Roy Brown Jr., 96, the defiantly proud designer of the Edsel, the chrome-encrusted, big-grilled set of wheels that went down as one of the worst flops in automotive history, died Feb. 24 at a hospice in Ann Arbor, Mich.
He had pneumonia and Parkinson's disease, his wife, Jeanne Brown, said.
More than five decades after Mr. Brown's creation debuted and promptly vanished from dealerships across the United States, the term Edsel remains synonymous with failure.
Among auto enthusiasts, however, the car generates deep nostalgia for a bygone era of American motoring.
Mr. Brown was a veteran automotive designer in the mid-1950s when the Ford Motor Co. put him in charge of overseeing a new car. It was to be more sophisticated than the standard Ford, less expensive than the Mercury, and so distinctive, he once said, as to be recognized "from a block away."