australian cars. (Australia produced its own car bodies, and therefore many differences occurred between the Australian bodied tourers and the US/Canadian cars.) In the UK, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Many steel Model T parts are still manufactured today, and even fiberglass replicas of their distinctive bodies are produced, which are popular for T-bucket style hot rods (as immortalized in the Jan and Dean surf music song “Bucket T”, which was later recorded by The Who). In 1949, more than twenty years after the end of production, 200,000 Model Ts were registered in the United States. In 2008, it was estimated that about 50,000 to 60,000 Ford Model T remain roadworthy.

In popular media

Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and aesthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than about the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared. Pliers ceased to be privately owned and a tire iron belonged to the last man who had picked it up. Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few were born in them. The theory of the Anglo Saxon home became so warped that it never quite recovered.

  • In Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World, where Henry Ford is regarded as a messianic figure, graveyard crosses have been truncated to T’s. Additionally, the calendar is converted to an “A.F.” system, wherein the first calendar year leads from the introduction of the Model T.
  • The phrase to “go the way of the Tin Lizzie” is a colloquialism referring to the decline and elimination of a popular product, habit, belief or behavior as a now outdated historical relic which has been replaced by something new.
  • The Tin Lizzie is mentioned (simply as “Lizzie”) in George and Ira Gershwin‘s song They All Laughed.

Gallery

Model T Ford Automobile Chronology
1908 Runabout - Note flat firewall
1908 Runabout – Note flat firewall
1910 Runabout
1910 Runabout
1911 Touring
1911 Touring
1913 Runabout
1913 Runabout
1914_Ford_Model_T_Touring
1914 Touring
1915_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1915 Runabout – Note curved cowl panel
1916_Ford_Model_T_touring_car
1916 Touring
1917_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1917 Runabout – Note new curved hood matches cowl panel
1919_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_GMR995
1919 Runabout
1920_Ford_Model_T_Touring_3
1920 Touring
1921_Ford_Model_T_Touring_2
1921 Touring
1923_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_AZW456
1923 Runabout (early ’23 model)
1924_Ford_Model_T_Touring_CX_894
1924 Touring – Note higher hood and slightly shorter cowl panel – late ’23 models were similar
1925_Ford_Model_T_Touring
1925 Touring
1926_Ford_Model_T_Runabout_ECH956
1926 Runabout – Note higher hood and longer cowl panel
1926_Ford_Model_T_Touring_EOT835
1926 Touring
1927_Ford_Model_T_Runabout
1927 Runabout
1927_Ford_A_40A_Standard_Roadster_pic6
1927 Model A – Shown for comparison, note wider body and curved doors

In 1927, Ford introduced the Model A, the first car with safety glass in the windshield. Ford launched the first low priced V8 engine powered car in 1932.

The creation of a scientific laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan in 1951, doing unfettered basic research, lead to Ford’s unlikely involvement in superconductivity research. In 1964 Ford Research Labs made a key breakthrough with the invention of a superconducting quantum interference device or SQUID.

Ford offered the Lifeguard safety package from 1956, which included such innovations as a standard deep-dish steering wheel, optional front, and, for the first time in a car, rear seatbelts, and an optional padded dash. Ford introduced child-proof door locks into its products in 1957, and in the same year offered the first retractable hardtop on a mass-produced six-seater car. The Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964. In 1965 Ford introduced the seat belt reminder light.

With the 1980s, Ford introduced several highly successful vehicles around the world. During the 1980s, Ford began using the advertising slogan, “Have you driven a Ford, lately?” to introduce new customers to their brand and make their vehicles appear more modern. In 1990 and 1994 respectively, Ford also acquired Jaguar Cars and Aston Martin. During the mid- to late 1990s, Ford continued to sell large numbers of vehicles, in a booming American economy with a soaring stock market and low fuel prices.

With the dawn of the new century, legacy healthcare costs, higher fuel prices, and a faltering economy led to falling market shares, declining sales, and diminished profit margins. Most of the corporate profits came from financing consumer automobile loans through Ford Motor Credit Company.

21st century

William Clay Ford, Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford, serves as the executive chairman at the board of Ford Motor Company.

By 2005, both Ford and GM‘s corporate bonds had been downgraded to junk status, as a result of high U.S. health care costs for an aging workforce, soaring gasoline prices, eroding market share, and an over dependence on declining SUV sales. Profit margins decreased on large vehicles due to increased “incentives” (in the form of rebates or low interest financing) to offset declining demand. In the latter half of 2005, Chairman Bill Ford asked newly appointed Ford Americas Division President Mark Fields to develop a plan to return the company to profitability. Fields previewed the Plan, named The Way Forward, at the December 7, 2005 board meeting of the company and it was unveiled to the public on January 23, 2006. “The Way Forward” included resizing the company to match market realities, dropping some unprofitable and inefficient models, consolidating production lines, closing 14 factories and cutting 30,000 jobs.

Ford moved to introduce a range of new vehicles, including “Crossover SUVs” built on unibody car platforms, rather than more body-on-frame chassis. In developing the hybrid electric powertrain technologies for the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, Ford licensed similar Toyota hybrid technologies to avoid patent infringements. Ford announced that it will team up with electricity supply company Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility’s electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated “in typical customer settings”, according to Ford.

William Clay Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford (and better known by his nickname “Bill”), was appointed Executive Chairman in 1998, and also became Chief Executive Officer of the company in 2001, with the departure of Jacques Nasser, becoming the first member of the Ford family to head the company since the retirement of his uncle, Henry Ford II, in 1982. Upon the retirement of President and Chief Operation Officer Jim Padilla in April 2006, Bill Ford assumed his roles as well. Five months later, in September, Ford named Alan Mulally as President and CEO, with Ford continuing as Executive Chairman. In December 2006, the company raised its borrowing capacity to about $25 billion, placing substantially all corporate assets as collateral. Chairman Bill Ford has stated that “bankruptcy is not an option”. Ford and the United Auto Workers, representing approximately 46,000 hourly workers in North America, agreed to a historic contract settlement in November 2007 giving the company a substantial break in terms of its ongoing retiree health care costs and other economic issues. The agreement included the establishment of a company-funded, independently run Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust to shift the burden of retiree health care from the company’s books, thereby improving its balance sheet. This arrangement took effect on January 1, 2010. As a sign of its currently strong cash position, Ford contributed its entire current liability (estimated at approximately US$5.5 billion as of December 31, 2009) to the VEBA in cash, and also pre-paid US$500 million of its future liabilities to the fund. The agreement also gives hourly workers the job security they were seeking by having the company commit to substantial investments in most of its factories.

The automaker reported the largest annual loss in company history in 2006 of $12.7 billion, and estimated that it would not return to profitability until 2009. However, Ford surprised Wall Street in the second quarter of 2007 by posting a $750 million profit. Despite the gains, the company finished the year with a $2.7 billion loss, largely attributed to finance restructuring at Volvo.

On June 2, 2008, Ford sold its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors for $2.3 billion.

During Congressional hearings held in November 2008 at Washington D.C., and in a show of support, Ford’s Alan Mulally stated that “We at Ford are hopeful that we have enough liquidity. But we also must prepare ourselves for the prospect of further deteriorating economic conditions”. Mulally went on to state that “The collapse of one of our competitors would have a severe impact on Ford” and that Ford Motor Company’s supports both Chrysler and General Motors in their search for government bridge loans in the face of conditions caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Together, the three companies presented action plans for the sustainability of the industry. Mulally stated that “In addition to our plan, we are also here today to request support for the industry. In the near-term, Ford does not require access to a government bridge loan. However, we request a credit line of $9 billion as a critical backstop or safeguard against worsening conditions as we drive transformational change in our company”  GM and Chrysler received government loans and financing through T.A.R.P. legislation funding provisions.

On December 19, the cost of credit default swaps to insure the debt of Ford was 68 percent the sum insured for five years in addition to annual payments of 5 percent. That meant $6.8 million paid upfront to insure $10 million in debt, in addition to payments of $500,000 per year. In January 2009, Ford reported a $14.6 billion loss in the preceding year, a record for the company. The company retained sufficient liquidity to fund its operations. Through April 2009, Ford’s strategy of debt for equity exchanges erased $9.9 billion in liabilities (28% of its total) in order to leverage its cash position. These actions yielded Ford a $2.7 billion profit in fiscal year 2009, the company’s first full-year profit in four years.

In 2012, Ford’s corporate bonds were upgraded from junk to investment grade again, citing sustainable, lasting improvements.

On October 29, 2012, Ford announced the sale of its climate control components business, its last remaining automotive components operation, to Detroit Thermal Systems LLC for an undisclosed price.

On November 1, 2012, Ford announced that CEO Alan Mulally will stay with the company until 2014. Ford also named Mark Fields, the president of operations in Americas, as its new chief operating officer  Ford’s CEO Mulally was paid a compensation of over $174 million in his previous seven years at Ford since 2006. The generous amount has been a sore point for some workers of the company.

Logo evolution

Corporate affairs

Executive management

Members of the Ford board as of July 2014 are: Richard A. Gephardt, Stephen Butler, Ellen Marram, Kimberly Casiano, Mark Fields (President and CEO), Edsel Ford II, Homer Neal, William Clay Ford Jr. (Executive Chairman), Anthony F. Earley, Jr., James P. Hackett, John L. Thornton, James H. Hance, Jr., William W. Helman IV, Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., John C. Lechleiter and Gerald L. Shaheen.

Financial results

In 2010, Ford earned a net profit of $6.6 billion and reduced its debt from $33.6 billion to $14.5 billion lowering interest payments by $1 billion following its 2009 net profit of $2.7 billion. In the U.S., the F-Series was the best-selling vehicle for 2010. Ford sold 528,349 F-Series trucks during the year, a 27.7% increase over 2009, out of a total sales of 1.9 million vehicles, or every one out of four vehicles Ford sold. Trucks sales accounts for a big slice of Ford’s profits, according to USA Today. Ford’s realignment also included the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, Hertz Rent-a-Car to a private equity group for $15 billion in cash and debt acquisition. The sale was completed on December 22, 2005. A 50–50 joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra of India, called Mahindra Ford India, Limited (MIFL), ended with Ford buying out Mahindra’s remaining stake in the company in 2005. Ford had previously upped its stake to 72% in 1998.

Operations

Ford has manufacturing operations worldwide, including in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Africa. Ford also has a cooperative agreement with Russian automaker GAZ.

North America

1930-45 The_Ford_building_--_Jericho_Turnpike,_Mineola,_Garden_City

Ford dealer in Garden City, New York, ca. 1930-1945

In the first five months of 2010, auto sales in the U.S. rose to 4.6 million cars and light trucks, an increase of 17% from a year earlier. The rise was mainly caused by the return of commercial customers that had all but stopped buying in 2009 during the recession. Sales to individual customers at dealerships have increased 13%, while fleet sales have jumped 32%. Ford reported that 37% of its sales in May came from fleet sales when it announced its sales for the month increased 23%. In the first seven months of 2010, vehicle sales of Ford increased 24%, including retail and fleet sales. Fleet sales of Ford for the same period rose 35% to 386,000 units while retail sales increase 19%. Fleet sales account for 39 percent of Chrysler’s sales and 31 percent for GM’s.

Europe

Main article: Ford of Europe

Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre inLaindon, United Kingdom, the largest automotive research and development facility in the country

The Ford Research Center in Aachen, Germany

At first, Ford in Germany and Ford in Britain built different models from one another until the late 1960s, with the Ford Escort and then the Ford Capri being common to both companies. Later on, the Ford Taunus and Ford Cortina became identical, produced in left hand drive and right hand drive respectively. Rationalisation of model ranges meant that production of many models in the UK switched to elsewhere in Europe, including Belgium and Spain as well as Germany. The Ford Sierra replaced the Taunus and Cortina in 1982, drawing criticism for its radical aerodynamic styling, which was soon given nicknames such as “Jellymould” and “The Salesman’s Spaceship.”

Increasingly, the Ford Motor Company has looked to Ford of Europe for its “world cars”, such as the Mondeo, Focus, and Fiesta, although sales of European-sourced Fords in the U.S. have been disappointing. The Focus has been one exception to this, which has become America’s best selling compact car since its launch in 2000.

In February 2002, Ford ended car production in the UK. It was the first time in 90 years that Ford cars had not been made in Britain, although production of the Transit van continued at the company’s Southampton facility until mid-2013, engines at Bridgend and Dagenham, and transmissions at Halewood. Development of European Ford is broadly split between Dunton in Essex (powertrain, Fiesta/Ka, and commercial vehicles) and Cologne (body, chassis, electrical, Focus, Mondeo) in Germany. Ford also produced the Thames range of commercial vehicles, although the use of this brand name was discontinued circa 1965. Elsewhere in continental Europe, Ford assembles the Mondeo range in Genk (Belgium), Fiesta in Valencia (Spain) and Cologne (Germany), Ka in Valencia (Spain), Focus in Valencia (Spain), Saarlouis (Germany) and Vsevolozhsk (Russia). Transit production is in Kocaeli (Turkey), Southampton (UK), and Transit Connect in Kocaeli (Turkey).

Ford also owns a joint-venture production plant in Turkey. Ford Otosan, established in the 1970s, manufactures the Transit Connect compact panel van as well as the “Jumbo” and long-wheelbase versions of the full-size Transit. This new production facility was set up near Kocaeli in 2002, and its opening marked the end of Transit assembly in Genk.

Another joint venture plant near Setúbal in Portugal, set up in collaboration with Volkswagen, formerly assembled the Galaxy people-carrier as well as its sister ships, the VW Sharan and SEAT Alhambra. With the introduction of the third generation of the Galaxy, Ford has moved the production of the people-carrier to the Genk plant, with Volkswagen taking over sole ownership of the Setúbal facility.

In 2008, Ford acquired a majority stake in Automobile Craiova, Romania. Starting 2009, the Ford Transit Connect was Ford’s first model produced in Craiova, followed, in 2012, by low-capacity car engines and a new small class car, the B-Max.

Ford Europe has broken new ground with a number of relatively futuristic car launches over the last 50 years.

Its 1959 Anglia two-door saloon was one of the most quirky-looking small family cars in Europe at the time of its launch, but buyers soon became accustomed to its looks and it was hugely popular with British buyers in particular. It was still selling well when replaced by the more practical Escort in 1967.

The third incarnation of the Ford Escort was launched in 1980 and marked the company’s move from rear-wheel drive saloons to front-wheel drive hatchbacks in the small family car sector.

The fourth generation Escort was produced from 1990 until 2000, although its successor – the Focus – had been on sale since 1998. On its launch, the Focus was arguably the most dramatic-looking and fine-handling small family cars on sale, and sold in huge volumes right up to the launch of the next generation Focus at the end of 2004.

The 1982 Ford Sierra – replacement for the long-running and massively popular Cortina and Taunus models – was a style-setter at the time of its launch. Its ultramodern aerodynamic design was a world away from a boxy, sharp-edged Cortina, and it was massively popular just about everywhere it was sold. A series of updates kept it looking relatively fresh until it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Mondeo at the start of 1993.

The rise in popularity of small cars during the 1970s saw Ford enter the mini-car market in 1976 with its Fiesta hatchback. Most of its production was concentrated at Valencia in Spain, and the Fiesta sold in huge figures from the very start. An update in 1983 and the launch of an all-new model in 1989 strengthened its position in the small car market.

On October 24, 2012, Ford announced that it would be closing its Genk assembly plant in eastern Belgium by the end of 2014.

Oceania

Ford FG Falcon (Australia)

In Australia and New Zealand, the popular Ford Falcon has long been considered the average family car and is considerably larger than the Mondeo, Ford’s largest car sold in Europe. Between 1960 and 1972, the Falcon was based on a U.S. model of the same name, but since then has been entirely designed and manufactured in Australia, occasionally being manufactured in New Zealand. Like its General Motors rival, the Holden Commodore, the Falcon uses a rear wheel drive layout. High performance variants of the Falcon running locally built engines produce up to 362 hp (270 kW). A ute (short for “utility”, known in the US as pickup truck) version is also available with the same range of drivetrains. In addition, Ford Australia sells highly tuned limited-production Falcon sedans and utes through its performance car division, Ford Performance Vehicles.

In Australia, the Commodore and Falcon have traditionally outsold all other cars and comprise over 20% of the new car market. In New Zealand, Ford was second in market share in the first eight months of 2006 with 14.4 per cent. More recently Ford has axed its Falcon-based LWB variant of its lineup– the Fairlane and LTD ranges, and announced that their Geelong engine manufacturing plant may be shut down from 2013. They have also announced local manufacturing of the Focus small car starting from 2011.

In Australia, the Laser was one of Ford Australia‘s most successful models, and was manufactured in Ford’s Homebush plant from 1981 until the plant’s closure in September 1994. It outsold the Mazda 323, despite being almost identical to it, because the Laser was manufactured in Australia and Ford was perceived as a local brand.

In New Zealand, the Ford Laser and Telstar were assembled alongside the Mazda 323 and 626 until 1997, at the Vehicle Assemblers of New Zealand (VANZ) plant in Wiri, Auckland. The Sierra wagon was also assembled in New Zealand, owing to the popularity of station wagons in that market.

The scheduled closure of Ford’s Australian manufacturing base in 2016 was confirmed in late May 2013. Headquartered in the Victorian suburb of Broadmeadows, the company had registered losses worth AU$600 million over the five years prior to the announcement. It was noted that the corporate fleet and government sales that account for two-thirds of large, local car sales in Australia are insufficient to keep Ford’s products profitable and viable in Australia. The decision will affect 1200 Ford workers—over 600 employees in Geelong and more than 500 in Broadmeadows—who will lose their jobs by October 2016.

East and Southeast Asia

Ford formed its first passenger-vehicle joint venture in China in 2001, six years behind GM and more than a decade after VW. It has spent as of 2013 $4.9 billion to expand its lineup and double production capacity in China to 600,000 vehicles. This includes Ford’s largest-ever factory complex in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Ford had 2.5 percent of the Chinese market in 2013, while VW controlled 14.5 percent and GM had 15.6 percent, according to consultant LMC Automotive. GM outsells Ford in China by more than six-to-one.

The Ford stamping plant in Geelong, Australia

With the acquisition of a stake in Japanese manufacturer Mazda in 1979, Ford began selling Mazda’s Familia and Capella (also known as the 323 and 626) as the Ford Laser and Telstar, replacing the European-sourced Escort and Cortina. Through its relationship with Mazda, Ford also acquired a stake in South Korean manufacturer Kia, which built the (Mazda-based) Ford Festiva from 1988–1993, and the Ford Aspire from 1994–1997 for export to the United States, but later sold their interest to Hyundai (which also manufactured the Ford Cortina until the 1980s). Kia continued to market the Aspire as the Kia Avella, later replaced by the Rio and once again sold in the US.

Ford’s presence in Asia has traditionally been much smaller, confined to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Taiwan, where Ford has had a joint venture with Lio Ho since the 1970s. Ford began assembly of cars in Thailand in 1960, but withdrew from the country in 1976, and did not return until 1995, when it formed a joint venture with Mazda called Auto Alliance. Now in Bo-win Sub District, Sriracha District of the Chonburi it is located The Ford Motor Company (Thailand) Limited, making passenger automobiles. The factory built in 1941 in Singapore was shortly taken over by the Japanese during the war and was the site of a surrender of the British to the Japanese, at the factory site which is now a national monument in Singapore.

On April 30, 2013, Ford Motor Co. launched their car and truck line in Myanmar. Previously, heavy importation taxes have stifled imported car purchases in Myanmar, but due to currency reform, lifting of previous import restrictions, and the abolishment of shadow currency, Myanmar’s car market has grown in demand.

Ford of Japan

Ford established a manufacturing facility in the port city of Yokohama in February 1925, where Model T vehicles were assembled using imported knock-down kits. The factory subsequently produced 10,000 Model A’s up to 1936. Production ceased in 1940 as a result of political tensions between Japan and the United States.

After World War II, Ford did not have a presence in Japan, as the Ford facility was appropriated by the Japanese Government until 1958, when property was returned as a possession of the Ford Motor Company and became a research and development location for Ford partner Mazda. In 1979, Ford acquired a 24.5% ownership stake in Mazda, and in 1982 Ford and Mazda jointly established a sales channel to sell Ford products in Japan, including vehicles manufactured in North America, at a dealership called Autorama(Japanese). The Autorama sales channel was renamed Ford Sales of Japan in 1997.

Vehicles sold at Autorama locations were the North American assembled Ford Explorer, Probe (1989–1998), Mustang, Taurus (1989–1997), Thunderbird (1990–1993), Lincoln Continental, and Lincoln LS. Ford products manufactured in Europe that were sold in Japan were the Ford Mondeo, Ka, Focus, Focus C-MAX, Fiesta, and the Galaxy. Mazda manufactured Ford vehicles in Japan and sold them as Fords at the Autorama locations. They were the Ford Telstar (Mazda Capella), Laser, Festiva, Festiva Mini Wagon,Ixion (Mazda Premacy), Freda (Mazda Bondo Friendee), Spectron (Mazda Bongo), and commercial trucks J80 and the J100 (Mazda Bongo truck).

Ford increased its shareholding in Mazda to 33.4% in 1996. Ford currently sells a small range of vehicles in Japan; as of October 2010, the Ford Mustang, Escape, Explorer (and Explorer truck), Ford Kuga, Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln MKX were available in Japan. Ford maintains a regional office in Minato, Tokyo, Japan.

South and West Asia

Ford India began production in 1998 at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, with its Ford Escort model, which was later replaced by locally produced Ford Ikon in 2001. It has since added Fusion, Fiesta, Mondeo and Endeavour to its product line.

On March 9, 2010, Ford Motor Co. launched its first made-for-India compact car. Starting at 349,900 ($7,690), the Figo is Ford’s first car designed and priced for the mass Indian market. On July 28, 2011, Ford India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the State of Gujarat for the construction of an assembly and engine plant in Sanand, and planned to invest approximately US$1 billion on a 460-acre site.

Ford’s market presence in the Middle East has traditionally been small, partly due to previous Arab boycotts of companies dealing with Israel. Ford and Lincoln vehicles are currently marketed in ten countries in the region. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE are the biggest markets. Ford also established itself in Egypt in 1926, but faced an uphill battle during the 1950s due to the hostile nationalist business environment. Ford’s distributor in Saudi Arabia announced in February 2003 that it had sold 100,000 Ford and Lincoln vehicles since commencing sales in November 1986. Half of the Ford/Lincoln vehicles sold in that country were Ford Crown Victorias. In 2004, Ford sold 30,000 units in the region, falling far short of General Motors‘ 88,852 units and Nissan Motors‘ 75,000 units.

South America

During much of the 20th century, Ford faced protectionist government measures in South America, with the result that it built different models in different countries, without particular regard to rationalization or economy of scale inherent to producing and sharing similar vehicles between the nations. In many cases, new vehicles in a country were based on those of the other manufacturers it had entered into production agreements with, or whose factories it had acquired. For example, the Corcel and Del Rey in Brazil were originally based on Renault vehicles.

In 1987, Ford of Brasil and Ford of Argentina merged their operations with the Brazilian and Argentinan operations of Volkswagen Group, forming a new joint-venture company called Autolatina with a shared model range. Sales figures and profitability were disappointing, and Autolatina was dissolved in 1995. With the advent of Mercosur, the regional common market, Ford was finally able to rationalize its product line-ups in those countries. Consequently, the Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport are only built in Brazil, and the Ford Focus only built in Argentina, with each plant exporting in large volumes to the neighboring countries. Models like the Ford Mondeo from Europe could now be imported completely built up. Ford of Brazil produces a pick-up truck version of the Fiesta, the Courier, which is also produced in South Africa as the Ford Bantam in right hand drive versions.

Africa

In Africa, Ford’s market presence has traditionally been strongest in South Africa and neighbouring countries, with only trucks being sold elsewhere on the continent. Ford in South Africa began by importing kits from Canada to be assembled at its Port Elizabeth facility. Later Ford sourced its models from the UK and Australia, with local versions of the Ford Cortina including the XR6, with a 3.0 V6 engine, and a Cortina-based ‘bakkie’ or pick-up, which was exported to the UK. In the mid-1980s Ford merged with a rival company, owned by Anglo American, to form the South African Motor Corporation (Samcor).

Following international condemnation of apartheid, Ford divested from South Africa in 1988, and sold its stake in Samcor, although it licensed the use of its brand name to the company. Samcor began to assemble Mazdas as well, which affected its product line-up, and saw the European Fords like the Escort and Sierra replaced by the Mazda-based Laser and Telstar. Ford bought a 45 per cent stake in Samcor following the demise of apartheid in 1994, and this later became, once again, a wholly owned subsidiary, the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. Ford now sells a local sedan version of the Fiesta (also built in India and Mexico), and the Focus. The Falcon model from Australia was also sold in South Africa, but was dropped in 2003, while the Mondeo, after briefly being assembled locally, was dropped in 2005.

Products and services

Automobiles

The 2013 model year Lincoln MKS

Ford Motor Company sells a broad range of automobiles under the Ford marque worldwide, and an additional range of luxury automobiles under the Lincoln marque in the United States. The company has sold vehicles under a number of other marques during its history. The Mercury brand was introduced by Ford in 1939, continuing in production until 2011 when poor sales led to its discontinuation. In 1958, Ford introduced the Edsel brand, but poor sales led to its discontinuation in 1960. In 1985, the Merkur brand was introduced in the United States to market products produced by Ford of Europe; it was discontinued in 1989.

Ford acquired the British sports car maker Aston Martin in 1989, later selling it on March 12, 2007, although retaining an 8% stake. Ford purchased Volvo Cars of Sweden in 1999, selling it to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010. In November 2008, it reduced its 33.4% controlling interest in Mazda of Japan to a 13.4% non-controlling interest. On November 18, 2010, Ford reduced their stake further to just 3%, citing the reduction of ownership would allow greater flexibility to pursue growth in emerging markets. Ford and Mazda remain strategic partners through exchanges of technological information and joint ventures, including an American joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan called Auto Alliance. Ford sold the United Kingdom-based Jaguar and Land Rover companies and brands to Tata Motors of India in March 2008.

Marque Country of origin Years used/owned Markets
Ford United States 1903–Present Global
Lincoln United States 1922–Present North America, Middle East
Mercury United States 1939 – 2011 North America, Middle East
Edsel United States 1958 – 1960 North America
Merkur United States 1985 – 1989 North America
Jaguar United Kingdom 1989 – 2008 Global
Aston Martin United Kingdom 1989 – 2007 Global
Volvo Sweden 1999 – 2010 Global
Land Rover United Kingdom 2000 – 2008 Global
Mazda Japan 1996 – 2010 Global
FPV Australia 2002 – 2014 Australia
Troller Brazil 2007–Present Brazil

Trucks

An advert for the 1939 Ford V-8 pick-up truck

An advert for the 1961 Ford H-Series truck

Ford has produced trucks since 1908, beginning with the Ford Model TT, followed by the Model AA, and the Model BB. Countries where Ford commercial vehicles are or were formerly produced include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (also badged as Mercury), France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Philippines, Spain (badged Ebro too), Turkey, UK (badged also Fordson and Thames) and USA.

From the 1940s to late 1970s Ford’s Ford F-Series were used as the base for light trucks for the North American market.

Most of these ventures are now extinct. The European one that lasted longest was the lorries arm of Ford of Britain, which became part of the Iveco group in 1986. Ford had a minority share in the new company and Iveco took over sales and production of the Ford Cargo range. Ford’s last significant European truck models were the Transcontinental and the Cargo.

In the United States, Ford’s heavy trucks division (Classes 7 and 8) was sold in 1997 to Freightliner Trucks, which rebranded the lineup as Sterling. Freightliner is in the process of discontinuing this line.

Line of heavy trucks made by Ford for the North American market:

Ford continues to manufacture medium duty trucks under the F-650 and F-750 badges. In 2001, the company entered into a joint venture with Navistar International to produce medium and heavy duty commercial trucks. The first new model from the new corporation, known as Blue Diamond Truck Company LLC, was the 2006 model year LCF, the first Ford branded cab-over-engine design in the United States since Freightliner’s acquisition of the Cargo in the mid-1990s. The LCF was discontinued in 2009 and Ford’s 2011 medium and heavy-duty commercial offerings are limited to the two F-Series.

In 1999 the end of the F800 indicated Ford was no longer producing in any F-series heavy truck chassis.

In Europe, Ford manufactures the Ford Transit jumbo van which is classed as a Large Goods Vehicle and has a payload of up to 2,265 kg, there are options of a panel van, pickup or chassis cab. The Ford Transit is also available as a light van called the Ford Transit Connect and the Ford Ranger pickup is available.

Buses

A Ford B700 bus chassis, with a body by Thomas Built

Ford manufactured complete buses in the company’s early history, but today the role of the company has changed to that of a second stage manufacturer. In North America, the E-Series is still used as a chassis for small school buses and the F-650 is used in commercial bus markets. In the 1980s and 1990s, the medium-duty B700 was a popular chassis used by school bus body manufacturers including Thomas Built, Ward and Blue Bird, but Ford lost its market share due to industry contraction and agreements between body manufacturers. Older bus models included:

Prior to 1936, Ford buses were based on truck bodies:

  • Model B – 1930s
  • Model T – 1920s
  • F-105 school bus

A 1937 Ford Transit Bus in Seattle

In 1936, Ford introduced the Ford Transit Bus, a series of small transit buses with bodies built by a second party. Originally a front-engine design, it was modified to a rear-engine design in 1939. About 1,000 to 1,200 of the original design were built, and around 12,500 of the rear-engine design, which was in production until 1947 (rebranded as the Universal Bus in 1946).

Rear-engine Transit Bus chassis model numbers:

  • 09-B/19-B City transit bus – 1939–1941
  • 19-B/29-B City transit bus – 1941–1942
  • 49-B/79-B City transit bus – 1944–1947
  • 69-B City transit bus – 1946–1947
  • 29-B City transit bus – 1946–1947
  • 72-T transit bus – 1944–1945

After 1946 the Transit City bus was sold as the Universal Bus with the roof changed from fabric/wood to all-metal:

  • 79-B Universal transit bus – 1946–1947

Succeeding the Ford Transit Bus was the Ford 8M buses:

  • 8MB transit bus – with Wayne Works 1948–?

Following World War II and from 1950s onwards Ford lost out to General Motors. This led to the end of transit buses for Ford in North America.

  • B500 or B-series – 1950-1990s based on Ford F-series truck chassis used by school bus body manufacturers

In Europe, Ford manufactures the Ford Transit Minibus which is classed in Europe as a Passenger Carrying Vehicle and there are options of 12, 15 or 17 seaters. In the past European models included:

  • EM
  • N-138
  • D series buses (Australia)

Tractors

A Ford N series tractor

The “Henry Ford and Son Company” began making Fordson tractors in Henry’s hometown of Springwells (later part of Dearborn), Michigan from 1907 to 1928, from 1919 to 1932, at Cork, Ireland, and 1933–1964 at Dagenham, England, later transferred to Basildon. They were also produced in Leningrad beginning in 1924.

In 1986, Ford expanded its tractor business when it purchased the Sperry-New Holland skid-steer loader and hay baler, hay tools and implement company from Sperry Corporation and formed Ford-New Holland which bought out Versatile tractors in 1988. This company was bought by Fiat in 1993 and the name changed from Ford New Holland to New Holland. New Holland is now part of CNH Global.

Financial services

Ford offers automotive finance through Ford Motor Credit Company.

Automotive components

Ford’s FoMoCo parts division sells aftermarket parts under the Motorcraft brand name. It has spun off its parts division under the name Visteon.

Motorsport

Main article: Ford Racing

Along with Shelby and Chevrolet, Ford is one of only three American constructors to win titles on the international scene at the FIA World Championships. As a constructor, Ford won the World Sportscar Championship three times in 1966, 1967 and 1968, and theWorld Rally Championship three times in 1979, 2006 and 2007.

Stock car racing

NASCAR Ford Fusion race car

Ford is one of three manufacturers in NASCAR‘s three major series: Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series. Major teams include Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske, and Richard Petty Motorsports. Ford is represented by the mid-size Fusion in the Sprint Cup, the Mustang in the Nationwide Series, and by the F-150 in the Camping World Truck Series. Some of the most successful NASCAR Fords were the aerodynamic fastback Ford Torino, Ford Torino Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, and Mercury Montegos, and the aero-era Ford Thunderbirds. The Ford nameplate has won eight manufacturer’s championships in Sprint Cup, while Mercury has won one. In the Sprint Cup Series, Ford earned its 1,000th victory in the 2013 Quicken Loans 400. The Ford Fusion is also used in the ARCA Remax Series. Ford had last won a drivers’ championship in the Cup Series with Kurt Busch in 2004.

Formula One

Ford was heavily involved in Formula One for many years, and supplied engines to a large number of teams from 1967 until 2004. These engines were designed and manufactured by Cosworth, the racing division that was owned by Ford from 1998 to 2004. Ford-badged engines won 176 Grands Prix between 1967 and 2003 for teams such as Team Lotus and McLaren. Ford entered Formula One as a constructor in 2000 under the Jaguar Racing name, after buying the Stewart Grand Prix team which had been its primary ‘works’ team in the series since 1997. Jaguar achieved little success in Formula One, and after a turbulent five seasons, Ford withdrew from the category after the 2004 season, selling both Jaguar Racing (which became Red Bull Racing) and Cosworth (to Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven).

Rally

Main article: Ford World Rally Team

Ford has a long history in rallying and has been active in the World Rally Championship since the beginning of the world championship, the 1973 season. Ford took the 1979 manufacturers’ title with Hannu Mikkola, Björn Waldegård and Ari Vatanen driving the Ford Escort RS1800. In the Group B era, Ford achieved success with Ford RS200. Since the 1999 season, Ford has used various versions of the Ford Focus WRC to much success. In the 2006 season, BP-Ford World Rally Team secured Ford its second manufacturers’ title, with the Focus RS WRC 06 built by M-Sport and driven by “Flying FinnsMarcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen. Continuing with Grönholm and Hirvonen, Ford successfully defended the manufacturers’ world championship in the 2007 season. Ford is the only manufacturer to score in the points for 92 consecutive races; since the 2002 season opener Monte Carlo Rally.

Sports cars

Main article: Ford GT § Racing

Ford sports cars have been visible in the world of sports car racing since 1964. Most notably the GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in the 1960s and is the only American car to ever win overall at this prestigious event. Ford also won the 1968 International Championship for Makes with the GT40, which still stands today as one of the all-time greatest racing cars. Swiss team Matech GT Racing, in collaboration with Ford Racing, opened a new chapter with the Ford GT, winning the Teams title in the 2008 FIA GT3 European Championship.

Ford Mustang GT (racing GT car)

The Ford Mustang has arguably been Ford’s most successful sports car. Jerry Titus won the 1965 SCCA Pro B National Championship with a Mustang and the model went on to earn Ford the SCCA Trans-Am Championshiptitle in both 1966 and 1967. Ford won the Trans-Am Championship again in 1970 with Parnelli Jones and George Follmer driving Boss 302 Mustangs for Bud Moore Engineering. Ford took the 1985 and 1986 IMSA GTO Championship with Mustangs driven by John Jones and Scott Pruett before returning to Trans-Am glory with a championship in 1989 with Dorsey Schroeder. Ford dominated Trans-Am in the 1990s with Tommy Kendalwinning championships in 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1997 with Paul Gentilozzi adding yet another title in 1999. In 2005 the Ford Mustang FR500C took the championship in the Rolex Koni Challenge Series in its first year on the circuit. In 2007 Ford added a victory in the GT4 European Championship. 2008 was the first year of the Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup, a series which pits a full field of identical factory built Ford Mustang race cars against each other. Also in 2008, Ford won the manufacturers championship in the Koni Challenge Series and HyperSport drivers Joe Foster and Steve Maxwell won the drivers title in a Mustang GT.

Touring cars

Ford Performance Racing Ford Falcon V8 Supercar at Eastern Creek in Australia in 2008.

Ford has campaigned touring cars such as the Focus, Falcon, and Contour/Mondeo and the Sierra Cosworth in many different series throughout the years. Notably, Mondeo drivers finished 1,2,3 in the 2000 British Touring Car Championship and Falcon drivers placed 1,2,3 in the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship Series.

Other

In the Indianapolis 500, Ford powered IndyCars won 17 times between 1965 and 1996. Ford has also branched out into drifting with the introduction of the new model Mustang. Most noticeable is the Turquoise and Blue Falken Tires Mustang driven by Vaughn Gittin Jr, A.K.A. “JR” with 750 RWHP (Rear Wheel Horsepower). In drag racing, John Force Racing drivers John Force, Tony Pedregon, and Robert Hight have piloted Ford Mustang Funny Cars to several NHRA titles in recent seasons. Teammates Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III also drive Mustangs in Funny Car. Formula Ford, a formula for single-seater cars without wings and originally on road tires were conceived in 1966 in the UK as an entry-level formula for racing drivers. Many of today’s racing drivers started their car racing careers in this category.

Environmental initiatives

Compressed natural gas

The alternative fossil fuel vehicles, such as some versions of the Crown Victoria especially in fleet and taxi service, operate on compressed natural gas—or CNG. Some CNG vehicles have dual fuel tanks – one for gasoline, the other for CNG – the same engine can operate on either fuel via a selector switch.

Flexible fuel vehicles

The Ford Focus Flexifuel was the first E85 flexible fuel vehiclecommercially available in the European market.

Flexible fuel vehicles are designed to operate smoothly using a wide range of available ethanol fuel mixtures—from pure gasoline, to bioethanol-gasoline blends such as E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) or E100 (neathydrous ethanol) in Brazil. Part of the challenge of successful marketing alternative and flexible fuel vehicles in the U.S., is the general lack of establishment of sufficient fueling stations, which would be essential for these vehicles to be attractive to a wide range of consumers. Significant efforts to ramp up production and distribution of E85 fuels are underway and expanding. Current Ford E100 Flex sold in the Brazilian market are the Courier, Ford EcoSport, Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Ford Ka.

Electric drive vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles

Ford Escape plug-in hybrid test vehicle.

Mulally (second from left) with then-President George W. Bush at the Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo, Missouri on March 20, 2007,touting Ford’s new hybrid cars.

In 2004 Ford and Toyota agreed a patent sharing accord which granted Ford access to certain hybrid technology patented by Toyota; in exchange Ford licensed Toyota some of its own patents. In 2004 Ford introduced the Escape Hybrid. With this vehicle, Ford was third to the automotive market with a hybrid electric vehicle and the first hybrid electric SUV to market. This was also the first hybrid electric vehicle with a flexible fuel capability to run on E85. The Escape’s platform mate Mercury Mariner was also available with the hybrid-electric system in the 2006 model year—a full year ahead of schedule. The similar Mazda Tribute will also receive a hybrid-electric powertrain option, along with many other vehicles in the Ford vehicle line.

In 2005 Ford announced a goal to make 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but by mid-2006 announced that it would not meet that goal, due to excessively high costs and the lack of sufficient supplies of the hybrid-electric batteries and drivetrain system components.[92] Instead, Ford has committed to accelerating development of next-generation hybrid-electric power plants in Britain, in collaboration with Volvo. This engineering study is expected to yield more than 100 new hybrid-electric vehicle models and derivatives.

In September 2007 Ford announced a partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine how plug-in hybrids will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility’s electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated “in typical customer settings”, according to Ford.

On June 12, 2008 USDOE expanded its own fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles with the addition of a Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Flex-Fuel Vehicle. The vehicle is equipped with a 10-kilowatt (13 hp)lithium-ion battery supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles (48 km) at speeds of up to 40 mph (64 km/h). In March 2009 Ford launched hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Mercury Milan Hybrid in the United States, both as 2010 models.

As of November 2014, Ford has produced for retail sales the following hybrid electric vehicles: Ford Escape Hybrid (2004–2012), Mercury Mariner Hybrid (2005–2010), Mercury Milan Hybrid (2009–2010), Ford Fusion Hybrid(2009–present), Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (20010–present), Ford C-Max Hybrid (2012–present), and Ford Mondeo Hybrid (2014–present). By June 2012 Ford had sold 200,000 full hybrids in the US since 2004, and, as of September 2014, the carmaker has sold over 344 thousand hybrids in the United States. The top selling hybrids in the U.S. market are the Fusion Hybrid with 127,572 units, followed by Escape Hybrid with 117,997 units, and the C-Max Hybrid with 54,236. As of November 2014, Ford is the world’s second largest manufacturer of hybrids after Toyota Motor Corporation, with 400,000 hybrid electric vehicles produced since their introduction in 2004.

Plug-in electric vehicles

As of October 2014, Ford has produced the following plug-in electric vehicles: the all-electric Ford Ranger EV (1997–2002), Ford TH!NK (1999–2003), Transit Connect (2010–2012), and Ford Focus Electric (December 2011–present); and the plug-in hybrids C-MAX Energi (October 2012–present) and the Fusion Energi (February 2013–present). Since the launch of the Focus Electric in 2011, Ford has sold 35,391 plug-in electric passenger vehicles through September 2014.

The Azure Transit Connect Electricwas produced between 2010 and 2012 as a collaboration between Azure Dynamics and Ford Motor Company

Bill Ford was one of the first top industry executives to make regular use of a battery electric vehicle, a Ford Ranger EV, while the company contracted with the United States Postal Service to deliver electric postal vans based on the Ranger EV platform. Ford discontinued a line of electric Ranger pickup trucks and ordered them destroyed, though it reversed in January 2005, after environmentalist protest. The all-electric pickup truck leased 205 units to individuals and 1,500 units to fleets in the U.S. from 1998 to 2002.

From 2009 to 2011 Ford offered the Ford TH!NK car. Ford ended production and ordered all the cars repossessed and destroyed, even as many of the people leasing them begged to be able to buy the cars from Ford. After outcry from the lessees and activists in the US and Norway, Ford returned the cars to Norway for sale. A total of 440 units were leased in the U.S. from 1999 until 2003.

The Azure Transit Connect Electric was an all-electric van developed as a collaboration between Azure Dynamics and Ford Motor Company, but Azure was the official manufacturer of record. The Transit Connect Electric had an official US Environmental Protection Agency all-electric range of 56 mi (90 km). The EPA rated the combined city/highway fuel economy at 62 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (3.8 L/100 km equivalent). Deliveries for fleet customers in the U.S. and Canada began in December 2010. Production of the electric van was stopped in March 2012 as a result of Azure’s bankruptcy protection filing. Ford continues to provide servicing. Around 500 units were sold before Azure stopped production.

The Ford Fusion Energi is a plug-in hybrid and shares its powertrain with the Ford C-Max Energi.

The Ford Focus Electric is based on the next generation Focus internal combustion vehicle, converted to an all-electric propulsion system as a production electric car by Magna International, and retail sales began in the U.S. in December 2011. The Focus Electric has an EPA rated range of 76 mi (122 km) and a combined city/highway fuel economy of 105 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.2 L/100 km). Available also in Canada and several European countries, a total of 3,965 units have been sold in the U.S. through September 2014.

The Ford C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid released in the U.S. in October 2012. The C-Max Energi has an EPA rated all-electric range of 20 mi (32 km) and a combined city/highway fuel economy in all-electric mode at 88MPG-e (2.7 L/100 km). U.S. sales totaled 16,014 units through September 2014. Deliveries of the Ford Fusion Energi began in the United States in February 2013. The Fusion Energi has an all-electric range of 20 mi (32 km) and an equivalent fuel economy EPA rating of 88 MPG-e (2.7 L/100 km). A total of 15,412 units have been delivered in the U.S. through September 2014. Both Energi models share the same powertrain technology, and have the same EPA combined city/highway fuel economy in hybrid operation of 38 mpg-US (6.2 L/100 km; 46 mpg-imp).

Hydrogen

Ford also continues to study Fuel Cell-powered electric powertrains, and has demonstrated hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine technologies, as well as developing the next-generation hybrid-electric systems. Compared with conventional vehicles, hybrid vehicles and/or fuel cell vehicles decrease air pollution emissions as well as sound levels, with favorable impacts upon respiratory health and decrease of noise health effects.

Ford has launched the production of hydrogen-powered shuttle buses, using hydrogen instead of gasoline in a standard internal combustion engine, for use at airports and convention centers. At the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showcased a hydrogen fuel cell version of its Explorer SUV. The Fuel cell Explorer has a combined output of 174 hp (130 kW). It has a large hydrogen storage tank which is situated in the center of the car taking the original place of the conventional model’s automatic transmission. The centered position of the tank assists the vehicle reach a notable range of 350 miles (563 km), the farthest for a fuel cell vehicle so far. The fuel cell Explorer the first in a series of prototypes partly funded by the United States Department of Energyto expand efforts to determine the feasibility of hydrogen- powered vehicles. The fuel cell Explorer is one of several vehicles with green technology being featured at the L.A. show, including the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, PZEV emissions compliant Fusion and Focus models and a 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty outfitted with Ford’s clean diesel technology.

Increased fuel efficiency

Ford Motor Company announced it will accelerate its plans to produce more fuel-efficient cars, changing both its North American manufacturing plans and its lineup of vehicles available in the United States. In terms of North American manufacturing, the company will convert three existing truck and sport utility vehicle (SUV) plants for small car production, with the first conversion at its Michigan Truck Plant. In addition, Ford’s assembly plants near Mexico City, Mexico, and in Louisville, Kentucky, will convert from pickups and SUVs to small cars, including the Ford Fiesta, by 2011. Ford will also introduce to North America six of its European small vehicles, including two versions of the Ford Fiesta, by the end of 2012. And last but not least, Ford is stepping up its production of fuel-efficient “EcoBoost” V-6 and four-cylinder engines, while increasing its production of hybrid vehicles.

Ford of Europe developed the ECOnetic programme to address the market and legislative need for higher fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. As opposed to the hybrid engine technology used in competitor products such as the Toyota Prius, ECOnetic improves existing technology. Using lower consuming Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, and based on a combination of improved aerodynamics, lower resistance and improved efficiency, the Ford Fiesta is currently the lowest emitting mass-produced car in Europe, while the 2012 Ford Focus ECOnetic will have better fuel consumption than the Prius or the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion. ECOnetic is not presently planned to be sold in North American due to current perceived lower consumer demand.

Ford has challenged University teams to create a vehicle that is simple, durable, lightweight and come equipped with a base target price of only $7,000. The students from Aachen University created the “2015 Ford Model T“.

In 2000, under the leadership of the current Ford chairman, William Clay Ford, the Company announced a planned 25 percent improvement in the average mileage of its light truck fleet – including its popular SUVs – to be completed by the 2005 calendar year. In 2003, Ford announced that competitive market conditions and technological and cost challenges would prevent the company from achieving this goal.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have, however, listed Ford as the seventh-worst corporate producer of air pollution, primarily because of the manganese compounds, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and glycol ethers released from its casting, truck, and assembly plants. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has linked Ford to 54 Superfund toxic waste sites, twelve of which have been cleaned up and deleted from the list.

For the 2007 model year, Ford had thirteen U.S. models that achieve 30 miles per gallon or better (based on the highway fuel economy estimates of the EPA) and several of Ford’s vehicles were recognized in the EPA and Department of Energy Fuel Economy Guide for best-in-class fuel economy. Ford claimed to have eliminated nearly three million pounds of smog-forming emissions from their U.S. cars and light trucks over the 2004 to 2006 model years.

PC power management

On March 2010, Ford announced its PC power management system which it developed with NightWatchman software from 1E. The company is expected to save $1.2m on power cost and reduce carbon footprint by an estimated 16,000 to 25,000 metric tons annually when the system is fully implemented.

PC power management is being rolled out to all Ford computer users in US this month and it will be used in Ford operations around the world later in the year. Computers with this power profile enabled will monitor its usage patterns and decides when it can be turned off. PC user will be alerted of the approaching power down time and given the opportunity to delay it.

According to company reduction in carbon footprint and power cost will be achieved by developing ‘Power Profiles’ for every PC in the company.

Sponsorships

Ford sponsors numerous events and sports facilities around the US, most notably the Ford Center in downtown Evansville, Indiana, and Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

Ford has also been a major sponsor of the UEFA Champions League for over two decades and is also a longtime sponsor of the Sky media channel’s coverage of Premier League football. Senior Ford marketer Mark Jones explained in May 2013 the process behind the two sponsorship deals:

We start with a blank piece of paper and work out if the sponsorship still works for us and ask does it meet our objectives? We want to find a moment in time when people come together and have a collective experience and we achieve this through the sponsorships.

Sales numbers

Calendar Year US sales
1999 4,163,369
2000 4,202,820
2001 3,971,364
2002 3,623,709
2003 3,483,719
2004 3,331,676
2005 3,153,875
2006 2,901,090
2007 2,507,366
2008 1,988,376
2009 1,620,888
2010 1,935,462
2011 2,143,101
2012 2,250,165
2013 2,493,918
2014 2,480,942

See also

EDSEL Automobiles 1958-1960 Dearborn, Michigan, USA

1955 Edsel Concepts

1955 Edsel concepts

1959 Edsel Ornament

Edsel

Edsel
1958_Corsair_Daten

1958 Edsel Corsair
Overview
Manufacturer Edsel Division of Ford Motor Company
Production 1958–60
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Layout FR layout

The Edsel was an automobile marque that was planned, developed, and manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. With the Edsel, Ford had expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler and close the gap between itself and GM in the domestic American automotive market. But contrary to Ford’s internal plans and projections, the Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. The Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on the Edsel’s development, manufacturing and marketing. The very word “Edsel” became a popular symbol for failure.

History

Edsel
Division
Industry Automobile
Founded 1957
Defunct 1959
Headquarters Dearborn, Michigan, U.S
Products Full-size:
Citation, Corsair, Pacer,Ranger
Station wagon:
Bermuda, Villager, Roundup
Parent Ford Motor Company

In the early 1950s, the Ford Motor Company became a publicly traded corporation that was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family. The company was now able to sell cars according to current market trends following the sellers’ market of the postwar years. Ford’s new management compared the company’s roster of makes with that of General Motors, and concluded that Lincoln was competing not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile and Buick. Ford developed a plan to move Lincoln upmarket, with the Continental broken out as a separate make at the top of Ford’s product line, and to add a premium/intermediate vehicle to the intermediate slot vacated by Lincoln.

Marketing research and development for the new intermediate line had begun in 1955 under the code name “E car”, which stood for “experimental car.” Ford Motor Company eventually decided on the name “Edsel”, in honor of Edsel B. Ford, son of the company’s founder, Henry Ford (despite objections from Henry Ford II). The proposed vehicle marque would represent the stand-up of a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the LincolnMercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same bodies.

Ford later claimed to have performed more than adequate, if not superior, product development and market research work in the planning and design of the new vehicle. Particularly Ford assured its investors, and the Detroit automotive press, that the Edsel was not only a superior product (as compared to its Oldsmobile/Buick competition), but the details of its styling and specifications were the result of a sophisticated market analysis and research and development effort that would essentially guarantee its broad acceptance by the buying public when the car was introduced.

Its elegance,
its engines,
its exciting new features,
make other cars
seem ordinary
—Edsel advertisement, 1957

The Edsel was introduced amid considerable publicity on “E Day”—September 4, 1957. It was also promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show, on October 13, but the promotional effort was not enough to counter the adverse initial public reaction to the car’s styling and conventional build. For months, Ford had been telling the industry press that it “knew” (through its market research) that there would be great demand for the vehicle. Ford also insisted that, in the Edsel, it had built exactly the “entirely new kind of car” that Ford had been leading the buying public to expect through its pre-introduction publicity campaign for the car. In reality, however, the Edsel shared its engineering and bodywork with other Ford models, and the similarities were apparent once the vehicle was viewed firsthand.

The Edsel was to be sold through a newly formed division of the Ford Motor Company, as a companion to the Ford Division, Mercury Division, Lincoln Division and (newly formed but also short-lived) Continental Division. Each division had its own retail organization and dealer network. The free-standing Edsel Division existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsel sales and marketing operations were integrated into the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as M-E-L). Initially Edsel was sold through a new network of approximately 1,187 dealers. This briefly brought the total number of dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with Chrysler, which had 10,000 dealers, and General Motors, which had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, Ford of Britain, or Ford of Germany franchises to their dealerships with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed.

1958 Edsel Pacer 2-Door hardtop

A 1958 Edsel Pacer 2-Door hardtop

For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models: The larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation was offered in two-door and four-door hardtop and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair was available in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer was available as a two-door or four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, or two-door convertible. The Ranger was sold in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116-inch wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models.

The Edsel offered several innovative features, among which were its “rolling dome” speedometer, warning lights for such conditions as low oil level, parking brake engaged, and engine overheating, as well as its push-buttonTeletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel (a conventional column-shift automatic was also available at a reduced price). Other Edsel design innovations included ergonomically designed controls for the driver and self-adjusting brakes (which Edsel claimed as a first for the industry, even though Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade). The Edsel also offered such advanced safety features as seat belts (which were available at extra cost as optional equipment on many other makes) and child-proof rear door locks that could only be opened with the key.

Edsel Ranger interior, showing the Teletouch system and Rolling Dome speedometer.

Edsel Ranger interior, showing the Teletouch system and Rolling Dome speedometer.

Unlike Ford and Mercury, the Edsel Division never had any dedicated manufacturing plants. All Edsels were built in Ford or Mercury plants on a contract basis.

In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the United States; an additional 4,935 units were sold in Canada. Though below expectations, this nevertheless represented the second-largest launch for any new car brand to date, exceeded only by the Plymouth introduction in 1928.

For the 1959 model year, Edsel fielded only two series, the Ford-based Ranger and Corsair. The larger Mercury-based Edsels were discontinued. Replacing the Pacer as the top-line Ford-based Edsel, the new Corsair was offered as a two-door and four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger was sold as a two-door and four-door hardtop, two-door and four-door sedan, and the Villager station wagon. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 Edsels were sold in the U.S. An additional 2,505 units were sold in Canada.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel’s last, only 2,846 vehicles were produced. All but the pilot cars were assembled at the Louisville, Kentucky, assembly plant. The marque was reduced to the Ranger series of sedans, hardtops, and convertibles and the Villager station wagons. The Edsel shared a basic chassis, glass, and major sheet metal with the 1960 Ford Galaxie and Fairlane models that were built on the Louisville assembly line with it. But the Edsel had its own unique grille, hood, and four upright oblong taillights, along with its side sweep spears. The Edsel’s front and rear bumpers were also unique. The 1960 Edsel rode on a 120-inch wheelbase, compared to the concurrent Ford’s 119-inch span, and it also used a different rear suspension. The cars did, however, share engines and transmissions.

The 1960 Edsel Ranger four-door hardtop model used the thin-pillar Ford Fairlane four-door sedan roofline, as opposed to the “square” roofline used on the corresponding Ford four-door hardtop, which was exclusive to the Galaxie line. The Galaxie four-door hardtop’s rear door trim panel, however, was fitted to the Ranger. This gave the Edsel four-door hardtop a unique body style that was never offered on any 1960 Ford.

Edsel Citation

Edsel Citation
1958 Edsel Citation Convertible
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Model years 1958
Assembly Louisville Assembly Plant,Louisville, Kentucky
Somerville Assembly, Somerville, Massachusetts
Los Angeles Assembly, Pico Rivera, California
Ford River Rouge Complex,Dearborn, Michigan
Oakville Assembly, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
Related Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Voyager
Mercury Commuter
Edsel Corsair
Powertrain
Engine 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 124 in (3,150 mm)
Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Curb weight 4,300–4,500 lb (1,950–2,041 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Monterey
Successor Mercury Meteor

The Edsel Citation was the top of the line automobile produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958. The Citation was built on the longer, wider Edsel platform, shared with Mercury, and with the Corsair.

Citation was one of two Edsel model names later used by another auto manufacturer, Pacer being the other.

The Citation represented the highest trim level available within the Edsel brand. In addition to deluxe interior appointments, the Citation also received extra stainless steel details and a gold-anodized aluminum cove panel. The cove (or rear quarter-panel “scallop”) could be painted either the color of the body, the color of the roof, or a third color (tri-tone paint option). It used a ladder type frame with welded box side rails and independent ball-joint front suspension.

Riding on a 124 in (2997 mm) wheelbase with a 22° approach angle, the Citation was powered by the 345 bhp (257 kW) 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8 with four-barrel carburetor. Edsel’s Teletouch automatic transmission, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub, was standard. (This was a US$231 option on Ranger and Pacer models.) A basic heater (as a US$92 option) and radio (at US$95) were available, and air conditioning was optional as well (at US$460), plus an automatic truck opener, seat belts, and rear door safety lock that could only be opened with the key, preventing children from opening the door while the car is moving.

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford and for Ford’s corporate strategy for meeting General Motors’ product line for product line. Total Citation output in the U.S. and Canada for the model stood at 9,299 units, of which 930 were U.S.-built convertibles, 5,588 were four-door hardtops (5,112 in U.S. and 476 in Canada), and 2,781 were hardtop coupes (2,535 in U.S. and 246 in Canada). Prices ranged from US$3,500 to $3,766.

Production Figures
Body Style Units
2-Door Convertible 930
2-Door Hardtop Coupe 2,781
4-Door Hardtop Sedan 5,588
Total 9,299

For the 1959 model year, the Citation and the Pacer models were dropped (as was the trouble-prone Teletouch system) from Edsel’s model range for 1959, which was introduced in the fall of 1958.

The Citation convertible remains one of the most sought after models amongst modern-day Edsel collectors.

Different Platforms

The model year of the Edsel’s introduction was a post WW II high point of sorts for the Ford Motor Company. Three full-size platforms of distinctly different interior widths were in use each by Lincoln, Mercury and Ford, a situation that lasted until Ford received a much wider platform in 1960. Edsel shared both Mercury’s and Ford’s platform in 1958 and so offers an insight into their differing interior dimensions.

1958 Comparison Edsel Citation/Corsair Edsel Pacer/Ranger
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm) 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Overall Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm) 213.2 in (5,415 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm) 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Front Headroom 33.9 in (861 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm)
Front Legroom 44.2 in (1,123 mm) 43.1 in (1,095 mm)
Front Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.0 in (1,524 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.3 in (1,455 mm)
Rear Headroom 32.8 in (833 mm) 33.6 in (853 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 43.4 in (1,102 mm) 40.7 in (1,034 mm)
Rear Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.1 in (1,527 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.0 in (1,448 mm)

 Edsel Corsair

Edsel Corsair
1959 Edsel Corsair a
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1958-1959
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Monterey
Successor Mercury Meteor

The Edsel Corsair was an automobile produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division (M-E-L) of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958 and 1959. For 1958, the Corsair was built on the longer, wider Edsel platform shared with Mercury. For 1959, the Corsair shared the shorter, narrower Ranger platform with Ford.

1958

First generation
1958_Corsair_Daten
Overview
Model years 1958
Assembly Louisville Assembly Plant,Louisville, Kentucky
Somerville Assembly, Somerville, Massachusetts
Los Angeles Assembly, Pico Rivera, California
Ford River Rouge Complex,Dearborn, Michigan
Oakville Assembly, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
Related Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Voyager
Mercury Commuter
Edsel Citation
Powertrain
Engine 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
2-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm)
Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm)
Curb weight 4,300–4,400 lb (2,000–2,000 kg)

The Corsair represented the next-to-highest trim level available within the Edsel brand. It rode on Edsel’s 124 in (2997 mm) wheelbase. In addition to high-grade interior appointments, the Corsair also received additional stainless steel trim and deluxe wheel covers. Available either as a two-door or four-door hardtop, the Corsair, like the premium Citation, shared its roof lines with Mercury models, as well as internal body components. Body parts between the Corsair and Citation models could not be shared with either the Ranger or Pacer, which were built on the shorter, narrower Ford frames. A deep-dished safety steering wheel was standard.

Like the Citation, the Corsair was powered by the 345 bhp (257 kW) 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8 (with four-barrel {four choke} carburetor), and came equipped with Edsel’s Teletouch automatic as standard. (This was a US$231 option on Ranger and Pacer models.) Unlike other Ford models that used a column-mounted gear selector, Teletouch placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub where drivers were accustomed to finding the horn button. In emergency situations, damage to the transmission that might occur if the driver hit the Teletouch unit instead of the steering wheel’s horn ring was prevented by an electro-hydraulic switch activated by internal transmission fluid pressure. A basic heater (as a US$92 option) and radio (at US$95) were available, and air conditioning was optional as well (at US$460). Also optional was an automatic trunk release, a tachometer, an automatic lube system, seat belts, a padded dash board, warning lights for low oil level and parking brake on, plus rear door safety locks to prevent young kids from opening them while the car is moving.

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford and Ford’s corporate strategy for meeting General Motors‘ product line for product line. Total Corsair output for the model stood at 9,987 units, only slightly better than the Citation. Of these units, 3,632 were hardtop coupes (3,312 U.S. and 320 Canadian-built) and 6,355 were four-door hardtops (5,880 U.S. and 475 Canadian-built). Prices for the Corsair in 1958 ranged from US$3,311 to $3,390.

Production Figures for 1958 Edsel Corsair
Body Style Units
2-Door Hardtop 3,632
4-Door Hardtop 6,355
Total 9,987

Different Platforms

The model year of the Edsel’s introduction was a post WW II high point of sorts for the Ford Motor Company. Three full-size platforms of distinctly different interior widths were in use each by Lincoln, Mercury and Ford, a situation that lasted until Ford received a much wider platform in 1960. Edsel shared both Mercury’s and Ford’s platform in 1958 and so offers an insight into their differing interior dimensions.

1958 Comparison Edsel Citation/Corsair Edsel Pacer/Ranger
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm) 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Overall Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm) 213.2 in (5,415 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm) 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Front Headroom 33.9 in (861 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm)
Front Legroom 44.2 in (1,123 mm) 43.1 in (1,095 mm)
Front Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.0 in (1,524 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.3 in (1,455 mm)
Rear Headroom 32.8 in (833 mm) 33.6 in (853 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 43.4 in (1,102 mm) 40.7 in (1,034 mm)
Rear Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.1 in (1,527 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.0 in (1,448 mm)

1959

1959 Edsel Corsair

1959 Edsel Corsair coupe

Second generation
1959 Edsel Corsair coupe
Overview
Model years 1959
Assembly Allen Park, Michigan
Wayne, Michigan
Somerville, Massachusetts
Dearborn, Michigan
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door coupe
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Edsel Ranger
Edsel Villager
Ford Galaxie
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 332 cu in (5.4 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,048 mm)
Length 210.9 in (5,357 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Convertible: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)

The 1959 Edsels were introduced in the fall of 1958. However, for the 1959 model year, the Citation and Pacer models were dropped from Edsel’s model range for 1959, as was the trouble-prone Teletouch system.

The 1959 Edsel’s styling was significantly toned-down, as was the vertical grille assembly, which now featured a fine bar pattern. The Corsair now represented the premium Edsel model range, replacing the discontinued Citation. Unlike in 1958, the Corsair now shared its body panels with the Ranger – the two being differentiated by trim and options. The Corsair also gained a four-door sedan and convertible version.

The 1959 Corsair rode on a 120 in (3048 mm) wheelbase and the 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8 was standard in sedans, with either a two- or four-barrel carburetor as was a three-speed manual transmission. Replacing the Teletouch transmission was the Mile-O-Matic, a two-speed automatic, or Dual-Power Drive 3-speed automatic (only available with the 361). Heater, defroster, and radio remained optional, as well.

With total 1959 Corsair output at 9,318, the Corsair was discontinued. For 1959, 2,468 hardtop coupes (2,315 U.S./153 Canada), 1,812 four-door hardtops (1,694 U.S./118 Canada), 1,343 convertibles (all U.S.) and 3,695 four-door sedans (3,301 U.S./394 Canada), were produced; hardtop sales were down 31% in two-doors and 71% in four-doors against 1958. Prices ranged from US$2,812 to $3,072, down some 15% from the previous year.

Production Figures for 1959 Edsel Corsair
Body Style Units
2-Door Convertible 1,343
2-Door Hardtop Coupe 2,468
4-Door Hardtop 1,812
4-Door Sedan 3,694
Total 9,318

Edsel Pacer

Edsel Pacer
1958 Edsel pacer 1958 (2)
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Model years 1958
Assembly Edison, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
San Jose, California
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Edsel Ranger
Edsel Bermuda
Edsel Villager
Edsel Roundup
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Width 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
Curb weight 4,000–4,500 lb (1,814–2,041 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Fairlane
Successor Ford Galaxie

The Edsel Pacer is an automobile produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division (M-E-L) of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958. The Pacer was built off the shorter narrower Edsel platform, shared with Ford and the Ranger.

Pacer is one of two Edsel model names reused by manufacturers other than Ford, as was Citation. The Corsair, a 1958-only Edsel model, used a name previously applied to the Henry J by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation.

The Pacer represented a step up from the basic Ranger model. In addition to the Ranger’s base trim appoints, the Pacer received contoured seat backs, nylon upholstery cloth, color-keyed rubber floor mats, and extra stainless steel exterior and interior trim pieces and window moldings. A basic heater (as a US$92 option) and radio (at US$95) were available, and air conditioning was optional as well (at $417). A tachometer was optional.

All Pacers rode on Ford’s 118 in (2997 mm) wheelbase and shared the Ranger’s engine choices, with a 303 hp (226 kW) 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8 (with four-barrel carburetor)[6] as standard. (The 345 hp (257 kW) 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8, standard in the Corsair and Citation, was not available.) A three-speed manual transmission was also standard. Buyers also could upgrade to a three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column-mounted gear selector, or choose Edsel’s highly promoted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub, as a US$231 option.

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford and for Ford’s corporate strategy for meeting General Motors product line for product line. Total Pacer output in U.S. and Canada for the model stood at 20,988 units, of which 1,876 were U.S.-built convertibles, 7,141 four-door sedans (6,083 U.S./1,058 Canada), 6,717 hardtop coupes (6,139 U.S./578 Canada), and 5,254 four-door hardtops (4,959 U.S./295 Canada). Prices for the Pacer ranged from US$2,700 to $2,993. Despite being among the best selling 1958 Edsel models, the Pacer was discontinued at the end of the 1958 model year. The premium Citation model was also dropped, as was the trouble prone Teletouch system.

Production Figures for Edsel Pacer
Body Style Units
2-Door Convertible 1,876
2-Door Hardtop 6,717
4-Door Hardtop 5,254
4-Door Sedan 7,141
Total 20,988

Gallery

Different Platforms

The model year of the Edsel’s introduction was a post WW II high point of sorts for the Ford Motor Company. Three full-size platforms of distinctly different interior widths were in use each by Lincoln, Mercury and Ford, a situation that lasted until Ford received a much wider platform in 1960. Edsel shared both Mercury’s and Ford’s platform in 1958 and so offers an insight into their differing interior dimensions.

1958 Comparison Edsel Citation/Corsair Edsel Pacer/Ranger
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm) 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Overall Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm) 213.2 in (5,415 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm) 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Front Headroom 33.9 in (861 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm)
Front Legroom 44.2 in (1,123 mm) 43.1 in (1,095 mm)
Front Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.0 in (1,524 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.3 in (1,455 mm)
Rear Headroom 32.8 in (833 mm) 33.6 in (853 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 43.4 in (1,102 mm) 40.7 in (1,034 mm)
Rear Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.1 in (1,527 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.0 in (1,448 mm)

Edsel Ranger

Edsel Ranger
1959 Edsel Ranger 2door Hardtop front

1959 Edsel Ranger 2-Door Hardtop
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1957-1960
Assembly Edison, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
San Jose, California
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Fairlane

The Edsel Ranger is an automobile which was produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque in the 1958, 1959 and 1960 model years. It was built on the shorter, narrower Edsel platform, shared with Ford and Edsel Pacer models.

The Ranger was the base trim option for Edsel in its first and second years as an automotive marque. It was available in two-door coupes, four-door sedans, and two and four-door hardtops with a convertible also offer in 1960.

Ranger is one of two of Edsel’s model nameplates re-used by Ford, Villager being the other.

1958-1959

First generation
1958 Edsel Ranger 4-Door Sedan. The Ranger was produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company for the 1958, 1959 and 1960 model years.

1958 Edsel Ranger 4-Door Sedan
Overview
Model years 1958-1959
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Edsel Pacer
Edsel Bermuda
Edsel Villager
Edsel Roundup
Ford Galaxie
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 223 cu in (3.7 L) Mileage Maker I6
292 cu in (4.8 L) Ford Y-block V8
361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1958: 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
1959: 120.0 in (3,048 mm)
Length 213.2″(car), 205.5(wagon)
Width 1958: 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
1959: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Curb weight 3,700–4,000 lb (1,678–1,814 kg)

The Ranger’s base trim appointments included arm rests, a cigarette lighter, rear-view mirror, two coat hangers and black rubber floor mats. On the exterior, Rangers received chrome around the rear quarter panel cove molding. Two-tone paint was also optional. The main visual cue that makes it possible to tell the difference between most Rangers and the upmarket Pacer was the lack of stainless trim on the front doors and fenders. A very rare, optional, Ranger-only door trim was available from dealers early in the model year to be used together with the Pacer fender trim. A basic heater (as a US$92 option) and radio (at US$95) were available, and air conditioning was optional as well (at $417), along with seat belts, warning lights, automatic trunk opener, and child-proof rear door locks.

The Ranger rode on Ford’s 118 in (2997 mm) wheelbase (except the wagons, which used a 116 in (2946 mm) wheelbase) and a 303 hp (226 kW) 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8 with a four-barrel carburetor was standard, as was a three-speed manual transmission. Buyers could upgrade to a three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column mounted gear selector, or could choose Edsel’s highly promoted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub, as a US$231 option. (The 345 hp {257 kW} 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8, standard in the Corsair and Citation, was not available.)

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford and for Ford’s corporate strategy for meeting General Motors‘ product line for product line. Total U.S. and Canada Ranger output for the model stood at an estimated 21,301 units. Of those units, 4,615 were U.S.-built two-door Sedans, 7,414 were four-door sedans (6,576 U.S./838 Canada), 6,005 were two-door hardtops (5,546 U.S./459 Canada), and 3,667 were four-door hardtops (3,077 U.S./190 Canada). Prices ranged from US$2,529 to $2,990.

In regrouping for the coming model year, the best-selling Pacer and the premium Citation models were dropped for 1959, as was the trouble prone Teletouch transmission feature, which was replaced with the Mile-O-Matic.

For 1959, the Ranger and the new top-line Corsair both shared the same 120 in wheelbase. The frame was ladder-type. Styling for the cars became more conservative, with the horsecollar grille being replaced by a shield shape filled with rows of bars. Body styles for the Ranger remained at two-door sedans and four-door sedans, and two and four-door hardtop bodies. 7,778 two-door sedans (all U.S.-built), 14,063 four-door sedans (12,814 U.S./1,249 Canada), 5,966 hardtops (5,474 U.S./492 Canada), and 2,451 four-door hardtops (2,352 U.S./99 Canada)were produced for 1959 in the U.S. and Canada. Prices ranged from $2,629 to $2,756.

Production Figures
Body Style 1958 1959
2-Door Hardtop 6,005 5,966
2-Door Sedan 4,615 7,778
4-Door Hardtop 3,667 2,451
4-Door Sedan 7,414 14,063
Total 21,701 30,258

Different Platforms

The model year of the Edsel’s introduction was a post WW II high point of sorts for the Ford Motor Company. Three full-size platforms of distinctly different interior widths were in use each by Lincoln, Mercury and Ford, a situation that lasted until Ford received a much wider platform in 1960. Edsel shared both Mercury’s and Ford’s platform in 1958 and so offers an insight into their differing interior dimensions.

1958 Comparison Edsel Citation/Corsair Edsel Pacer/Ranger
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm) 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Overall Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm) 213.2 in (5,415 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm) 78.8 in (2,002 mm)
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm) 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Front Headroom 33.9 in (861 mm) 33.2 in (843 mm)
Front Legroom 44.2 in (1,123 mm) 43.1 in (1,095 mm)
Front Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.0 in (1,524 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.3 in (1,455 mm)
Rear Headroom 32.8 in (833 mm) 33.6 in (853 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 43.4 in (1,102 mm) 40.7 in (1,034 mm)
Rear Hip Room 63.5 in (1,613 mm) 60.1 in (1,527 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 59.7 in (1,516 mm) 57.0 in (1,448 mm)

1960

1960 Edsel Ranger sedan

1960 Edsel Ranger Convertible rear

Generation two
1960 Edsel Ranger Convertible rear
Overview
Model years 1960
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Edsel Villager
Ford Galaxie
Ford Fairlane
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 223 cu in (3.7 L) Mileage Maker I6
292 cu in (4.8 L) Ford Y-block V8
361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,048 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Curb weight 3,800–4,000 lb (1,724–1,814 kg)

Introduced on October 15, 1959, the 1960 Edsel Ranger was now the only car Edsel offered, while the Edsel Villager name applied to two station wagons, a six and a nine passenger model. The decision was made to eliminate not only the Corsair, but the vertical grille element as well. The new grille had an “hourglass” appearance. By this point, the 1960 model shared so many body panels and interior trim features with the Ford, that the defining characteristics that distinguished the Edsel from the Ford were its taillights, grille, signal/parking lights and trim at the front of the sides of the fenders, and of course, name badges. It came with a latter type frame and a 120″ wheelbase.

On November 19, 1959, Ford discontinued the Edsel marque and the final car rolled off the assembly line by the end of the month, so the 1960 model never reached its own model year. The car was effectively orphaned, since Ford stopped making parts for Edsels at that point. For its shortened and final model year, a total of 2,571 Rangers and 275 Villager units were produced (all in the U.S.), the rarest models being the convertible (76) and the 4-door 9-passenger Villager wagon (59, the rarest). The Villager is mentioned here so as to highlight the fact that the Ranger convertible was the second rarest of all Edsels produced. Original prices ranged from $2,643 to $3,000.

1960 Edsel Facts:

-Chief Stylist: Bud Kaufman -All 1960 Edsels were produced in the Louisville, KY manufacturing plant. (Although a few cars from the Allen Park, MI pilot plant are still in existence) -The 1960 Edsel introduced such innovations as horizontal coolant flow through the radiator to improve cooling, and placement of the muffler away from the passenger compartment to reduce heat. -Production of the 1960 Edsel began on September 14, 1959 -Introduction of the 1960 line was made on October 15, 1959 -The last official day of Edsel assembly was November 19, 1959 -Total Production for all 1960 Ranger models: 2,571 (2,846 including Villager wagons)

-With such a limited production run-time, the 1960 model included some of the rarest Edsel models of any of the three model years

Production Figures
Body Style Units
2-Door Convertible 76
2-Door Hardtop 295
2-Door Sedan 777
4-Door Hardtop 135
4-Door Sedan 1,288
Total 2,571

Counterfeit Convertibles

Because of the low production volumes in its three years, all Rangers are collectible; however, the 1960 Ranger convertible is frequently found as being counterfeit.

The process for converting a 1960 Ford Sunliner convertible into a 1960 Edsel model involves the simple swapping of trim parts and refashioning of the rear fenders, a simple task for those who have an Edsel parts car. Edsel enthusiasts are generally wary of 1960 Edsels that have been “found” or are offered at lower prices than the going rates. Buyers and enthusiasts can check the manufactures code to verify if the VIN matches Edsel production numbers for November 1959.

Edsel Bermuda

Edsel Bermuda
1958 Edsel Bermuda station wagon, 6 passenger model
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Model years 1958
Assembly Edison, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
San Jose, California
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door station wagon
Related Edsel Pacer
Edsel Ranger
Edsel Villager
Edsel Roundup
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116 in (2,946 mm)
Curb weight 4,100 lb (1,860 kg)

The Edsel Bermuda was a station wagon produced by the Edsel Division, and later Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958. Like the Edsel Villager and Edsel Roundup station wagons, the Bermuda was built on a 116-inch (2,946 mm) wheelbase shared with Ford’s station wagons, as well as core body stampings.

Overview

The Bermuda represented the highest trim level available within the Edsel brand for a station wagon, and was only available during Edsel’s introductory year of 1958. In addition to deluxe interior appointments, the Bermuda also was outfitted with simulated wood panels and frames, a hallmark of premium station wagon models produced by Ford and Mercury. The Bermuda came in six and nine-passenger configurations. To separate the Bermuda from Ford models, the Bermuda received Edsel’s front fascia and vertical grille assembly as well as unique boomerang-shaped taillights. The shape of the taillights posed a problem when used as turn indicators – the left hand taillight appeared as an arrow pointing right and vice versa from a distance.

All station wagons shared the Edsel Ranger’s engine availability with a 361 cu in (5.9 L) V8 as standard, as was a three-speed manual transmission. Buyers also had the option of a three-speed automatic transmissionwith a standard column-mounted gear selector, or could choose Edsel’s highly promoted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub.

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford. Total Bermuda station wagon was 2,235 units, of which 1,456 were six-passenger models with a base price of $3,155 and 779 were nine-passenger versions priced at $3,212. This made the nine-passenger Bermuda the rarest 1958 Edsel model.

For the 1959 model year, the Bermuda and Roundup station wagons were dropped (as was the trouble prone Teletouch system), leaving only the Villager as Edsel’s sole station wagon model.

Edsel Villager

1958 Edsel Villager 4-dr wagon

1958 Edsel Villiger rear

Edsel Villager
1959 Edsel Villager red
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1958-1960
Assembly Edison, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
San Jose, California
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door station wagon
Related Edsel Corsair
Edsel Pacer
Edsel Ranger
Edsel Bermuda
Edsel Roundup
Ford Galaxie
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1958-59: 116.0 in (2,946 mm)
1960: 120.0 in (3,048 mm)

The Edsel Villager was a station wagon produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque from 1958 to 1960. Like the two-door Edsel Roundup and premium Edsel Bermuda station wagons, the Villager was initially built on a 116 in wheelbase shared with Ford’s station wagons, and, throughout its lifespan, shared Ford’s wagons core body stampings. The Villager and the Ranger were the only two model names that existed throughout the Edsel’s three-year life span as an automobile marque.

The Villager represented the lower trim level available within the Edsel brand for station wagons, but differed from the two-door Roundup by being offered in six and nine passenger styles. The Villager was available in a four-door configuration only.

In terms of interior and exterior trim, the Villager had parity with the Edsel Ranger‘s interior and exterior appointments. Standard features included black rubber floor mats, ashtrays, cigar lighter, arm rests, chromed rear-view mirror and crank-operated rear windows. Like all other Edsel wagons, the Villager came with a two-piece tailgate. Seat belts were optional.

All 1958 station wagons shared the Ranger’s engine choices, with a 361 in³ V8 as standard. All wagons came with a three-speed manual transmission. Buyers also had the option of a three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column-mounted gear selector, or during the 1958 model year, they could choose Edsel’s highly touted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub.

1959 Edsel Villager rear 2

1959 Edsel Villager rear

To differentiate the wagons offered by Edsel from their Ford counterparts, they were fitted with Edsel’s front fascia and grille assembly. The wagons also received unique boomerang-shaped taillights for 1958. The shape of these taillights posed a problem when used as turn indicators – the left-hand taillight appeared as an arrow pointing right and vice versa from a distance. For 1959, the Villager received round dual taillights set in “beltline” level chrome pods. In 1960, the Villager used taillights similar to the Ranger of that year.

During its first year in production, Edsel sold more Villagers than Roundup and Bermuda station wagons combined. Despite overall declining Edsel sales in 1959, sales of the 1959 Villager (7,820 units) outpaced the combined three-model ranges of station wagon production in 1958 (6,470 units) by well over 1,000 vehicles.

For 1960, Villager output dropped, directly attributable to Edsel’s 43-day production cycle that began in mid-October 1959 and ended in late November 1959. The lowest production number for any Edsel model during its three years was the 1960 nine-passenger Villager station wagon, with just 59 units built.

The Villager name resurfaced at Mercury on a woodgrained Comet station wagon from 1962 to 1967, and subsequently on similarly trimmed wagons in other Mercury series, including the Montego (1970-1976), Bobcat (1975-1980), Cougar (1977 and 1982), Zephyr (1978-1981) and Lynx (1981-1984). From 1993 to 2002, the name was applied to Mercury’s version of the Nissan Quest minivan.

Production Figures for Edsel Villager
Body Style Units
1958 6-Passenger Station Wagon 2,054
1958 9-Passenger Station Wagon 1,735
1959 6-Passenger Station Wagon 5,687
1959 9-Passenger Station Wagon 2,133
1960 6-Passenger Station Wagon 216
1960 9-Passenger Station Wagon 59
Total 11,884

Edsel Roundup

Edsel Roundup
1958 Edsel Roundup
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1958
Assembly Edison, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Atlanta, Georgia
San Jose, California
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 2-door station wagon
Related Edsel Pacer
Edsel Ranger
Edsel Bermuda
Edsel Villager
Ford Fairlane
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 361 cu in (5.9 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116 in (2,946 mm)

The Edsel Roundup was a station wagon produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) Division of the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan, and sold through its Edsel marque in 1958. Like theEdsel Villager and Edsel Bermuda station wagons, the Bermuda was built on a 116-inch (2,946 mm) wheelbase[1] shared with Ford‘s station wagons, as well as core body stampings. It had an approach angle of 21° and an overall length of 205.42 inches.[2]

The Roundup represented the base trim level available within the Edsel brand for a station wagon, and was only available during Edsel’s introductory year of 1958. The Roundup was available only as a six-passenger two-door station wagon.[3] The Roundup came with black rubber flooring,[1] armrests, front and rear ashtrays, dome and courtesy lights and a white vinyl headliner. A split-back front seat was standard to allow access to the back seat. In place of roll-down rear windows, the Roundup used sliding windows.

To further separate the Roundup from the Ford Ranch Wagon on which it was based, the Roundup received Edsel’s front fascia and grille assembly as well as unique boomerang-shaped taillights. The shape of the taillights posed a problem when used as turn indicators – the left hand taillight appeared as an arrow pointing right and vice versa from a distance.

All station wagons shared the Edsel Ranger‘s engine availability, with a 361 cubic inch V8 as standard, as was a three-speed manual transmission. Buyers also had the option of a three-speed automatic transmissionwith a standard column-mounted gear selector, or could choose Edsel’s highly promoted but trouble-prone Teletouch automatic, which placed its drive-selection buttons in the steering wheel hub.

While its roll-out was highly publicized in the fall of 1957, the 1958 Edsel was a marketing disaster for Ford. Total output for the Roundup stood at 963 units. The low output number could be attributed to the declining popularity of two-door wagons in the American market and Edsel’s lack of consumer appeal.

For the 1959 model year, the Roundup and the premium Bermuda station wagons were dropped, leaving the mid-value Villager as Edsel’s sole station wagon model.

1958 Edsel Roundup (Front View)

1958 Edsel Roundup shows off its (in)famous “horse collar” grille

1958 Edsel Roundup 2 Door Station Wagon at the Scottsdale

1958-edsel-roundup-2-door-station

End of the Edsel

1960 Edsel Ranger sedan

1960 Edsel Ranger sedan

Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, production continued until late in November, with the final tally of 2,846 1960 models. Total Edsel sales were approximately 116,000, less than half the company’s projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million, or the equivalent of $2,800,000,000 in 2015 dollars, on the venture. Only 118,287 Edsels were built, including 7,440 produced in Ontario, Canada. By U.S. auto industry standards, these production figures were dismal, particularly when spread across a run of three model years.

On Friday, November 20, United Press International‘s (UPI) wire service reported that book values for used Edsels had declined by as much as $400 based on condition and age immediately following the Ford press release. In some newspaper markets, dealers scrambled to renegotiate newspaper advertising contracts involving the 1960 Edsel models, while others dropped the name from their dealerships’ advertising entirely. Ford issued a statement that it would distribute coupons to customers who purchased 1960 models (and carryover 1959 models) prior to the announcement, valued at $300 to $400 toward the purchase of new Ford products to offset the decreased values. The company also issued credits to dealers for stock unsold or received following the announcement.

Edsel and its failures

Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain the Edsel’s failure. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was the Edsel’s chief problem. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of the corporate culture’s failure to understand American consumers. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was “the wrong car at the wrong time.”

“The aim was right, but the target moved”

The Edsel is most notorious for being a marketing disaster. Indeed, the name “Edsel” became synonymous with the “real-life” commercial failure of the predicted “perfect” product or product idea. Similar ill-fated products have often been colloquially referred to as “Edsels”. Ford’s own Sierra model, which launched almost 25 years later, is often compared to the Edsel owing to early buyer apathy to its radical styling, even though, unlike the Edsel, it was ultimately a sales success. Since the Edsel program was such a debacle, it gave marketers a vivid illustration of how not to market a product. The principal reason the Edsel’s failure is so infamous is that Ford had absolutely no idea that the failure was going to happen until after the vehicles had been designed and built, the dealerships established and $400 million invested in the product’s development and launch. Incredibly, Ford had presumed to invest $400 million (well over $4.0 billion in the 21st century) in developing a new product line without attempting to determine whether such an investment would be wise or prudent.

The prerelease advertising campaign promoted the car as having “more YOU ideas”, and the teaser advertisements in magazines only revealed glimpses of the car through a highly blurred lens or wrapped in paper or under tarps. In fact, Ford had never “test marketed” the vehicle or its unique styling concepts with potential, “real” buyers prior to either the vehicle’s initial development decision or the vehicle’s shipments to its new dealerships. Edsels were shipped to the dealerships undercover and remained wrapped on the dealer lots.

The public also had difficulty understanding what the Edsel was, primarily because Ford made the mistake of pricing the Edsel within Mercury’s market price segment. Theoretically, the Edsel was conceived to fit into Ford’s marketing plans as the brand slotted in between Ford and Mercury. However, when the car debuted in 1958, its least expensive model—the Ranger—was priced within $73 of the most expensive and best-trimmed Ford sedan and $63 less than Mercury’s base Medalist model. In its mid-range pricing, Edsel’s Pacer and Corsair models were more expensive than their Mercury counterparts. Edsel’s top-of-the-line Citation four-door hardtop model was the only model priced to correctly compete with Mercury’s mid-range Montclair Turnpike Cruiser model, as illustrated in the chart below.

1958 Ford Motor Company Pricing (FOB) Structure
FORD EDSEL MERCURY LINCOLN
Continental $4,802–$4,927
Capri $4,803–$4,951
Premiere $4,334–$4,798
Park Lane $4,280–$4,405
Citation $3,500–$3,766 Montclair $3,236–$3,597
Corsair $3,311–$3,390
Pacer $2,700–$2,993 Monterey $2,652–$3,081
Fairlane 500 $2,410–$3,138 Ranger $2,484–$2,643 Medalist $2,547–$2,617
Fairlane $2,196–$2,407
Custom 300 $1,977–$2,119

Not only was the Edsel competing against its own sister divisions, but model for model, buyers did not understand what the car was supposed to be—a step above the Mercury, or a step below it.

After its introduction to the public, the Edsel did not live up to its preproduction publicity, even though it did offer many new features, such as self-adjusting rear brakes and automatic lubrication. While Ford’s market research had indicated that these and other features would make the “E” car attractive to them as car buyers, the Edsel’s selling prices exceeded what buyers were willing to pay. Upon seeing the price for a base model, many potential buyers simply left the dealerships. Other customers were frightened by the price for a fully equipped top-of-the-line model.

The wrong car at the wrong time

One of the external forces working against the Edsel was the onset of an economic recession in late 1957.

Compounding Edsel’s problems was the fact that the car had to compete with well-established nameplates from the Big Three, such as Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Dodge and DeSoto, as well as with its own internal sister division Mercury, which itself had never been a stellar sales success. To make matters still worse, as a new make, Edsel had no established brand loyalty with buyers, as its competing makes had.

Even if the 1957–1958 recession had not occurred, the Edsel would have been entering a shrinking marketplace. In the early 1950s, when the “E” car was in its earliest stages of development, Ford Executive Vice President Ernest R. Breech had successfully convinced Ford management that the medium-priced market segment offered great untapped opportunity. At the time, Breech’s assessment was basically correct; in 1955, Pontiac, Buick and Dodge had sold a combined two million units. But by the fall of 1957, when the Edsel was introduced, the market had changed drastically. Independent manufacturers in the medium-priced field were drifting toward insolvency. Hoping to reverse its losses, Packard acquired Studebaker, which was also in financial difficulty. The board decided to stop production under the venerable Packard badge after 1958. The 1957–58 Packards were little more than Studebakers badged as Packards. Attempting to capitalize on the emerging consumer interest in economy cars, American Motors shifted its focus to its compact Rambler models and discontinued its pre-merger brands, Nash and Hudson, after the 1957 model year. Chrysler saw sales of its DeSoto marque drop dramatically from its 1957 high by over 50% in 1958. When DeSoto sales failed to rebound during the 1959 model year, plans were made in Highland Park to discontinue the nameplate by 1961.

Indeed, sales for most car manufacturers, even those not introducing new models, were down. Among domestic makes, only Rambler and Lincoln produced more cars in 1958 than in 1957. Consumers started buying more fuel-efficient automobiles, particularly Volkswagen Beetles, which were selling at rates exceeding 50,000 a year in the U.S. from 1957 onward. Edsels were equipped with powerful engines and offered brisk acceleration, but they also required premium fuel, and their fuel economy, especially in city driving, was poor even by late-1950s standards.

Ford Motor Company had conducted the right marketing study, but it came up with the wrong product to fill the gap between Ford and Mercury. By 1958, consumers had become fascinated with economy cars, and a large car like the Edsel was seen as too expensive to buy and own. When Ford introduced the Falcon in 1960, it sold over 400,000 units in its first year. In a little-noted irony, Ford’s investment in expanded plant capacity and additional tooling for the Edsel helped make the company’s subsequent success with the Falcon possible.

By 1965, the market for medium-priced cars had recovered, and this time, Ford had the right car: The Galaxie 500 LTD. The LTD’s success led Chevrolet to introduce the Caprice as a mid-1965 upscale trim option on its top-of-the-line Impala four-door hardtop.

Edsel, a difficult name to place

The name of the car, Edsel, is also often cited as a further reason for its lack of popularity. Naming the vehicle after Edsel Ford was proposed early in its development. However, the Ford family strongly opposed its use. Henry Ford II declared that he did not want his father’s good name spinning around on thousands of hubcaps. Ford also ran internal studies to decide on a name, and even dispatched employees to stand outside movie theaters to poll audiences as to what their feelings were on several ideas. They reached no conclusions.

Ford retained the advertising firm Foote, Cone & Belding to come up with a name. When the agency issued its report, citing over 6,000 possibilities, Ford’s Ernest Breech commented that they had been hired to develop a name, not 6,000. Early favorites for the name brand included Citation, Corsair, Pacer, and Ranger, which were ultimately chosen for the vehicle’s series names.

David Wallace, manager of marketing research, and coworker Bob Young unofficially invited freethinker poet Marianne Moore for input and suggestions. Moore’s unorthodox contributions (among them “Utopian Turtletop”, “Pastelogram”, “Turcotinga” and “Mongoose Civique”) were meant to stir creative thought and were not officially authorized or contractual in nature.

At the behest of Ernest Breech, who was chairing a board meeting in the absence of Henry Ford II, the car was finally called “Edsel” in honor of Edsel Ford, former company president and son of Henry Ford.

Reliability

Even though the Edsel shared its basic technology with other Ford products, a number of issues caused reliability problems, mostly with the 1958 models. Reports of mechanical flaws with the cars surfaced, due primarily to lack of quality control and confusion of parts with other Ford models. Ford never dedicated a stand-alone factory solely to Edsel model production. The first-year (1958) Edsels were assembled in both Mercury and Ford factories. The longer-wheelbase models, Citation and Corsair, were produced alongside the Mercury products, while the shorter-wheelbase models, Pacer and Ranger, were produced alongside the Ford products. Workers assembling Fords and Mercurys often found the task of assembling the occasional Edsel that moved down the line burdensome, since it required them to change tools and parts bins, then switch back to resume assembling Fords or Mercurys after completing assembly on the Edsel. The workers were also expected to accommodate Edsel assembly with no adjustment in their hourly quota of Ford and Mercury production. Consequently, the desired quality control of the different Edsel models proved difficult to achieve, even when the Fords and Mercurys were satisfactorily assembled on the same lines. Many Edsels actually left the assembly lines unfinished. Uninstalled parts were placed in the trunks along with installation instructions for dealership mechanics, some of whom never installed the additional parts at all. Some dealers did not even receive all the parts.

In the March 1958 issue of Popular Mechanics, 16% of Edsel owners reported poor workmanship, with complaints ranging from faulty welding to power steering failure. In its test car, Popular Mechanics tested for these problems and noted others, such as the trunk leaking badly in a storm and the odometer showing fewer than actual miles traveled.

Design controversies

1958 Edsel Grille

The distinctive center grille of the 1958 Edsel

The Edsel’s most memorable design feature was its trademark “horsecollar” or toilet seat grille, which was quite distinct from other cars of the period. According to a popular joke at the time, the Edsel “resembled an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon”. Some have speculated that the car failed to sell because its grille resembled a vulva. A crude jest that referenced the genital resemblance of the Edsel front grille was ‘If you put some hair around it, you’d have an Ethel’.

The Edsel’s front-end ensemble as it eventually appeared bore little resemblance, if any, to the original concept. Roy Brown, the original chief designer on the Edsel project, had envisioned a slender, almost delicate opening in the center. Engineers, fearing engine cooling problems, vetoed the intended design, which led to the now-infamous “horsecollar.”

The vertical grille theme, while improved for the 1959 models, was discontinued for the 1960 models, which were similar to Ford models of the same year, although coincidentally, the new front-end design was very similar to that of the 1959 Pontiac.

The Teletouch pushbutton automatic transmission selector was an extremely complex feature. It proved problematic in part because the steering wheel hub, where the pushbuttons were located, was the traditional location of the horn button. Some drivers inadvertently shifted gears when they intended to sound the horn. While the Edsel was fast, the location of the transmission pushbuttons was not conducive to street racing. There were also jokes among stoplight drag racers about the buttons: D for Drag, L for Leap, and R for Race (instead of Drive, Low and Reverse). The control wires for Teletouch were also routed too close to the exhaust manifold, which often caused unpredictable movement of the selector mechanism and, in some cases, complete failure. The electrical design required drivers to shift from Park to Reverse to Neutral to Drive, in that order, to avoid overloading the Teletouch motor. The motor was also not powerful enough to bring the car out of Park while on a hill, so dealerships would instruct drivers to set the parking brake before pushing the Park button.

Complaints also surfaced about the taillights on 1958-model Edsel station wagons. The lenses were boomerang-shaped and placed in a reverse fashion. At a distance, they appeared as arrows pointed in the opposite direction of the turn being made. When the left turn signal flashed, its arrow shape pointed right, and vice versa. However, there was little that could be done to give the Ford-based station wagons a unique appearance from the rear, because corporate management had insisted that no sheetmetal could be changed. Only the taillights and trim could be touched. There was room for separate turn signals in addition to the boomerangs, but the U.S. industry had never supplied them up to that point, and they were probably never seriously considered.

Mechanics of the time were wary of the 410-cubic-inch Edsel “E-475” engine because its perfectly flat cylinder heads lacked distinct combustion chambers. The heads were set at an angle, with “roof” pistons forming both a squish zone on one side and a combustion chamber on the other. Combustion thus took place entirely within the cylinder bore. This design was similar to Chevrolet’s 348-cubic-inch “W” engine, which was also introduced in 1958. While the design reduced the cost of manufacture and may also have helped minimize carbon buildup, it was also unfamiliar to many mechanics.

Company politics and the role of Robert McNamara

An intriguing aspect of the Edsel story is that it provides a case study in how company politics can kill an idea. While the car and Ford’s planning of the car are the most often cited reasons for its failure, internal Ford Motor Company memoranda indicate that the Edsel may actually have been a victim of dissension within Ford’s management ranks.

Following World War II, Henry Ford II retained Robert McNamara as one of the “Whiz Kids” to help turn Ford around. McNamara’s cost-cutting and cost-containment skills helped Ford emerge from its near-collapse after the war. As a result, McNamara eventually amassed a considerable amount of power at Ford. McNamara was very much a throwback to Henry Ford in that, like the elder Ford, McNamara was committed to Ford to the almost total exclusion of the company’s other products. Thus, McNamara had little use for the Continental, Lincoln, Mercury and Edsel brand cars made by the company.

McNamara opposed the formation of the separate divisions for Continental, Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel cars, and moved to consolidate Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel into the M-E-L division. McNamara saw to it that the Continental program was canceled and that the model was merged into the Lincoln range for 1958. He next set his sights on Edsel by maneuvering for elimination of the dual wheelbases and separate bodies used in 1958. Instead, the Edsel would share the Ford platform and use Ford’s inner body structure for 1959. In 1960, the Edsel emerged as little more than a Ford with different trim. McNamara also moved to reduce Edsel’s advertising budget for 1959, and for 1960, he virtually eliminated it. The final blow came in the fall of 1959, when McNamara convinced Henry Ford II and the rest of Ford’s management that the Edsel was doomed and that it was time to end production before the Edsel bled the company dry. McNamara also attempted to discontinue the Lincoln nameplate, but that effort ended with Elwood Engel‘s now classic redesign of 1961. McNamara left Ford when he was named Secretary of Defense by President John F. Kennedy.

During the 1964 presidential election, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater blamed McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, for the Edsel’s failure. Eventually, Ford’s former executive vice president Ernest R. Breech, who was a financial contributor to Goldwater, wrote the Senator’s campaign, explaining that “Mr. McNamara… had nothing to do with the plans for the Edsel car or any part of the program.” However, the charge continued to be leveled against McNamara for years. During his time as head of the World Bank, McNamara instructed his public affairs officer to distribute copies of Breech’s letter to the press whenever the accusation was made.

The Edsel Comet

1960 Edsel Comet Prototype KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1960 edsel comet 1960 Edsel 1961 Comet Prototype from November 11th 1959

The plans for 1961 was starting with the new Edsel, the Comet, but Ford dicided to close Edsel and brought the new car as the:

Mercury Comet

Mercury Comet
1960 Comet 2-door sedan
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1960–1977
Assembly Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Claycomo, Missouri, United States
Lorain, Ohio, United States
Milpitas, California, United States
Wayne, Michigan, United States
Body and chassis
Class muscle (1960–1965, 1971–1977)
Mid-size (1966–1969)
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Falcon, Ford Maverick
Chronology
Successor Mercury Zephyr
Mercury Monarch

The Mercury Comet was an automobile produced by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company from 1960–1969 and 1971-1977 — variously as either a compact or an intermediate car.

The Comet was based on the compact Ford Falcon and later the Ford Maverick. As a Mercury, early Comets received better grade interior trim than concurrent Falcons, and a slightly longer wheelbase.

Relationship to the Edsel

The Comet was originally planned as an Edsel model. It was reassigned to Mercury dealerships after the demise of the Edsel marque, where it was marketed as a standalone product for 1960 and 1961 as the Comet.

Developed concurrently with the Ford Falcon, early pre-production photographs of the sedan show a car remarkably close to the Comet that emerged, but with a split grille following the pattern established by Edsel models. Early Ford styling mules for the station wagon model carried the Edsel name as well.

At their debut, the split grille was replaced by one more in keeping with Mercury’s design themes. However, the canted elliptical taillights, first seen on the Edsel prototype, were used and carried the “E” (Edsel) part number on them. While the short lived 1960 Edsels used elliptical shaped taillights, the lenses used on both cars differed in length and width. Certain other parts from the 1959 Edsel parts bin, including the parking lights and dashboard knobs, were used on the first-year Comet. Keys for the 1960 and 1961 Comets were shaped like Edsel keys, with the center bar of the “E” removed to form a “C”.

1960–1965

Overview

From 1960-1965, the Comet was based on the Ford Falcon platform (stretched 5 in (130 mm) for sedans, but not for wagons). The 1960-1963 Comets share a similar basic shape. These are sometimes referred to as the “round body” Comets. For 1962 and 1963, the Comet shared a considerable number of body and mechanical parts with the short-lived Mercury Meteor intermediate.

1960–1963

First generation
1960-1963 Mercury Comet 2 door Coupe.
Overview
Production 1960–1963
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door station wagon
Related Mercury Meteor
Powertrain
Engine 144 cu in (2.4 L) I6
170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
260 cu in (4.3 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
2-speed automatic
4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114 in (2,896 mm)
Length 194.5 in (4,940 mm)
1961-Mercury-Comet-08

1961 Comet 2-door wagon

Due to the demise of Edsel, the Comet was initially released without any divisional badging, only “Comet” badges. It was sold through Mercury dealers, but would not be branded as such for two more years.

Introduced in March 1960, initial body styles were 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans and 2- and 4-door station wagons. Two trim levels were available, standard and “Custom”, with the custom package including badging, additional chrome trim and all-vinyl interiors. In 1960, the only engine available was the 144 cid Thriftpower straight six with a single-barrel Holley carburetor which produced 90 hp (67 kW) at 4200 rpm. (Some sources list it as producing 85 hp (63 kW) at 4200 rpm.) Transmission options were a column-shifted 3-speed manual and a 2-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission (unique to the Comet, despite sharing a name with the Merc-O-Matic installed in other Mercurys).

Ford had purchased the name “Comet” from Comet Coach Company, a professional car manufacturer in which the term belonged to a line of funeral coaches, mainly Oldsmobiles. The coach company then was renamed Cotner-Bevington.

In Canada, for the 1960 model year, Mercury-Meteor dealers sold a compact car called the “Frontenac”. The Frontenac was considered a model in its own right and was badge-engineered version of the Ford Falcon with only minor trim differences to distinguish it from the Falcon. The Frontenac was produced for only one year. The Comet was introduced to the Canadian market for the 1961 model year and replaced the Frontenac as the compact offering by Mercury-Meteor dealers.

In response to complaints about the low performance of the 144 cid engine, a 170 cid straight-6 with a single-barrel Holley carburetor producing 101 hp (75 kW) at 4400 rpm was released for the 1961 model year. A new 4-speed manual transmission was also an option (a Dagenham without 1st gear synchromesh).

1963 Mercury Comet S-22 convertible

1963 Mercury Comet S-22 convertible

The optional S-22 package was released. Available only on the 2-door sedan, it was billed as a “sport” package, although it shared the same mechanicals as regular Comets, with the only changes being S-22 badging, bucket seats and a center console.

Comet was officially made a Mercury model for the 1962 model year, and it received some minor restyling, mainly a redesign of the trunk and taillight area to bring the car more in line with the Mercury look. This is the first year the car carried Mercury badging.

The S-22 had six bullet shaped tail lights, while regular Comets had four oval with 2 flat reverse lights. A Comet Villager station wagon, basically a Comet Custom 4-door station wagon with simulated woodgrain side panels, was added to the lineup. (The Villager name had previously been used to denote the 4-door steel-sided station wagon in the Edsel Ranger series.)

While the 1963 model looked almost identical to the earlier models, the chassis and suspension were redesigned to accommodate an optional 260 cid V8 engine using a 2-barrel carburetor and producing 164 hp (122 kW). Convertible and hardtop (pillarless) coupe models were added to the Comet Custom and Comet S-22 lines this year.

1964–1965

Second generation
1964 Mercury Comet
Overview
Production 1964–1965
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
200 cu in (3.3 L) I6
260 cu in (4.3 L) V8
289 cu in (4.7 L) V8
427 cu in (7.0 L)V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone Caliente

1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone

The 1964 Comet was redesigned with a much more square shape, though it was still built on the same unibody as the 1963 model. The front grille used styling similar to that of the Lincoln Continental. Along with the redesign, the model designations were changed. The performance version was known as the Cyclone, replacing the previous S-22. Then in descending order of trim levels were the Caliente, 404 and 202, replacing the previous Custom and base models. The 2-door station wagon bodystyle was discontinued. The top-of-the-line station wagon continued to be known as the Villager. The base 144 cid six engine was dropped and the 170 cid six became the new base engine. The 260 V8 was available at the beginning of the production run, with the new 289 being available mid-year.

For 1964, Ford produced about 50 ultra-high performance lightweight Comet Cyclones, equipped with their racing two-carburetor 427 engine, similar to their cousin, the Ford Thunderbolt. To avoid competing with each other, the Thunderbolts ran in Super Stock on 7-inch (180 mm) tires, but the Cyclones were modified to run in A/FX on 10-inch (250 mm) tires, where they were as dominant as the Thunderbolts were in Super Stock. Drivers included Ronnie Sox, Don Nicholson and Wild Bill Shrewsberry in conjunction with Jack Chrisman. Shrewsberry still owns his original 427 Comet in Caliente trim.

1965 Mercury Comet

1965 Mercury Comet

For 1965, the Comet received updated styling front and rear (including stacked headlights). The base 6-cylinder engine was increased from 170 cid to 200 cid. Still using a single-barrel carburetor, it produced 120 hp (89 kW) at 4400 rpm. The base 8-cylinder engine was increased from 260 to 289 cid and, using a 2-barrel carburetor, it produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 4400 rpm. The standard transmission continued as a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission. The optional automatic was changed to a “Merc-O-Matic” 3-speed automatic transmission (essentially a Ford C4 transmission). The 289 V8 was available in three horsepower ratings, base 2-barrel 200 hp, 4-barrel 225 hp (168 kW) and the premier driveline option was the 289 cubic inch, 271 hp (202 kW) high-performance engine and four-speed manual transmission found on the Ford Mustang.

1966–1969

1966–1967

Third generation
1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone
Overview
Production 1966–1967
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8

Beginning in 1966, the Comet grew from a compact to become a mid-sized car. It was now based on the same chassis as the Ford Fairlane intermediate (and the previous Mercury Meteor intermediate which was only offered in 1962-1963). These intermediate-sized cars used the same basic chassis as the original Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet compacts, but were stretched with longer wheelbases. The previous generation Comet shared its platform with the all-new Ford Mustang in 1964, and when the Comet graduated to the intermediate platform, the Mercury Cougar became the platform shared with the Mustang.

The Comet wagon would introduce a Dual-Action tailgate, able to both fold down or swing aside, an idea soon copied by all the major U.S. manufacturers.

1966 Mercury Cyclone GT

1966 Mercury Cyclone GT

The 1966 Comet received distinct outer body panels. The Comet Capri would replace the previous Comet 404 and the Comet Voyager 4-door station wagon would replace the previous Comet 404 station wagon. (The Voyager name had previously been used to designate a full-sized Mercury station wagon that was positioned between the baseCommuter and the top-of-the-line Colony Park station wagon models.) The Comet 202 4-door station wagon would be discontinued. The new top-of-the-line series was the Comet Cyclone GT.

New engines available in the Comet for 1966 included a 390 cid V8 engine with a 2-barrel carburetor producing 265 hp (198 kW) at 4400 rpm, a 390 cid V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor producing 275 hp (205 kW), and 390 cid V8 engine that produced 335 hp (250 kW). The 335 hp 390 cid V8 engine was standard on the Cyclone GT and optional on other models. The Cyclone GT when equipped with an automatic transmission was referred to as the Cyclone GTA.

A Cyclone GT convertible was the pace car for the 1966 Indianapolis 500.

Beginning with the 1967 model year, the Comet name was used only on the base Comet 202 model, available only in 2 or 4-door sedan body styles. Other models were now referred to by what had previously been their subseries names. Mercury’s mid-size line-up ranged from the basic Comet 202, through the Capri, Caliente, Cyclone, and Cyclone GT models, as well as steel-sidedVoyager and simulated wood paneled Villager station wagon models, which were comparable to the Capri.

1968–1969

Fourth generation
1968 Mercury Comet Sport Coupe
Overview
Production 1968–1969
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
289 cu in (4.7 L) V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) V8

In 1968, Mercury’s mid-sized models again received new sheet metal and handsome styling that resembled the full-sized Mercury models and shared their chassis and many parts with Ford’s mid-sized Fairlane and Torino models. The mid-sized base model was the Comet (Mercury dropped the 202 suffix) available only as a 2-door coupe. The Capri was replaced by the Montego, and the Caliente by the Montego MX. There was also a more luxurious Montego MX Brougham, basically an option package for the Montego MX. Top-of-the-line mid-sized models continued to use the Cyclone and Cyclone GT names.

A 302 cid V8 engine using a 2-barrel carburetor and generating 210 hp (160 kW) at 4600 rpm would replace the previous 289 cid V8 midway in the 1968 model year. For the 1969 model year, the grille was modified and the headlight surrounds were removed. The taillights were also slightly re-styled. There would be few changes to Mercury’s mid-sized lineup for the 1969 model year, the last year that the Comet name would grace a mid-sized model. A Comet 4-door sedan for 1969 was supposedly planned, but never offered. New top-of-the-line Cyclone Spoiler and Cyclone CJ models would join the lineup.

A 250 cid inline-6 using a single-barrel carburetor and generating 155 hp (116 kW) at 4000 rpm would replace the previous 200 cid 6 as standard. New engine options included a 302 cid V-8 engine using a 4-barrel carburetor and generating 220 hp (160 kW) at 4400 rpm (standard on the Cyclone), a 351 cid V-8 using a 4-barrel carburetor generating 290 hp (220 kW) at 5200 rpm (standard on the Cyclone Spoiler), and a 428 cid V-8 using a 4-barrel carburetor generating 335 hp (250 kW) at 5200 rpm (standard on the Cyclone CJ). These new V-8s replaced the previous 390 cid V-8s.

Still using the same basic chassis, 1970 models would receive dramatic new styling, but the base model would now be the Montego. Comet was no longer the base level intermediate. The Cyclone name would continue to be used through the 1971 model year.

1971–1977

Fifth generation
Mercury Comet 5.0 Coupe (Orange Julep)
Overview
Production 1971–1977
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
200 cu in (3.3 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
3-speed manual

For 1971, the Comet name was revived on Mercury’s version of the Ford Maverick compact. Sharing most of its sheet-metal with the Maverick, it used a different grille, taillights, and hood, as well as different badging. The taillight pods were shared with the 1970 and 1971 Montego and Cyclone models. Underneath it all was the same basic chassis that had originally been used for the Ford Falcon, the original Comet, and for the mid-sized Ford Fairlane, Mercury Meteor, and later Mercury Comets.

The base engine was the 170 cid inline-6 with a single-barrel carburetor producing 100 hp (75 kW) at 4200 rpm. Optional engines were the 200 cid inline-6 with a single-barrel carburetor producing 115 hp (86 kW) and a 302 cid V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor producing 210 hp (160 kW). Transmissions were either a 3-speed manual or 3-speed automatic with either column or floor-mounted shifters.

The Comet was available as 2- and 4-door sedans and in base (1971–1977), and “muscle carComet GT series (2-door sedan-only 1971-1975). The GT featured a blacked-out grille, dual body-side tape stripes, high-back bucket seats, wheel trim rings, dual racing mirrors, bright window frames, black instrument panel, deluxe door trim panels, and a simulated hood scoop.

In 1972 models, the base 170 cid six was rated at 82 hp (61 kW) at 4400 rpm, the 200 cid six at 91 hp (68 kW), and the 302 cid V8 at 138 hp (103 kW). A new engine option for 1972 was the 250 cid six with a single-barrel carburetor rated at 98 hp (73 kW).

For 1973 models, the base 170 cid six was dropped and the 200 cid six became the base engine. Horsepower ratings would fluctuate slightly up or down through the years the Comet would remain in production, but not by very much. A new, larger front bumper to meet federal standards was added to all models in 1973. A new Custom decor package featuring vinyl roof, body-colored wheel covers, wide vinyl-insert body-side moldings, vinyl bucket seats, luxury carpeting, and extra sound insulation was a popular option.

Changes for 1974 included even larger front bumpers and new larger rear bumpers to match. They added 2.5 in (64 mm) to the length of the 2-door model and 4 in (100 mm) to the length of the 4-door model.

Ford had originally planned to the replace the Comet and its Ford Maverick counterpart for the 1975 model year with updated and extensively redesigned models that would continue to use the Comet and Maverick names. Fairly late, though, they decided that the updated versions would be built alongside the original Maverick and the Comet that had originally been introduced for 1971. These would-be replacements, also using the same basic chassis as the Comet and Maverick, became the Mercury Monarch and the American Ford Granada, came with more standard and optional equipment than the Comet and Maverick, and were considered to be “luxury compacts,” a step up from the Comet and Maverick.

Although 1975 was the last year for the Mercury Comet GT, the GT features remained available in 1976 and 1977 with the “Sports Accent” option group.

The model was offered with comparatively few changes through the 1977 model year, and was then discontinued to make room for the new Mercury Zephyr for the 1978 model year.

Recent news

In July 2010, USA Today reported on a 91-year-old Florida woman, Rachel Veitch, who still drives her 1964 Comet Caliente daily. The car was purchased new in 1964, and Veitch had recently set a record by accumulating over 562,000 documented miles. Veitch said all her car needed was “TLC” (tender loving care) for it to last that long. She claimed she drove it once at 120 mph “just for a mile,” and had to have cruise control installed because she kept getting speeding tickets. On March 9, 2012, Rachel Veitch, then 93, applied the brakes on her beloved car for good, after she realized her eyesight was too weak to continue driving. The Caliente had 576,000 that day.

Mercury Cyclone

Main article: Mercury Cyclone

The Cyclone was a performance model of the Comet. It was built from 1964-1971.

1971 Mercury Cyclone

1971 Mercury Cyclone

History of the 1968-1970 Mercury CycloneThe Cyclone received Mercury’s biggest facelift in 1968, switching from 1967’s boxy, Fairlane-derived coupe body to the super-streamlined Torino-based fastback. Unfortunately, the Cyclone GT lost the 335-hp, 390-cdi V-8 as its standard engine, instead replaced by the 210-hp, 302-cid V-8. No matter, though, as the fastback was handsome and could be equipped with a 230-hp 302, 265- or 325-hp 390-cid V-8s, (briefly) a 390-hp version of the 427-cid V-8, or a 335-hp, 428-cid V-8.By 1969, the Mercury Cyclone formal hardtop had been canceled and the GT fastback was also available as a CJ model. That came with the 335-hp, 428-cid V-8 standard, a four-speed transmission, and a plain bench seat interior. At $3,207, the CJ was aimed at the Plymouth Road Runner, and a 435-hp version could run 0-60 in 6.1 seconds with a quarter-mile time of 13.9 seconds.The Mercury Cyclone Spoiler and the Ford Torino Talladega launched the NASCAR streamliner battle when Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500 in 1968 in a Woods Brothers Cyclone. Dodge produced the Daytona 500 and Ford retaliated with the Torino Talladega and Mercury Spoiler. Both were to have streamlined noses, but the Mercury launch was delayed until the mid-year Cyclone Spoiler II. Only 519 were sold, all with 351-cid V-8s instead of the bigger 428. A Dan Gurney special edition had a dark blue roof, striping, and a signature decal on the white lowers, while the Cale Yarborough edition was red and white like his Woods Brothers car, with a signature.Three Cyclone models were produced for 1970, all of which shared the Torino’s semi-fastback body, and all of which carried a four-part nose. The base car had a 360-hp, 429-cid V-8 and a four-speed transmission. Options included a 370-hp, 429-cid V-8 engine and a 375-hp, Super CJ 429-cid engine. There were also a few Boss 429s installed, though those cars are quite rare today. Meanwhile, the Cyclone GT was detuned to a 250-hp, 351-cid V-8 and the Spoiler packed a Ram-Air 370-hp, 429.The 1971 model year was the Cyclone’s last, as the muscle car wars wound down. With few changes from 1970, the Cyclone was absorbed into the Mercury Montego line, and only 444 Montego Cyclones were sold, along with 2,287 Cyclone GTs and 353 Cyclone Spoilers. Engine options ranged from the 210-hp, 302-cid V-8, all the way to the fire-breathing 370-hp, 429-cid Cobra-Jet V-8, to which a Ram-Air package could be added.Mercury Cyclones occupy an interesting niche in the muscle car world, along with Oldsmobile W-30s and Buick GSX Stage Is. The car is a fantastic expression of American muscle, albeit one from a mid-level, luxury-oriented nameplate. As a result, the Cyclone is mostly overshadowed by the Ford Mustang and Torino. The Cyclone’s sleeper status makes it a great value, and most cars remain within reach of any buyer. As with any muscle car of the era, the importance of documentation in terms of market price rises exponentially as the car’s horsepower ratings climb.

The scheduled 1960 Edsel Comet compact car was hastily rebranded as the Comet and assigned to Lincoln-Mercury dealerships as a stand-alone product. Based on the new-for-1960 Ford Falcon, the Comet was an instant success, selling more cars in its first year than all models of Edsel produced during that marque’s entire three-year run. Styling touches seen in the Comets sold to the public that allude to being part of the Edsel family of models included the instrument cluster, rear tailfins (though canted diagonally), and the taillight shape (the lens is visually similar to that used on the 1960 Edsel, and even retained the embossed “E” part code). The Comet’s keys were even shaped like Edsel keys, with the center bar removed from the “E” to form a “C.”

For 1962, Ford officially assigned the Comet to the Mercury brand. The Mercury name does not appear anywhere on the 1960 and 1961 models.

Today

More than half a century after its spectacular failure, the Edsel has become a highly collectible item among vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 10,000 Edsels survive and they are considered valuable collectors’ items. A mint-condition Edsel convertible from any of its three model years may sell for over $100,000.

While the design was considered “weird” or “too different” fifty years ago, many other car manufacturers (such as Pontiac, Jaguar, BMW, Subaru, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Saab) have employed similar vertical grilles successfully in their car designs. Many of the Edsel’s features, such as self-adjusting brakes, gear selection by steering wheel buttons, etc., which were considered “too impractical” in the late 1950s, are now standard features of sports cars.

Plastic scale models of all three Edsel years were produced by AMT, in its familiar 1/25 scale. Both promotional and kit versions were sold. These command premium prices today, especially the rare 1959 and 1960 models. The 1958 Pacer hardtop was re-issued as a totally new and much more detailed kit by AMT in the 1990s. The 1960 hardtop is also available as a resin kit from several resin model producers, but is typically priced close to the cost of an original kit. Yat Ming, a producer of diecast model cars, offered a nicely detailed 1958 Citation in 1/18 scale in both hardtop and convertible body styles. Yat Ming also produced a detailed 1/43 scale diecast of the Citation convertible in several color combinations. The Franklin Mint produced highly detailed 1/24 scale and 1/43 scale diecast models of the 1958 Citation convertible. The Danbury Mint produced a 1/24 scale diecast replica of the 1958 Bermuda station wagon, complete with accurately detailed wood trim.

NASCAR

Despite the Edsel’s lack of sales success, several of the cars were nevertheless raced in NASCAR‘s Grand National series in the late 1950s.

From now only Pictures

1955 Edsel Concepts 1957 Edsel 1958 Corsair Daten 1958 edsel ad 1958 Edsel Amblewagon ambulance station wagon 1958 Edsel ambu ad 1958 Edsel ambulance 1958 Edsel American 1958 Edsel beauty 1958 Edsel Bermuda 9 passenger wagon - 1 of 779 built 1958 Edsel Bermuda station wagon, 6 passenger model 1958 Edsel Car 1958 Edsel Citation Convertible 1958 Edsel Citation 1958 Edsel Citations convertible 1958 Edsel Convertible 1958 Edsel Corsair 1000 1958 Edsel Corsair Daten 1958 Edsel drawing 1958 Edsel Fire Chief's Wagon 1958 Edsel Fire Wagon 1958 Edsel fold out 2 1958 Edsel fold out 3 1958 Edsel fold out 4 1958 Edsel fold out 5 1958 Edsel fold out 1958 Edsel Grille 1958 Edsel Hearse in the Netherlands 1958 Edsel Memphisian Ambulance 1958 Edsel Pacer 2-door Hardtop front 1958 Edsel Pacer 2-Door hardtop 1958 Edsel pacer 1958 (2) 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible 1958 Edsel Pacer rear quarter wing 1958 Edsel Pacer rear 1958 Edsel Pacer 1958 Edsel Police cars ad 1958 Edsel Ranger 4-Door Sedan. The Ranger was produced by the former Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company for the 1958, 1959 and 1960 model years. 1958 Edsel Ranger 4-Door Sedan. 1958 Edsel Ranger interior, showing the Teletouch system and Rolling Dome speedometer. 1958 Edsel Ranger Sedan back 1958 EDSEL Ranger 1958 Edsel Red Cv ad 1958 Edsel Roundup (Front View) 1958 Edsel Roundup 2 Door Station Wagon at the Scottsdale 1958 Edsel Roundup 1958 Edsel V8 1958 Edsel Villager 4-dr wagon 1958 Edsel. William Clay Ford, Benson Ford and Henry Ford II 1958 Edsel 1958 Edsel 1958 edsel1 (1) 1958 edsel1 (1) 1958 edsel1 (2) 1958 edsel1 (2) 1958 edsel1 (3) KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1958 edsel1 (5) 1958 edsel1 (6) 1958 edsel1 (7) 1958 edsel1 (8) 1958 edsel1 (9) 1958 edsel1 (10) 1958 edsel1 (11) 1958 edsel1 (12) 1958 edsel1 (14) 1958 edsel1 (15) 1958 edsel1 (16) 1958 edsel1 (17) 1958 edsel1 (18) 1958 edsel1 (19) 1958 edsel1 (20) BYGONE 1958 Etiney edsel 1958 Ford Edsel Station Wagon, McCormicks Palm Springs Auction 53 1958 Ford Fairlane Edsel Pacer rectractable (not real convertible, this is probably Ford Fairlane rectratable, with edsel front parts, and seats) 1958 pair of Turquoise Edsels 1958 police cars edsels depot c 1958 Super Edsel ambulance 1958 Super Edsel Hearse 1958-Edsel-Ad-03 1958-Edsel-Amblewagon-BW-op 1959 Edsel (2) 1959 Edsel ambulance a 1959 Edsel Ambulance 1959 EDSEL AMBULANCE_2 1959 Edsel Corsair (2) 1959 Edsel Corsair 1959 Edsel Corsair a 1959 Edsel Corsair coupe 1959 Edsel Corsair Hardtop Coupe 1994 Front 1959 Edsel Corsair Hardtop Coupe Back 1959 Edsel Corsair 1959 Edsel Hearse ambuled 1959 Edsel Ornament 1959 Edsel Police Car a. 1959 Edsel Police car blue 1959 Edsel Police Car 1959 Edsel Ranger 2door Hardtop front 1959 Edsel Ranger 2door Hardtop tail 1959 Edsel Ranger 2-door profile 1959 Edsel Ranger 4-Door Hardtop 1959 Edsel Ranger engine bay 1959 Edsel Villager (2) 1959 Edsel Villager (3) 1959 Edsel Villager Ambulance 1959 edsel villager in psycho movie 1960 1959 Edsel Villager red 1959 Edsel Villager RF 1959 Edsel Villager 1959 Edsel 1959 'horsecollar' grille 1960 Comet 2-door sedan 1960 Edsel 02a 1960 Edsel 08 1960 Edsel Ad 1960 Edsel Comet Prototype KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1960 edsel comet 1960 Edsel convertible (2) 1960 Edsel Convertible