On September 4, 1957 (also known as “E-Day”) Ford Motor Co. unveils the Edsel. Thirteen hundred Edsel dealers offered four models for sale: the larger Citation and Corsair and the smaller Pacer and Ranger.
For months, the company had been running ads that simply pictured the car’s hood ornament. Everything else about the car was top-secret and if dealers failed to keep their Edsels hidden, they would lose their franchise.
Car buyers found a car that had a distinctive look. The big “O” on the grill looked a person sucking a lemon and the tail lights looked like big eyebrows. Drivers had to change gears by pushing buttons on the steering wheel, a system that was not easy to figure out. Plus the Edsel line was priced more than comparable Ford models.
Probably no car could have lived up to the Edsel’s hype. In its first year, Edsel sold just 64,000 cars and lost $250 million ($2.5 billion today). After the 1960 model year, the company folded. The name “Edsel” has since become synonymous with failure.