On Nov. 19, 1959, Ford discloses plans to end production of the Edsel.
Code-named the E-car, the Edsel had been introduced on Sept. 4, 1957, or E-Day, to slot between Mercury and Lincoln.
It was a gadget-filled, medium-priced car developed to rival DeSoto, Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Dodge, Pontiac and Buick.
It was based on the standard Ford body and could seat six people in comfort and guzzle gasoline with similar ease. Ford product planners, using years of market research, engineered and styled it to be upscale with plenty of novelties.
While it featured a vertical grille, self-adjusting brakes, deeply scalloped side panels, Teletouch transmission buttons on the steering wheel and a floating speedometer that glowed when a preset speed was reached, the Edsel was quickly panned.
The grille was supposed to remind people of the classic radiator shells of the 1930s.
Instead, it reminded some people of a toilet seat. Time said it resembled "an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon." The distinguishing feature became more affectionately known as the horse-collar grille.
Ford invested about $250 million to set up the Edsel Division, create a network of 1,200 dealers and develop a range of Edsel sedans, coupes, wagons and convertibles.
It was offered in four series: Ranger, Pacer, Corsair and Citation. Prices ranged from $2,300 for a Ranger sedan to $3,489 for a Citation convertible.
Some critics said the marketing also missed the mark.
"They'll know you've arrived when you drive up in a 1958 Edsel," a narrator declared in the first Edsel TV commercial. Print ads declared: "Once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. Once you've owned it, you'll never want to change." Truth or false advertising, some called it.
The biggest problem faced by the Edsel, according to analysts, was that the U.S. was entering a recession at the car's launch, and the public's appetite for conspicuous luxury was on the wane in late 1957 and through 1958.
Many shoppers were also turned off by the dull name. The name also reminded some consumers of the dynastic Ford family. Workmanship and engineering were also spotty.
After the first year, the automaker drastically reduced marketing outlays for the car. By 1959, the Edsel was on its last legs. Ford made fewer than 3,000 1960 models, including about 70 convertibles, before the final Edsel came off the assembly line at the end of November 1959.
Over time, enthusiasts have grown to admire the car's odd styling and make it a collector's item, mostly because of the limited production run and high scrappage rate.
The failure of the Edsel, he said, also has to do with Ford creating unreasonable expectations for a somewhat ordinary Ford- or Mercury-based car.
"I say the Edsel is the most successful failure in history," Brown said. "The reason it failed was more the timing than anything."