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The Detroit News.
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February 17, 2000
Copyright 2000, The Detroit
Site glorifies and
tries to preserve the much-maligned Ford
Bob Suter / Newsday
In the minds of many
Americans of a certain age it remains the original lemon -- a
miscreation of zealous corporate schemers who thought they could dictate
what consumers would want.
To some collectors,
however, it's a cherished possession evoking a time when reality didn't
always meet expectations. Forty years ago, Ford ceased production of the
Edsel, the car that was supposed to carry the company to new heights in
In an era that saw its share of bizarre
auto styles, the 1958 Edsel set a new standard. It's vertical-scoop
grille, which was supposed to suggest the future, had many folks
thinking instead of a horse collar.
marketing coupled with barely average performance and an above-average
number of assembly-related flaws made the Edsel a public relations
nightmare, not to mention a dismal sales failure. Barely into its third
year of production, Ford elected to cut its losses and cease production.
Bob Ellsworth wasn't around then. It caught his
imagination when, as a young boy in 1974, he saw a picture of a 1960
Edsel. Fifteen years later, he bought one, becoming part of a loyal
following of people with an affection for a slightly misshapen piece of
the American dream.
In August, he launched the Edsel
Pages, a place on the web where other owners can find parts, advice and
whatever else they need to keep their Edsels going.
Owners will find a number of service features, including manuals, and
Ellsworth is working on an online registry. For Edsel novices, the site
provides the car's history, including a bio of the lesser-known Ford
whose name it bears.
Even the best-intentioned efforts
sometimes meet with failure. A gallery of "deceased" Edsels shows those
that have gone on to that junkyard in the sky or, as Ellsworth notes: "A
place without public ridicule."
footnote: In 1957, the Edsel's first disastrous sales year, another car
caught the nation's fancy, selling far better than expected. Anyone
remember the Rambler?
Where to go
The site: Edsel Pages
The reason: Remembering the big
engine that couldn't