The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… Edsel Ford

Henry Ford must have really HATED his son.

Firstly, the old bugger named him EDSEL. Does NO-ONE remember their childhood? You do NOT call a kid something that will get them BEATEN at school. Berk.

Of course, if the boy had any gumption, he would have told everyone his name was ED.

Then if pressed, he could have gone with the traditional Edward, or the more American Edwin – or even the classic Edmund.

Provided he had kept his driving license, passport and other official documents hidden, only his wife and a number of bureaucrats would ever have known his dark secret.

But even after the man prematurely DIED, his misfortune continued.

In 1957, with a HUGE blast of publicity, Ford named the company’s latest product after him – the FORD EDSEL…

Ford Edsel original

Now this COULD have been the man’s saving. After all, Enzo Ferrari named one of HIS models after HIS late son, Dino.

However, there were two major differences between Dino and Edsel.

Number one; Dino is a cool name. And two; the Dino Ferrari was a SWEETHEART of a car – a MAJOR popular and financial success.

While Edsel is a TOILET of a name – and the Ford model which bears it stands as The Greatest Automotive Disaster In History.

Even before it was launched, men claimed its radiator grill reminded them of a lady’s downstairs bits (although, having spent a lot of time down there myself, I don’t SEE it) and in matriarchal America, this scared the CRAP out of the vehicle’s potential customers…

Ford Edsel

Then came the launch itself. After the massive hype – which ANY car would have had trouble living up to – the design faults, unreliability and overpricing ensured that the car would forever be consigned to the CRAPPER.

“The Wrong Car At The Wrong Time” and “The Aim Was Right, But The Target Moved” were just two of the apologies offered up for its monumental failure.

But ironically, while that damn NAME is now a byword for commercial disaster, the remaining examples – both the cars themselves and the toys that accompanied it – can be worth a FORTUNE.

And it is not hard to see why…

Ford Edsel Pacer 1958

Oh yes, some of the sexier variants now fetch over a hundred GRAND.

And even the less glamorous examples are worth SOMETHING, given that less than ten thousand of them survive.

So maybe old Ed has had the last laugh after all.

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2 Responses to “Damien on… Edsel Ford”

  1. Love that last pic! Must have been a long distance tourer – no need for motels; just lay out a couple of sleeping bags in the boot ( Sorry! Trunk!) Bags of room.

    By the way I don’t know if you’re familiar with this site about weird Americana. If not, I think you’ll enjoy it: http://www.lileks.com/#everything

    Alfie

  2. I’ve travelled all over the Highlands of Scotland – and then Europe – sleeping in the back of an ESTATE, but I think inside the BOOT of a long car would freak me out. A bit too Eddie Munster for me (vintage reference there). Talking of long-booted, late Fifties American cars – I like those ones with the retractable hardtops that Ford made. The Edsel did not have one, but they were available on Fairlanes. Trouble was – the roof took up virtually ALL the space in the boot (trunk)!


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