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History Henry Ford's 1941 Soybean Car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bill McGuire, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. Here's a story on Henry Ford's soybean car from 1941, of a piece with his abiding passion in farming and the adaptation of soybeans to industry. The car's body panels were constructed from a soybean-derived plastic, or so it was claimed. Hmmm. Anyway, interesting story about an interesting car from a number of angles. Also, I would be interested to hear from you early Ford experts about the styling and where it might fit Ford design lineage.

    Henry Ford's Soybean Car | Mac's Motor City Garage

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmm Tofu!:D
  3. studemisfit
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 99


    I think it's pretty cool and at the least a interesting side bar to automotive history.
  4. During WWII some states used soybean-based fiberboard license plates. It's said farm animals would eat them off the vehicles.

  5. Smokey2
    Joined: Jan 11, 2011
    Posts: 920


    Bill, That is True about the Lic Tags, I have one from Va. that the cows never got.........Ha !


    I.m sure we've seen the Photo of Henry slamming
    away on the Trunk Lid ( with a Sledhammer) of a '47 Ford...........Made from Soybean combination.

    Alot of dash knobs and gearshift knobs made from Soybeans.

    Good Post
    Joined: Oct 8, 2006
    Posts: 300


    Illinois used fiberboard license plated from '43-'48. I've also heard stories of goats eating them off of cars. I have a set of matching number IL plates from '40-'91 I bought in '91 at an auction while the '91 plates where still active for 3 months.
  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    Wonder if it had a tube axle? I see an 85 HP V8 there, and typical '40 springs' locations...

    (tube axles were used in 4-cyl. pickups and V860 passenger cars 'til 1940)
  8. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,685


    I think Ford had an abiding passion for farmers, not farming. Most biographies indicate Ford got into mechanics to avoid farm work.
  9. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,895

    black 62
    from arkansas

    only been about 3 months since the last thread on the beaner car...
  10. Wow, that set has to be one-of-a-kind.
  11. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,291

    Rusty O'Toole

    I'm digging the muffler moly frame and temporary spare tires. Looks like something Gyro Gearloose whipped up in the back yard.
  12. JEZ! I didn't see the first one so I'm glad this was reposted.
  13. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,895

    black 62
    from arkansas

    looking forward to next months...
  14. I guess it depends how you parse the terms. It's quite true he despised the drudgery of farm labor, and yet he never lost his fascination for farming itself. He owned and operated huge farms in Michigan (several), Georgia, Mass., England, and Brazil--soybeans being his major crop. So I would say he had a deep passion for farming as long as he wasn't performing the manual labor personally.

    Ford also had a special interest in farmers and tailored his products to them. For example, according to Ford chief stylist Bob Gregorie, the high deck line on '36 to '40 Ford coupes was due to HF I's insistence that trunks could hold two full bushel baskets.
  15. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,685


    I'd agree with that. I'm sure he'd be horrified by what has happened to all the farmland around Detroit in order to accommodate the lifestyle brought by his creation. I think he always envisioned city folk visiting the empty countryside in their car, not turning it into subdivisions so they could commute back to the city.
  16. garvinzoom
    Joined: Sep 21, 2007
    Posts: 1,169


  17. seabeecmc
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 994


    I.m sure we've seen the Photo of Henry slamming
    away on the Trunk Lid ( with a Sledhammer) of a '47 Ford...........Made from Soybean combination.

    "Sled hammer head. Has chisel like ends attached to head by metal pins. This hammer was used for sharpening large meal or grist mill stones."

    Never to old to learn something new. Ron

    Attached Files:

  18. Topless Ford
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Topless Ford

    I'm sure as that car got older it would have smelled just as horrid as my old screwdriver handles and old steering wheels!!!
  19. doozcoupe
    Joined: Mar 15, 2007
    Posts: 310


    As I recall,the Ford farm was located northwest of Port Huron, Michigan. An area known as Beard's Hills. He used to test Ford tractors/ farm implements there.
  20. People also say French, as in postwar Ford Vedette.
  21. From what I can make out in the photos, the plastic car appears to be powered by a V8-60.

    Not to sharpshoot you whatsoever, took it as gospel for a long time myself, but Ford experts agree that the '37-'40 tube axle was installed in apparently random production but never, oddly enough, in V8-60 cars. I currently have axles of both styles in the shop and just as an aside, they weigh virtually the same.

    The plastic car has a beam front axle. One interesting note; the patent drawing shows the front wishbone facing forward, while the actual car uses the conventional setup.

    To which four cyl-pickups are you referring?

    Thanks for your interest and in raising all these great questions!
  22. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,685


    Weren't '41 pickups available with the 9N tractor engine as a budget option? A replacement for the discontinued V8/60.
  23. scrubba
    Joined: Jul 20, 2010
    Posts: 938


    Short answer YES ! scrubba
  24. Yes, but the tube axle was discontinued in 1940.
  25. 63comet
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 508


    I never knew about Ford's investments in farming. Maybe he was expecting the Diesel engine to take off quicker?
  26. Belchfire8
    Joined: Sep 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,542


    That rumor has been around for my whole life and I'm sure before that. There is a very large farm with a mansion located northwest of Port Huron, in Beards Hills, on the Black River known as the Ford Estate. It is an extremely private place and I've only ever seen the mansion while canoeing on Black River. They even built a dam to raise the river so there'd be water behind the mansion. This place has no connection at all to the Henry Ford family. It is a different Ford family, but the the erroneous link is often made to Henry's family.
  27. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,685


    Chemical Fords?
  28. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,989


    I toured that estate a few years back. It was the Ford's associated with Libbey Owens Ford the glass supplier. If I remember correctly they were out of Toledo or northern Ohio and used the estate for a getaway.-Jim
  29. Stormin' Norman1
    Joined: Jan 15, 2009
    Posts: 134

    Stormin' Norman1

    Great topic. Always find the history of the Ford family fascinating.
  30. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 3,351

    from ma

    Boss: george, why weren't you at work on time today!?!

    George: Well you see sir, the dog ate my fender!

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