In the past week, airwaves have been inundated with some important birthday news from the automotive world, the 50th anniversary of the Ford Edsel. Rarely does the mainstream media care about the anniversary of a single model, but apparently exceptions can be made when said model happens to be one of the biggest cases of hype-not-living-up-to-ness in history. The Washington Post called it “the flop heard around the world” and “Ford’s Titanic.” Time Magazine merely said its narrow, upright grille looked like “a vagina.”
In a parallel universe, enthusiasts are celebrating the golden anniversary of a car that racked up countless racing victories and became a legend the world over, even though it was never sold to most of it. Well, Japan is as close to a parallel universe as we’re ever going to get, and car nuts there have been observing 50 years of the Nissan Skyline. In April, a sample of each of the twelve generations was displayed in the newly completed, $3-billion Tokyo Midtown. Then, there was another display at Nissan’s futuristic, gleaming-white Ginza gallery. And then this one. And then wallpapers, a series of diecast cars, a desktop gadget, a commemorative CD, and even a cross-country tour that ended at the very tree used in the Ken & Mary commercials. Now that’s a birthday party!