Ford Motor Company

Henry became chief engineer for the newly formed Detroit Automobile Company in 1899. This was a short-lived venture, folding in 9 months. It was at this time Henry decided a race car was the means to attract the attention he needed. Winton & Olds were actively developing the automotive industry. Henry needed recognition to get backing for his ideas. On October 10, 1901 at the Detroit Fairgrounds, driving his own car, Ford beat Winton in a two-man event. On November 30, 1901, with the backing of William Murphy, the Henry Ford Company was established. This company would become Cadillac.

On his own again, Henry did what worked before. A second race car, driven by Barney Oldfield, beat Winton again. Ford was approached to start an automotive company for the second time. The Ford Motor Company introduced the Model A using parts bought from other companies including the Dodge Brothers. The two-cylinder, 8 horsepower A could reach 30 miles per hour costing $850. Other models were introduced, all with letter designations, including C, F, B, K, N, R, & S.

A legal challenge emerged in the form of the George Shelden engine patent. In 1897, William C Whitney had purchased patent number 549,160 and formed the Association of Licensed Automotive Manufacturers to collect royalties. Ford applied for membership in 1903, and was refused, and so ignored the patent. He lost the initial trial but won on appeal January 9, 1911. The verdict ended the association.

Introduced in 1908, Highland park was built in 1910 to manufacture the Model T. By 1913, the cost per car was down to $440 but required 12 ½ hours to build. The Model T accounted for almost half of cars sold in 1914 with building time down to 1 ½ hours. Sale remained strong until the early twenties. There was a noticeable decline in sales by 1922. Chevrolet began cutting into the economy market offering color choices, style changes, and power. Other car companies were offering innovations like the self-starter as standard equipment. A price cut late in 1925 into 1926 failed to boost sales for the first time ever. A milestone was reached on May 26, 1927 when Edsel drove the fifteen-millionth T off the line with Henry in the passenger seat. This was the end of the Tin Lizzy.

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