COLOGNE, Germany – Ford of Germany employees this week concluded a marathon road trip to celebrate the150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford. The final stage of the seven-week tour saw them travel from Stolberg Castle to the Ford Research Center in Aachen.
Ford’s Research Center in Aachen houses 260 employees who play a pivotal role in shaping and developing Ford cars and technologies for the future. So it was especially fitting that the lead car on the last leg of the Henry Ford Anniversary Tour was a Ford Focus powered by the award-wining 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engine, which Aachen engineers worked on.
And to add a little extra magic to the occasion, in support was a pristine example of the car that put Ford on the road to greatness – a Model T, also affectionately known as the ‘Tin Lizzy’.
Driving the vehicles were two "founding fathers" of the Cologne Toolmaking facility - Gerd Frehsdorf and Eberhard Gerber. Frehsdorf, who works in planning, points out that his favorite Henry Ford quote “To go forward nevertheless!” is literally carved in stone at the Cologne Monument cornerstone. “In my work I always do with new challenges, which is very diverse,” he said.
Like Frehsdorf, Gerber joined Ford in the 1970s and his favorite Henry Ford motto is: “There are more people who surrender, as those who fail.”
En route to Aachen, both men got the chance to experience the Tin Lizzy, driven by Wolfgang Laufer of Classic Cars.
“What a wonderful life experience," gushed Gerber afterwards. “The fact that the car is so noisy makes it all the more beautiful.”
Aachen, as Ford’ Global Center of Excellence, was chosen as the final destination for the tour because it is situated almost exactly in the middle between Ford’s European headquarters and development center in Cologne, and Ford’s Lommel test facility in Belgium.
At Aachen research into subjects as diverse as driving dynamics and driving assistance systems is carried out. Major projects currently on the go include pioneering "vehicle-to-vehicle communication" systems.
As the journey finally came to an end, the organising team and participants gathered for one last group photograph.
“It has been an amazing experience to be involved in this great event with such a diverse team in order to honor Henry Ford,” said tour organiser Elisabeth Pohl. “Not only have employees driven some remarkable Ford vehicles, they’ve also had the opportunity to reflect on and really appreciate just how much Henry Ford contributed to the world as a whole. ONE Ford!”