Driving
America

Explore the world's premier auto exhibit showcasing an unparalleled collection of historically significant vehicles.

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Highlights

1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout, First Car Built by Henry Ford

  Details

1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout, First Car Built by Henry Ford

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1896

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.

Object ID

00.2.93

Credit

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

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1896 Ford Quadricycle Runabout, First Car Built by Henry Ford

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Convertible

  Details

1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Convertible

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1931

Summary

Longer than a Duesenberg. Twice the horsepower of a Rolls-Royce. More costly than both put together. The Bugatti Royale was the ultimate automobile, making its owners feel like kings. Not only did it do everything on a grander scale than the world's other great luxury cars, it was also rare. Bugatti built only six Royales, whereas there were 481 Model J Duesenbergs and 1767 Phantom II Rolls-Royces.

Object ID

58.86.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Charles and Esther Chayne.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Convertible

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Texaco "Fire-Chief" Gasoline Pump, circa 1940

  Details

Texaco "Fire-Chief" Gasoline Pump, circa 1940

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Gasoline pump

Date Made

circa 1940

Summary

By the 1940s, drivers watched "computing" pumps like this Texaco Fire-Chief pump automatically calculate the amount of gasoline and the price. This type of pump did away with price charts used by service station attendants. Internal, calibrated gear sets turned numbered wheels allowing quick and easy fill ups and payments.

Object ID

87.196.25

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Fletcher Oil Company.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Texaco "Fire-Chief" Gasoline Pump, circa 1940

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Douglas Auto Theatre Sign, circa 1955

  Details

Douglas Auto Theatre Sign, circa 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising sign

Date Made

circa 1955

Summary

The first "auto movie theatre" opened in Camden, New Jersey, in 1933, but it took time to perfect the new technology. In the 1950s, a new market of families and teenagers embraced the informality and privacy of in-car movie-watching. This sign stood at the entrance to a drive-in theatre that held 800 cars when it operated between 1955 and 1985.

Object ID

87.84.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Kalamazoo College.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Douglas Auto Theatre Sign, circa 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One

  Details

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1964

Summary

It's an old auto industry cliche -- "you can't sell a young man an old man's car, but you can sell an old man a young man's car." It's also true. The sporty Mustang was a young man's -- and woman's -- car. The under-30 crowd loved it. But older people also bought them, often as a second car. The Mustang hit a sweet spot in the market, appealing to a wide range of buyers.

Object ID

66.47.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout

  Details

1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1903

Summary

When it inspires a song, you know it's popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied "an almost universal sense, the love of power." Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobiles, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

Object ID

30.1303.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Olds Motor Works.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop

  Details

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1955

Summary

Chevrolet turned its image around in 1955. Its new V-8 engine was light modern, powerful and reliable. Combined with a clean, classic new body style it changed customers' impression of Chevrolet from stodgy and conservative to sporty and youthful almost overnight. This car, in fashionable coral and smoke grey colors, epitomizes Chevy's new slogan, "The Hot One."

Object ID

86.113.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

1937 Cord 812 Convertible

  Details
Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1937

Summary

The 1937 Cord's swooping fenders, sweeping horizontal radiator grille, and hidden headlights were unlike anything else on American highways. And although it wasn't the first, Cord was the only front-wheel-drive production car available in America for the next three decades.

Object ID

57.25.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Lawrence Lowell Reeve.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

2016 General Motors First-Generation Self-Driving Test Vehicle

  Details

2016 General Motors First-Generation Self-Driving Test Vehicle

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

2016

Summary

General Motors tested a series of autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2016. These cars, developed with GM subsidiary Cruise Automation and based on the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, used a combination of cameras, radar and lidar sensors, cellular and GPS antennas, and powerful computers to drive themselves on public streets in both cities.

Object ID

2018.141.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of General Motors Corporation.

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

2016 General Motors First-Generation Self-Driving Test Vehicle

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Driving America

The History of Cars

Explore the amazing variety of style and design of the American automobile.  

Roper Steam Carriage

The oldest surviving American-made car, the 1865 Roper was powered by a small steam engine.  

Quadricycle

Henry Ford's first attempt at a gasoline-powered vehicle, the Quadricycle was made of commonly available material.  

Setting the Standard

As cars developed, they began to include features we recognize today, including headlights.  

The Craftsmanship

Cars from throughout American history demonstrate the skill of all who worked on them.  

Safety First?

As car culture developed, Americans became increasingly concerned about safety.  

Never Sacrificing Style

American-made cars always made style and performance priorities.  

A Fast World

From the new world of cars emerged a culture of speed, including fast food.  

Lotus

The 1965 Lotus-Ford race car established a new paradigm in racing.  

Texaco Service Station

With more Americans on the road, a whole new industry grew to service the cars.  

Explore

Interactive exhibits allow visitors to learn even more about American automotive innovation.