COLOGNE, Germany – Ford of Germany employees are embarking on a seven stop road trip to commemorate the150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford. The fifth leg of this remarkable journey saw Ford employees Wolfgang Petersen and Ralf Nitschke take the wheel of a 43 year-old Taunus 17M RS and a Focus ST.
Just 24 kilometers from the Irnich Ford dealership in Kerpen-Manheim is a huge open cast mine called Inden and it’s about to get a lot bigger. Huge excavators carve 20 million tonnes of brown coal a year from this pit and soon they will chew their way right through the village of Manheim, erasing it from the map altogether.
Inden lies next to Highway 4 which runs between Cologne and Aachen. Such is the scale of the mine’s expansion, 12 kilometres of this road are being relocated.
The change to the landscape is dramatic and it provides the perfect backdrop to compare a classic old Ford with a star from today. In this case the mature model is a Taunus 17M RS, built in 1970, with a 2-liter six-cylinder engine producing 90 hp. The youngster shadowing it is a Ford Focus ST.
These two cars may be separated by 43 years but they have much in common – eye-catching paint work and style in abundance.
Ford employee Wolfgang Petersen discovered his love for the 17 M again when he took the wheel. His father had one for eight years and Wolfgang has fond memories of travelling in the back as a young child with the pillar-less windows wound down.
He’s delighted to take part in the tour and keen to share his all-time favourite Henry Ford quote: “Fifty percent of my advertising budget is money thrown away. No one can tell me however, which 50 per cent it is.”
Ralf Nitschke also appreciates the iconic 17 M. He’s worked for Ford since the early 1980s and feels a real affinity with the company.
“It's nice to still be happy to go to work the morning after so many years. It’s also especially beautiful, of course, to participate in this ride in honor of Henry Ford. "
The sixth leg of the Henry Ford anniversary tour gets underway next week.