1958 Edsel Pacer

The Edsel line of automobiles was intended to fill a price gap that existed among the existing Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln brands, and to help the Ford Motor Company gain additional market share over its General Motor and Chrysler Corporate rivals. GM's mid-market lineup, alone, collectively sold nearly two million cars in 1955. It shared bodies with Ford and Mercury, had unique front-end styling (albeit controversial), and had a similar price range to Mercury. Its existence was brief, lasting from 1958 to 1960.

Prior to its public launch on September 4th of 1957, the Edsel was the most eagerly anticipated and awaited new make of car in American history. Ford had established an entirely new sales and marketing organization built a new factory in Kentucky and signed up over 1,000 dealers in advance of production. The new car's arrival was hyped far and wide, including running Edsel ads on all four major television networks at the same time. By the time Ford's new Edsel Division came to life, it faced a shrinking market that would quickly seal its fate.

The 1950s automotive styling was an exercise and experimentation in flamboyant and daring designs highlighted by aircraft-inspired pods, tailfins, and jet-age-influenced elements. This experimentation was not limited or reserved to design alone, as some companies even tested whole new brands - Lincoln with the Continental, Chrysler with the Imperial, and Ford with the Edsel. The existence of all three was brief.

The Edsel was priced higher than Fords, and similar to the Mercury, with models consisting of the Ranger, Pacer, Corsair, Citation, and station wagons. A wide range of body styles was offered, including two- and four-door sedans, a hardtop coupe, a hardtop sedan, a station wagon, and a convertible. Prices ranged from $2,480 to $3,800.

The Ranger was the entry-level model available as a two-door sedan, sedan, hardtop coupe, and hardtop sedan. The Pacer used the same body as Rangers, with added trim, brightwork, and accouterments. Body styles included a sedan, hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan, and convertible. The Ranger, Pacer, and Station Wagons all used a 361 CID V8 with 303 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. This engine was an enlarged version of Ford's Y-block 352 CID V8 with painted block, heads, air cleaner, and valve covers. A three-speed manual transmission with column lever control was standard equipment for the Ranger, Pacers, and all station wagons.

The Ranger and Pacer had a 118-inch wheelbase platform, the Station Wagons rested on a 116-inch version, and the Corsair and Citation had a 124-inch wheelbase. The Corsair was available as a hardtop coupe priced at $3,310 and a hardtop sedan at $3,400. The Corsair and Citation shared many body and mechanical components with its 1958 Mercury siblings, and few with the Fords. The standard engine for the Corsair and Citation was a 410 cubic-inch V8 with 345 horsepower at 4,600 RPM. A three-speed automatic transmission with push-button Teletouch Drive was standard in both.

The Citation was the top-of-the-line Edsel, was similar to the Corsair, but with more standard features and brightwork. Prices ranged from $3,500 for the hardtop coupe to $3,760 for the convertible.

1958 Edsel Pacer
Both the hardtop coupe and four-door sedan of the Pacer were the most popular in the model lineup, with 6,139 of the coupe and 6,083 of the sedan produced. 1,876 examples were convertibles, priced at $3,760, and 4,959 were hardtop sedans - priced at $2,830. The Pacer produced accounted for approximately thirty percent of Edsels total 1958 production.

The Pacer sedans came standard with two ashtrays, a cigarette lighter, color-keyed rubber floor mats, four built-in armrests, two coat hooks, a one-third/two-thirds design front seat, and a white vinyl headliner. The rearview mirror was chromed, and Pacer nameplates could be found on the front fender. Another distinguishable feature was the slightly curved, fin-shaped molding on the doors and front fender sides.

Standard equipment in the Pacer convertibles included the four built-in armrests, rear armrest lights, courtesy lights under the instrument panel, chromed rearview mirror, cigarette lighter, and three ashtrays. The front seating configuration was the same as the sedans, as were the color-keyed rubber floor mats. The vinyl-coated convertible tops were available in coral, white, turquoise, or black colors. Interior options included white and black vinyl, white and turquoise vinyl, white and red vinyl, and white and coral vinyl.

The 361 CID V8 had hydraulic valve lifters, a four-barrel carburetor, and five main bearings. The 410 CID V8 was not available on the Pacer, however, the three-speed automatic transmission with a standard column-mounted gear selector was available. The trouble-prone Teletouch automatic was also offered for an additional $231 and had buttons in the center of the steering wheel. Other options included power brakes, power steering, power windows, Four-Way power seats, Dial-A-Temp heater and defroster, Push-button radio with manual antenna, electric clock, tinted glass, bumper guards, back-up lights, front seat belts, and windshield washer. The long list of options also included a compass, tri-color paint, an inside-outside thermometer, a tachometer, and a windshield washer.

by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2013

1958 Edsel Pacer Vehicle Profiles

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1958 Pacer
1958 Edsel Pacer Price Range: $2,698 - $3,765

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