Designer of Most Infamous Car in Detroit History Dies. This Automobile 'Became a Synonym for Bold, Bad Ideas.' But Come On, Wouldn't You Secretly Want to Own One Today? NY Times
"Roy Brown Jr., a car designer for Ford Motor whose signature creation...became a synonym for bold, bad ideas not long after it was introduced in 1957, died on Feb. 24 in Michigan," The New York Times reported yesterday, March 5, 2013. The Times added, "He was 96."
The car Brown designed was the Ford Edsel.
The article continued, "Even as the Edsel, his most notable work, fell far short of sales goals, lost hundreds of millions of dollars, became an enduring punch line and prompted an overseas transfer for its designer, Mr. Brown remained satisfied with it."
Wrote the Times, “ 'I’m proud of the car,' [Mr. Brown] told The Sun-Sentinel of Florida in 1985. 'There is not a bad line on the car.'
"Many initial assessments agreed. 'The Edsel will be radically different,' said an article in The New York Times previewing the new model in 1957. 'The difference in style is spectacular,' the article added. 'The front end emphasizes a vertical grille that lends a distinctive continental flair. The rear-end assembly is also distinctive. Horizontal taillights sweep across the trunk lid to form a pattern like the graceful wingspread of a sea gull.' "
The Times added, "The Edsel was out of production by the end of 1959 and would sell a little more than half of the 200,000 cars Ford projected. Mr. Brown was transferred to England, where he helped design successful European models for Ford, including the Cortina. He returned to the United States in the mid-1960s and continued to work at Ford until 1974."
The story noted, "For all its commercial struggles, the Edsel has been revered as a collectible for decades — and Mr. Brown drove one into his 90s."
Roy Brown, Jr.