1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible Took Four Years to Restore, It's a One-Year Wonder

Introduced in 1958 to compete against Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Dodge, and DeSoto, the Edsel division was discontinued only three years later to become one of the biggest commercial flops of the American automobile industry.
1958 Edsel Pacer convertible 7 photos
Photo: Lou Costabile/YouTube
1958 Edsel Pacer convertible1958 Edsel Pacer convertible1958 Edsel Pacer convertible1958 Edsel Pacer convertible1958 Edsel Pacer convertible1958 Edsel Pacer convertible
Edsel failed for many reasons. Not only introduced during the recession of 1958, which affected sales of medium-priced cars, Edsels were also priced similarly to Mercury products, a move that left consumers confused. On top of that, Edsel's designs were considered unattractive.

The Edsel affair cost Ford a whopping $250 million, which converts to around $2.3 billion in 2022. But even though it failed to become more than a resounding flop, Edsel enjoys a small cult following in the 21st century. As a fan of defunct brands, I'm also fond of some of the company's cars. The Pacer is one of them.

On the market for only three years, Edsel sold only seven nameplates. The Ranger and the Villager were the longest-running, but the Corsair also survived for a couple of years. However, the four models that were introduced in 1958 were discontinued in 1959, leaving them as one-year wonders. The list includes the Citation, Pacer, Roundup, and Bermuda.

The Citation is arguably the most iconic of the four, while the Roundup wagon is the rarest, with fewer than 1,000 units built. The Pacer was notably more popular though, with Edsel moving almost 21,000 units. Granted, that's a low figure for a late-1950s full-size, but a lot for a company that sold 118,000 cars in three years.

The four-door sedan was the most popular at 7,141 units, while the two-door hardtop moved 6,717 examples. The four-door hardtop found 5,254 customers in 1958. Finally, the convertible was the rarest of the bunch, with only 1,876 produced. Come 2022 and many Pacer drop-tops are no longer around, having been abandoned in junkyards or forgotten in rotten barns.

But amazingly enough, we still have Edsel enthusiasts that save Pacers and restore them to original specifications. Fred Aherns is one of those guys and he owns what has to be one of the cleanest and coolest Pacer convertibles out there.

Finished in a lovely light yellow hue with black accents, this Pacer is one of the very few that was fitted with the optional Continental kit. The latter includes a rear bumper extension that holds a spare tire, a feature that was popular among customers who wanted more luggage room in the trunk.

Fred purchased the car in 2014 and it's one of more than 30 Edsels he owned throughout the years. Not exactly surprising given that he used to be the local President of the Edsel Club.

Not only restored to perfection inside and out (the process took four years!), but this Pacer also features its numbers-matching 361-cubic-inch (5.9-liter) V8. The only mill offered in the Pacer, the 361 generated 303 horsepower when new. Transmission options included both three-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

If you're a fan of unusual automobiles produced by car brands that are no longer around than this 1958 Pacer is a full-size you should definitely check out. And you can do it by hitting the play button below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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