Wednesday 23rd September 1959
Production began on the 1959 Edsel. Original plans for the 1959 Edsel had been in place well before the 1958 model was introduced. As with the ’58s, Mercury would share the body style with the big series Edsels (Corsair & Citation), and a smaller series (Ranger, Pacer) would team up the Edsel with the 1959 Ford body. A decision was made in early 1958 to drop the big Edsels from the 1959 line, leaving Mercury to stand alone in the Ford stables with a mid-size car. The remaining Edsels were to be renamed – “Ranger” surviving as the standard version and “Corsair” taking the deluxe model spot that was to be the Pacer. With the disasterously low sales volume of the 1958 model, costs had to be slashed on the 1959 Edsel. In a series of money-saving measures, the Teletouch Drive transmission that was originally planned as an option on the 1959 Edsel, was eliminated. Unique design elements were cut, and the Edsel began to lose some of the features that made it distinct. Taillights from the 1958 Continental were used, the chassis was the same as the Fairlane, and the dashboard became almost identical to the Ford. Also, as a result of the public’s changing need for a more economical car, the available engine size for 1959 Edsels were significantly smaller than in the 1958 models. The powerful E-475 motor was eliminated, and the E-400 that was once standard was now a high-performance option. Styling was much more conservative this year as well. The large distinctive grille was reduced and incorporated into a more Ford-like horizontal configuration.None of the changes could turn the marque around, and sales dropped well below the 1958 model year total.