While we are camping in St. Clair, MI, we drove to Dearborn, MI for the day. So much to see that we had to choose. We choose the Ford F-150 assembly plant and the Henry Ford museum. Both were great. The engineer in us (the two of us) so loved to see the assembly plant. Not to mention we drive a Ford truck, though a F-250 Diesel.
The assembly plant was amazing (sorry no pics allowed of the assembly area). There is a truck that goes out the door every 60 seconds throughout each 10 hour shift equating to 1200 trucks/day. Each truck travels on a 'skillet'. This skillet, travels down the line, and the skillets are matched back to back after the windshield installation, to allow workers to walk around the vehicle as it progresses. Each skillet also has the ability to lift the truck body at the appropriate work height for the worker. Our favorite station was probably the laser guided robotic windshield installer (60 sec. like all other stations). The assembly line worked like clock work and was an amazing thing to watch. While we are sorry there are no pictures of this, it really is an amazing tour. There were a few Ford Automobiles on display at the Ford F-150 plant. We were allowed to snap a few pictures of these. Ford Model T 1931 - 60 MPH and $630 to purchase. Next was the 1932 Ford V-8 Victoria, 1932. And then there was the Ford 1965 Mustang...for sure an American classic.
Next up was the Henry Ford Museum. This museum was originally know as the Edison Institute and was established in 1929. This museum is a real gem and we were pleasantly surprised with all it had to offer.
We began our museum venture in the automobile area. There were so many vehicles, and we picked a few to share.
The 1899 Duryea Trap. The driver used a control stick to shift. accelerate and steer. Unfortunately the passengers sat back to back, making conversation difficult.
The Steven Duryea model U 1908 was quick and responsive with its 35 horse power engine.
The 1906 Rapid Bus was the ancestor to the airport shuttle. It shuttled passengers between railroads and hotels and was rapid for the day, traveling up to 15 MPH.
'On the Road' with Charles Kuralt was a show that went on America's back roads, covering the stories of people across the US. The show ran an impressive 27 years and went through a total of six motorhomes. One of the six motorhomes, 1975 FMC Motorhome is on display at this museum.
Fred Duesenberg set out to build an automobile masterpiece. The Duesenbergs had an impressive 265 HP that could push this car to speeds of 118 MPH. Only 481 total Model J's were ever built and no two were alike. Each coach was built by independent coachbuilders, crafted to each individual buyer's specifications.
The 1937 Cord 812 was the first front wheel drive production car in the United States. Although front wheel drive production cars became popular in many other countries, it would be1966 with the introduction of the Oldsmobile Toronado before Americans would build a production front wheel drive car again.
While the Duesenburg was rare, the 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale in this museum is one of only six Royales ever built. They are valued at over 20 million each and seeing one up close is a real treat.
The 1962 Mustang I Roadster was a concept car. While it shared few design lines of the ultimate production vehicle, the Mustang name was retained. Personally, I prefer the lines of this concept car.
After many revisions to the 1949 Volkswagen Transporter, offered in Germany, the Volkswagen Westfalia was introduced in the United States in 1959. This compact 'camping box' would have a great production run through 2003.
Several Past Presidential vehicles are on display at this museum. We included pictures of the President Kennedy 1961 Lincoln that he was assassinated in and also the 1950 Lincoln used by President Eisenhower.
Next up we had the opportunity to sit in the actual seat, on the actual bus where Rosa Park's changed the world on December 1, 1955. Park's act of defiance, not willing to give up her seat, after a stop picked up another white passenger, set off a huge bus boycott and was a major milestone in the Civil Rights movement. The Montgomery Bus boycott lasted an impressive 13 months with huge financial and business impacts.
MC Donald's original Golden Arches....what's not to love?
The 1952 Oscar Mayer Weinermobile- Little Oscar piloted this vehicle visiting stores, orphanages and children's hospitals as well as participating in parades and festivals. Today, there are several Weinermobiles modeled after this 1952 version.
Our last picture to share in this blog is the actual chair that President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot in the Ford's Theater, Washington D.C. on April 14, 1865.
The Ford Museum housed so much more, there were antique generators that took up whole roomfuls, furniture styles from various decades, a Dymaxion house to tour (worth looking at) Dymaxion House as well as air and water vehicles. The list is too long to include all. It was a long, fun day and a great historical experience.