• The Edsel is often regarded as a symbol of corporate failure.
  • It was named after Henry Ford’s son, Edsel B. Ford
  • Its distinctive feature was a vertical “horse collar” grille that was criticized and the brunt of jokes.
  • Too many problems in the first year of production contributed to its failure. 



The Edsel automobile was names after Henry Ford’s son, Edsel B. Ford.  It was the result of a marketing exercise by the Ford Motor Company to fill the price gap between the Ford and Mercury lines.  A separate Edsel division was established, although much of the original planning was done by Ford’s Special Products Division.  The Edsel was designed by Roy A. Brown and the style conformed to the automobile fashion of the day with a long, wide, low body that was lavishly decorated with chrome and liberally supplied with gadgets.

When they were introduced in September 1957, Edsels were available in the Ranger-Pacer series and the more expensive Corsair-Citation series like this one.  There was a wide selection of interior and exterior colors and two V-8 engine options were available.  The most distinctive feature of the Edsel was its vertical “horse collar” grille which became the source of many jokes.  Many believe the Edsel failed because of the odd grille.  But there were many reasons, including customer over-anticipation created by Ford’s promotion and advertising program, and many “bugs” in the first production cars.

Sales were very disappointing and Edsel production ceased on November 19, 1959.  A total of 102,737 Edsels were sold.  Quite unfairly, the Edsel has become the symbol of corporate failure.  They really weren’t all that bad.



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