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November 19, 1959 – Ford announces the end of Edsel

Too much money. Too much hype. Too much of the same old thing. Designed to ride alongside Mercury between Ford and its luxurious Lincoln line, Edsel debuted with high expectations on September 4, 1957. Despite all the glitz and glam, including an hour long TV special featuring mega celebrities of the era, the car failed to hit its mark. The press and the public were quick to shrug it off, many left gawking at its odd vertical grill.

Above: 1960 Edsel Ranger. By Fletcher6 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sharing numerous cosmetic and mechanical components with other Ford models, Edsels did little to stand out. Aside from their pillarific front end, that is. The 10 years of development and $250 million spent on planning, marketing, manufacturing and distribution did nothing for Ford but cause a financial fiasco. Facing a $350 million ($2.4 billion in 2019 dollars) loss, Ford announced the discontinuation of Edsel on this day in 1959. Interestingly enough, the bulletin came three years to the date of the official founding of Edsel. When production ceased at the end of November, 2,846 1960 models had already been built. In total, 118,297 Edsel cars left the factory between 1957 and 1959. 

1959 edsel
1959 Edsel Villager. By Greg Gjerdingen
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