Conceived in the mid-Fifties in the USA by Ford, it was supposed to be a medium priced car with high price features.
Ford wanted distinctive styling, and they sure got what they asked for.
Roy Brown was the guy who drew the Edsel.
The shape he designed shouted out its difference, and when the covers were pulled off the full size mock-ups at Ford’s styling centre, Henry Ford II (“Hank the Duce” they called him) and his Board stood and applauded its uniqueness.
Launch date was set for September 4, 1957 — Ford called it E-Day!
Pre-release adverting was intense.
The public’s expectations were driven to extraordinary heights.
This was to be a revolutionary automobile, probably atomic-powered and very different to anything else, so alluded the marketing masterminds at Ford.
Come E-Day some 3 million Americans invaded Edsel dealers and then went home to watch the Edsel TV show hosted by Frank Sinatra.
And what did potential buyers see?
Well, they saw a car with curvaceous sculpting, jewel-like rear lights and two-tone pastel colours.
The interior boasted a push-button automatic transmission selector — get this — in the steering wheel hub and a rolling drum speedo.
And then there was the grille with its bold vertical design at a time when longer, lower, wider was the mantra.
Brown had originally intended a delicate narrow chrome strip for a grille, but engineers kept widening it to ensure engine cooling.
So what went wrong?
Folks expected something revolutionary.
What they got was a Ford with a new name and higher price.
“Wadda ya mean, I lined up for two hours to see a Ford?” was a common response.