Car racing has brought many advances in technology to our everyday vehicles. Safety comes to mind right away. As a full service auto repair shop we are lovers for car tech and its history.
This article from Ford Racing reminds me how far we’ve come and what a great heritage we have in America when it comes to the auto industry.
For example, consider the automobile pioneer Henry Ford. For him, the motto was quite appropriate, because while on his way to creating one of the most successful automobile companies in the world, he suffered his share of setbacks that included the failure of the Detroit Automobile Company in January 1901. He was 38 years old, married with one son and, after losing $86,000 in the failed venture, he was broke. He had to move in with his father, William, and plan the next move toward achieving his dream of owning a car company.
“He knew that racing grabbed the public imagination and it just so happened that one of the biggest races in the country was being planned practically in Henry Ford’s backyard,” recalled Edsel B. Ford II. “I don’t think it was my great-grandfather’s intention to ever win this race. He couldn’t afford to hire anyone, so he had to drive his own car. He had never raced before and he was up against the greatest driver in the country.”
That greatest driver, Alexander Winton, proved to be Ford’s lone competition on Oct. 10, 1901 as 8,000 fans came to the Detroit Driving Club to watch. All the other competitors dropped out when their vehicles failed to start, so the main event essentially became a 10-lap match race with the winner receiving $1,000.
Even though Winton jumped to a big early lead, Ford slowly began to close the gap. As the cars raced past the front stretch grandstand on the eighth lap, Winton’s car began to sputter and Ford took the lead for good in front of a cheering crowd.
“It was a thrilling moment. It was an historic moment and a moment that identified Henry Ford as a winner worth watching,” said Edsel Ford. “After he drove into the winner’s circle, a great crowd of spectators crowded him and shouted that they were willing to back him in any venture that involved wheels.”
Now, Ford Racing is celebrating that momentous day by highlighting great moments in its storied history at www.fordracing110.com.
In addition, fans can learn about the ongoing search for the trophy Ford won that day—a cut-glass punch bowl that was sold at auction following his death in 1947. Now, Edsel Ford wants it back. He launched a search 10 years ago but failed to find it. So for a Ford of today, it’s time to try, try again.