A while 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-350 is shown from the front at an angle.

Key Moments in Ford’s History

Ford has always been one of America’s most trusted car brands. Since the dawn of the automotive industry, Ford vehicles have been paving the way for brands everywhere, setting the bar for power, performance, and style worldwide. Being one of the premier car brands of the automotive industry, Ford Motors boasts a rich history that has more than its fair share of interesting facts and occurrences. That history has shaped not only the automotive industry but arguably this country as well, seeing as Ford’s contributions to the United States culture have been fruitful in many different ways.

In even the farthest corners of Ford’s existence throughout this country, there is a story to be told. Whether you’re looking at the company’s close relationship with other titans of industry throughout America’s history or something so seemingly simple as your local Ford dealer, that story is always worth telling. Many of the facets of Ford’s history take us to places we otherwise wouldn’t expect a car company’s story to go, such as Henry Ford’s close relationship with Thomas Edison or the various indispensable contributions the company made to America’s war efforts in the early 1900s. Most definitely, Ford’s history is very much alive and vivid to those who explore it, so let’s take a look at some key facts throughout the brand’s story that are of particular interest.

Ford During War

World War II was a dire time for the United States in more ways than we could possibly cover in this article. Every branch of industry at the time felt how dire it was, so you would’ve been hard-pressed to find a producer of any kind of product or service, whether it be clothing, film, or, in this case, automobiles, that wasn’t contributing to the efforts in some way. Ford itself was a stand-out example among these contributors, essentially converting most of their operation into a branch of the military itself. Many of Ford’s token assembly lines were repurposed for the sake of building various military vehicles such as cargo and all-terrain trucks. However, those weren’t the only vehicles Ford manufactured during this time. Bomber planes and ground tanks also became Ford’s primary specialty during the ’40s, effectively becoming the leading provider of all armored and weaponized vehicles during World War II.

As strange as it is to think, by the time the ’40s rolled around, Henry Ford himself was already in his old age, crossing the threshold of 80 in 1943. Despite this, Ford would frequently oversee production during wartime himself, ensuring that every military vehicle was up to snuff and in perfect condition for fieldwork. The following year, Henry Ford would be awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his contributions to the war and for ensuring the military always had prime hardware to effectively and powerfully fight for freedom. Though Ford would die just two short years later, this accolade would serve as the ultimate representation of the ideals that Ford Motors was built on: generosity, peak performance, and utility.

A green 1908 Ford Model T is shown from the side.

Ford and Edison

A particularly interesting piece of Ford Motor’s history takes us back many years before wartime, before Ford’s assembly line, and even before his Model T. In the year 1896, Henry Ford was testing the very first prototype that would ultimately go on to become the Model T, which he called the “Quadricycle,” a small vehicle that ran on a gas-powered engine carried by four bicycle wheels. Ford touted his new invention at a convention in New York, where, it just so happened, Thomas Edison was visiting. Now, this was at a time in which the concept of the automobile was still in its infancy, and many people didn’t think it would catch on.

Edison, however, did not consider himself among those who thought this and took to Ford’s Quadricycle quite enthusiastically the moment he saw it. Being a big believer that the future of transportation lay in this new automobile technology, specifically in the possibility of electrically powered cars––certainly, a man ahead of his time––he encouraged Henry Ford to keep at it and continue refining his design, even investing in the project to help further Ford’s endeavors. From here, Ford and Edison formed a close friendship, working closely on multiple projects together in the future, including various attempts at actually creating the practical and consumer-available electrical vehicle that Edison so dreamed of.

Though these efforts never fully came to fruition in their lifetime, Ford and Edison certainly laid the groundwork that would be used to ultimately see the vision of a capable and practical electric car through by the late 1990s. Because of the close friendship that came from a happenstance meeting at a convention, Ford was able to come upon the resources necessary to build his Model T. His continued friendship with Edison helped set the foundations for what would lead to all-electric vehicles being a viable transportation option.

Best Cars, Best Sellers

With its consistent reputation for supplying vehicles that are in a league of their own on the fronts of power, performance, and capability, it will surely not come as a shock to hear that Ford vehicles are consistently selling well. But did you know that Ford has actually set numerous records for its sales? There’s a reason that many of Ford’s vehicles are so iconic and recognizable, specifically their trucks.

Over the years, Ford has seen many vehicles chart the best sellers list in the automotive industry, such as the Ford Escort, Fiesta, and Taurus, each of which has earned its spot at the top. However, Ford’s greatest accolade in this regard is that which vehicles of all makes covet, and, remaining consistent with their other best sellers, belongs to an F-Series vehicle. No car out there over the years has seen sales numbers so profoundly high as the Ford F-150. This truck has been widely heralded as the most perfectly balanced truck ever created by many, serving as the meeting point for capability and performance.

Just two years after its release, the F-150 secured its title as the best-selling vehicle in America, and since then, it has continued to hold it almost every year. “Almost” is the operative word there, as, interestingly enough, there was one year, 1986, in which it was beaten out by a Chevy ever so briefly, breaking its ten-year streak. Since then, however, it has not been overtaken and has remained the best-selling vehicle in America for 40 years running. It is somewhat unfortunate to think that a brief hiccup of one year for the F-150 cost us the ability to say it was the best seller for 50 years running, but 40 is still a huge accomplishment and serves as a definitive example of Ford’s continued commitment to creating exemplary vehicles.

A silver 2021 Ford F-150 Tremor is shown from the side after leaving a Ford dealer.
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor

A Brand That Stands Out Throughout History

Ford’s core beliefs and ideals lie in providing generous and selfless service, offering luxury and utility to all who need it, and boldly continuing efforts to innovate and inspire generations to come. The brand boasts tons of accolades and has one of the strongest vehicle fan bases out there. Ford was at the beginning of everything, and that really shows in its ability to create quality vehicles that stand the test of time as well as the brand’s ability to keep up with the rapidly changing needs and tastes of its consumer base. From wartime production to new partnerships to creating the most beloved vehicle in America, there is a lot to love about Ford.