Mythical cars: the Edsel Pacer, the ugly American

September 17, 2019 by No Comments


Americans have many faults, but a certain quality, that of inventing cowardly acronyms from real names. Thus the Edsel, brand of the Ford Motor Company launched in 1958 after the first name of the late son of Henry Ford, became the EDSEL, like “Every Day Something Else Leaks” (every day, a new thing is to flee). By the way, one of the secret sources of the author of these lines (her brother) reminds us that across the Atlantic, Fiat is – to joke – the acronym of “Fix it again Tony” (Tony, repair it again)…

In the case of Edsel, the cow farm is legitimate, the different models of the brand being both poorly designed and poorly finished. And some really ugly. Failed copy of the Plymouth Belvedere (which already did not fit in the lace), the Edsel Pacer presented in 1957 at the Detroit Motor Show, is a real caricature of the fat Americans of the 1950s, these chrome boats perfect for sucking a milkshake at the drive-in, watching a James Dean film.

Its wide, globular headlights give it an air of a toad, and the grille is a vast orifice that psychoanalysts in the car (that would exist) qualify as vaginal. Unconsciously, American males would not have wanted to ride in it.

An Edsel Roundup (1958), for spraying pesticides?

In any case, Edsel definitely lowered the curtain in 1960. And for decades, the history of this brand’s failure has been taught in American business schools. Its rare models – in reduced copies as the failure was so severe – are themselves adored by collectors. As Serge Gainsbourg sang “the beauty of ugly people can be seen without delay”.



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