Edsel Agonistes

In 1957 a car named after a deceased Ford exec captured the imagination of Americans everywhere--until they saw it. Rehabilitating Edsel Ford's good name

Bettmann / Corbis

Edsel was a first name before it was ever a car name. But it was never a very popular thing to call a child: according to the Social Security Administration--which has time for this sort of thing--the name Edsel has ranked only as high as 400th on the top 1,000 names for boys, and that was in 1927. More popular names that year included the soaring Kermit, Buford and Elvin.

After Sept. 4, 1957--"E-day," the day 50 years ago when Ford Motor Co. unveiled its taco-faced disaster, the Edsel--the name dropped off the list altogether, never to return. A quick check...

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