The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford (1863-1947). Growing up on a farm, he had shown an early interest in powered vehicles and built his first car – a quadricycle – in 1896. To publicise his new company, in 1904 he drove one of his cars, the 16.7 litre “Arrow”, to an unofficial land speed record of 91mph. His first car was the Model A, but it was the Model T that made him a multi-millionaire. Pioneering the use of mass production-line assembly, 15 million Model T’s were built between 1908 and 1927, literally putting America on wheels. Based in Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford expanded his automobile empire around the World. By the 1920’s there were overseas factories in Europe, Latin America, Canada, Asia, South Africa & Australia, with Ford also acquiring the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922. The Ford Motor Company grew progressively over many decades and is now the fifth largest automobile manufacturer in the World. One of the company’s most successful brands, the Mustang, sold its 10 millionth car in 2018. N.B. A section has been added at the end of the 1940’s to include that American icon, the Street Rod.
Hot rods first appeared in California in the late 1930’s. With oversized engines modified for speed, they were initially used for racing on dry lake beds near Los Angeles. Street rods evolved from hot rods and are used more for cruising city streets rather than for racing. Fords from the 1930’s are one of the most popular cars to be modified to become either hot rods or street rods.