Classic Cars

1958 Edsel Citation: The Rise and Fall of a Classic Car

The 1958 Edsel Citation was a car that promised to change the automotive industry. With its futuristic design, advanced features, and powerful engine, the Citation was intended to revolutionize the way people thought about cars. Unfortunately, the Edsel brand was short-lived, and the Citation is now remembered as a classic car that ultimately failed to live up to its potential.

The Birth of the Edsel Citation

The Edsel brand was launched in 1957 by Ford Motor Company, with the intention of creating a new line of cars that would bridge the gap between Ford and Mercury. The Edsel was named after Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford and a prominent figure in the automotive industry. The Citation was the top-of-the-line model of the Edsel lineup, and it was designed to compete with other luxury cars of the time, such as the Buick Roadmaster and the Chrysler New Yorker.

The development and design of the Citation was a massive undertaking, with Ford investing millions of dollars in research and development. The result was a car that featured many advanced features for its time, such as power steering, power brakes, and push-button automatic transmission. The Citation also had a unique, aerodynamic design that set it apart from other cars of the era.

The Launch of the Edsel Citation

The launch of the Edsel brand was highly anticipated, with a massive marketing campaign that included advertisements on TV, in newspapers, and even in comic books. The Citation was touted as the car of the future, and people were excited to see it in person.

Unfortunately, the launch of the Edsel brand was plagued with problems from the start. There were quality control issues with the cars, with many customers reporting problems with the engine and transmission. Additionally, the marketing campaign was criticized for being confusing and ineffective, with many people unsure of what the Edsel brand was supposed to represent.

Problems and Controversies

The problems with the Edsel brand continued throughout its short lifespan. Despite efforts to improve quality control and marketing, the brand never gained traction with the public. The recession of the late 1950s also had a significant impact on the automotive industry, with many people tightening their belts and opting for cheaper, more practical cars.

The Citation, in particular, suffered from a number of controversies. There were rumors that the car was cursed, with some people claiming that it was named after a suicide victim. There were also allegations that the car was designed to resemble a certain part of the female anatomy, which caused a scandal at the time.

The Demise of the Edsel Citation

Despite its advanced features and unique design, the Edsel brand was ultimately a failure. Production of the brand was discontinued in 1960, after only three years on the market. The Citation was one of the models that suffered the most, with only 2,128 units produced in its final year.

The legacy of the Edsel brand and the Citation in particular has been a subject of much debate and speculation. Some people argue that the Edsel was simply ahead of its time and that it would have been more successful if it had been released in a different era. Others point to the various missteps and controversies surrounding the brand and argue that its failure was inevitable.

The Collector’s Market for the Edsel Citation

Despite its failure as a mass-market car, the Edsel brand has developed a cult following among collectors and enthusiasts. The Citation in particular is highly sought-after, due to its rarity and unique design.

Restoring and preserving a vintage Edsel car can be a difficult and expensive process, but many people consider it to be a labor of love. The Edsel Owners Club, founded in 1969, is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of all Edsel cars, including the Citation.


The rise and fall of the Edsel brand and the Citation in particular is a fascinating story of ambition, innovation, and ultimately, disappointment. The Citation was a car that promised to change the world, but instead, it became a cautionary tale of the risks of innovation and the challenges of breaking into an established industry.

Despite its failure, the Citation remains a beloved classic car among collectors and enthusiasts. Its unique design and advanced features are a testament to the ambition and creativity of the Edsel brand, and a reminder of the power of innovation in the automotive industry.


  1. Why was the Edsel brand discontinued? Ford discontinued the Edsel brand in 1960 due to poor sales and a lack of profitability.
  2. What were some of the advanced features of the Edsel Citation? The Citation featured power steering, power brakes, and a push-button automatic transmission, among other advanced features.
  3. How many Edsel Citations were produced? Only 2,128 Edsel Citations were produced in the final year of production.
  4. Is the Edsel Citation considered a rare car? Yes, the Edsel Citation is considered a rare car due to its limited production and unique design.
  5. Can vintage Edsel cars still be found on the market today? Yes, vintage Edsel cars, including the Citation, can still be found on the market today, although they are relatively rare and expensive.

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