Thursday, September 4, 2008

"E" Day -- 51 Years Ago Today

The Edsel was introduced amidst considerable publicity on "E Day" - September 4, 1957. It was promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show on October 13, but it was not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car's styling and conventional build. For months Ford had been circulating rumours that led consumers to expect an entirely new kind of car when in reality the Edsel shared its bodywork with other Ford models.

For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models, including the larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. These included several innovative features, among which were its "rolling dome" speedometer and its Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel.

For the 1959 model year, there were only two Edsel models, the Ranger and the Corsair and only 47,396 were sold in the U.S. and Canada.

There is no single reason why the Edsel failed, and failed so spectacularly. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of corporate America’s failure to understand the nature of the American consumer. But most will agree that the main reason the Edsel's failure is so famous was that it flopped despite Ford’s investment of $400,000,000 in its development.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel's last, only the Ranger and Villager were produced. The 1960 Edsel, in its final model year, emerged as a Ford. Its grill, hood, and four taillights, along with its side sweep spears, were the only real differences separating the Edsel from the Ford.

Link: Lots of cool information about the Edsel on Wikipedia.


Major Pepperidge said...

I've always loved Edsels, and would kill to own one! Maybe I'm nuts, but the styling is AWESOME. Love that distinctive grill. I'll take the 4-door hard top in black with red.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

GREAT POST! I love Edsels TOO!!!

Hey, when I was camping a few weeks ago in the Sierra's, on the way up there, somewhere on Highway 168, there is a farm house with a 1958 Edsel Ranger 2 door hardtop. Completely original, right down to the green paint and gaudy interior.

She was calling to me; in fact it was a little too much like a scene from "Christine". The old man wants $2500, which isn't bad at all, it's got a little rust and a few dings (don't we all), but she fires right up and is ready to "Rock and Roll". Three speed column shift and a clutch pedal the size of a pancake! Ah the gold old days...

Viewliner Ltd. said...

The styling "IS" awesome Major.

The 1958 Edsel is one of 3 of my favorite cars. The others: 1953 Chevy Bel Air 2-door and the 1957 Ford Fairlane 2-door hard-top convertible. There are others, but these top the list.

Tim: Go get that car. $2500 for a running 2-door? Excellent price. Put another $5000 to $8000 in to it and you would have a show piece.

Dave said...

I've always wanted to see the famous Edsel show, back when celebrities unabashedly "did their part" for corporate America!

It's amazing the thing flopped. I agree they were very nice looking cars. I'm sure part of the huge loss was due to the fact that Ford set up a whole division for the Edsel, way beyond just introducing a new model.