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This Edsel Would Set You Back Nearly $2 Million

A long-lost speedster re-emerges in time for the annual Pebble Beach Concours.

by on Aug.19, 2011

From barn find to well-restored classic, the 1924 Edsel Ford Speedster.

It’s become a cliché: the “barn find,” a rare car re-discovered after years hidden away in some old garage or barn.  But like many a cliché, there’s a bit of truth, as the folks at the Ford House are only too glad to talk about.

The mansion-come museum, along Lake St. Clair near Detroit, will soon be the home for the 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster that was the personal project of Edsel B. Ford, one-time president of Ford Motor Co. and the son of founder Henry Ford.  But first, the strikingly advanced 2-seater will be competing for the coveted trophies to be handed out over the weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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The Speedster – which strongly influenced some of the most important designs to come out of Ford and its Lincoln brand in the years before World War II – was designed by legendary Ford stylist E.T. “Bob” Gregorie, but Edsel Ford was actively involved in its development.  It was just slightly longer than the classic 1934 Ford Roadster, but appeared longer and lower due to a number of technical and visual tricks – such as moving the cockpit rearward and then extending the boat tail.  The Speedster was hand-built out of aluminum and equipped with a stock Ford Flathead V-8 making 75 horsepower.


Bye-Bye Mercury

It’s off to the rust heap for Ford’s former mid-range brand.

by on Jan.03, 2011

Mercury officially ceases to exist.

While most of us were waving goodbye to 2010, over the weekend, Ford Motor Co. was raising a toast and saying farewell to the Mercury division.

The long-struggling brand has been slowing phasing itself out following the decision to take Mercury off life support, last year.  But as of January 1, Ford formally closed the books on the brand.  When dealers opened up this morning they had to have removed all signs, logos and sales pitches for the once formidable Mercury.

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Borrowing the name from Roman mythology – Mercury being the messenger of the gods – the brand was founded in 1939 by Edsel Ford, son of company founder Henry Ford.  The division was designed to fill a spot between mainstream Ford, often called the “Blue Oval” brand, and upscale Lincoln.

In its very first year, Mercury sold 65,800 vehicles, in line with what it has been moving in recent years.  But even in those early days, Mercury struggled to establish a clear identity.  At times, it was pitched as a performance brand.  Alternatively, it was marketed as a more luxurious marque.  But most of the time, Mercury simply marketed the same products as the Ford division, albeit with a different badge.


“Racing In America” Gets the Green Flag at The Henry Ford

$15 million exhibition will cover all aspects of auto racing

by on Jun.11, 2010

The Henry Ford's new Racing in America exhibition will honor all forms of racing, from dragsters to Formula One.

It’s already the home to everything from some of the earliest sewing machines to the largest steam locomotives, but soon, The Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Michigan, will add a $15 million, 22,000 square-foot permanent addition to its Hall of Innovation, to be called Racing In America.

Museum president Patricia Mooradian said that the exhibition would combine a number of significant race cars the museum already owns, as well as a variety of donated and loaned items from various team owners, drivers, racing teams and other museums.

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“The Henry Ford,” as it has come to be known, will be the first to cover all forms of racing in one collection, she noted, along with the “risk-takers, problem-solvers and people who dared,” who made their names and fortunes in racing.


Milestones: Ford Dagenham Estate Celebrates 80 Years of Manufacturing

by on May.13, 2009

Edsel Ford Cutting First Sod At Dagenham

Ford bought the Thames marsh land five years earlier for £167,700.

On May 17, 1929, Edsel Ford, son of founder Henry Ford, dug  into a low-lying marsh with a silver spade, to celebrate the, err, swamp-breaking beginning of an English plant outside of London that today makes more than 1 million engines annually for use in European final assembly plants.

Ford bought the marsh five years earlier for £167,700. To support the planned engine and car factory more than 20,000 piles were sunk 80 feet into the ground.

Dagenham today employs a total of 4,000 people in engine, stamping and transport operations. Ford engineers and production workers there are responsible for the development and assembly of diesel engines used in 28 different Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Peugeot Citroën models. Four-cylinder 1.4-, 1.6-, 1.8-, 2.0-, 2.2- and 2.4-liter units are produced alongside 2.7- and 3.0-liter V6 engines and a 3.6-liter V8.

October 1931 First Vehicle off assembly line Dagenham, Model AA Truck.

October 1931: the first vehicle off the assembly line in Dagenham, the Model AA truck.

Ford Dagenham took 28 months to build. Its first vehicle, a Model AA truck, rolled off the production line in October 1931. Special trains moved 2,000 Ford employees and their families to their new Dagenham homes from Trafford Park, Manchester – the company’s first UK plant. From 1933 to 2003 a Ford ferry transported workers from south London to Dagenham to save them the time and cost of crossing the Thames river at Dartford or Blackwall.

Both the Model AA and another pre-World War II favorite, the Model Y, are in Ford’s Dagenham heritage collection and will be driven to celebrate its 80thbirthday.

The Ford Model Y was the lowest priced saloon (sedan) ever made, with the Popular model introduced in 1935 being the first and only £100 car. An early pioneer of recycling, Henry Ford fuelled Dagenham’s power station by burning London’s waste – 2,000 tons per week until 1939.  (more…)