Thursday, July 15, 2010

Steve's Crap Car Of The Day

FORD EDSEL 1958-60

You can’t write about crap cars and not mention the Ford Edsel. That’d be like writing a piece on short-legged, small-‘tached, bulgy-eyed, fascist dictators of the 20th century and leaving out Adolf. Nope, no car in the history of the world has gotten as much bad press as the Ford Edsel.

There are a couple of reasons for the enormity of its crapness.

The main reason is that it’s a classic case of over-selling and under delivering. Prior to its launch, Ford sent out teaser campaigns affording only glimpses of the car and when it was finally delivered, new Edsels in the dealership showrooms were covered by a tarpaulin. The car was also named after founder Henry Ford’s son Edsel, further implying what a big deal this car must surely be.

In fact Ford hyped the Edsel up to such a degree that the Yanks were pretty much expecting a car that could fly, make one of them new-fangled cappuccinos, and park itself at night.

Imagine then their immense disappointment when they realized the car wasn’t much more than a boring old Mercury (Ford’s sibling company) in disguise.

It was then that the more celebrated reason for the Edsel’s demise began to gather momentum. Look at the grill… look sort of vaguely familiar? Yes, it is indeed a giant chrome vagina. Once the idea is planted in your mind, it’s tough to throw off isn’t it? Oh yeah.

And that, car fans, spelled the end of the Edsel. Ford only managed to shift 84 000 models, less than half their break even target. It’s estimated Ford lost about $350m ($1.5b in today’s money). Spare a though too for poor Edsel Ford – a man whose name would be forever be linked with a shiny chrome va-jay-jay.