Edsel Corsair 4-door hardtop, 1958.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Edsel was produced by the Ford Motor Company between 1957 and 1959 and was intended to fill the supposed gap between the Ford and Mercury lines. Despite vast sums spent on customer research and public relations, the project backfired. The gap did not exist, the US economy was entering a period of recesion, and the model's launch coincided with a marked decline in car sales generally. As a result, only 35,000 Edsels found customers during the first six months of production, while projected sales had been 200,000 in the first year. An attempt was made to widen the make's appeal in 1959, but the Edsel was dropped shortly after the announcement of the 1960 models.