1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout, First Car Built by Henry Ford

Summary

The Quadricycle was Henry Ford's first attempt to build a gasoline-powered automobile. It utilized commonly available materials: angle iron for the frame, a leather belt and chain drive for the transmission, and a buggy seat. Ford had to devise his own ignition system. He sold his Quadricycle for $200, then used the money to build his second car.

The Quadricycle was Henry Ford's first attempt to build a gasoline-powered automobile. It utilized commonly available materials: angle iron for the frame, a leather belt and chain drive for the transmission, and a buggy seat. Ford had to devise his own ignition system. He sold his Quadricycle for $200, then used the money to build his second car.

The Quadricycle was Henry Ford's first attempt at building a gasoline powered automobile. It is as simple as Ford could make it and utilizes commonly available materials. The frame is made from angle iron, the transmission is a combination of leather belt and chain drive, the seat is from a buggy. The two cylinder engine is based on a Kane-Pennington design described in the January 9, 1896 issue of American Machinist magazine. The details of the engine were incomplete and Ford had to devise his own ignition system. Originally the engine was air cooled, but it ran too hot and Ford added water jackets to the cylinders. Ford sold the Quadricycle in late 1896 for $200, which he spent on building his second car. In 1904, with Ford Motor Company becoming successful, he bought the little vehicle back for $65. Engine: Kane-Pennington-Ford, inline 2-cylinder, atmospheric intake valves, overhead exhaust valves, 59 cu. in., 4 hp (est.)

Detailed Description
Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1896

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Object ID

00.2.93

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Henry and Clara Ford.

Material

Steel
Wood (Plant Material)
Rubber (Material)
Cloth
Glass (Material)

Technique

Handmade

Color

Black (Color)
Green

Dimensions

Height: 45 in

Width: 45.5 in

Length: 78.5 in

Inscriptions

imprinted on the bicycle lamp: SOLAR metal plate on back of seat reads: U.S. & FOREIGN / PATENTS PENDING / ON THE WORKING / PART & DESIGN / OF THIS MACHINE

Specifications

Make & Model: 1896 Ford Quadricycle runabout

Maker: Henry Ford, Detroit, Michigan, with David Bell, James Bishop, George Cato, and Edward Huff

Engine: inline-2, F-head valves, 59 cubic inches

Transmission: 2-speed manual

Height: 45 inches

Wheelbase: 49 inches

Width: 45.5 inches

Overall length: 78.5 inches

Weight: 500 pounds

Horsepower: 4 at 500 revolutions per minute (estimated)

Pounds per horsepower: 125

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