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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 178

The white and turquoise Edsel convertible in the lead image is parked off to the left-hand side of an unidentified dealership in 1958 (the cars were only offered for sale at stand-alone Edsel sale agencies.)

The attention-getting poster in the side window offering an Edsel for fifty-eight dollars a month may appear to be inexpensive now, but that works out to five-hundred and eleven in 2018 dollars and the figure may have been for an entry-level model. The base price of one of these convertibles is reported to have been three-thousand eight-hundred and one dollars; both figures show that the cars were fairly expensive automobiles. Share with us what you know about this example.

As is the usual practice in this series, we ask our readers to tell us the year, make, and model of all of these vehicles along with anything else you find of interest in the photos. You can look back at all the earlier parts of this series here. The images are via This Was Americar.

  • A mid-1950s early evening view of the Lucky Strike Bingo parlor in located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • It appears junior preferred the little red import over the van?

  • A streamlined coupe pulling tear dropped shaped accommodations. 

62 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs Number 178

  1. I’m sure someone will comment, but the driveway picture is interesting for several reasons. First the license plates. F1942N on the van and F1942W on the little car. Special plates for some reason?
    Next the photo also seems to show that both vehicles are painted the identical color, even though one is a foreign car and the other a Chevrolet van. Colorized black and white photo or ?

    In any case, thanks for the interesting pictures. Always fun!

  2. In the 2nd photograph, in the lower right corner, is a four-door 1956 PONTIAC Star Chief Catalina; and in the same picture, parked at front door of the “LUCKY STRIKE CLUB,” is a 1955 BUICK Roadmaster sedan.

  3. One of my dream cars, top of the line Edsel Citation convertible, the wrap around plastic rear window was a good idea for visibility.
    Nice selection of mid-fifties autos in Vegas. I’d take the Plymouth wagon.
    I had a friend in high school who had a Dauphine in that same color, rode home with her from a few parties and still here to talk about it.

  4. The comment that said Edsels were sold only in stand alone dealerships confuse me a bit. A friend of my fathers bought a 1960 Edsel just before production was stopped. It was sold by a dealer that sold both Edsels and Mercurys .

    • Initially Ford’s dealer agreement did require that Edsels be sold in a separate facility. By 1960, the last year for the Edsel, Ford had waived that requirement. Dealers had so few sales that a separate facility was not financially viable.

    • George Dammann and James Wagner state in their book The Cars of Lincoln Mercury, page 302, the following regarding the 1958 Edsel. “Domestically, the Edsel was marketed by a separate dealer network (only 10-15% of the ‘first wave’ were dualed) and promoted with the assistance of an exclusive advertising agency – Foote, Cone and Belding.”

      In the chapter on 1959 models, page 316, they state, “The precipitous response of Ford management to the 1958 Edsel’s failure in the marketplace was the major M-E-L [Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln] Division story of 1959. Focusing on a complete product strategy changes [sic], it encompassed realignment of model offerings, substantial modifications in content and a phase-out of the essentially independent Edsel dealer network.”

    • At start, Edsels were only sold at stand alone dealers. Near the end, many dealers gave up their franchise and converted to another brand, while still selling off their Edsel inventory.

      • The 3 strikes against the Edsel and its dealers were: the styling, the economic recession of 1958, and the financial burden put on dealers to have a separate facility.

        • Strike 4: I remember at least two years of rumors and hype leading up to the Edsel introduction, all promising a completely new vehicle. When they finally arrived they were disappointing, just re-styled Fords and Mercurys. FoMoCo would probably have had more success importing their Monarchs and Meteors from Canada, or at least the Monarch if the Edsel was aimed at Oldsmobile and Buick.

    • I looked at a 1956 New Yorker a few years ago while driving through Oregon. It was for sale at about 5500 I think. Quite good shape in and out. I was surprised when I discovered that it had a gasoline fired heater.

  5. My Father was a car salesman at Arrow Pontiac in St. Paul Mn. in 1958. His base pay was $79.00/month plus commission, which he only received if he met a minimum sales quota. $58.00/month was a pretty hefty car payment for the average wage earner back then.

    • The monthly payment for my first new car, a $3200 Mustang II when I was in college, was $69…in 1974. So $58in 1958 was probably pretty good money, but remember the Edsel was a step above Ford/Chevy/Plymouth in pricing….even a base model.

    • The biggest fight my parents ever had was over a ’57 Pontiac Star Chief that my father bought new (under the influence of a few drinks my mother claimed). Their payment was $97 a month, an astronomical amount at that time.

        • I bought a new 1960 MGA a month after college graduation. I believe the price was around $2700. I traded a 1955 Ford for probably about $750. My 2 year loan monthly payment was $99. My new small town job was paying $475 per month. My apartment rent was $50 per month.

    • Hi Bob, the trailer is a 1947 (ish) Kampmaster. It was a bit different than modern teardrops, as the entire back opened up, the center next to the license plate folded down, a door popped up, and it was enclosed in canvas.

  6. Can’y help but think that the Ohioans are gambling (on that Renault Dauphine) as are the Nevadans in the casino. The owner of the travel trailer needs to paint it black and put wide whitewalls on it.

  7. 1st pic, I like the “trade-ins”, that may or may not have been on a new Edsel. Looks like a Merc, a DeSoto, a Ford and a Chrysler, all not too old. The Edsel , as pictured, was a sharp looking car. 2nd pic, I still say, the only car out of place, is the Plymouth wagon, hoping to drive back to Wisconsin in a new Caddy. 3rd pic, yeah, this guy got something for Maroon. The garage too. My old man had Renault Dauphines ( 2), it was the only European car he’d allow in his driveway ( he never cared for British cars), you know, Dubja Dubja 2, der, and he called them “Renultz’s”. If the Dauphine is a ’66 ( they changed very little in their 10 year run) this would be the last year for the Dauphine. I liked the car. It had everything the VW Bug didn’t. 4 doors, a real heater, conventional motor. Like all French cars, they were good cars. Last one, got to be a pass in the Rockies somewhere.

    • I wanted to add, if the 3rd pic is true to the era, this kids father undoubtedly felt the same way my old man did. The guy wanted a small car, and VW was hot ( no pun intended) and the Chevy van could have just as easily been a Type 2 VW, and the fact he chose the Renault over the VW ( Asian cars hadn’t hit the scene yet, although, it wouldn’t have mattered), tells me French cars were ok, but that’s it. I think my dad always felt bad for the French, seeing what they went through 1st hand.

  8. In addition, (oops. I meant this for my first post) the 58 for $58 would have been for a base model. When Lee Iacocca was a district manager for Ford in the Philadelphia Zone he came up with a plan for a new 56 Ford for $56 per month. Of course it was a base model. But, it was a huge success and it got noticed in Dearborn got Iacocca promoted. I’m sure this Edsel dealer was aware of the 56 for $56.

  9. The Ohio plates on the Corvan and Renault Dauphine are standard issue 1966 Ohio plates according to the relevant wiki article.

    I guess the teardrop coupe is an Oldsmobile?

  10. If you count the house, there are three shades of puce.
    I’ll be interested whether we settle on ’46 or ’47 for the Olds fastback at Yosemite.

    • I’d vote for ’47 based on the shape of the front portion of the chrome trim on the front fender. In ’46 that portion of the trim was a bit more of an oval shape.

    • Jim,

      You beat me to it, I was gonna say the kid was probably just happy the Renault was another color besides brown.

  11. I did a double take when I saw the third picture – that young guy looks just like me, back then. My wife agrees. Maybe there’s a twin out there. Great pictures, as always!

  12. The side styling on the first year Edsel closely follows the styling on the sides of the 1958 Pontiac which is an exaggerated version of the styling on the ’57. Surely I’m not the first person to notice the similarity. We have to wonder if the stylists in the engineering department at Ford were influenced by the Pontiac or if there was some intrigue with respect to the Ford designers who somehow got a peek at this landmark styling detail on their rival’s car.

  13. I hit the Premier Event of the 1958 EDSEL in Salt Lake City. Spot lights – music – food – chances on stuff . One thing that stands out in my mind is all the cars on the show room floor had colored tires that matched the color of the cars – REDS-BLUES-GREEN WHERE THE BLACK WOULD BE. Guessing this was done by the dealer. Didnt save the EDSEL.

  14. Does anyone know what year and model Edsel were used in the sculpture at the The Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi which features an Edsel crashing through a wall, intended to symbolically represent US military failure in the Vietnam War?

    • Hi Daniel, I had never heard of that, by looking at the images, it’s a ’58. That has to send a pretty powerful message living through the Edsel and Vietnam. I never put those 2 together, but I’m no artist.

    • 3 lugs! Wow. In 1964 a friend had one (don’t remember which year) that he was giving up on, and instead of his driving it to the junk dealer, I bought it for $25. Cardboard interior panels and all. Several times while shifting, I bent the shift lever – or the something under the floor shifted. After a few weeks of fooling around, I drove it to the junk dealer and got my $25 back.

    • More than enough for those skinny little tires. The bolt holding the pie plate hubcaps on is undone by the lug wrench as well and the only hole in the center of the wheel is the roughly 1/2” threaded one for that bolt. Tire shops were not happy when you brought those wheels in.

    • Ha! A French exclusive. Apparently, it worked. They sold 2,150,738 Dauphines worldwide, only a fraction of that in the US. Speaking of tires, do you know where the spare tire was located?
      Behind the panel where the front plate is.

  15. I have a 1959 Edsel convertible that gets a lot of attention where ever I go , a friend of mine bought it New from a Mercury Lincoln dealer. It is red with red and black interior, very nice car

  16. I was stationed in France in late 1964 and bought a French spec Renault. No sealed beam headlights and yellow bulbs. No bumper overriders. Speedometer in kilometers. My wife and I put many Ks on that car-saw alot of Europe that we would not have otherwise seen. A fellow Private and I went to Paris to get our wives and came home with 4 passengers and the ladies luggage. I still do not remember how we all fit.

  17. Looking at the Edsel convertible roof reminds me of the days when I was the Concours convenor for a vintage car club in South Africa. Every time a convertible came up for judging my colleagues would deduct points because the top had a fold or a crease or whatever else they could find that wasn’t just perfect. Now look at the Edsel top and you can see exactly what they looked like when they were brand new, so how could a judge deduct points when the top had the same problems when it was ex factory like that?

  18. The photo of the car pulling a travel trailer reminded me of a sight my wife and I saw about a month ago. We were travelling north on I-85 near Salisbury, N.C. when we were passed by a beautifully restored 1936 Plymouth sedan which was pulling a vintage Airstream trailer. Sadly we didn’t have our camera with us to take a picture. I’m assuming that the couple in the car were either going to or coming from a car show somewhere in North Carolina.

  19. Re: Edsel pic: at first glance (due to the reflections) the window poster appears to read ’58 FOSEL. A harbinger of what was to come? Scary stuff, eh?

  20. Had a friend that worked in Cheyenne with a guy that had a Renault back in the day. The Renault owner constantly bragged about the mileage so my friend started putting gas in the tank while the guy was gone. Got it up to over 100 mpg. Then he started taking gas out and the Renault owner was hot! Raised heck with the dealer about the poor mileage, demanded all kinds of attention. I don’t know if old Les ever told the Renault owner about the prank, but it was a good one.

  21. Edsel fature: I didn’t believe the dollar.conversion rate but checked and true. I clearly remember buying my used 56 Ford in 1958. The payment was 62 dollars and I was a boy of 14 delivering flowers and going to school. Granted I was living at home but no way I felt like I had the equivalent of a 500 dollar car payment (today’s dollars) at the time.

  22. My dad had one of those Renault’s, pronounced “Re-nalt”, not pronounced “Re – know” as they are today. We lived in the Boston area at the time and it was his commuter car. Sold the ’39 Plymouth. He bragged that since the defrosters never worked, he could use a hand held squeegy and reach all interior windows to do the task.

  23. I went to the Edsel premier night with my pal and his dad. We were really excited by all the hype; there were searchlights and the dealership seemed so futuristic (it was L.A. on Crenshaw, I think). At first I thought the transmission push buttons in the steering wheel hub looked cool, but they just seemed stupid once my pal’s dad cried out, “but it’s just a Ford!”

    My pal and I were really crestfallen once we realized we weren’t going home in a fancy new Edsel. Some guy in the crowd said, “hey look, they put a toilet seat on the front!” and my pal and I cracked up over that until we got home. Yeah, we were both eight.

    My pal’s dad bought a new Plymouth wagon a few days later and we got to ride home from the dealership in the “tail gunner’s seat with the tailgate window rolled down, which was neato and peachy-keen.

  24. I can’t look at the first picture without thinking of Katherine Turner’s line to her father’s new-car purchase in the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married:” [laughing] “You bought an EDSEL!!”

  25. Those 1966 Ohio license plates were issued in Trumbull County (Warren being the county seat). Chevy vans later made at the nearby GM Lordstown plant beginning in 1970.

  26. Re: purchasing a 1958 Edsel for $58.00 per month. I looked up a few things and did some calculations and this is what I found. NADA lists an Edsel Ranger, 2 door sedan with no options, with an MSRP of $2519.00. This is the lowest price Edsel I could find. Assuming a loan for 48 months at 4.5% (the internet stated 4.5% was the prime rate in 1958), your payment would be $57.44/month.

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