Video: Henry Ford II pitches the Edsel

HF II EdselStudents of the American automobile won’t want to miss this little four-minute film from 1957. Here, Henry Ford II states the case for the Edsel. 



This 1957 film short, produced by the Ford Motor Co. for the Edsel dealer organization, is valuable on at least two counts. First, it speaks directly to that time-honored question regarding the Edsel: What were they thinking?

Clearly and plainly, Henry Ford II lays out here the company’s projections for the American automobile market in the coming decades and just where the Edsel slotted into this carefully crafted vision. At around the 1:40 mark, Ford delivers what we can consider a thesis statement:

“The purpose of the Edsel can be stated very simply. It is to give Ford Motor Company a larger share of the market, and particularly of the medium-price market.”  While the Edsel involved years of elaborate product planning, and books have since been written about the debacle, in many ways that was the long and the short of it. (See MCG’s in-depth, illustrated feature on the Edsel product line here.)


1958 Edsel at Edsel HQ


But perhaps more valuable in this film is the insight on Ford the man. By this time, HF II had more than a decade under his belt as the chief executive officer of the company his grandfather founded. He was now 40 years old, and his famed confidence and self-conviction are already in full display.

Since Ford died in 1987, many have never had the opportunity to see and hear him in the flesh, witness his unique persona and manner. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Henry Ford II.


3 thoughts on “Video: Henry Ford II pitches the Edsel

  1. Yes I Have Pictures Of Him With My Father At Indianapolis Motor Speedway In 1950. My Father Was Running A Stock Block Ford Arden. It Set Two World Stock Block Records At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sept 27th 1950.It Was The Second Attempt At Indy. {See: Bob Estes History Indianapolis Motor Speedway} It Was Driven By Race Driver Joe James. The Same Indy Car Went To The Indianapolis Motor Speedway In 1951 With Driver Bob Scott, And Was The First 4 Cam Ford Stock Block, The { Davies}- To Run At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It Is For Sale With The Joe James Memorial Trophy, Which Represents The First Five Years Of Competition At The Salem Indiana Speedway. It Was Pictured With Benson Ford, And Clark Gable. My Father Was A Lincoln Mercury Dealer Many Years In Inglewood California And Promoted Ford Products In Racing. Track Roadsters, Mobil Gas Economy Run, Indy Cars, Bonneville Salt Flats Record, Ford Powered Streamliner Records, Bob Estes C& T Automotive. And I Have A 4 Cam 4 Valve Pint Roof Cylinder head I Am Working On For The 302, 351 Ford Blocks, That Leo Goosen Designed For The Y Block. Ford Never Changed The Bore Spacing’s From Y-Block To 302- 351 Design. The Cylinder Head Conversion Is Based On Offenhauser Technology, And Has A 30 Degree Valve Angle, 4 Valve, And A Turbo Offy Port Design. It Is All On Master Cam 10 File And I Have Castings And Patterns. It Will Be Belt Driven, In Half Time. I Am Going To Put It Into Production For Boats, Hot Rods, And Super Cars. At 378 Cubic Inches Twin Turbo Charged, And On The Man Of War Block, It Should Put Out Over 2000 Hp. With Components Such As Motec, Crower Titanium Rods, Sunny Bryant Crank, And Man Of War. This Is A Realistic Number. The Bob Estes First Indy Car Though Is For Sale, With The Trophy And My Father Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pit Badges. Charles Bronson, At Boulevard Motor Car Company, Westlake California Is My Representative In This Important Sale. Best Regards Dale Estes

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