• U.S.

Business: Ford and Aircraft

2 minute read

Fortnight ago, when anti-war Henry Ford refused to build 6,000 Rolls-Royce airplane engines for Britain along with 3,000 for the U. S., he disappeared from the airplane engine picture so far as the Defense Advisory Commission in Washington was concerned. His offer to build 1,000 airplanes a day, generously discounted by airplane manufacturers, was all but forgotten. And last week the order was offered to Packard. But Henry Ford had not counted himself out of the problem of national defense.

Without a U. S. order for either planes or motors in prospect, Ford went right ahead to tackle the job. In Michigan he had 300 men at work. One group of them was designing motors—not only a new liquid-cooled airplane engine of Ford design, but also improvements on the Rolls-Royce. (In Britain the Ford factory has been busy manufacturing Rolls-Royce Merlin engines for British Spitfires and Hurricanes.) More than that, his men were busy consulting with airplane experts, notably Colonel Lindbergh, on building planes as well as engines. The Administration might count him out, but Henry Ford, ever an individualist, was driving right ahead—just as if an order for 1,000 planes a day were in his hands—on Henry Ford’s own program for national defense.

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