On this day in auto history – May 26th

Wed 26th May 2021

It was on this day in 1943 that Edsel Ford, President of the Ford Motor Company, died of stomach cancer at the age of just 49.

As the only recognised child of Henry Ford, Edsel was groomed to take over the Ford reigns by his father from an early age and eventually did so at the age of just 26 in 1919.

The younger Ford showed more interest in flashier styling for automobiles than his father and indulged this passion in part with the purchase of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, whilst he is also credited with founding the company’s Mercury division and significantly increasing Ford Motors’ overseas production.

Under Edsel’s stewardship, Ford played a key role in strengthening US armament during World War II before his untimely death. His Ford shares were divided between each of his children with his eldest son, Henry Ford II, eventually succeeding him as President in 1945.

In 1957, Ford unveiled a new division of cars called the Edsel, though this proved a commercial failure and was discontinued inside three years.