As Henry Ford’s only child, Edsel Ford spent plenty of time around cars. He became the president of Ford Motor Company at the young age of 25, and is responsible for a large part of the company’s success. But Edsel’s real passion was not as much the business of cars as it was the design of them.
Edsel had a love of art and design not often found in titans of industry. He was keenly interested in photography and painting, and was a talented landscape artist in his own right. He served as President of the Detroit Arts Commission for many years and financed Diego Rivera's Detroit Institute of Art murals in the early 1930s.
It was partly this fervor for aesthetics and design that fueled the Ford’s purchase of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, allowing Edsel to make his most lasting contribution to the automobile industry: A belief that a car could – even should – be beautiful as well as useful.
Determined to make Lincoln the benchmark of style in automotive design, Edsel was the driving force behind the company’s development of some of the most distinctive and beautiful vehicles in automotive history. He handpicked leading coachbuilders of the era to partner with Lincoln in defining the luxury automobile. He was deeply involved with the development of the Zephyr and the Continental, oversaw the creation of some of the most iconic looks in American design, and transformed Lincoln into the quintessential luxury car brand.