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Henry Ford's 1941 Soybean Car

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Here's a story on Henry Ford's soybean car from 1941, consistent with his interest 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. Anyway, interesting story about an interesting car from a number of angles. Am very interested to hear from you early Ford experts on Bob Gregorie's styling work on this car and where, if anyplace, it might fit in the Ford design lineage.

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

500lowelloverlywithford.jpg

500fordsoybeancarchassi.jpg

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Digging the muffler moly frame and temporary spare tires. Looks like something Gyro Gearloose whipped up in his laboratory.

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I have seen other photos showing Henry Ford hitting the car with a sledge hammer with no ill effects, to prove the strength of this material. I think the photos I've seen were post war, '46- '48 period. Tremendous advances were made in plastics during the war. I believe Tucker made his money building plastic bubbles for warplanes.

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Digging the muffler moly frame and temporary spare tires. Looks like something Gyro Gearloose whipped up in his laboratory.

LOL indeed.

I think the superstructure erected on the chassis is an indicator of the strength (or lack of it) of the body panels.

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LOL indeed.

I think the superstructure erected on the chassis is an indicator of the strength (or lack of it) of the body panels.

My guess is they wanted the car on the road as quickly and cheaply as possible. They bent up some frame rails of the kind of steel tube used for exhaust pipes, very easy to bend. Then added the "roll bar" superstructure which did 2 things: Strengthened the frame and gave a place to attach body panels.

In other pictures you can see the bars inside the car.This would have been too intrusive for a production car but OK for a prototype or test car. If they ever made a production version this would have to be fixed. The Pontiac Fiero had a similar structure made of stamped steel with plastic body panels.

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My guess is they wanted the car on the road as quickly and cheaply as possible. They bent up some frame rails of the kind of steel tube used for exhaust pipes, very easy to bend. Then added the "roll bar" superstructure which did 2 things: Strengthened the frame and gave a place to attach body panels.

In other pictures you can see the bars inside the car.This would have been too intrusive for a production car but OK for a prototype or test car. If they ever made a production version this would have to be fixed. The Pontiac Fiero had a similar structure made of stamped steel with plastic body panels.

I would love to see how totally finished out it was - how close to being a real, complete car.

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It wasn't just soy beans, had a good quantity of "hemp" products in the mix as well.

Ahhhh.... So that means that the Goats and other Farm Animals that indulged would have the munchies and be rather High.... Ummm.... Like on the roof of one of Mr. Earls 54 Buicks. :P Paint Scratchen Goats. :( With a high falootin attitude ;) LOL, Dandy Dave!

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It wasn't just soy beans, had a good quantity of "hemp" products in the mix as well.

Some contemporary "hemp enthusiasts" have constructed their own narrative for the soybean car with amusing results. There's a link in the story.

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