Remember the Edsel? I do, and that gives away at least my approximate age. You youngsters listen up, because even though you weren’t around when this amazing car was first marketed, there’s a lesson here for everyone. Introduced in the late 1950s, this uniquely designed car flopped. Its distinctive oval grill wasn’t enough to attract buyers. Just 100,000 were sold in three years and the model was canceled. It was well test-marketed. Six thousand names were considered. Ford, who built the car, gave it all the company had to offer by way of promotion. The demise of this much-heralded car stunned Ford execs. Investors had been assured. Sophisticated market analysis and development had been used. The press was told that the Edsel would eclipse the Oldsmobile and the Buick. Everyone believed in this product as the vehicle of the future — except the consumer. It came to be known as Ford’s most “successful failure.”

Roy Brown who designed the car died recently, never gave up believing in his car and drove one all his life. In spite of its apparent failure, legions of loyal owners have kept the Edsel memory alive by forming car clubs. Forty-eight states now have a chapter, plus more enthusiasts in Canada and around the world. As a result, a properly restored Edsel today can fetch up to $100,000! Not bad for a failure.

The lesson? Time has a way of turning our worst failures into victories if we are patient. A good car idea is still good 60 years later. It just took time for the masses to be proven wrong. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1 says. Where the NIV says “perseverance” the KJV says “patience.” Both are great words. Edsel owners know. Those who kept their original Edsel, having paid a couple thousand dollars, have reaped a 50X profit. Those who run a spiritual race and keep the faith will reap eternal rewards.