Roy Brown Jr., at one point talked about as redefining the auto industry, passed away February 24 at 96 years old, the New York Times reports. His mid-1950’s design for a car called the Ford Edsel was lauded by the company as futuristic, however it’s release earned mocking from the public, losing the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
Though Ford touted the Edsel as “radically different,” the changes made, including a vertical front grill that consumers thought resembled a toilet seat, did not please potential buyers. Brown, on the other hand, was very pleased with the final product. He stood by his design through the years, saying in 1985, “I’m proud of the car. There is not a bad line on the car.” The Edsel stayed in production only two years, selling just over 100,000 units.
One Edsel feature stood the test of time, becoming standard in all cars. While many other automobiles offered seat belts at an extra cost, at the time, they were standard features in all Edsel models. While the design may not have caught on as he’d hoped, the Edsel has a fanbase that continues to appreciate the car today. It’s also a premium automobile among collectors.