50s ford flop

50s Ford Flop: A Classic Car That Failed to Impress the Masses



The 1950s were a time of great change for the Ford Motor Company. After the success of the Model T and Model A, Ford was looking to continue its dominance in the automotive industry. However, the company’s plans were derailed by a series of missteps, including the infamous “50s ford flop.” These flops led to financial losses, tarnished the company’s reputation, and ultimately contributed to the rise of foreign automakers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the 50s Ford flop and its impact on the company. We will also discuss the lessons that Ford learned from this experience and how it has shaped the company’s approach to innovation today. [Static] At Westernfordhcm.com, we are passionate about Ford history and we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible service. We hope that this article will provide you with a better understanding of the 50s Ford flop and its impact on the company.

50s Ford Flop: A Classic Car That Failed to Impress the Masses
50s Ford Flop: A Classic Car That Failed to Impress the Masses

I. The Edsel: A Case Study in Marketing Failure

Launched in 1957 with much fanfare and high expectations, the Edsel was a resounding marketing failure for Ford Motor Company. Despite extensive market research and a hefty investment, the car fell flat with consumers, leading to heavy losses for Ford and tarnishing its reputation as an innovator in the auto industry.

There were numerous factors that contributed to the Edsel’s failure. One major issue was its awkward and unpopular design, which was criticized for being too boxy and unappealing. The car’s name—a combination of the names of Henry Ford’s son Edsel and father Henry—was also seen as uninspired and forgettable. Additionally, the Edsel was priced higher than competing models from General Motors and Chrysler, making it a less attractive option for consumers.

The Edsel: A Marketing Failure
Year Sales
1957 63,110
1958 34,262
1959 48,889
  • Unattractive design
  • Uninspired name
  • High price
  • Poor marketing
  • Lack of innovation

Another factor that contributed to the Edsel’s failure was its lack of innovation. While Ford had marketed the car as a revolutionary new vehicle with advanced features, it failed to deliver on these promises. The Edsel’s engine was underpowered, its transmission was problematic, and its interior was cramped and uncomfortable. These issues, combined with the car’s high price, left consumers feeling disappointed and frustrated.

Ford Super Duty

II. The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser: A Victim of Poor Timing

In the automotive world, timing is everything. A car that is ahead of its time may not be successful, while a car that is behind its time may be doomed to failure. The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is a perfect example of the latter. Introduced in 1957, the Turnpike Cruiser was a luxury coupe that was designed to compete with the Ford Thunderbird and the Chevrolet Corvette. However, the car was too expensive and too impractical for most buyers, and it was discontinued after only two years. Read more Here

There were several reasons for the Turnpike Cruiser’s failure. First, the car was simply too expensive. At a price of $6,300, the Turnpike Cruiser was more than twice the price of a Ford Thunderbird. Second, the car was too impractical. The Turnpike Cruiser had a long, low profile that made it difficult to enter and exit. The car also had a small trunk and a cramped interior. Third, the Turnpike Cruiser was introduced at a time when the American public was moving away from large, gas-guzzling cars. In the wake of the 1956 Suez Crisis, Americans were looking for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. The Turnpike Cruiser was not what they were looking for. Read more Here

What Could Have Been

Despite its shortcomings, the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was a beautiful car. The car had a sleek, aerodynamic design that was ahead of its time. The car also had a powerful engine and a comfortable ride. If the Turnpike Cruiser had been introduced a few years earlier, it might have been a success. However, the car was introduced at the wrong time, and it was doomed to failure.

Car Price Year
Mercury Turnpike Cruiser $6,300 1957
Ford Thunderbird $3,100 1957
Chevrolet Corvette $3,500 1957

The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is a reminder that timing is everything in the automotive world. A car that is ahead of its time may not be successful, while a car that is behind its time may be doomed to failure.

The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser: A Victim of Poor Timing
The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser: A Victim of Poor Timing

III. The Ford Falcon: A Compact Car that Flopped

The Ford Falcon was a compact car produced by Ford Motor Company from 1960 to 1970. It was introduced as a replacement for the Ford Fairlane and was intended to compete with the Chevrolet Corvair and Plymouth Valiant. The Falcon was available in two-door and four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, and two-door station wagon body styles. It was powered by a variety of six-cylinder and V8 engines, and was offered with a three-speed manual transmission or a two-speed automatic transmission.

The Falcon was not a commercial success, and production ended in 1970. It was replaced by the Ford Maverick, which was a more successful compact car. The Falcon’s failure has been attributed to a number of factors, including its bland styling, poor performance, and lack of features. It was also more expensive than its competitors, which made it less appealing to budget-minded buyers.

Year Production
1960 448,913
1961 339,169
1962 281,695
1963 263,966
1964 258,629
1965 237,914
1966 202,913
1967 170,912
1968 146,911
1969 123,910
1970 100,910

Despite its commercial failure, the Ford Falcon has become a popular collector car. It is known for its simple design, easy maintenance, and affordable price. The Falcon is also a popular choice for drag racing and other forms of motorsport.

  • The Ford Falcon was the first car to be produced by Ford Motor Company in Australia.
  • The Falcon was the best-selling car in Australia for 19 years.
  • The Falcon was discontinued in Australia in 2016.

The Ford Falcon is a reminder of a time when American cars were simpler and more affordable. It is a classic car that is still enjoyed by many people today.

Here are some additional facts about the Ford Falcon:

  • The Falcon was the first Ford car to be offered with a V8 engine.
  • The Falcon was the first Ford car to be offered with a three-speed automatic transmission.
  • The Falcon was the first Ford car to be offered with a four-wheel drive system.

The Ford Falcon is a significant car in the history of Ford Motor Company. It was the first compact car produced by the company, and it helped to establish Ford as a leader in the automotive industry.

If you are interested in learning more about the Ford Falcon, there are a number of resources available online. You can find information about the Falcon’s history, specifications, and performance on websites such as Wikipedia, Hemmings Motor News, and Classic Cars.

You can also find Ford Falcon clubs and forums online, where you can connect with other Falcon enthusiasts and learn more about the car.

The Ford Falcon: A Compact Car that Flopped
The Ford Falcon: A Compact Car that Flopped

IV. The Ford Thunderbird: A Sports Car that Lost Its Way

The Ford Thunderbird is a classic American car that was produced from 1955 to 1997. It was originally designed as a sports car, but over the years it evolved into a more luxurious and comfortable vehicle. The Thunderbird was a popular car, and it sold millions of units over its long production run. However, by the 1990s, sales of the Thunderbird had declined, and Ford decided to discontinue the model.

  • 1955 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1965 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1975 Ford Thunderbird

There are many reasons why the Ford Thunderbird lost its way. One reason is that it became too expensive. The base price of a Thunderbird in 1955 was $2,526. By 1997, the base price had increased to $37,350. This made the Thunderbird unaffordable for many consumers.

  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Fiesta

Competition from Other Cars

Competition from other cars is one reason why the Ford Thunderbird lost its way. When the Thunderbird was first introduced, it was one of the only sports cars on the market. However, over time, other car manufacturers began to produce their own sports cars, and the Thunderbird began to lose market share.

Ford Thunderbird Sales Year
522,379 1966
127,631 1976
71,628 1986

Another reason why the Ford Thunderbird lost its way was that it became too heavy. The original Thunderbird weighed 3,320 pounds. By 1997, the Thunderbird weighed 4,360 pounds. This made the Thunderbird less nimble than it was in its earlier years, and it also made it less fuel-efficient.

Failure to Keep Up with the Times

The Ford Thunderbird also lost its way because it failed to keep up with the times. When the Thunderbird was first introduced, it was a cutting-edge car. However, over time, the Thunderbird fell behind its competitors in terms of technology and features. By the 1990s, the Thunderbird was seen as old-fashioned and outdated.

The Ford Thunderbird is a classic car that was once a symbol of American style and luxury. However, the Thunderbird lost its way over the years, and it was discontinued in 1997.

V. The Ford Galaxie: A Full-Size Car that Fell Short

The Ford Galaxie was a full-size car produced by Ford from 1959 to 1974. It was introduced as a replacement for the Fairlane and was available in a variety of body styles including sedans, hardtops, convertibles, and station wagons. The Galaxie was a popular car for families and was offered in a range of trim levels.

Introduced as a mid-size car, the top trim Galaxie 500 quickly became popular as a full-size car. By 1960, it received three taillights in each fender and became one of the most popular cars sold in the U.S. It remained immensely popular until the mid 1960s.

A Look at the Thunderbird’s Influence on the Galaxie

The Ford Galaxie was initially supposed to be a mid-size car. However, major design changes in the 1958 Ford Thunderbird swayed Ford’s marketing team to increase the Galaxie’s size to rival the Chevrolet Impala. The increase, not seen by Ford as a potential problem, turned out to be a great success.

Ford Vehicles Body Styles
Model A Sedan, Coupe
Model T Phaeton, Runabout
Bronco SUV
Thunderbird Convertible, Coupe

However, the increasing size of the Galaxie also increased its competition with other full-size Fords, such as the LTD and the Mercury Marquis. Production of the Galaxie ended in 1974, and its place in Ford’s lineup was taken by the LTD.

A Galaxy of Galaxies

Besides being a great family sedan, the Ford Galaxie had variants for law enforcement, taxis, and hearses. Police agencies appreciated the Galaxie’s powerful engines and spacious interiors. Many Galaxie models were able to exceed 100 mph, making it a favorite for law enforcement. For civilians, the Galaxie was a favorite and could tow up to 7,000 pounds.

  • Galaxie 500
  • Galaxie 500 XL
  • Galaxie 500 LTD
  • Galaxie Country Sedan
  • Galaxie Country Squire

VI. Conclusion

The 50s Ford flop was a major setback for the company, but it also taught them valuable lessons. They learned the importance of market research, listening to customer feedback, and adapting to changing trends. These lessons helped Ford become one of the most successful car companies in the world.

Today, Ford is still a leader in the automotive industry. They continue to produce innovative and popular cars and trucks. The company has also expanded into other areas, such as finance and mobility. Ford is a global company with operations in over 200 countries. They employ over 196,000 people and generate over $155 billion in revenue each year.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *