Q: Did my scale model of a 1958 Edsel come from a Ford dealership?
Answer: It is likely a promotional model, sometimes presented as a gift by a dealership in return for a demonstration drive.
The scale versions of cars and trucks were also sold through parts departments. Sometimes models produced from the same molds were sold at toy stores.
According to information found online, promotional models were predominantly made in plastic in 1/25th scale.
Promotionals in the 1930s and 1940s were usually made of pot metal or aluminum. Injection plastic molding became available in 1949.
During their heyday from the 1950s to the early 1970s, promotional models were shown by salesmen to prospective customers. The models sometimes served as diversions for curious kids as the salesmen worked out a deal with their parents.
A gift certificate from the era gives details on the model:
ROAD-CHECK THE BIG ONE/GET A LITTLE ONE FREE!
This precision scale model Edsel is durable plastic with steel frame, movable wheels, rubber tires. Traction-drive. Comes in actual Edsel car colors and simulated chrome trim. Over-all length 8½ inches.
Present this gift certificate to your Edsel Dealer within 30 days
Regular $2 value!
Model manufacturers worked with automobile companies to make sure the pre-assembled models were properly detailed and proportioned. Promo models are as old as the real vehicle and are collectible, with rarity and condition determining their value.