Friday, June 19, 2020

Deep Connections



I have never owned a Ford, remarkable in that I have owned so many cars I have to stop and count - carefully to list them all- 16 of them - 4 Hondas, 3 Oldsmobiles, 2 Toyotas, 2 Mazdas, 2 VWs, 1 Renault, 1 Saturn, 1 Cadillac. My grandfather worked for Ford for 35 years.  In fact Ford paying an astonishing $4 or $5 a day, was the reason my grandfather's family moved from a farm in south west Illinois to the Detroit area.  My great-grandfather worked in the power-house, the generating station built by Thomas Edison at the Ford Family Estate for many years.  My grandfather was a machine setter, he installed and adjusted the cutting tools in a machine that made gears, mostly for differentials, some transmission parts.  Some of his most dramatic stories were the conversion to war production in the early 1940's. He described how in a matter of just a few days all of the machines were cut lose, moved around, retooled from car parts to heavy trucks, tanks, even aircraft parts.  History shows us that Henry was wrong on the War, he thought the US should stay out, he had a long history of anti-semitism. His son, took the lead on war production, promising that Ford would do it's part.  

The new Bronco is due out this summer.  Time to see if Ford can do retro and a successful product launch.  I hope so, my retirement owns a chunk of Ford stock.  

Do you have any family connections to car companies? 

15 comments:

  1. When I was a kid, I was told that Ford was an acronym meaning "fix or repair daily."

    I've never owned a domestic car. All my vehicles have been Japanese -- Datsun, Mazda, two Toyotas.

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    1. I had two Corollas, at same time. One of them I drove the wheels off of and got more in trade for than I paid for it.

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  2. Here we go, Ford, Found On Rubbish Dump. No car connection for me. I think a machine setter would have been an interesting job. I also think your grandfather would be amazed at the fine tolerances used in machinery now, one reason why cars just don't break down now. Oldsmobile and Cadillac are both General Motors? Saturn was a Chrysler car?

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    1. Saturn was an independent company owned by GM, it was abandoned about 10 years ago.

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  3. no, but I do have a connection to baldwin train steam engines. one of my maternal grandmother's brothers worked for them. my maternal grandfather's brother worked for the PA turnpike commission.

    ford pinto, pontiac sunbird, chevy monte carlo, hyundai elantra (2), kia soul. only 6 cars in my lifetime.

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    1. Baldwin was the Cadillac of steam engines.

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  4. None. But my father did own one Ford, briefly, and SG and I had two Ford Explorers. Our only American cars (although most of the parts probably came from Japan).

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    1. Ford and Mazda have had joint manufacturing agreements for 30 years. Jay had a ford probe, made by Mazda.

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  5. I have never owned a Ford!
    My first car was a Chevrolet Chevette (which was a piece of crap)
    2. Oldsmobile (another piece of crap)
    3. Dodge (another piece of crap)
    4. VW Golf (loved it)
    5. VW Passat (loved it)
    6. Honda Accord (great car)
    7. Subaru Forester
    8. Toyota Rav 4. (This car is a hybrid and I like it.)

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    1. my first VW was a lemon (it was even yellow) the second one has been a good car. I had three new Accords in four years, two of them were great cars, the first one had a dozen warranty repairs, and I traded it just before the warranty was due to expire.

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  6. I don't remember hearing (that, of course, doesn't mean you didn't tell me) that your grandfather worked on the Ford estate, and at Edison's plant to boot. How cool!

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    1. I know you grandmother worked in the light bulb factory.

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  7. No connections to a car company but my grandfather distributed oil in an old Ford truck with an oil tank on the back. I used to have a photo of it and I still might have it in a box somewhere. He delivered to all the farms around our part of the Illinois and Missouri countryside. When my dad was a little boy, he would ride along with his dad. He told all kinds of interesting stories about things he saw on those rides. The best one was about the farm that had a big still hidden in one of it's barns.

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    1. I love old family photos that tell a story. This photo was taken in Folsom California

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  8. We lived around Detroit; it seemed everybody then has a connection directly or indirectly to the car industry. We did not per se.

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