Before The Mustang

3 06 2012

The Mustang is one of the great motoring icons. Since 1965 it has been the rebel and a car specially designed for individuality and appealed to the young people. Without it the car industry in America in particular would be boring. There would be no Camaro, no Charger and possibly No Muscle Cars at all. However all legends must start somewhere and the Mustang’s began with a completely different car built in the late 50’s.

When there was a call for personalization, many cars began to appear to appeal to this market. The idea of individuality appealed to younger drivers in particular who wanted independence from their parents and what they drove. A stylish car was needed to appeal to them, so that’s what Ford did. In the late 50’s Ford released the Edsel which was a massive failure. TIME (2008) states “the car was kind of homely, fuel thirsty and too expensive, particularly at the outset of the late ’50s recession. But what else? It was the first victim of Madison Avenue hyper-hype. Ford’s marketing mavens had led the public to expect some plutonium-powered, pancake-making wondercar” It was released just as consumer preferences changed. The Edsel was aimed at the personalization market but at the wrong time. When the idea was conceived that would have been the time to release it, but when it came out it was too late.

Due to the late release of the car, Ford lost millions of dollars in production and manufacturing costs. The car itself came out at the same time as the Impala which has a similar design to it. They both long extended back ends and have a stylish appearance designed to appeal to young people of the decade, but the decade was ending and so if The Edsel was released earlier it may have had more success, but bizarrely the Impala was a success. Well if we had a further look at the Edsel, the grill is a bit off-putting and does make the car a bit ugly while the Impala’s front end looks more like an ordinary car.

It is clear to see that the Edsel was an unlucky car, but from this failure came success in the form of The Mustang. It is important to remember the Edsel when you think of the Mustang because if the Edsel was a success the Mustang may not have happened. The Mustang also helped to get back at Chevrolet for the Impala, because the Mustang was far more successful than the Camaro. So while there was a failure, from this failure came success and while this success has become an automotive legend it is important to remember that legends don’t just appear, they have to start somewhere, even if it is a bit odd.


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