National Portal to Historic Collections

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1939 Dodge Airflow Tank Truck
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This streamlined tank truck connected local Texaco service stations to a larger national distribution network. Each of America's competing oil...
1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible Coupe
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Americans sped through the 1930s in a variety of vehicles. This 1939 Ford convertible coupe provided drivers with a V8 engine, 1930's styling, and...
1939 Lincoln Presidential Limousine Used by Franklin D....
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This was the first car built expressly for presidential use. It was nicknamed the "Sunshine Special" because President Franklin Roosevelt loved to...
1946 Fruehauf Semi-Trailer, Used by Cole's Express
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This 1946 Fruehauf Model FF Aerovan was a standard dry freight trailer during the 1940s. A freight trailer was a simple idea. Built with no front...
1948 Tucker 48 Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Swooping fenders and six exhaust pipes make the Tucker look like a rocket ship. But Preston Tucker's car mixes fantasy with practicality. The center...
1949 Airstream Trailwind Travel Trailer
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This familiar riveted, aluminum-skinned trailer was introduced in 1936 by trailer manufacturer Wally Byam. As tourism flourished after World War II,...
1949 Ford Tudor Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The 1949 Ford was revolutionary when it was introduced. After the Second World War, Ford Motor Company had been producing only remodeled designs of...
1949 Kaiser Traveler Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Henry Kaiser, who had become famous building ships during World War II, and Joseph Frazer, an experienced auto executive, combined in 1945 to form a...
1949 Mercury Customized Convertible
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Long, low, and well rounded, stock 1949–51 Mercurys became the favorite cars of 1950s customizers. When lowered even more and smoothed out by filling...
1949 Volkswagen Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The Volkswagen Beetle was different from any American car. It looked like an insect, its engine was where the trunk should be, and it didn't have a...
1950 Lincoln Presidential Limousine Used by Dwight D....
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This massive convertible Lincoln was built for President Harry S Truman in 1950, but it is most associated with Truman’s successor Dwight D....
1950 Nash Rambler Convertible
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This 1950 Nash Rambler convertible was an attempt to market a small automobile to the American public. Other independent automobile manufacturers had...
1950 Plymouth Deluxe Suburban Station Wagon
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The earliest station wagons appeared in the 1910s and actually were used to haul people and luggage between railroad stations and hotels. They...
1951 Beatty Belly Tank Lakester Land Speed Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
After World War II, hot rodders started using external fuel tanks from fighter planes as car bodies. The teardrop shape was ideal for speed record...
1951 Crosley Hotshot Roadster
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Rich from building radios and refrigerators, Powel Crosley thought a small, affordable car might appeal to Americans. His sporty $924 roadster had an...
1952 Federal 45M Truck Tractor, Used by Cole's Express
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
When this truck was new, about 120,000 tractor-trailers traveled the roads. By 2000, there were over two million. New interstate highways helped long...
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Chevrolet turned its image around in 1955. Its new V-8 engine was light modern, powerful and reliable. Combined with a clean, classic new body style...
1955 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Corvettes became the iconic American sports car -- but not right away. Sports cars are automobiles reduced to their essence -- a motor, two seats, a...
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Drop the top, and cruise like a movie star! It sounds like fun. But movie stars live in sunny California -- most of us don't. Convertibles may draw...
1956 Chrysler 300-B Stock Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This Chrysler was part of one of the most successful teams in the history of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). In 1956...
1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The Thunderbird recalled the early days of automobiling, when cars were more fun than functional. Thunderbirds and other small two-seaters were sold...
1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The Mark II was elegantly understated. Its appeal depended not on chrome, but rather flawless quality control, extensive road testing, shocks that...
1957 Cornell-Liberty Safety Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Cornell Aeronautical Labs did some of the first crash testing of automobiles. In 1957 Cornell teamed with Liberty Mutual Insurance to build this odd...
1957 De Soto Fireflite Hardtop
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
De Soto appealed to drivers who desired the cutting edge of technology. Soaring fins and an airy roof suggested military jet fighters. Pushbuttons...
1958 Edsel Citation Hardtop
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The public didn't know what to make of the Edsel's styling. Like other fashionable 1950s cars, it was big (over 18 feet long) and colorful (161 paint...
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This car symbolizes 1950s America: a time of exuberance, self-confidence, excess, and self-indulgence. Cadillac designers drew on jet aircraft for...
1960 Buck & Thompson Slingshot Dragster
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Dragsters are designed to do one thing: cover a quarter-mile from a standing start as quickly as possible. They contain nothing that does not...
1960 Meskowski Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Between 1960 and 1963 the great A.J. Foyt won 13 of the 26 races he drove in this car. Wally Meskowski built the car to run on the one-mile dirt-...
1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine Used by...
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
President John F. Kennedy was riding in this car when he was shot in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. But the vehicle looks far different now...
1962 Mustang I Roadster
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This sharp looking little two-seater created a great "buzz" when racing driver Dan Gurney introduced it at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins...
1963 Buick Riviera Coupe
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Buick created the Riviera to compete in the "personal luxury" market with the Ford Thunderbird. General Motors' design vice-president Bill Mitchell...
1963 Chrysler Gas Turbine Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Many companies experimented with gas turbine cars after World War II. But only Chrysler actually put them into the public's hands. In 1963, Chrysler...
1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, Serial Number One
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
It's an old auto industry cliche -- "you can’t sell a young man an old man's car, but you can sell an old man a young man's car." It's also true. The...
1965 Goldenrod Land Speed Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
In November 1965 this sleek car flashed across Utah's Bonneville salt flats to break the world speed record for wheel driven (as opposed to jet or...
1965 Lotus-Ford Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This is one of the seminal cars in American racing history. In 1965 Scotsman Jimmy Clark drove this car to victory in the Indianapolis 500. A few...
1965 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO Hardtop
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Breathtaking acceleration, a racecar name, and a relatively low price -- what's not to like? Pontiac's GTO was a hit, especially among baby boomers...
1966 Toyota Corona Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Do you remember when "Made in Japan" referred to tin toys and cheap trinkets? Neither do most people, and this car is one of the reasons. Roomy, well...
1967 Ford Mark IV Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This car was built to win the world's most important sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driven by American legends Dan Gurney and A.J.Foyt it...
1968 Mercury Cougar Coupe
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Ford Motor Company's Mustang, introduced in 1964, was such a success that other car makers soon copied it, including Ford itself. Mercury's Cougar...
1972 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine Used by...
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
President Ronald Reagan was getting into this car when he was shot by John Hinckley on March 30, 1981. The car carried Reagan to the hospital....
1973 Chrysler Newport Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Americans have long shown a preference for buying the biggest cars they can afford, and by the 1970s American cars were truly huge. This Chrysler is...
1973 FMC 2900R Motorhome, Used by Charles Kuralt for CBS...
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This FMC motorhome carried a three-man TV crew on America's back roads, where they took time "to meet people, listen to yarns, and feel the seasons...
1974 Ford C-700 Truck, Used by Roadway Express
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Roadway Express, Inc. operated this Ford C-series truck in Lexington, Kentucky. The truck's functionality proved useful to the company's local...
1978 Dodge Omni Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
This little car was a reaction to the high gasoline prices brought on by the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the new fuel economy standards passed by...
1980 Comuta-Car Electric Runabout
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
The Comuta-Car, and its predecessor the CitiCar, were electric cars designed for limited use in cities. Sharp increases in gasoline prices in the...
1981 Checker Marathon Taxicab
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Most people think of Checker as an operator of taxicabs, but from 1922 through 1982 they also manufactured cabs. Checkers featured big back seats and...
1981 Ford Escort GLX Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Most Americans weren't very interested in small cars -- until 1973, when Middle Eastern oil-producing countries cut back on oil exports. Gas prices...
1984 March 84C-Cosworth Race Car
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Tom Sneva was the fastest qualifier for the 1984 Indianapolis 500 in this car. It went out of the race with a broken rear suspension on lap 168 while...
1984 Plymouth Voyager Minivan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
Plymouth Voyager advertising called this the "all-new space-age American family wagon," and it really was a new kind of vehicle. Shorter than typical...
1986 Ford Taurus LX Sedan
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan
When the Taurus appeared in 1986 some people said its aerodynamic styling reminded them of a bar of soap or a potato. But the car was roomy, handled...
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