Car enthusiasts the world over are mourning the death of Roy Brown, Jr - the designer of the Edsel. For years, the Edsel used to be synonymous with failure. But time has been kind to the Edsel, which has a greater historical appreciation now than ever before.
Brown had been a car designer for years before Ford put him in charge of a new project in the mid-50s: to design a car that was distinctive, less expensive than the competition, but higher-end than the existing Ford models. The resulting Edsel was panned by critics as ugly and overbearing, and Ford Motor Company made the mistake of designing its marketing of the Edsel based on out-dated consumer research that did not reflect the consumer tastes that were rapidly changing in the late 1950s. Ford only sold about half the Edsels they had hoped to before they stop making it in 1960.
Roy Brown Jr. did not let the failure get him down. He kept on designing cars for fifteen more years. He designed the Ford Cortina which was Great Britain's most popular car for the entire decade of the 1970s. To the end, Roy Brown Jr was a passionate advocate for the car that so many regarded as an icon or symbol of spectacular failure. It's nice to know that Roy lived to see the present day where classic car enthusiasts LOVE the Edsel, and a vintage 1958 or 1960 Edsel model would sell for $100,000 (yes, that's right).
This post was published on March 7, 2013 and was updated on November 19, 2013.