Granted, the record didn’t last for long, but on this day in 1904 Henry Ford set a land speed record on the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair in Michigan. After founding the Detroit Automobile Company in August of 1899, only to have it go under by January 1901, Henry Ford still loved cars and racing. It was time to re-invent himself.
In October of 1901 he thought his best chance to restore himself financially was to race and win against the best race car driver in America at the time, Alexander Winton. Winton’s cars were more advanced and Henry wasn’t favored to win, but win he did. In the annals of Ford Motor Company history it is referred to as “The Race That Changed Everything”. You can read an article from last year here.
The following year Henry worked with bicyclist Tom Cooper to create two racers, similar in build, one painted red and the other yellow. What they came up with was a huge engine with an exposed chassis and no body work covering it. There was also no suspension or differential mechanisms. Steering was handled with a pivoting metal bar with hand grips.
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