Ford (USA)

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Ford

Using a converted Detroit factory and $28,000 from twelve investors (among them the Dodge brothers John and Horace), 40 year old Henry Ford began what would become one of the worlds largest and most influential automobile empires in 1903. The original car was the Model A, which morphed into the Model S by 1908, the same year that Henry Ford released the most famous of them all, the Model T. Widely regarded today as the father of modern production techniques, production would increase exponentially when the company moved to their own Piquette Road facility in 1909.

That year, some 18,000+ Model T’s would roll off the production line, the affordability of the car helping bring unprecedented demand – for the automobile was no longer the play-thing for the rich and influential. Moving to an even bigger facility at Highland Park, by 1911 production of the Model T had reached 70,000+, and by 1913 the company had developed the first moving assembly line, the term “mass production” entering the vocabulary. The benefits of the moving assembly line were immediately evident, with the time taken for the assembly of a chassis being slashed from 12½ hours to just 2 hours, 40 minutes.

The new production techniques did, however, lead to general employee dissatisfaction and high turn-over.  With Ford needing to continually train and up-skill workers, a solution was needed. The answer was to double pay to $5 a day, cut shifts from nine hours to an eight hour day for a 5 day work week, and institute hiring practices that identified the best workers. Thus, it pioneered the minimum wage and the 40 hour work week in the United States, even before the government enacted it. With the employee relations issues well sorted, production times would again start to fall, and productivity rise. By 1919 Ford was manufacturing 50% of all cars in the USA, and by 1920 (when production hit the one-million mark), half of all cars in the continental United States were Model T’s.

Model T's also became a popular export, many receiving unique features to ensure their suitability, such as enlarging the upper tank of the radiator to ensure better cooling in tropical climates. During the twenties the roadster and touring bodies were supplied with an optional 'khaki' colored top material as the black version would get too hot in the intense sunlight. Also the majority of the export destination countries (such as Australia) drove on the left hand side of the road so the cars had the steering wheel on the right hand side. With many countries insisting that their workers should be used in the manufacture of automobiles, Ford embarked on an overseas expansion programme, which included Ford South Africa (1924), Ford Canada (1925) and Ford Australia (1925).

Ford Model T  

Ford Model T

1908 - 1927
Ask most people to name a vintage car, and the answer will invariably be “The Model T”. With over 15 million being manufactured in the USA, South Africa, Canada and Australia, it is widely regarded not only as the car that “put the nation on wheels”, but the car that put the world on wheels. More >>
Ford Model A  

Ford Model A

1927 - 1931
The Model A Ford was the successor to the popular Model T, it first being released to the public on December 2nd, 1927. Ford desperately needed the Model A, with sales of the once popular Model T having been in decline for several years. More >>
Ford Model B / Model 18 / Ford V8  

Ford Model B / Model 18 / Ford V8

1932 - 1934
Unlike the Model T that had enjoyed a near 20 year production run, Ford knew that to retain market share, they would have to turn models over regularly as did their competitors. And so the Model A was replaced in 1932 by the Model B, carrying over the 4L engine layout however offering some minor refinements. More >>
Ford Customline  

Ford Customline

1952 - 1956
Immediately following the war most manufacturers, understandably, continued with the manufacture of designs dating back to the previous decade. Ford’s first and much anticipated new model line up arrived in 1949, however the 1952 revision, while based heavily on the 1949 design, heralded a new design direction. More >>
Ford Thunderbird  

Ford Thunderbird

1955 - 1957
Although it does not look like a sporty 2 door car, the Thunderbird was in fact designed to counter GM's Chev Corvette. More >>
Ford Crown Victoria  

Ford Crown Victoria

1955 -
Gaining notorioty recently for all the wrong reasons, the perennial Crown Victoria has lineage dating back to 1955. Today however it is best known as a police vehicle, accounting for over 90% of the police fleet in the US and Canada. More >>
Ford Fairlane 500  

Ford Fairlane 500

1956 - 1959
The beauty of any big American car of the era was its ability to soak up the miles effortlessly, and at the end of a long trip there were none better able to deliver both driver and passenger free of fatigue and in such great comfort. More >>
Ford Fairlane 500 "Skyliner"  

Ford Fairlane 500 "Skyliner"

1956 - 1959
As there were less than 13,000 of the vehicles made, these cars are today seen as being highly collectable - if you are lucky enough to find one! More >>
Ford Ranchero  

Ford Ranchero

1957 - 1979
The Ranchero, the first US designed "Ute", was an ever popular model in the Ford line-up - its popularity ensuring it would enjoy a longevity spanning 23 years, from 1957 through 1979. Naturally during this time the vehicle underwent several significant revisions, with the last model bearing no resemblance to the first - however in all versions the car remained exceedingly popular, with some 508,000 vehicles manufactured. More >>
Ford Galaxie  

Ford Galaxie

1961 - 1964
Although first introduced in 1959, it was the sleek models of the 1960's that presented an all-new style, abandoning the ostentatious ornamentation of the 50s for a futuristic, sleek look. It was obvious that Ford's stylists were abandoning the aviation influences of the previous decade and instead capturing the new obsession - the space race. More >>
Ford Falcon V8 Sprint  

Ford Falcon Sprint

1963 - 1965
The Ford Falcon Sprint first came into prominence at the beginning of 1963 at the time of the Monte Carlo Rally, which it narrowly missed winning. The rally cars were hardtop coupes, specially prepared and tuned, although a little more attention to the durability of the suspension components should have been made to the Aussie design (for more on this, read the Ford Falcon Story). More >>
Ford GT40  

Ford GT40

1964 - 1966
The story of the GT40 goes back to the early 1960s, when Henry Ford was negotiating to buy Ferrari. His offer was rejected by Enzo Ferrari in last minute negotiations, and in retaliation Henry set about building a Ford able to dominate racing and beat the Ferrari teams. More >>
Ford Pinto V6 Wagon  

Ford Pinto V6 Wagon

1974 - 1979
In its day, the Pinto wagon was hot property. Regardless of how the car is judged today, back in the early 1970s the Pinto’s compact exterior dimensions combined with generous cargo space, stylish good looks, plus a long option list made it popular in the Ford showrooms, the public obviously liking the ability to tailor it to their individual requirements. More >>
Ford Taurus

Ford Taurus (Gen #1)

1986 - 1991
Things can change quickly in the automobile business. In 1980, Ford's US. operation was losing a record $1 billion a year attempting to sell a line of products that were outdated and dull. In comparison, the competition had showrooms filled with high-tech, front-wheel-drive cars designed for the eighties. Ford was still cranking out rear-wheel drives styled for the seventies. Although Ford's European operation was healthy and dynamic, the US. company was in serious trouble. More >>
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