Wags said that, head-on, it looked like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon. The citrus association was well chosen. No major car venture ever proved as fruitless.
Designed to entice the yuppies of 1958, the gadget-filled, muscular auto entered the mid-priced car market at the start of an economic slump, and at the moment consumer tastes were changing.
Too expensive for what it offered, it featured unwanted gadgets, some of which didn't work. Its space-age temperature control broke down. Its optional push-button transmission, in the center of the steering wheel, was at times mistaken for the horn. And quirks in the first production run gave the Edsel a name for oil leaks and stuck hoods.
And then there was the name.
Not a brave Indian name like Pontiac; not an aristocratic one such as Rolls-Royce; not a grabber like Jaguar. It was a name definitely lacking charisma.