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21 October 2011 / leggypeggy

The Royal Edsel

In case you've never seen an Edsel—here's a royal one.

Remember the Edsel? Of course, you don’t. You’re too young to remember the Edsel. But I remember the Edsel.

It was one of the Ford Motor Company’s biggest failures—probably its biggest. And the core of the problem was not the car, but the marketing.

The car first came off the production line in 1958 and was meant to complement the upmarket Mercury. The early models weren’t completely reliable, but that was soon overcome. A recession hit the US in 1957, which made it hard for the car to compete with other established names in its class. Some studies showed that consumers associated the name (after Henry Ford’s son) with the word weasel.

Only 118,000 Edsels were ever built and one of them survives in the garage at the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos. It was a cherished possession of Crown Prince Savang Vatthana.

I’m guessing that Ford gave it to the prince as a present, and the prince was delighted with this Yank Tank.

I got scolded for taking a picture of this Edsel, so I offered apologies and tried to show some remorse for not seeing the ‘no cameras’ sign. Honestly, I saw the ‘no videos’ sign, but I never saw anything about cameras.

As an aside, I’ve known two other Edsels—cars not people—one in my childhood and another in Rangoon, Burma. Burma is filled with cars that would make a collector swoon. cars can’t be shipped out of the country so they just sit there.

3 Comments

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  1. Louise M Oliver / Oct 21 2011 7:31 am

    Hi Peggy,
    It’s very big and I imagine it would be quite pricey to fill; and hard to park! But it does have a certain elegance about it even given the world’s predilection now for small cars. Did your parents have an Edsel or did you see them around when you were younger?

    Louise

    Like

  2. susan / Oct 21 2011 10:16 am

    You all better??? Susan

    Like

  3. leggypeggy / Oct 22 2011 5:40 pm

    I only ever remember seeing/riding in one Edsel as a child and I have no idea who owned it.

    Like

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