Parts to Power: Ford’s Production 113 Years in the Making

Written by Matthew McMurray on December 5th, 2016

Image result for 1903 ford

Image source: Car & Driver

What did the first Ford represent? An advance in technology and the overall knowledge in transportation? A new fashion that involved style and class? Or was it the beginning of the destruction to the worlds atmosphere? Whatever passes through the minds of those around, one thing is for certain. The horse was replaced by horsepower, and with the 20th century just falling into place, the 1903 Ford hand-built transporter was popular among family and friends.

Was this the beginning of show cars, or even drag racing? Who’s to say? All that mattered was that the first Ford was motorized through the three simple components of air, fuel and spark. It was quite the revolutionary machine. Not only was their invention astonishing, but so was their production and revenue. Let the decades prove that Ford’s inventions and intentions we’re all true to the asphalt we ride on today.


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Image source: MOMENTcar

The first to hit the dirt: literally. These were the cars that had no open roads. Most of them  drove in the muck. Nonetheless it was far more significant for getting you and your friends to a show on a Friday night. These early age cars, better known as horseless carriages, were the fashion that quickly caught on among the people who lived in urban and suburban areas. They didn’t make more than 7-8 horsepower. They further continued the design of the carriage by using wooden wheels and rubber for traction. The motor on this specific vehicle was a flat two-cylinder, crank start. As shown in the photo, the car has a handle on the driver side (what would now be considered the passenger side) that would spin the crankshaft and flywheel to begin the combustion cycle.

Interior was just as simple as the rest of the automobile. These cars, came with only a simple pull over top for when you get stuck in the rain and you have to make your trip home. The seats were made of a pillow like material and also had a leather over coating. along with this compact and clean-cut interior came the new fashion of driving the automobile with an expressive color to display.


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     Perhaps the most popular classic produced during this decade would be the 1914 Model-T. This was due to two reasons. One being it was the first car to be assembled on an assembly line under the supervision of Henry Ford. By 1915 over 15 million Model T’s rolled off the line and into the lot for purchase. Style became the unnecessary part of the purchase. All cars that were bought through Ford were black with white tires. All of the cars were produced with the same 2 cylinder as well to go along with the black finish.

     Ford produced this car for industrial purposes and no longer for style. While this was the time for industry to grow, since America was producing many worldwide exports in this time, It was important that transportation could be provided that didn’t include using a boat or train. And since the car was produced in great numbers, the car was often to break down on the road. This is where the concept of repair shops was established. Along with repair shops came gas stations. The world quickly evolved for the growing industry of auto-motives.

     Later on in the decade, a rival appeared on the charts. It was referred to as the Dodge. This was the 1914 car that was produced in Detroit next to the Chevrolet that began production in 1911. They were all American based companies. All which were used later on in 1918 to help carry American troops from one place to another in World War I.


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With the 1920’s there wasn’t much of an increase in production compared to past years. Ford had only made one major change in the face of automobiles. A different model that serves the same purpose. This was to show that the company was doing so well with its revenue that it decided to produce a whole new car with the same purpose as the Model-T. It also came with a motor that had around 20 horsepower. Another addition would be that the car had black rubber instead of white rubber like its sibling. Ford and all of it’s riches sparked the invention of the model. It was longer listed as just a producer but now as a model as well.

This specific model was nicknamed the “moon runner”. It earned this name as it was used to provide moonshine and other alcohol to people during the Great Depression. This required the cars to have upgrades to outrun the officers trying to chase them down. The aftermarket provided improved versions of the same parts. This allowed any given person to spend a little money on their vehicle to make it faster than the rest, although in this decade, “faster” meant an extra 3-5 mph.


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     This 1935 Ford (one of many) was one of the best and legendary vehicles known to exist in the U.S., is because of its surprising change in technology and body style. The car had new intentions to get the average business employee to work daily without failure. Since people were desperate for money, due to the Great Depression, people found these vehicles cheap and reliable for to and from work purposes. People found the cars to have a new class, as they were faster than most production cars on the streets anywhere in America. This car would have been considered the first fastback, but that name wasn’t used until the 1960’s.

     The cars of this generation started to be the hosts of the first ever Flathead V8. They could produce up to 85 hp at the rear wheel. They could reach up to 72 mph after 25 seconds at full throttle. The interior was rather basic, other than the lavish leather seating and newly designed dash. This car had more style and comfort just like its fellow vehicles in the previous decade.


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This was the generation where racing went from the streets to official time testing. A time where people would gather to get wasted and bet on the best racer of the day. This was the decade that pulled apart all of the WWII vehicles and used the remaining airports as drags strips. The ’40s, they were referenced as, and as historians would announce, that this was the most dangerous of the generations to enjoy the thrill of driving at high speeds. Cars during this age came in enormous amounts and with highly advanced horsepower producing motors. Every person throughout the 1940’s would assume it was safe to ride without a seat belt or even a roof. These days, you can’t pull off such stunts.

Most of the cars were extracted from the scrap yards that were appearing in the west and south ends of America. They were rebuilt and sold nationwide. Speed shops also began to appear throughout the U.S. These are still to this day, considered the unsung fortune makers because so many of the business’s customers expecting their stuff to be assembled professionally and not to look so home-made.

The whole concept behind the speed shop is that you could roll a car or chassis into the warehouse and get it returned 2-4 weeks later with aftermarket improvements and upgrades. This edged people to have the fastest and lightest cars in town so they could outrun anyone or anything, including the cops.


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Source: TIME Magazine

Out went simplicity and in came the Fords from the ’50’s. As you can see above with this 1958 Ford Edsel, it appeared essential to have an expressive rear-end and eccentric front-end. The car and companies were barely concerned about horsepower but more about which car felt more like a land barge. The car’s long body and chrome lines all added up to make this generation of automobiles quite attractive to the car devotees. This car was sought-after by many enthusiasts world-wide. Some described it as “carpenters, designers, and gear heads put up with each other to make an indescribable automotive.” Others would say “This is what happens when a company gets so into comfortably and capacity that you end up living out of this machine.”

Specifications for these Tin Lizzies were expanding by the minute, and time made sure there was no room for slowing. While there was an average expansion in horsepower for these gas guzzlers, Many businesses such as Ford found themselves making prodigiously sized brakes. Many of the vehicles on the highways still had the option of whether or not they wanted seat belts, causing many more fatal crashes to occur daily. Safety regulations were soon to fall in place.


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Source: Tumblr

Wanna talk mad muscle? Here’s a car that hit headlines faster than the eye could read. This 1968 Ford Mustang Gt 500 KR was one of the top dogs during this decade. Horsepower quickly went from a term, to a competitive and intimidating word constantly thrown around the corners. The press wanted Ford’s answer to all of the crazy talks of:  “the fastest ride” roaming the flustered avenues and boulevards, which was the response that most auto junkies had expected. The car hit high production, making an army of roadsters and street machines to compete against. It was a revolutionary time for the automobile industry, as most of the decades were. However, the significance of this change was permanent. It would affect the decades to come.

This specific model was made to produce a high amount of horsepower and torque that could quickly and stylishly put everyone else in the loser column. It did a great job doing so. This car, with minimal modifications, could turn a time of 14.40’s in the 1/4 mile. It also had the average 0-60 of 6.9 seconds. Interior came with leather bucket seats, wood dash and stick shifter for the 3 speed, and an AM radio that could tune into any local news channel.


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Source: Pinterest

This next wave of auto-motives was one that hit the books. It was referred to as the “aftermath”. Some people would say that companies ran out of money and ideas for building new autos. Others would say that major businesses were no longer interested in beating the rivals at the top. Whatever the theory you believe in, the facts presented the late 1970’s with its new collection of unique compacts and sedans. As enthusiasts quarreled that this was soon to be an extraordinary revision of the auto industry, some individuals begged to differ. Cars such as this 1977 Ford Maverick less popular and manufactured for a dime ‘a dozen.  The showed little interest in horsepower (in the lower options given for the vehicle, such as the V6 option) and more interest in fuel efficiency.

What was the 1977 Ford Maverick like anyway? It was a car revised to fit the needs of those who were changing their interests from hot body style to insipid looks of the late ’70’s early ’80’s. Most four-wheel fanatics were gushing over how the car had more than 20 miles to the gallon, for the cheapest price on the market! This made the ruckus and amazement that Ford was pushing for.


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What’s there to say? It was the 80’s! People were more confused about style than the rocket science that put the first man on the moon. Therefore, the taste in style also explains why this generation of vehicles was considered rather “disgusting”. This was the decade where the community would have considered to be the disposable decade, which was the name it earned, when cars began to rust only two years after being manufactured on the assembly line. This Ford Sierra Cosworth, was one of many contemporary and bedazzled models produced during this stint. Production hit its prime in quantity, but not exactly in quality.

Where’s the high quality? There wasn’t any. A gigantic ratio of cars were assembled with cloth interior, AWD drive-trains, and expressive rims that all looked like ninja stars or dinner plates. It exotic style was matched with the bland colors like black ans silver. SO no matter how curvy and wild the cars appearance was, it was still assigned the colors that are rated to be the lamest. Ford made plenty of profit during these ten years, most because of how affordable and reliable the cars were for the first year the customer had ownership. However, not long after, the cars were crumbling and returning to their natural place underground.


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Source: How Stuff Works

This car, the 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra, was one of the most revolutionary artworks during the decade. It produced the most horsepower out of the entire Ford fleet. The data below gives more details on this specific vehicle:

Type: 90-degree, OHV Windsor V-8
Displacement: 5.0L / 302 CID
Horsepower: 235 hp @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 280 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Bore x Stroke: 4.0 in. x 3.0 in.
Compression:  9.0:1

Source: Ford Performance

This auto had a 90’s appearance with a super curvy front end, and a weird, boxier rear-end. It also had odd shaped tail lights that are still produced with the same concept on the assembly lines today. The interior was made up of cloth seats, plastic panels, and now power windows. The car followed the 80’s trend by pulling out the old ugly, but recognizable wheels. It was as if the sun had been shrunk and chromed to be used as a pair of metal spinners.

With this reuse of a old trend, came in a new divergence. That notable divergence is still a fashion produced on the newest of mustangs. The tail light turn signal. It has a certain pattern that makes the tail lights look like a dynamic arrow telling which direction the driver is moving. Electric gadgets and widgets such as auto locking doors and an advanced radio that displayed the time and current radio station were all little improvements that Ford used to improve the odds and ends if the newest car.


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Source: Motor Trend

The car with class, precision, aerodynamics and elegance. All of this corresponds with the tech thriving 2006 Ford Mustang: both V6 and GT. Each car has been outfitted to support the newest smartphones and telephones of the year. Further specs on the cars advancement and motor are listed below.


  • 4.0L V-6 Engine
  • 5 spd-manual w/OD Transmission
  • 210 horsepower @ 5300 RPM
  • 240 ft-lbs of torque @ 3500 RPM
  • Front A/C
  • Rear wheel drive
  • Cloth seat trim
  • AM/FM radio stereo, seek scan radio

Table source: Autoblog

The tid-bits of advancement in the cars overall durability and weight were quite satisfying to the enthusiasts with the love for details. It was held accountable by the company to make something that had not been recognized or even produced in the previous years. In this case, it was get what you want. Ford allowed for lots of electrical options and details like spoiler delete or certain vinyls. All of these stated decorations were nothing compared to the Ford Mustang GT that was produced on the very same assembly line.


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Source: Ford

Here comes the latest and most eye-catching car of the century. The 2016 Ford GT 350 and all of its pride. A car that has high horsepower and higher expectations. This car, commonly mistaken to be a Camaro or Challenger, is actually one of its own; unique and custom, also massed produced machines that rolled off of the assembly line in the early year of 2015. Ever since the new mustang production, people around the world have had their say on the new body style and looks that the car is producing on magazines and pamphlets, is quite intimidating.


  • 5.2L V-8 Engine
  • 6spd manuel w/OD transmission
  • 526 @ 5300 RPM
  • 540 @ 3500 RPM
  • Spoiler Delete Option
  • Leather or Cloth Seating Trim
  • 17″ or 16″ Wheels & Tires

After the car was thrashed around corners in the heat of Arizona during the auto crosses, the car was able to be driven home without a single minor or major problem. Built to last, and built to perform. This specific vehicle produced times up to 28.23 seconds while other drivers couldn’t get passed 31.12. the car showed intimidating time turnouts and provided the driver with A/C and classical music to jam about with while completing the time trial in a matter of seconds.