The Ford Marque.
The Ford marque is probably the best known motor manufacturer throughout the world. From humble beginnings, Henry Ford took three years hand building his first car in a brick built shed at the bottom of the garden in Bagley Avenue, Detroit, which was an experimental quadricycle that was first driven on the streets in 1896. After covering around 1000 miles it was later sold to Charles Ainsley, thus notching up Ford’s first sale!
Born on 20th July 1893 Henry Ford was the first child of William Ford who emigrated to the USA from Ireland in 1847, where he settled and became a farmer in Dearborn, Michigan. The first production Ford was a Model A built in 1903/04 and was powered by a horizontally mounted twin-cylinder engine of 1667cc. This was followed by the legendary Model T, a mammoth success story which remained in production between 1908 – 1927. This was replaced by the also extremely popular Model A that sold over 5 million. War time saw production of the iconic Ford GPW ‘Jeep’ and aircraft manufacture with Liberator bombers being built at the rate of one every hour
A milestone event was the production of the Ford V8 engine in 1932 which was low cost by casting the block and crankcase in one piece. The acquisition of Mercury and Lincoln which continued to be run as separate divisions meant that Ford could now develop and sell medium priced cars and also enter the luxury model market. On the 11th April 1947 Henry Ford died aged 83, but would be well remembered as one of the world’s most famous industrial giant.
The fastest selling car of all time that has yet to be surpassed was the Mustang introduced in 1964, while the GT40 remains a legend with motorsport, having won the Le Mans 24 hour race four years running between 1966 – 1969. Other extremely popular models during the 1950s and ‘60s included the Thunderbird, Galaxie, Falcon and Fairlane, while the Edsel was a huge flop, with only 111,000 produced over a three year period.
Model T (1908 – 1927)
It was the mass produced car for the millions, the Model T or ‘Tin Lizzie’, Lizzie being a popular slang for good and dependable servant, had a top speed of 45mph and returned 25mpg. It was built using a simple chassis frame, a 2884cc four-cylinder engine with a two-speed epicyclic gearbox, and transverse springs at the front and rear. The Model Ts appearance was rather gawky, it had a high ground clearance in order to deal with heavily rutted roads, and it was relatively light weighing in at 762kg.
Driving would be rather odd compared to today’s modern car controls. The throttle control was located on the steering wheel, and there were three foot pedals. The left one acted as a clutch and to engage gear, the middle one was used to engage reverse gear, while the right pedal operated the transmission brake. An extraordinary car, the Model T revolutionised car manufacturing and motoring.