With a President Elect promising the world, these are exciting times for the United States of Amerika. CineCars lingers on the tracks of an infamous past.
In the heat of the American Presidential campaign reporter Robbert Moree and his family drove across the USA. Away from all the hustle they travelled back in time through diners, drive-ins and unexpected encounters on America’s back roads. While the world takes great caution in awaiting the near future, CineCars presents part two of our USA-special. Enjoy!
Early in the morning I drive into Detroit. A city that has been in decay for a long time and only recently started to emerge from its ruins. The greater Detroit area is one of these places I just had to visit at least once. Seeing and tasting what it is like. That magical place where so many cars saw the light, here at the origin of the American car industry. I leave Detroit on my way to Dearborn, on the outskirt of Detroit, where the infamous Ford factory lived its greatest successes. Today I will visit the museum that bares the name of the founder of one of the most famous car manufacturers in the world. I park my Chrysler (sic!) in the parking lot amongst the obvious abundance of Ford motorcars and make my way to the entrance. My first thought when entering the building is crystal clear, this isn’t just an ordinary car museum.
Henry Ford doesn’t open his car factory before the age of 40. Before he has been gathering experience elsewhere, learning a lot from other pioneers. In first place he is a seer, an innovator. For that reason he doesn’t simply stick to designing cars, but, and not at least, he attacks the proces needed to produce the cars. When you want to mass produce, you need a steady supply of electricity. One of his main goal is to realise that. The museum pays a lot of attention on how he managed to do so. He is also famous for his wish to bring affordable motoring to the masses. That does mean the design and the production need to be re-thought from scratch. Everything needs to be simplyfied. It is custommary in American musea to put in a lot of education. No exceptions here. One of the most appealing being the taking apart and rebuilding of a genuine Ford model T. Every day. It clearly shows the simplicity of the design. Childplay.
The Henry Ford Museum also pays a lot of attention to the social aspect of car manufacturing. Ford asked a lot of his employees, but paid them considerably more than the competition. Besides that there is the attention for discriminatetion and racism, not shy to show some impressive examples of race segregation, including the bus African American Rosa Parks allegedly didn’t give up her seat for a caucasian male in. When I enter the agricultural division I’m in for an educative little hour about the way Ford contributed to the mechanisation of agriculture world wide. Be it with the tractor or an array of machinery taking care of the crops.
The assembly of every presidential limousine ever built is a unique image of automotive history. It is followed by another timeline depicting the evolution of the motorcar. From the model T Ford up til the contemporary hybrid vehicles. It is simply too much in the context of this article, it’s a good things pictures can speak for themselves. Outside I find replicas of the first ever Ford factory and other landmarks in the company’s history. Ain’t it funny that the inventor of the very first mass produced motor car used his own private train for long distance journeys. That very train transports us around the premises of the museum. Only to be topped by a trip in a genuine T and A model Ford. An experience clearly showing the progress of a century of car manufacturing, although it also shows the car of today still needs four wheels, a steering wheel, an engine and a seat for the driver. The essence of the automobile hasn’t changed at all.