November 8: Ford chooses “Edsel” for its new models on this date in 1958

8 November 2013

The story of how a Ford executive asked poet Marianne Moore to suggest names for a new line of cars and ended up with a list that included "Utopian Turtletop" has been worn to death. What's less well known is the struggle that pushed Ford to seek far-out names in the first place. An ad agency hired by Ford to research new names came back with 6,000 potential candidates; Ford execs even polled people outside movie theaters. On this date in 1956 at a board meeting, Ford Chairman Ernest Breech said in exasperation, "Why don't we just call it Edsel?" after Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's late son. The Ford family was opposed, but the name stuck, and millions of dollars in research was round-filed. One exec of the new Edsel division bemoaned the choice with: "We have just lost 200,000 sales." Maybe Moore's idea for "ThunderBlender" wouldn't have been so bad.

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