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Keep reading for Ford facts and history.

 

The Founding of Ford

Ford is the quintessential American automaker and has stood as a bellwether for the automotive industry as a whole.  Its founder, Henry Ford, was an iconic automaker.  The Ford Motor Company was Ford's 2nd attempt in the business.  He founded the Detroit Automobile Company, later reorganized as the Henry Ford Company

 

WWII and a New Era

In 1942, Ford started producing B-24 bombers for the US military using his Model T assembly line techniques a new plane was turned out every hour.

In 1943, Edsel Ford, company president since 1919, Lincoln division director, and Mercury founder, died. It is reported that at his funeral in Dearborn, Michigan, more than 5,000 mourners passed by his casket each hour, a rate, the pioneer of the assembly line would have appreciated.

Edsel's son, Henry Ford II, became president of Ford in 1945 at 28. The F-series pickup truck,  was introduced in 1948 becoming the popular F-150

In the 1950s, the era of hot-rodders Ford made the Deuce Coupe famous, and Chevrolet had just introduced the Corvette.  There was also a new demand for luxury cars.

 

The Birth of the Muscle Car: From the Thunderbird to the Mustang

Ford’s Thunderbird, similar to the Corvette, was a two-seater with a powerful V8 engine.   The Thunderbird reached speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. Neither strictly a sports car nor a luxury car, it was categorized in a class of its own: The personal luxury car.  Other cars eventually joined that class Cadillac Eldorado and the Buick Riviera.

In 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang.  A smash hit and the first of a set of affordable sporty cars with long hoods and short cabins, such as the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Plymouth Barracuda.  This style of small, sporty two-doors is now known as the pony car.

The Mustang was introduced at a Grand Prix race in upstate New York, where a Formula One driver took it around the track in a time only slightly off the pace of the F1 cars that had raced earlier. It was the first car to be awarded the Tiffany Gold Medal for excellence in American design in 1965.

With its performance pedigree and stylish appearance, the Mustang became an iconic car, appearing in the James Bond film “Goldfinger”,  “Gone in 60 Seconds.”  and the 2000 remake of the latter film.

In the 1980s, the Mustang shrank to a smaller, more economical car, which became a successful trend for other Fords like the Taurus and Focus. The Mustang was on the Car and Driver 10 Best list in 1983, 1987, and 1988.

 

A New Class: The Taurus, The SUV, and Near Bankruptcy

Ford is known for spearheading automobile advancements, including the Taurus’ aerodynamic "jelly bean" shape that changed that of the conventional car.  First introduced for the 1986 model year, the front-wheel drive Taurus grabbed everyone's eye.   Its oval shape and grille-less front end were so radical that it stuck out like a sore thumb in a world full of boxy cars.    It came standard with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine and the option of a 3.0-liter V6. The Taurus become the best-selling car in the US from 1992 to 1996.

On the larger end of the vehicle spectrum, the Ford Explorer popularized Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), and the F-series truck continued to win awards left and right — including Motor Trend's Truck of the Year Award in 2009 and an Automotive Excellence Award in the Workhorse Category from Popular Mechanics.

Ford moved ahead with a restructuring plan, known as “The Way Forward.” The company sold off foreign brands including Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin, as well as a 20% share in Mazda. Ford originally intended to maintain the Mercury brand, it closed Mercury in 2010.

Ford Today

The Ford Motor Company is arguably the most recognizable automotive brand in the US. Tt stands as the 10th-largest US-owned company in any industry and the 3rd-largest automaker in the world in terms of profit, according to Forbes. Ford has expanded its reach across the world, globalizing the company. Many of its models can be found driving the streets of China, and in many European countries

Ford’s F-Series models, Mustang and Taurus models are still strong. and it broken into the electric motor market with the Ford Focus hybrid, which can reach up to 110 MPGe.

Henry Ford's family still owns a minority interest of special stock and is one of the largest family-run corporations in the world.

Ford is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. 1A Auto is not affiliated with or sponsored by Ford or Ford Motor Company. See all trademarks.

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