World's Oldest Ford Vehicle Returns Home to Kick Off Henry Ford 150th Celebration in 2013
A key part of Ford Motor Co.'s heritage — the oldest known surviving 1903 Ford Model A — is again with the Ford family, and now will kick off the company's yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of company founder Henry Ford.
Considered the oldest surviving Ford vehicle, the 1903 Model A was unveiled today to Ford Motor Co. employees by Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who purchased the vehicle at at the RM Auctions sale at Hershey, Pa., in October.
"The timing was perfect to bring this key part of Ford heritage back to the family as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of my great-grandfather's birth and his vision to improve people's lives by making cars affordable for the average family," said Bill Ford. "His vision to build cars that are reasonably priced, reliable and efficient still resonates and defines our vision today as well."
MotorCities National Heritage Area and the Henry Ford Heritage Association teamed up with more than 30 Henry Ford-related collaborators to coordinate the yearlong celebration of events. These activities, highlighting Ford's legacy, contributions and influence, include tours, educational programming, dramatic re-enactments, lectures, integration and special events at auto shows and more.
A dedicated website, www.henryford150.com, also is launching today that includes an interactive timeline of Ford's life, tours, a calendar of 2013 events and information about efforts to preserve Henry Ford's heritage.
Henry Ford's 150th legacy will be celebrated in 2013 through a variety of events. Some of these include:
- Coming Together: A Celebration of Henry Ford – July 27, 2013, The Henry Ford Estate Fair Lane, Dearborn, Mich. This free community event will bring Henry Ford to "life" and feature many of his little-known interests and contributions.
- Maker Faire – July 27-28, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich. A two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. This year's celebration of the Maker movement will include a special program to recognize innovators.
- Discovering Henry Ford shows at The Henry Ford– April-December. A presenter-facilitated multimedia program using a large touch screen monitor to access digital assets (movies, photos) in themed 20-minute shows (Henry Ford the Tinkerer, Henry Ford and the Model T).
- Henry's T – Dramatic presentation at Greenfield Village– May-August. Visitors will meet Henry Ford in this interactive 15-minute play and hear how he was inspired to build the world's universal car. Guests also will find out why the Model T was so revolutionary and how Henry Ford's visionary thinking and hard work enabled him to put the world on wheels.
The role of the Model A
The Model A returning home played a pivotal role in Ford Motor Company history.
In July 1903, Henry Ford faced a daunting situation: The company's cash balance stood at less than $250. A much-needed cash infusion arrived on July 13, 1903: One full payment and two deposits totaling $1,320 for three Model A cars kept Ford Motor Co. afloat.
The car revealed today is a red 1903 Model A rear-entry tonneau. It is believed to be car No. 3, chassis No. 30, and the lone survivor of the group of three Model A cars sold on that day.
"The Model A helped keep our company going during a difficult time and enabled my great-grandfather to continue pursuing his vision of putting the world on wheels," said Bill Ford. "We look forward to carrying that same spirit of innovation forward as we develop new technologies for safer, cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles."
Read about early Ford history in Standard Catalog of Ford 1903-2002
The Model T kept Ford afloat; read about it in the ultimate Model T Ford book