The Edsel Timeline

Even though you may know the history of the Edsel automobile, the timeline has a way of putting it all in perspective.

July 30, 1863: Henry Ford was born.

April 11, 1888: Henry married Clara J Bryant.

November 6, 1893: Edsel Bryant Ford was born.

June 16, 1903: Ford Motor Company was founded.

August 1, 1916: Edsel Ford married Eleanor Lowthian Clay.

September 4, 1917: Henry Ford II was born to Edsel & Eleanor.

January 1, 1919: Edsel Ford became president of Ford Motor Company

September 17, 1919: Henry & Edsel became sole owners of Ford Motor Company

May 26, 1943: Edsel Ford died.

September 21, 1945: Henry Ford II became president of Ford Motor Company.

September 28, 1948: Henry Ford II told his Forward Product Planning Committee to begin research on production of a new medium-priced car.

June 1950: The Korean War put the new car's plans on hold.

October 13, 1952: Wayne, Michigan, manufacturing plant opened.

July 7, 1954: The new car program was given to stylists for long range planning.

December 6, 1954: The Planning Committee presented details of the program to the Ford Administrative Committee.

January 10, 1955: The Planning Committee presented its formal presentation to Ford's Executive Committee.

April 15, 1955: Ford's Executive Committee voted favorably on adding a new line of medium-priced cars, and to create a separate division based on GM's Buick line. The car is referred to as the "E-car", for Experimental.

April 18, 1955: The "Special Products Division" was formally established.

May 1, 1955: J.C. (Larry) Doyle was named General Sales & Marketing Manager of Special Products Division.

August 15, 1955: The E-car designers unveil the first full-size clay mock-up to Henry Ford II and the Planning Committee. An uncharacteristic round of applause came from the audience.

September 29, 1955: Mahwah, New Jersey, manufacturing plant was dedicated.

October 18, 1955: Louisville, Kentucky, manufacturing plant was dedicated.

October 19, 1955: After having problems determining a suitable name for the E-car, renowned poet Marianne Moore was approached to submit inspirational names.

November 7, 1955: Marianne Moore began to offer her list of names, which included such notables as "Resilient Bullet", "Ford Silver Sword", "Mongoose Civique", "Varsity Stroke", "Pastelogram" and "Andante con Moto".

December 8, 1955: Miss Moore submitted her last candidate: "Utopian Turtletop".

December 1955: Fairfax Cone of the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB) presents his vision of the E-car's campaign to Ford.

January 17, 1956: Ford stock went public.

February 13, 1956: FCB won the E-car advertising account.

August 7, 1956: Five regional sales offices were established by Ford's Special Products Division to market the E-car.

August 15, 1956: Basic E-car sheet metal styling is approved.

October 10, 1956: Richard E. Krafve was elected Vice President of Ford Motor Company.

October 15, 1956: The selection of 24 district sales managers was made.

November 19, 1956: Ford announced the name of the new car - Edsel. Special Products Division became known as the Edsel Division of Ford Motor Company.

January 11, 1957: Ford announced that the design of the Edsel will be far more radical than any of its other products and that equally radical sales and marketing techniques would be used to promote it.

January 15, 1957: Sales goal for model year 1958 was set at 200,000 cars.

January 21, 1957: Edsel GM Richard Krafve predicts "The new Edsel line of cars will surpass the originally announced first-year sales goal of 200,000 units."

February 5, 1957: Ford released the names and characteristics of each Edsel series.

February 15, 1957: Ford's 25 millionth V-8 engine was produced, in Lima, Ohio. It was an Edsel E-475.

March 10, 1957: Ford announced five assembly plant locations where the Edsel will be produced, adding that a sixth plant on the West Coast was also planned.

April 9, 1957: The first Edsel dealership franchise agreements were signed.

April 15, 1957: Eight pre-production (pilot) model Edsels were built in Mahwau, NJ.

June 28, 1957: Approximately six pre-production (pilot) cars were built at the San Jose plant.

July 15, 1957: Full-scale production of the 1958 Edsel began.

July 22, 1957: The first Edsel advertising appeared, in Life magazine. The 2-page ads featured wrapped cars and blurred photos to tease the public.

July 31, 1957: Month-end production totals: 3729 units

August 27, 1957: Edsel Press introduction.

August 31, 1957: Month-end production totals: 19876 units

September 4, 1957: E Day. The Edsel was finally introduced to the public after months of secrecy.

September 11, 1957: The Edsel is introduced in Canada.

September 30, 1957: Month-end production totals: 18815 units

October 13, 1957: The Edsel Show, a one-hour special hosted by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Rosemary Clooney aired on CBS in place of the Sunday night fixture The Ed Sullivan Show. Ratings were enormous.

October 23, 1957: The short-lived Edsel sponsorship of TV's Wagon Train began.

October 31, 1957: Month-end production totals: 7566 units

November 21, 1957: Edsel dealers were shown a promotional telecast from the home office, with Mr. Ford stating "Gentleman, the Edsel is here to stay!"

November 30, 1957: Month-end production totals: 2483 units

December 31, 1957: Month-end production totals: 2138 units

January 14, 1958: Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) Division was formed.

September 23, 1958: Production began on the 1959 Edsel.

October 31, 1958: The 1959 Edsel line was introduced to the public.

January 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 5880 units

February 28, 1959: Month-end production totals: 3819 units

March 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 4035 units

April 10, 1959: The Edsel advertising account was reassigned from Foote, Cone & Belding to Kenyon & Eckhardt

April 25, 1959: M-E-L management reluctantly decided to go forward with the 1960 model Edsel.

April 30, 1959: Month-end production totals: 4031 units

May 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 2959 units

June 30, 1959: Month-end production totals: 2575 units

July 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 1971 units

August 7, 1959: The first 1960 Edsel pre-production (Pilot) cars were built.

August 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 1561 units

September 14, 1959: Full-scale production began on the 1960 model Edsel.

September 30, 1959: Month-end production totals: 889 units

October 15, 1959: The 1960 Edsel models were introduced to the public.

October 31, 1959: Month-end production totals: 1767 units

November 19, 1959: Ford Motor Company discontinued the Edsel.

November 21, 1959: The last Edsel magazine ad appeared, in the Saturday Evening Post.

November 30, 1959: Month-end production totals: 190 units

December 8, 1967: The first meeting of the Edsel Owners Club, in Oakland CA.

December 26, 1968: The CBS Evening News nationally aired Charles Kuralt's interview with members of the Edsel Owners Club.

February 3, 1969: The Edsel Owners Club was incorporated as a non-profit organization for the promotion and restoration of the Edsel automobile. The International Edsel Club is incorporated later this same year.

July 19, 1997: Edsel.com goes online.

December 23, 1997: The Edsel Club is incorporated as the third major non-profit Edsel preservation society.

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