If you are reading this, you are probably a student who has been assigned to do a report based on the Billy Joel song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and want to know what the line "Edsel is a no-go" means.

Well, the Ford Motor Company introduced the 1958 model Edsel automobile on September 4, 1957 after much fanfare. Initial sales were disappointing to say the least. Ford had hoped to sell 200,000 of the 1958 model Edsels, but ended up only producing 68,045.

To try and bolster sales, Ford redesigned the car somewhat and removed some features that had not done well on the 58's, but again sales were very low, compared to expectations. Only 47,396 of the 1959 models were produced.

The 1960 model was released in the fall of 59, but was basically a 1960 Ford with some sheet metal changes and did not resemble the earlier models very much at all. Only 2,846 of the 1960 models were produced, mainly just to fulfill dealer contracts.

Ford decided to discontinue the Edsel in favor of smaller cars that were becoming popular at the time, and on November 19, 1959 announced that it would no longer produce Edsels. Therefore, Billy Joel correctly says that in 1959, the Edsel was a no-go, meaning that it flopped, and was discontinued.

Hope that you get an A!
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Undoubtedly the most controversial feature of the new EDSEL was the shield, or "horse collar" grille. Designed to be instantly recognizable as an EDSEL from a distance of several blocks, the grille was said, by some, to resemble a toilet seat and made the car look like "an Olds sucking a lemon".

Total 1958 production: 68,045

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Edsel designers restyled the grille for 1959. The basic shape remained the same, however, it was softened significantly to make it more acceptable to buyers. Other troublesome features of the car, such as the Tele-touch transmission, were also scrapped for the new model year.

Total 1959 production: 47,396

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By the debut of the 1960 model, the horse collar was gone and all that remained of the original shield design was a small emblem in the center of the grille. The last EDSEL came off the assembly line on November 19, 1959, as Ford announced that they were discontinuing the car. This shortened production run makes the '60 models among the rarest of EDSELs.

Total 1960 production: 2,846


Email: smith@edsel.net