A Matter of Style
So gradually has Edsel come up in the industrial world that he has attracted
little attention in the world at large. The towering character of his father
has had much to do with it, but that is not the only reason. It would be dif-
ficult to find a person who has greater love, respect and admiration for a
father than does Edsel, and he has purposely kept himself in the back-
ground. But Edsel has not lost thereby. With him deference is not a weak-
ness. It has given him many opportunities to quietly establish himself against
the day when he alone will carry on the Ford traditions. In the inner exec-
utive circle of the Ford company there is complete agreement that Edsel is
the answer to all questions about the future of the business.
—Detroit Saturday Night (1936)
At the time Edsel was publicly standing up to critics of Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, he was emerging from a financial mess that had privately caused him to become weak-kneed with worry and dread. Along with several Grosse Pointe friends, most notably Ernest Kanzler, he had become deeply involved, as a director and its major shareholder, in the Guardian Group, a syndicate of banks and trust companies whose number included the Universal Credit Corporation. Kanzler had spearheaded the creation of the UCC in 1928 to handle installment loans for the Model A. UCCs partnership with the carmaker resulted in more than 400,000 loans in its first year and helped make the Guardian Group the largest financial syndicate in the state. Flush with money and optimism, the conglomerate built the Guardian Building on Griswold Street, a gaudy thirtysix-story tribute to high finance and even higher expectations.