Driving
America

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

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.

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  Details

1965 Lotus-Ford Race Car

  Details
Artifact

Racing car

Date Made

1965

Summary

This is one of the seminal cars in American racing history. In 1965 Scotsman Jimmy Clark drove this car to victory in the Indianapolis 500. A few years earlier legendary road-racer Dan Gurney concluded that the proper application of European formula-one technology could capture the Indianapolis 500. He brought Ford Motor Company together with Colin Chapman, English builder of Lotus sports and racing cars. The combination resulted in a lightweight Lotus chassis powered by a specially designed Ford V-8 engine. With its monocoque chassis, four-wheel independent suspension, and rear-mounted engine, the Lotus-Ford effectively killed the traditional Indy roadster and established a new paradigm for American race cars. Engine: Ford V-8, double overhead cam, 256 cu. in., 495 hp

Object ID

77.21.1

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

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

1962 Mustang I Roadster

  Details
Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1962

Summary

This sharp looking little two-seater created a great "buzz" when racing driver Dan Gurney introduced it at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York, in 1962. Featuring a rear-mounted V-4 engine, it was unlike any Ford ever seen before. The Mustang name later appeared on a sporty four-seater that created its own buzz in 1964.

Object ID

74.57.1

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

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

1901 Ford "Sweepstakes" Race Car

  Details

1901 Ford "Sweepstakes" Race Car

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Racing car

Date Made

1901

Summary

This is Henry Ford's first race car. After his first auto company failed, Ford turned to racing to restore his reputation. He raced "Sweepstakes" against Alexander Winton on October 10, 1901, and, to everyone's surprise, the novice Ford beat the established Winton. The victory and resulting publicity encouraged financiers to back Ford's second firm.

Object ID

00.136.123

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

1901 Ford "Sweepstakes" Race Car

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

1935 Miller-Ford Race Car

  Details
Artifact

Racing car

Date Made

1935

Summary

This beautiful car was created by Harry Miller, the most important American racing designer before World War II. His legacy included the four cylinder Offenhauser engine that dominated American racing between 1935 and 1975. Miller's hallmarks were innovation, superb craftsmanship, and an artistic touch that transformed his cars, engines, and individual components into pieces of sculpture. The Miller-Ford illustrates all these characteristics. It is lower, sleeker, and more streamlined than any other 1935 race car. It featured independent front and rear suspension, unheard of in American cars of the day. The aerodynamic cast aluminum suspension arms would look good on a pedestal in a museum. But for all its artistry this car was not as successful as Miller's earlier designs. One of ten similar cars, it was produced in a hurry and suffered from lack of time for proper development. Engine: Ford V-8, side valves, 221 cu. in., 150 hp

Object ID

69.137.1

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

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 Goldenrod Land Speed Race Car

  Details

1965 Goldenrod Land Speed Race Car

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Racing car

Date Made

1965

Summary

In November 1965 this sleek car flashed across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats to break the world speed record for wheel-driven (as opposed to jet or rocket powered) cars. One key to its success was its long, slim shape that minimized wind resistance. The other key was the clever engineering that packed four Chrysler "Hemi" engines and the machinery to drive all four wheels inside that slim shape. Goldenrod's record of 409.277 miles per hour stood until 1991. Builders Bob and Bill Summers were part of an automobile culture unique to Southern California. This culture spawned a "hot rod economy," made up of people who made their living building cars and equipment, promoting races, operating tracks, selling equipment and accessories, and writing about cars and events. Bob and Bill's success at Bonneville allowed them to become part of the hot rod economy by starting their own business building custom transmission and driveline parts. Engines: Four Chrysler "Hemi" V-8s, overhead valves, 426 cu. in., 600hp each

Object ID

2002.103.1

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

1965 Goldenrod Land Speed Race Car

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.