Henry Ford’s delightfully wacky car of the future

Movingly, Nel Smith’s “Memories for the Future” is a testament to Henry Ford’s tenacity. “Henry wanted a car with no options – he wanted every curb to be vertical. It couldn’t have wood trim, would have to be black and made from pure automobile, steel, organic material. It was successful. Ford succeeded despite all the things that weren’t working. The car was unusual because it’s the only car made completely from one single material – it’s just one piece of machinery assembled by one single worker with no safety supplies or protection. The car has no varnish on the paint. From the press its wheels are built with the wooden rotary shifter, the transmission is the entire sheet metal of the assembly, the engine is ceramic, and the floor is steel.” Without Henry’s passion, Toyota, Honda, Kia and other automakers would be in a lot of trouble.

The Model A was the engine of choice for a vast majority of American car-buyers for the first several decades of the 20th century. Instead of the rugged, luxe cars of the future, there was the Model A with its polished black paint job, its body stamped, “Ford, Every Car We Can Buy,” in the factory, which boasted as a security feature a beeping, button-shaped door lock.

“Ford had a bad reputation for dumping workmen and changing make-up. When the amount of money they brought in the door was too great to maintain, they would just buy new workers and switch to a different paint job,” Smith wrote. “One worker told me, ‘The Ford we work for is like a man, he likes sweet girls and young boys, but he has a heart of gold and does not cut and run on work.’”

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