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Old 02-06-2005, 06:28 AM   #1
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So what was so wrong about the Edsel?

Having heard the term 'failed worse than the Edsel' etc, what was it that made them the icon of failure?
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Old 02-06-2005, 06:44 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 02-06-2005, 11:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moostang104314
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.
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Old 02-07-2005, 04:51 PM   #4
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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...
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Old 02-07-2005, 05:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdeYe
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.







Quote:
In the early to mid-Fifties, the lower-medium price range automobiles were selling like hotcakes. Pontiac, Dodge and Buick combined were selling close to two million vehicles a year in this market. Ford, wanting to move Lincoln back into competition with Cadillac, thought they needed a new marque to compete with Pontiac and Dodge, while they positioned Mercury against Oldsmobile, Buick and DeSoto. So the Edsel idea was conceived.

Automotive development takes years, and unfortunately for Ford, in the three years it took to create the Edsel Motor Division and the Edsel cars, the American economy retracted. In 1958 unemployment was the highest it had been since 1941 and automotive sales were off by 31.4% from the previous year. The division goal was to sell 100,000 Edsels for model year 1958; just over 63,000 were built.

The controversial styling of the Edsel really wasn't that radical from other designs of the era. The vertical grille was an attempt at differentiating the car from everything else, and Packard had planned something similar for their 1957 models (but they were not making cars by that time).

In 1959, Edsel only sold 44,891 cars. Compacts and imports were taking market share from the traditional American automobiles. Ford decided to cut their losses with the Edsel, and develop the Falcon/Comet (The Comet was originally designed as an Edsel). Edsel joined DeSoto as the American upper-mid-priced marques discontinued in the early 1960's.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:23 AM   #6
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Looks like you could hold a decent party in the trunk of one of those things!

So it was really poor quality that finished them off followed a close second by the styling?
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Old 02-08-2005, 05:07 PM   #7
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Didn't it have bad mileage even for that time?
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Old 02-08-2005, 05:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ThirdeYe
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."
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisV
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
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