Ford Edsel
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The Ford Edsel

When Ford introduced the Edsel -- on Sept. 4, 1957 -- it was hailed as a car of the future. Named for Henry Ford‘s son Edsel, it had a powerful engine (including a 345-horsepower V8) and advanced technology. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
‘When you take an Edsel convertible out on the road, believe me, people notice,’ says Kris Trexler of Los Angeles, who owns two Edsels. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
One expert estimated that from 5,000 to 6,000 Edsels remained in circulation. That’s considered a high survival rate for a car that had a total production run of less than 111,000. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
Kris Trexler with one of his two Edsels. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
‘A lot of people like the Edsel because of the underdog thing,’ said Trexler, who lived across the street from an Edsel dealer growing up in Wichita, Kan. ‘But I didn’t come at it from that angle at all. It was just something that reminded me of my youth.’ (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
Perhaps fatally, the Edsel came out as America was sliding into a recession. The public was suddenly looking for smaller, more affordable cars. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
The Edsel came with a push-button transmission mounted in the center of the steering wheel. It reportedly caused some drivers to shift gears when all they wanted to do was honk the horn. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
Early critics of the Edsel made fun of the car’s unusual oval grille. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
An Edsel convertible in 1957. (Associated Press)