Big Brothers, Sisters raffle rare Edsel

By Melanie Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 31, 1996

Robert Henry Becker
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The sign reads: "You thought the Edsel wouldn't stick around, but here's a new one in town." Yesterday, you had the chance to win it for only five bucks if you bought a raffle ticket from one of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters coordinators dancing on the UA Mall in front of the Student Union. It's estimated that only 52 1960 Edsels are left in top running condition.


If you act fast, you could be the proud owner of a "Utopian Turtle Top," otherwise known as the Ford Edsel.

Big Brothers-Big Sisters is raffling the car at $5 a ticket to raise money for the organization.

Executives threw out the original Turtle Top name before introducing the car, deciding instead to honor the founder's son, Edsel, by naming it after him.

The vintage automobile was donated by Fred Bloom, whose friend Matthew Cornel, a Big Brothers volunteer, was killed in a drunk driving accident.

Bloom wanted to do something in memory of Cornel and continue his spirit of giving.

Through Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Bloom was able to do that, said Daniel Abt, owner of two Edsels which he exhibits at the Pink Motel, a store specializing in vintage videos.

The 1960 Edsel on display is one of 250 originally made, and one of 52 that are now in running condition. It has the original paint job and interior.

The car has been displayed at Ventana Canyon, Tucson Mall, The Pink Motel and, yesterday, the University of Arizona Mall. This weekend it will be on display at El Con mall.

The 6,000 raffle tickets will be sold through Feb. 14 when Cornel's mother will present the car to the winner at a sock hop sponsored by Holmes Tuttle Ford.

"The 1960 Edsel is a gorgeous car," Abt said. "Only about 2,000 Edsels were made. It's a unique find today."

"The Edsel was the biggest bomb in America's history of automobiles - nobody bought them," said Zack Herschberg, a former UA student checking out the red Edsel yesterday.

Despite the Edsel's financial failure, it has quite a history, Abt said.

According to one marketing textbook, the failure of the Edsel cost Ford Motor Co. $350 million and earned it the dubious award for the greatest marketing failure in history.