60 Years Ago Ford Introduced the Edsel—Here’s What Its Original Ad Looked Like
A spring ad campaign announced “The Edsel is Coming” five months before the car’s release. Once unveiled, the vehicle got a lot of lookers; buyers, not so much.
Pictoria -Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo, Reminisce Extra Sixty years ago, the Ford Motor Co. introduced its ill-fated Edsel with all the suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Ads promised “a new vista of motoring pleasure, unlike any other car you’ve ever seen.” To heighten anticipation, the cars were hidden under tarps during transport, and showroom windows were papered over until “E Day.” It worked. People lined up to see the new Edsel when it was unveiled, on Sept. 4, 1957.
To keep showroom traffic flowing afterward, Ford launched a volley of newspaper ads, postcards and promotional fliers touting, “Road-check the big one, get a little one free.”
The giveaway featured gift boxes holding 1/25-scale promotional models, or promos, with durable plastic bodies, metal chassis and moving wheels. Here are some other examples of classic, vintage ads from back then.
What’s that Edsel Promo worth Today?
Reminisce Extra Edsel dealers used turquoise-and-white promos in the test-drive giveaway. Aluminum Model Toys Inc. (AMT), a toy manufacturer, made Edsel promos in a variety of factory colors for dealer use but switched up color combinations or treatments on cars sold in toy stores. (Do you have any of these antiques that could bring in some serious cash?)
- AMT built convertible and two-door hardtop promos for all three Edsel model years: 1958, 1959, and 1960.
- Today, the 1960 Edsel promos can run more than $100 apiece.
- An average-condition turquoise 1958 coupe, the most common, can garner $30–$35; other colors bring around $60.
- Promotional models in unusual colors can bring $300–$400.