Luxo-cruiser 1959 Edsel Corsair convertible with low mileage

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Edsel
A set of fender skirts add to the Edsel's dramatic appearance

While the name Edsel has become synonymous with failure (of course, not in the case of esteemed Journal editor Larry Edsall) after Ford took a massive financial hit from the premium automobiles that barely sold from 1958 through 1960, there are some beauties to be found in today’s collector car market.

The Pick of the Day is one of them, a 1959 Edsel Corsair convertible in bright President Red with whitewalls and fender skirts, and which the seller claims has been driven just 20,480 miles since it rolled out of the factory.

Edsel
The ‘horse-collar’ grille is Edsel’s most-distinctive feature

Ford toned down the styling (slightly) of the 1959 Edsels following the shock and widespread criticism of the first-year models, which mostly focused on the “horse-collar” grille design that placed a large vertical, well, horse collar right in the center, extending down into the bumper and well above the hood line.

This was just too much even in the wildly exuberant late-50s era of over-the-top automotive styling, when chrome was king and towering tailfins ran rampant.  In those pre-social media days, it was up to the borscht-belt comedians to come up to such comparisons as a Ford sucking a lemon or a chrome-plated battering ram.

Edsel
The Convertible glistens with chrome trim

Yet the prevailing viewpoint has softened over the years as Edsels became somewhat rare collector’s items, originally among contrarians but now generally accepted.

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This Edsel is one of just 1,343 Corsair convertibles built for 1959, and it is equipped with the 361 cid Super Express V8 with 4-barrel carburetion, Dual Power Drive 3-speed automatic transmission and a 9-inch rear, according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the handsome ragtop on ClassicCars.com.

The low mileage is confirmed by the car’s Pennsylvania title, the dealer says, and its fine overall condition would seem to confirm it.  There’s no information in the ad about any restoration work or refurbishing, although the assumption would be that the Edsel is all-original.

Edsel
The Edsel is said to be a low-mileage survivor

The convertible is loaded with features, the body is straight and the paint and interior are in very good interior, the seller points out, and the car rides on new Coker tires. The only major faults are the non-working windshield wipers and fuel gauge, but those issues should not be deal breakers.

The Edsel looks fairly splendid in the gallery of photos with the ad, and seems like a fair deal at the asking price of $34,500.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

 

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Stunning in every detail! I wonder how many of the 1343 are left.

    Long, low and extravagant marked the end of the 1950s decade.

    • Not very many…as is with my 1959 Corsair 2 dr HT..only 2315 of those were made…and mine is a 3 owner with 18, 776 miles.. and in immaculate shape!!!!!!

  2. Beautiful car! I like the slightly more subdued styling of the ’59 Edsel over the truly outrageous 58 model. IT’s long, low, and wide; just as every other American automobile was in 1959.

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