Edsel Corsair

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Edsel Corsair
File:Edsel Corsair 1959.jpg
Manufacturer Edsel (Ford)
Production 1958-1959
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Predecessor Mercury Monterey
Successor Mercury Meteor

The Edsel Corsair is an automobile that was produced and sold by Edsel in 1958 and 1959. For 1958, the Corsair was built on the longer, wider Edsel platform shared with Mercury.[1] For 1959, the Corsair shared the shorter, narrower Ranger platform with Ford.


First generation
1958 Corsair Daten.jpg
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
Engine 410 cu in (6.7 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
2-speed automatic
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm)
Length 218.9 in (5,560 mm)[2]
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)[2]
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.[3] 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.[4]

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),[5] and came equipped with Edsel’s Teletouch automatic as standard. (This was a US$231 option on Ranger and Pacer models.)[5] 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).[5] Also optional was an automatic trunk release,[6] a tachometer,[7][8] an automatic lube system,[9] seat belts,[10] a padded dash board, warning lights for low oil level and parking brake on,[4][11] plus rear door safety locks to prevent young kids from opening them while the car is moving.[6]

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[12] 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)


File:'59 Edsel Corsair Coupe.jpg
1959 Edsel Corsair coupe
Second generation
File:1959 Corsair Daten.jpg
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
Engine 332 cu in (5.4 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,048 mm)[4][13]
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.[4]

The 1959 Edsel's styling was significantly toned-down, as was the vertical grille assembly, which now featured a fine bar pattern.[14] 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[15] 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).[16] Heater, defroster, and radio remained optional, as well.[15]

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.[17]

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


  • Bonsall, Thomas E. (2002). Disaster in Dearborn: The Story of the Edsel. Stamford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4654-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Duetsch, Jan (1976). The Edsel and Corporate Responsibility. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-01950-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gunnell, John, Editor (1987). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-096-3. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Heasley, Jerry (1977). The Production Figure Book For U.S. Cars. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-87938-042-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Triplett, Ty (1990). The Edsel Owner's Handbook, Second revision. International Edsel Club. n/a.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008.


  1. Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.888.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Sell-O-Graph". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Flory, p.892.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Flory, p.890.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Accessories". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Accessories". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Gunnell, John A. (ed.). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-027-0. line feed character in |publisher= at position 7 (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Accessories". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Accessories". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Directory Index: Edsel/1958_Edsel/1958_Edsel_Foldout". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Directory Index: Edsel/1959_Edsel/1959_Edsel_Prestige_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Willson, Quentin (1995). The Ultimate Classic Car Book. DK Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-7894-0159-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 15.0 15.1 Flory, p.970.
  15. Flory, pp.969 & 970.
  16. Flory, p.972.

External links