By: Tim Plouff
A self-taught engineer created not only a car for the masses way back in 1906, but a construction process and a car brand that would re-shape global life not only then but for decades to come.
Henry Ford was a lot of things during his 83-years living large, yet in an age when an electric car (which he adamantly refused as untenable back then) company that has yet to make an annual profit is valued more than the three largest American automakers that do make profits, it should be remembered that what happens today was made possible because of what Ford did over 114-years ago.
By taking the Model T, produced only in black, only with a manual transmission, but with automatic ‘air conditioning’, and creating a self-contained assembly line, Henry Ford revolutionized travel, daily life, and the tenants surrounding what working people should be paid. While some believe that the Model T was the most influential car of the 20th century; perhaps what affordable mass transportation did for America and the world is the more important achievement.
Today, the direct descendants of the first Fords have more in common than one might think. Cars like the current Escape, a freshened design that now incorporates models utilizing electric power because the batteries are now compatible with both design restrictions and weight impediments not evident when Henry was building cars, are also changing how we travel, commute, and exist in a world very dependent still on personal travel.
The latest Escape remains affordable, as well as easy to assemble in several markets—just like the Model T, all while reaching a mass audience selecting Ford-branded products. The latest Escape continues the march of its founding father, seeking to provide Liberty, Freedom, Friendship, and Hope, in a Union that still embraces the ideals of another important founding father, Jefferson, despite a cancel culture that might chose to ignore, erase, or otherwise not appreciate that we all have a history, with warts, embarrassments, and deeds we might wish to change.
Three cheers for Ford, to all of the people that take risks to make a positive impact in the world, and to the rural towns of America where we celebrate the Freedom of the open road.