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122 years later: Henry Ford's first automobile

DETROIT – On June 4, 1896, after years of experimentation and tinkering, a 32-year-old Henry Ford completed his first automobile.

The Quadricycle was built by hand by Ford at his home, and its 2-cylinder engine used pure ethanol as a fuel. He had to remove a door frame and some bricks from his house to move the vehicle from the home.

On the morning of June 4, Ford test drove the vehicle, reaching an estimated speed of 20 miles per hour. 

At the time, Ford was an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company, and the vehicle impressed Thomas Edison, who would encourage Ford to build more vehicles.

In 1899, Ford resigned from the Edison Company and started Detroit's first automobile manufacturing company, the Detroit Automobile Company. After the company was dissolved, the stockholders would form the Henry Ford Company in 1901, which would later be reorganized as the Cadillac Automobile Company after Ford left in 1902.

His next attempt at car manufacturing, the Ford Motor Company, would go on to change the world.

According to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Ford sold the vehicle for $200 in 1886 and would later purchase it back for $60.

The Ford Quadricycle currently resides at the museum.

Henry Ford and his first automobile, the Quadricycle.
Henry Ford and his first automobile, the Quadricycle.