Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1959 Edsel Ranger Hardtop

For the last car of the 1950s, take a look at the decade's biggest failure. Who really knows whether it was due to bad marketing, odd styling, confusing product lines and pricing, or just plain bad timing, but after its disappointing 1958 release, the newly minted brand lasted only (barely) into the 1960 model year. I happen to think the '59s are the least awkward looking, and still represent a good value in the classic car world today. Find this 1959 Edsel Ranger 2-door Hardtop survivor for sale in Concord, CA for $15,000 via craigslist. This post is part of DT's 2016 Birthday Celebration of 100 cars; enjoy the ride!

This Ranger was one of the lower priced Edsels for the year, but the real clincher here is the condition. The seller says this is original and unrestored. The photos leave a lot to the imagination, but this does appear to be a solid survivor. It likely has the standard 292 cubic inch (4.8L) "Ranger" V8, a low-compression, single carb MEL engine making 200hp at the flywheel (with all accessories removed, of course). This won't win you any trans-bay races across the Golden Gate Bridge, but can you think of a better conversation starter at a Marin county Whole Foods parking lot? That trunk would fit a whole year's supply of arugula and kale.

I find myself drawn to these cars, maybe in an instinct to save the poor underdogs. A Villager wagon would be the first choice but I wouldn't turn down a classy survivor like this. Apart from the "Oldsmobile sucking a lemon" grille, does the Edsel really look all that ridiculous compared to other late '50s designs? Certainly it's more restrained than the wild behemoths GM was pumping out, like the '58 Buick, '59 Chevy and Finalicious '59 Cadillac. Even stodgy old Chrysler made some wild stuff  at the hand of Virgil Exner ('57 - '59 Plymouths in particular). Cars wearing the Ford and cousin Edsel badges seem pretty tasteful in comparison, viewed through the lens of 57 years.

There's that beautiful face great personality! 

See a better misunderstood orphan? email us here:

CFlo is Daily Turismo's co-founder and Technical Editor. When he's not reading the news (HIS news) on the DT Radio Show, he's resuscitating a Volvo 240, turning a BMW E36 into a V8 powered Brougham LeMons racer, and restoring a Honda Motocompo. Daily drivers are a whole 'nother story.


  1. I could never figure out how the design team at Pontiac decided to emulate the Edsel with their '70 full sized cars. Peak horsepower year and they double down on the horse-collar grille. [image src="" width="400px"/]

    1. Wow, even uglier than an Edsel! I always forget about these.


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