Edsel Ford

Inducted 1968

Became President of Ford Motor Company in 1919

Initiated Ford Motor Company’s purchase of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922; later introduced an elegantly redesigned Lincoln that set a new standard for automotive beauty and distinction

Introduced the Model A in 1927 in response to increasing public demand for more variety in color, style and trim

Edsel Ford proved that one great man can flourish in the shadow of another great man. Joining his father’s company after graduating from high school, the younger Ford focused on administrative and business functions, leaving Henry Ford free to deal with design and production matters. Becoming President in 1919, one of Edsel Ford’s first acts was to prevent a takeover by stockholders who wanted to slow expansion in favor of profits. Edsel Ford negotiated the purchase of minority shares, and the Ford family achieved full control of the company. Besides guiding the company into world-wide expansion, Edsel Ford became personally involved in the design of the automobiles Ford produced, adding style and grace to basic function. He also purchased the Stout Metal Aircraft Company to produce the famous Ford Tri-Motor airplane. Edsel Ford was at the forefront of auto industry efforts to support Allied interests in World War II when he died prematurely at age 49. Years earlier, Henry Ford had summed up Edsel Ford’s contributions to the automotive industry: “We’ve got a good man in my son. He knows style — how a car ought to look. And he has mechanical horse-sense, too.”

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Class of 1968

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