Edsel was a brand of automobile that was marketed by the Ford Motor Company from the 1958 to the 1960 model years. Deriving its name from Edsel Ford, son of company founder Henry Ford, Edsels were developed in an effort to give Ford a fourth brand to gain additional market share from Chrysler and General Motors. Established as an expansion of the Lincoln-Mercury Division to three brands (re-christened the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division), Edsel shared a price range with Mercury; the division shared its bodies with both Mercury and Ford.
Ford dubbed Sept. 4, 1957, the day the Edsel debuted, as “E-Day” and spent the year leading up to it pushing a teaser campaign for the new brand and the new car. At launch, Ford made 18 different versions of the Edsel available — an unheard-of move at a time when most car companies offered just a few models. Competing against Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Dodge, and DeSoto, Edsel was the first new brand introduced by an American automaker since the 1939 launch of Mercury. In the year leading to its release, Ford invested in an advertising campaign, marketing Edsels as the cars of the future. While 1958 Edsels would introduce multiple advanced features for its price segment, the launch of the model line would become symbolic of commercial failure. Introduced in a recession that catastrophically affected sales of medium-priced cars, Edsels were considered overhyped, unattractive (distinguished by a vertical grille), and low quality.
Following a loss of over $250 million ($2.19 billion in 2020 dollars ) on development, manufacturing, and marketing on the model line, Ford quietly discontinued the Edsel brand before 1960.
Here’s the vintage automobile advertisement for the 1958 Edsel models.