A Brief History of Ford
If any automotive company’s history needed to be made brief in order to fit on a single page, it would have to be Ford’s. Founded in 1903, the Ford Motor Company is exceptional for many reasons. It was one of the earliest and most successful motor companies, as well as one of the few to survive the Great Depression, not to mention one of the most influential.
Henry Ford was building automobiles as early as 1896 and just five years later defeated the top racecar driver of his era with a 26-horsepower Sweepstakes at a 10-lap race around the one-mile Detroit Driving Club oval. Two years later, he founded the Ford Motor Company and quickly gave investors a return on their money when the Ford Model A became an instant success.
Ford then continued to perfect not just his cars but also the way they were built. When he introduced the famous Model T in 1908, models were produced at a rate of only a few a day at a rented factory. Over the next several years, he began to build Model Ts at the first company-owned factory and developed all the basic techniques of the assembly line and mass production.
In doing so, Ford revolutionized the automotive industry and the world. He doubled employee wages and made the Model T affordable enough that even those who built it could afford it. By 1920, half of all the cars in the US were Model Ts, and Ford was even producing 40% of all British cars. It changed the way the world looked at mass production and transportation.
Ford’s history in the time since has been rich with diversity and success. It built tri-motor airplanes in 1925, flathead V8 engines in 1932, and Jeeps for the US military in 1941. The F-Series line of trucks was introduced in 1948 and would become the best-selling truck brand in the world by a hefty margin. The Thunderbird came six years later and the Ford Mustang ten years after that. It swept the Le Mans 24 Hours podium in 1966 with the Ford GT40, introduced three-point seatbelts in 1970, revolutionized car design with the Taurus in 1985, jump-started the SUV segment in 1990 with the Explorer, and began offering the first hands-free connectivity system in cars in 2007 with SYNC.
Today, few—if any—automakers can claim to have influenced the automotive landscape as widely and definitively as Ford did. And you can get a taste of that legacy right here at Hometown Motors!