The Go Further spirit has been with us from the beginning. And over the past 109 years, there’s been a lot. But as we think about the new year and what’s in the future, we thought it’d be fun to look back at a few of our favorites.
Let’s start from the beginning. Even before there was a Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford was building cars. The 999, built in 1904, was one of Ford’s first. (We’ve even got a badge to honor it). He kicked things off with quite a bang: breaking the land speed record at 91.37 miles per hour. Talk about thinking to the future!
When Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, it was about more than the latest horseless carriage. It was about making a new means of transportation affordable for the everyday family—and giving them an opportunity to see the world.
The original method of assembling cars—having a team put together one car at a time— was OK, but it took about 12.5 hours. When Ford implemented the moving assembly line in 1913, that time dropped to 1.5 hours. In fact, only one type of black paint dried fast enough to keep up, so that’s what color cars were painted for the next 12 years.
Manufacturing can be tedious work, and employee turnover reflected that. So Henry decided to offer many of his employees a $5 per day wage – unheard of in 1914. Not only did turnover drop, but so did training and hiring costs, which led to a decrease in the cost per vehicle even with the higher wages.
It was the first few years after World War II. Henry Ford II was looking for the best and the brightest leaders to bring Ford Motor Company into the next generation. In 1946, he hired 10 veterans of the U.S. Army Air Forces, who became known as the “Whiz Kids,” to take a look at production and make it more efficient—for then and for the future.
Maybe you can’t drive to the moon, but Ford still had a hand in getting people there. Beginning in 1965, Ford Aerospace engineers and technicians provided design, construction and operational services for NASA’s Mission Control Center. Yes—Ford really did help get people to space and back.
But let’s get back on the road. After Ferrari won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race six times in a row, Henry Ford II wanted to get in on the action. In 1966 the MkII GT40 gave Ford its first overall victory at Le Mans and the first overall LeMans victory for an American manufacturer. The GT made another appearance four decades later as a road vehicle.
After vehicles like the Mustang and the GT40, who would have thought the Ford Escort would become the next big thing? After it debuted in 1981, it became the first successful world’s car—in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. It remained popular until it was phased out in 2003 for the Focus.
But the trend for aerodynamic, fuel-efficient vehicles all began with the Ford Taurus, which came out in 1985. Dubbed the “jellybean” car, it replaced the boxy look of the time.
But let’s get back to space. It’s more than science fiction: In 1998, Ford teamed up with NASA again to bring artificial intelligence into its vehicles. In this case, it’s designed to improve fuel economy by monitoring fuel combustion rates—meaning that little bit of intelligence saves you a lot at the gas pump.
What do you do when you need a powerful engine, but also want good fuel efficiency? Ford engineers were addressing that exact question before the EcoBoost™ engine debuted in 2009. And better fuel economy means you can take “go further” literally with more miles from one tank of gas.
And after long testing new ways to keep passengers safe in the event of a crash, we took a novel approach in 2011: inflatable seat belts. They act as normal belts for everyday driving, and inflate to distribute crash force and keep you in place.
That brings us to 2012, when we made the promise that’s moved us all along official: Go Further found its home below the blue oval. For us, it’s a little reminder of where we’ve been, and where we’ve got to keep going.
So what do you think? Did we miss any important Go Further moments? Tell us in the comments below! And if you’ve got an idea about where we can go further in 2013, we want to hear it!