On this day in 1903, the newly formed Ford Motor Company took its first order from Chicago dentist Ernst Pfenning. The car was a two-cylinder Model A automobile with a tonneau (back seat). The car, produced at Ford’s plant on Mack Street (now Mack Avenue) in Detroit, was delivered to Dr. Pfenning just over a week later. Dr. Pfenning’s order turned out to be the first of many from around the country, launching Ford on its way to profitability. Within two months, the company had sold 215 Fords, and by the end of its first year, the Mack Avenue plant had turned out some 1,000 cars.
The price of Dr. Pfenning’s car – $850.
Big things start small. Anyone who thought the horseless carriage would become what it is today was smoking too much exhaust. Here are the facts.
There are currently 253 million cars on the roads in our country. The average age of those cars is 11.4 years, meaning it was built in 2005. There are now more registered cars than registered drivers. Today, 92% of all American households own at least one car.
The first Ford came in one color – black. The 1966 Ford Mustang came in 16 colors. Things change.
My granddad was born eight years before Dr. Pfenning bought that first car. He lived to see the Wright Brothers fly the first plane, Arizona become the 48th state, man land on the moon, Bill Clinton win the White House, and the Chicago Cubs miss the World Series 99 years in a row.
Change is inevitable. Progress requires changes. You can resist it at your own peril. Or you can do what Dr. Pfenning did and go along for the ride.