It’s time for another Abandoned story, with Edsel and 1960 as the theme. This was to be Ranger’s last outing and Edsel’s last year as an entity. The Ranger had an interesting journey during its short three-year stay and served as the Edsel’s entry-level car in 1958, its mid-level sedan in 1959, and finally as its only a sedan offering for 1960. Each of those years featured a different version of the Ranger as Ford desperately tried to save the Edsel brand after its disastrous 1958 debut. Although the Ranger was new in 1958 and heavily redesigned in 1959, it was all-new for 1960.
We covered the mechanical details of the 1960 Ranger in our last article when it shared a platform with the Ford Fairlane and the new Fairlane-based prestige Galaxie. A strong indicator that the Edsel was on its last leg was the new styling of the Ford Ranger. Unlike the 1958 and 1959, which sported the heavy-duty and regular Edsel styling, respectively, the 1960 was almost entirely devoid of Edsel-specific content.
Most notably, the unloved collar-shaped grille has disappeared from the front panel and has been replaced by a much more subdued split grille. It was divided into two sections by a curved chrome trim that joined the upper and lower chrome strips to outline the front clip. The quad headlights were retained from the previous year, but the grille pattern changed from horizontal slats to a vertically oriented egg crate look.
With the grille gone, there was no longer a need for a separate bumper. Instead, the Ranger used a standard Fairlane bumper. At the corner of the front fenders there were new rocket-like chrome parts that held the turn signals. The Edsel hood ornament reappeared at both corners, continuing the marker detail installed on the 1959 Ranger.
Revised parts meant that the front end of the Ranger was the same chrome as it was in 1959, but it didn’t have any special detailing. Edselness about it, apart from the necessary emblems and hood ornaments. The side profile of the Ranger was the same as that of the Fairlane, and included a single chrome strip that ran from the front wheel to the rear bumper.
It could be argued that the chrome trim was a unique feature of the Edsel, as it did not appear on its Ford siblings in exactly the same way; more on that in a moment. Aside from the chrome strip and Ranger badge, the Ranger’s side profile was devoid of any Edsel details. All the scalloping and two-coloring of the previous two years have disappeared.
From the rear, the 1960 Ranger was almost identical to the 1959 model. The Fairlane’s fin tapered to the corner of vertically oriented, egg-shaped stoplights that seemed to be located in the middle of nowhere. The rear fenders encompassed the trunk lid and featured quadrilateral bulges that grew stronger to outline the taillights.
The shape of the brake lights was mirrored in the reversing lights located further inward. A simple printed Edsel lettering appeared next to the Fairlane’s slightly redesigned chrome bumper. The rear of the Ranger was more plain than the Fairlane or Galaxie, which had a more rocket-shaped rear design. It had crescent-shaped taillights in twin (low trim) or quad (high trim) arrangements. Interestingly, the rear fender lip of the Ford models is curved inward and horizontal and looks more like an Edsel than a Ranger.
Inside, the 1960 Ranger lacked any of the personality of earlier versions. Gone was the special Edsel panel with the domed speedometer and unusual button configuration. In its place was a standard Fairlane dashboard.
To try and tell the difference, the Edsel had a spear-shaped surround around the instruments, while the Fairlane was a combination of circles and ovals. The Ranger also had a different lance shape on the door panels than the Fairlane. And that was all.
Looking at the Fairlane, Fairlane 500, Galaxie and Ranger, it’s clear how thinly Ford was slicing its ‘these are different models’ pie in 1960. The Ranger had about the same amount of trim as the Fairlane 500 and was a bit flashier than the base Fairlane, which often had dog wheel covers. All three had less trim than the Galaxie, which featured a chrome spear on the side that would have been out of place on a ’59 Edsel.
And all that model crowd neglected to mention was the upscale Mercury Monterey, which was bigger and better equipped than the Ranger and had a much nicer badge. Despite the above, and the fact that the Edsel was last year, Ford raised the price of the Ranger again. In 1960, the Ranger asked $2,640 to $2,999 (with a $26,743 to $30,379 adjustment), while the ’59 price ranged from $2,484 to $2,690 (with a $25,423 adjustment up to $27,531).
Comparing it to its Ford siblings, the 1960 Fairlane in four-door sedan form started at $2,424. -Club Sedan doors. The Galaxie Club sedan started at US$2,660 (US$26,945), while the Town Victoria sedan was US$2,900 (US$29,376) and the Starliner hardtop coupe was US$2,720 (US$27,553).
The most expensive Galaxie was the Sunliner convertible, which was asking $2,970 ($30,086). This glamorous and special car was still cheaper than the Edsel Ranger. Similarly, the two-door Mercury Monterey sedan cost $2,630 ($26,641) and the most expensive four-door hardtop sedan cost $2,850 ($28,870). The Monterey convertible was only slightly more expensive than the Ranger at $US3,075 ($31,149).
And with the new higher prices, the Edsel introduced a new advertising slogan, “New! Perfectly! Economically!” Even though the Ranger was still overpriced and featured less Edsel-specific content than ever before. The 1960 Ranger went into production on September 14, 1959, a month before the 1960 Edsel line was introduced (October 15). In total, the Rangers remained in production for just over two months: Edsel assembly ended on November 19, 1959, the day Ford announced the end of the Edsel marque.
Due to the incredibly short production run, only 2,571 Rangers were produced. Of this figure, the most common version was again the cheapest, four-door sedan. 1,288 of them were produced, and the second most popular was the two-door sedan (777 copies). The two-door hardtop, which was never very popular, sold 295 units, while the expensive four-door hardtop sold just 135 units. A very rare car, only 76 examples of the one-year Ranger convertible were produced.
However, today there is more than 76 Ranger convertibles, as many were faked and passed off as genuine. With only a change in trim and rear wing, it’s easy to convert a Ford Sunliner convertible into a Ranger convertible. Often the only way to know is to check the VIN for the correct serial number or measure the Edsel’s signature 120-inch wheelbase.
The Ranger was one of only two Edsel models to survive all three years of production, even though it was a rocky road. Next in this series is the two-year-old Corsair sedan. Before.
[Images: Ford, Seller]
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