Having heard the term 'failed worse than the Edsel' etc, what was it that made them the icon of failure?
Edsel was a branch of the Ford Motor Company that started in the mid-50's. The cars were a marketing nightmare because of their ugly styling and obesity. However, they were pretty powerful, the Ciatation was rated at 345 horspower. The muscle could not make up for the hideous, overweight body, and by 1960 Edsel was out of business. The low sales make the Edsel a difficult car to find these days, but it was on of the worst failures in automotive history, and a major icon of the 1950's.
Thats right. They were origonally made as a slightly nicer car for the average person, and Ford Motor Company did not want the car to have a Mercury badge, so they made a new branch called Edsel after the origonal Mr. Ford's son. The really werent very good cars, so few are still around today. :thumbs:
It got horrible gas mileage, was extraordinarily heavy, and it was still slow, regardless of the large engine size. It was also nearly the size of a tank...
Almost all cars of the era were that big. Fuel mileage was never an issue
in an era of 25 cent per gallon gas.
The original Edsels in '58 were rather unfortunate looking in the nose, though most of the car was relatively tame for the era. There were two Edsels in '58, one was built from the '58 Ford line, and the other was built from the '58 Mercury platform. The main problem was that they were really built poorly. In '59, the Ford based Edsel line was dropped. The '60 models were much better looking, but they already had a poor reputation. The '61 Mercury Comet was originally slated to be an Edsel, but with the demise of the division at the end of '60, it was moved over to Mercury.
Here's the '58 Ford based Edsel Bermuda:
Here's a '58 Mercury based Edsel Corsair:
Here's the '59 Edsel (already a bit different looking)
And here is the '60 Edsel.
Looks like you could hold a decent party in the trunk of one of those
So it was really poor quality that finished them off followed a close second by the styling?
Didn't it have bad mileage even for that time?
No. it was about average.
"Edsels were on par with their mid-priced brethren among Fifties American vehicles in performance, so that didn't do the brand in. More than anything Edsel seemed star-crossed. When Ford paid big bucks to pre-empt The Ed Sullivan Show with a one-hour special called The Edsel Show, ratings were huge, but as Frank Sinatra tried to open a shiny Edsel's huge front door on the show the handle came off in his hand. Sadly, it wasn't a fluke. The Edsel program had been thrown together very rapidly and the build quality of the early Edsels was often abysmal. It is said that factory workers, confused by the complications of building Fords, Edsels and Mercurys on the same assembly lines, frequently left parts off the Edsels or didn't attach them properly.
The other star-crossed aspect of the Edsel was its timing to market. It was planned while the American auto industry and the mid-sized segment was booming, but by the time the cars got into the hastily arranged Edsel dealerships the nation was in a deep recession. Middle-priced brands took a huge hit in the '58 model year. Mercury tumbled 48 percent; Buick was down 33 percent; Dodge was off 47 percent and De Soto dipped 54 percent. So sales of the new brand "stiffed." Instead of 200,000 new Edsels, Ford only peddled 63,110."
That's a very fine summary of what went wrong with the Edsel ChrisV. I
couldn't have said it better myself. From an old Edsel owner.
Here's me with my 58 Pacer in the late 70's